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Can you sell your car without a V5C Logbook?

Picture this: you’re looking to upgrade your car. Maybe you’re keen to buy one of those cool electric ones, especially since they’re free from road tax until 2025. But what’s the point of having two cars? So, you’re thinking of selling your current car off and using the funds to help pay for a shiny, new one. That’s a great idea!

You’ve put your car up on one or two second-hand car markets, and you’ve found yourself a number of interested buyers. But wait, they’re asking if you’ve got the car’s logbook handy. Well, of course you do! Right? Well, unfortunately, you can’t seem to find it.

Now you’re in a bit of a pickle. You’re probably wondering if you’re actually allowed to sell your car if you’ve lost your V5C logbook. Good news! We’ve got the answer to that easy question — all you have to do is read on…  

What is the V5C logbook?

Firstly, what even is the V5C logbook? The vehicle’s logbook — officially referred to as “V5C” — is the registration record that lists the information of the vehicle as well as that of its owner. In the UK, the V5C logbook is provided to anyone who buys any type of vehicle, be it a car or a motorbike. Although it is not legal evidence of someone’s ownership of their car, it does establish who is financially liable for the vehicle.

A car’s V5C includes not only the registered owner’s name and address but also the vehicle’s brand, model, colour, engine size and unique vehicle identification number (VIN). This information can be compared to the car itself to verify that the logbook belongs to the correct vehicle.

The V5C is still delivered on paper, despite the fact that virtually every other area of the DVLA’s function has gone digital. While you’re able to update your logbook online, it doesn’t replace the physical copy. At least for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t look like there will be a digital version of a car’s V5C logbook — which is fair enough!

So, now that we know what a V5C logbook is and the important information it contains… Can we still sell our car if we’ve lost ours? Well, the answer is a little complicated.

Is it possible to sell my car without a V5C logbook?

The short and more positive answer is: Yes! It’s not actually illegal to sell a car without its V5C logbook. Especially since you can update your logbook as well as update DVLA on sold cars online, it might seem like you don’t actually need the physical logbook. Unfortunately, the longer answer to this question is not as positive as its shorter counterpart.

If you’ve lost your car’s logbook, you should look into getting a replacement ASAP before putting it on the market. This is because a lot of people will be deterred from buying a car without one — especially because it can be a sign that the car is stolen. The DVLA themselves have put out a recommendation not to buy a car that doesn’t have its V5C logbook intact, so really, it’s no surprise that people are listening to that advice.

The vehicle’s V5C logbook is quite often mistaken as proof of ownership when it actually only contains information about the vehicle’s current registered keeper. Anyone with “reasonable cause” can access the DVLA database and look up the details of a vehicle’s registered owner and keeper. This information can then be checked against the supposed owner’s identification — like a driver’s licence.

Hopefully, you would have been sure to keep your details with DVLA up-to-date, including updating your V5C logbook online if ever you’ve misplaced it before. However, if you know that your logbook is definitely lost, you should look to get it replaced as soon as possible before you even think of selling it off!

How to get a new V5C logbook

Although it is conceivable and legal to sell a car without a logbook, you should definitely secure a replacement logbook before putting it up for sale. However, you shouldn’t panic because it’s quick and easy to do. Any effort that you might need to put into getting a new logbook for your car will allay any fears potential purchasers may have and help you fetch the highest price — so it’ll definitely be worthwhile.

You can get a new V5C by visiting the DVLA website. A card payment of £25 will be required, unfortunately, along with the vehicle’s registration number, chassis number (often located on the top of your car’s dashboard), your name, and your postal code. Again, be sure to update your address with DVLA to make sure there are no hiccups with any dealing you have with the agency!

In terms of when you can expect a new logbook, don’t worry — it won’t take too long (subject to delays!). If you submit your request for a replacement V5C logbook online, you should have it in as little as five business days!

What to do with the V5C logbook when selling a car

The new owner’s location dictates the appropriate action regarding the vehicle’s logbook — whether it’s staying in the UK or going overseas. Naturally, each situation calls for a unique response.

Give them the green “new keeper” slip from the log book if the car is remaining in the UK. Once you’ve sold the car, the next step is to notify the DVLA that you have sold the car and provide the buyer’s full name and address.

Remember to get let the DVLA know as soon as possible because it could influence any vehicle tax refund you’re due!

So, if you’re selling your car to an overseas buyer, the next steps will be slightly different. Make sure to fill out the log book’s permanent export section if you plan on registering the vehicle in a foreign country. The information, which includes the buyer’s name and address, is subsequently forwarded to the DVLA. The buyer will require the log book in order to register the car in their own country.

How to update the DVLA when you sell your car

If you sell your car without notifying the DVLA, you will still be shown as the owner on records related to the vehicle’s MOT, vehicle tax, and insurance. Also, remember that if the new owner commits any driving offences and you’ve not informed the DVLA, you will be the one in trouble!

The great news is that you can update DVLA about your car sale in multiple ways — either by post or, as we’ve mentioned before, through their online service. Updating the DVLA is super easy, but you should be aware that any wrong information provided can land you a hefty fine of up to £1000. 

With all that said, let’s look at how you can update the DVLA:

By post

Informing the DVLA of a vehicle sale via mail takes more time, but it’s definitely possible. While it might be tempting to skip past this section altogether, you should know that if you’ve already sent your logbook by post, you’re not allowed to use the online service!

When informing the DVLA by post, there are a few extra bits you need to do compared to the online method. Complete Sections 6 and 8 of the V5C and send it along with the log book to the DVLA to let them know you’ve purchased the vehicle.


In order to let the DVLA know that you sold your car online, you will need the new owner’s full name and address. You’ll also need the 11-digit reference number that you’ll find on the car’s V5C. So be sure to make a note of these details!

Following your submission, the DVLA will update its records to reflect the new owner of the car and issue the appropriate documentation. You should get a notification from them shortly after submitting your request!

Final thoughts

While you are in your legal rights to sell your car without its V5C logbook, it doesn’t mean you should! The logbook is quite an essential part of vehicle ownership, and even the DVLA recommends that you don’t sell your car without it. Be sure to keep your address with the DVLA up-to-date, so you don’t face any hiccups during the car sales process — and be sure to let the DVLA know once you’ve successfully sold your car!