Article reviewed: 2013/01/06 | Next review due: 2014/07/25
When you sell your vehicle privately or through a motor trader you’ll need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). If you fail to tell DVLA you could be held responsible for any future motoring offences committed in the vehicle.
Don’t get caught out
It's important to tell DVLA as soon as you sell your vehicle or you'll continue to be responsible for paying the vehicle tax or penalties for the non-payment of it. You may also receive mail relating to motoring offences committed in the vehicle. When DVLA has been told, you should receive an acknowledgement letter within four weeks confirming that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle.
Important points to consider when selling a vehicle
There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of crime when selling your vehicle:
- it's worth remembering that thieves can pose as potential buyers
- never let the buyer go on a test drive alone as they may not come back
- don't leave the buyer alone with your keys in the ignition
- be careful when accepting cheques or banker's drafts, don't part with your car until you're sure the payment is genuine - if in doubt, contact your bank
- it's also worth asking the buyer for a form of identity, satisfying yourself that it looks genuine, alternatively the buyer may ask to see proof of your identity
- know where the VIN number is as the buyer may want to check this
Note: DVLA has become aware of a small number of cases where counterfeit DVLA Payable Orders have been offered as payment or part payment for a vehicle. You should not expect to receive DVLA Payable Orders from private customers and should treat anyone who offers you one as extremely suspect. These are only issued direct to customers by DVLA, usually where a refund is due or an overpayment has been made.
Registration certificate (V5C)
The buyer will want to see the registration certificate (V5C) to allow them to check the vehicle's details. You may not be able to sell your vehicle without one. If you've lost it, you can get a replacement from DVLA.
Personalised registration on your vehicle
You’ll need to transfer or retain your personalised registration before you sell the vehicle. If you don’t, you’ll lose your entitlement to the registration number. You will need to complete form V317 – ‘Application to transfer or retain a vehicle registration number’.
Selling the vehicle privately
You should always keep a separate note of the buyer's name and address. You should tell DVLA immediately using the appropriate section of the registration certificate.
Remove your tax disc from the vehicle and you can also apply for a refund of vehicle tax for complete calendar months remaining on the tax disc. DVLA cannot pay your refund until we receive notification that you have sold/transferred your vehicle.
If you don't have a registration certificate you can still inform DVLA that you no longer have the vehicle. In order to do this you must write to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR quoting the vehicle registration mark, make and model, exact date of sale and name and address of the new keeper.
However, you should note that DVLA records wouldn’t be complete until the new keeper tells DVLA in writing. Until they do, the police may need to contact you if they have to make enquiries about the vehicle.
Selling your vehicle between Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI)
If you sell your vehicle to someone whose address is either in GB or NI, both you and the purchaser should complete and sign Sections 6 and 8 of the registration certificate (V5C or V5CNI).
The V5C or V5CNI should then be passed to the new keeper for them to be able to re-register the vehicle in either GB or NI. While the new keeper will re-register the vehicle, you must also write to DVLA or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA). You are still required to inform DVLA or DVA (the authority the vehicle is leaving) that the vehicle has been sold, so that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle.
Selling to a motor trader
If you transfer your vehicle to a motor trader and you have a registration certificate you should tell DVLA immediately using the V5C/3 section and pass the rest to the trader.
When DVLA has been told, you should receive an acknowledgement letter within four weeks confirming that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle.
Remove your tax disc from the vehicle and you can also apply for a refund of vehicle tax for any complete calendar months remaining on the tax disc.
DVLA cannot pay your refund until we receive notification that you have sold/transferred your vehicle.
Providing the vehicle mileage
Entering the vehicle's mileage in the appropriate box of the registration certificate will help in the fight against vehicle 'clocking'. This is where the vehicle's odometer (speedometer) is turned back to fraudulently reduce the number of miles that the vehicle is recorded as having travelled.
How to get information on a used vehicle before buying it?
In order to check the vehicles authenticity, there are a number of public and private companies that will confirm a vehicle's information.
You can use this service to check certain information that DVLA holds on its database about a vehicle including:
- year of manufacture
- date of first registration
- engine capacity
- expiry date of the current tax disc or SORN declaration
- vehicle excise duty rate
- DVLA: Driver and vehicle licensing agency