DVLA & Selling Your Car

Written by Danny Collins
Last updated: January 26, 2024

Car sales are a part of our everyday lives. Whether you’re buying or selling, the process can be overwhelming and confusing at times. We’ve created this blog to guide your needs when it comes to selling your vehicle and what the DVLA is all about!

Owning a car is a big responsibility and should be taken seriously. There will be a time in your life as a car owner where you might want or need to sell it, and we’re here to help make the process as smooth as possible. Selling a car can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. On top of that,  there are a lot of things to consider as you sell your car.

DVLA, or the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, is a government agency in charge of issuing driving licenses, vehicle registrations, and tax discs. When you sell a car, the recipient must be registered with DVLA and have their unique driving license. If they do not currently hold one of these things, then there will need to be some extra steps taken when selling your vehicle. In this blog post, we’ll tell you how to go about doing that!

Selling Your Car

When you’re ready to sell your car, there are certain things you need to do to make the process go as smoothly as possible. This process is particularly distressing from many perspectives. Not only must you make sure that all of the service records and MOT paperwork are correct, but you must also know the tire and brake conditions so as not to sell it under false impressions. Then there’s the negotiating over price or how you’ll receive the payment, not to mention the buyer walking away from the transaction and having to pay for advertising time for several days or weeks.

Before selling your car, you should take it to a trusted mechanic for an inspection. This will help ensure that the car is in good condition and there are no surprises when it comes time to sell it. One of the best ways to do this is by running a car check. A car check will tell you the history of your vehicle and if there are any outstanding finance agreements or recalls that need to be taken care of. It’s important to have all of this information before selling your car, as it can help speed up the process and avoid any potential headaches down the road.

Related: How To Avoid Buying a Car With Outstanding Finance

When you’re ready to sell, make sure to take pictures of the car from all angles. This will help buyers get a good idea of what they’re buying and can be helpful when it comes time to negotiate over price. Be sure to list all of the features that come with the car, as well as any aftermarket parts or modifications that have been made. If any service records are available, make sure to include those as well.

You’ll also want to make sure that all of your paperwork is in order, including the vehicle registration certificate or DVLA, MOT test certificate (if applicable), service records, and tax disc (if applicable). It’s also helpful to prepare a simple checklist for the buyer so they know exactly what is included with the vehicle.logo

Understanding the DVLA

Definition of DVLA

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, more commonly referred to as DVLA, is a government-run institution in the United Kingdom that is responsible for issuing driving licenses, vehicle registrations, and tax discs. DVLA is also responsible for the collection of vehicle excise duty and keeping records on all vehicles that exist within British territory.

The DVLA, as previously stated, is the one institution you cannot afford to overlook, so you need to understand what this entails. The DVLA is responsible for the registration of all driving licenses in the United Kingdom, as well as instant knowledge of every vehicle that exists on British soil and all prior owners so that it is clear who owes road tax yearly or bi-annually.

All of your DVLA information should be up to date, and you could face legal consequences and additional taxes if you don’t take care of it; even if you’ve already sold your car because there is a huge fine of £1,000 implied to failure to update your information! However, it is not in the DVLA’s interest for information updates to be time-consuming or inconvenient, thus buyers may purchase with confidence, and sellers can rest assured that they are not in trouble.

What Does The DVLA Do?

The DVLA is in charge among other things, of issuing driving licenses, vehicle registrations, and tax discs. The agency also maintains records on every vehicle that exists within British territory, including the collection of VED (vehicle excise duty). Here are the  other tasks the DVLA provides:

  • Collecting and saving driver disqualifications, endorsements, and medical conditions.
  • Provide authorization of vehicle registration certificates.
  • Accepting and producing photocard driving licenses
  • Taking severe measures against vehicle tax evaders.
  • Registering and issuing tachograph cards
  • DVLA personalised registrations
  • Assisting the cops and other pertinent agencies in criminal investigations.
  • Disseminating anonymized car data to people who have access to it.

There are over 40 million vehicles in the DVLA’s database, so you can expect to get the most information possible with your next purchase. You are no longer hostage to a mountain of paperwork that may or may not has been there when looking for a used automobile that is “clean” and dependable. The DVLA maintains a central database with everything registered, including both present and past keepers. The legitimate MOT history check should be on file as well, along with all properly recorded, genuine MOT histories.

The DVLA also keeps track of a slew of other details, such as the year your car was made, its engine capacity, and the specific gas type, colour; not to mention the tax rates you’ll most likely have to pay as a new owner. Because no physical copy of a V5C is required, it’s useful to both buyers and sellers. There’s also no risk that someone has fraudulently duplicated the document.

What To Do After You Sell Your Car?

A lot of effort goes into selling your car, so it’s important to keep up-to-date records of your transactions. You must also immediately inform the DVLA once the sale is complete. Delay in doing this may result in getting a fine of £1000.

However, if you are selling your car for the first time or have decided to change ownership details, it may be difficult keeping track of all these documents and information. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, DVLA allows people to apply online without any hassle at all! The process is simple. You can do this online, by phone, or by post, it’s up to you! The DVLA makes the process easy by providing you with an online history check that allows you to access its services from any computer or internet-enabled device. The DVLA only needs a few pieces of information from you to update their records:

  • The name and address of the person who has bought your car
  • The vehicle registration number
  • The make of the car

Your V5C logbook is required by the DVLA for that critical information. If you’ve misplaced it, don’t worry; obtaining a replacement is simple. In your logbook, you’ll have to fill out Section 6 with your specific information so that the new registered keeper may rightfully and lawfully become its owner; this includes their name and address. After that, in section 10, write down the same information for safekeeping sake. The new registered owner must also sign section 8, while the old registered owner will keep section 10.

Section 9 of the V5C logbook must be completed instead if you’re shipping or selling your vehicle to an insurance company, trader, or dismantler. In that situation, send only section 9 to the DVLA (same address as above), leaving the relevant party to keep the rest of the V5C logbook. You should anticipate being notified in writing within a month that the information has been received and handled correctly, officially releasing you from any further obligations or responsibilities regarding the car in question.

Car Information You Received from DVLA

If you are having problems updating your car’s details, the DVLA can help resolve them for you. The following information is available to registered keepers or authorized third parties through an online history check:

  • Vehicle make and model
  • The date of registration
  • The expiration date of the vehicle’s MOT and car tax
  • Information of the engine’s size, year of manufacture, and colour
  • The tax rate
  • The name and address of the individual or business that currently owns it
  • MOT records, including details of passes or failures, the place of tests and recorded mileage, as well as minor issues or failed components.
  • Recall records include all of the data on components that have been recalled due to safety concerns.

As a result, you’ll be able to see how much tax is being returned or when your vehicle needs an MOT, which may come in handy while haggling over the asking price. If you’ve misplaced your V5C and are awaiting a new one, you can get quite a bit of information (engine size, colour, MOT history) from accessing their website.

The MOT history, which includes serious flaws and recorded warnings, is also included, giving you more information and knowledge even without the asking price, such as which areas to focus on in the years ahead. Furthermore, if there are any safety recalls for whatever cause, it will give you peace of mind. You may also assure a possible buyer that everything is in good working order, that any issues have been fully handled and approved.

Keeping Your Customized/Personalized Registration Plates

When you sell a car,  you have the option of transferring the registration plates to the new owner or retaining them yourself. The DVLA can help you keep your private registration plates if you wish to switch to a new car later. The majority of the time, the vehicle that acquired personalized plates will be re-united with its original plates before yours were first applied; assuming it is roadworthy and has previously passed MOT checks.

It must also be registered and insured for road use in Great Britain. It should have had its usual annual road tax paid for or a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) issued for it to be eligible. If your car has been off-road for more than five years, you’ll have to start the road tax process from scratch to use custom number plates on future vehicles. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to undertake some sort of vehicle inspection.

You can do this process online or by regular mail. The benefit of conducting transactions online is that the change you want will happen quickly – you can immediately start assigning your personalized plates to another car using the relevant reference number provided while applying; as long as an inspection isn’t necessary. If you opt for regular mail, it will take about a week; you’ll also have to submit a V317 “transfer or retain a vehicle registration number” form and the V5C (vehicle log book), or the new owner’s supplement containing a filled-in V62 “application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C.”

The DVLA will issue you a V778 retention document after your bid to maintain your private registration number has been accepted. You now have the legal right to use that personalized car number plate checks for ten years! Before you reach that goal, you must complete a renewal procedure to keep your rights over it.

We hope this guide has been of some help and provides a little more clarity on the process for selling your car. Don’t forget to run a car check before putting your vehicle on the market. That way you can be confident that any damages or faults will not go unnoticed and should lead to a smoother transaction for both parties involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the DVLA, and why is it important when selling a car?

The DVLA, short for Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, is the government organisation in the United Kingdom responsible for maintaining a database of drivers and vehicles. When selling a car, it is important to involve the DVLA to ensure a smooth and legal transfer of ownership. They handle important tasks such as updating vehicle ownership records, issuing new logbooks (V5C), and transferring or refunding vehicle tax.

  1. How do I notify the DVLA when selling my car?

To notify the DVLA about selling your car, you need to complete and submit the V5C/3 section of your vehicle’s logbook. Fill in the buyer’s details, including their name and address, and sign the declaration. Once this is done, send the completed V5C/3 to the DVLA. It is advisable to keep a copy for your records. The DVLA will then update their records to reflect the change in ownership.

  1. Can I sell my car without a V5C logbook?

Ideally, you should have the V5C logbook when selling your car, as it serves as proof of ownership. However, if you have misplaced or lost it, you can still sell your car. In such cases, you will need to complete a V62 form, available from the DVLA or online. This form allows you to apply for a replacement log book. It is important to note that selling a car without a logbook may raise concerns for potential buyers, so it is advisable to inform them about the situation and offer them a copy of the completed V62 form.

  1. How long does it take to receive a new logbook after selling a car?

The DVLA aims to process applications for new log books within six weeks of receiving the completed paperwork. However, processing times can vary, so it’s best to allow for some additional time. If you haven’t received your new logbook within a reasonable period, you can contact the DVLA helpline for an update on your application.

  1. Do I need to inform the DVLA about a private car sale?

Yes, it is important to inform the DVLA about the private sale of your car. Notifying them ensures that they update their records to reflect the change in ownership. Failure to inform the DVLA could lead to complications, such as being held responsible for any future offences or liabilities related to the vehicle.

  1. What happens to my vehicle tax when I sell my car?

When you sell your car, you are no longer responsible for the vehicle tax. Upon notifying the DVLA about the sale, they will issue a refund for any full months remaining on the tax. The refund will be sent to the registered keeper’s name and address on the V5C logbook. It is important to inform the DVLA about the sale promptly to avoid unnecessary tax liabilities.

  1. Can I transfer my private number plate when selling my car?

Yes, it is possible to transfer your private number plate when selling your car. You will need to follow the process for retaining or transferring a number plate, which involves completing the appropriate forms and paying any applicable fees. Once the private number plate is transferred or retained, you can then proceed with selling the car.

  1. What documents should I give to the buyer when selling my car?

When selling your car, you should provide the buyer with the following documents:

– V5C logbook (or V5C/2 section if you have retained the V5C/3 section for notifying the DVLA)

– MOT certificate, if applicable

– Service history and any relevant vehicle documentation

– Any receipts or invoices for repairs or maintenance

– Valid insurance certificate for the buyer to drive the vehicle legally

– Both sets of keys (if applicable)

Providing these documents helps build trust with the buyer and ensures a smoother transaction.

  1. What should I do if the buyer doesn’t update the vehicle’s ownership details?

If the buyer fails to update the vehicle’s ownership details with the DVLA, you may still be held liable for certain offences or liabilities associated with the car. To protect yourself, it is advisable to retain a copy of the completed V5C/3 section or a receipt acknowledging the sale. If you have concerns about the buyer’s compliance, you can contact the DVLA to check if the ownership transfer has been completed.

  1. What are the potential penalties for not notifying the DVLA when selling a car?

Failing to notify the DVLA about selling your car can result in penalties or complications. If you do not inform the DVLA, you may still be held liable for any offences committed with the vehicle after the sale. Additionally, you may continue to be responsible for vehicle tax payments, as the DVLA may still have you listed as the registered keeper. It is essential to inform the DVLA promptly to avoid these potential penalties and ensure a proper transfer of ownership.