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Second hand car


At present there is no national guidance on this matter and it will probably be a matter of local policy. So it will vary from force to force as to whether forces will provide any information on this matter.

There are organisations that do credit checks on vehicles which will also tell you if there is any outstanding credit on the vehicle. There will be a fee for this service but it is always better to check out any second hand car that you are thinking of buying.

However, whilst we can't recommend any specific companies that provides vehicle history checks prior to purchase, you should be able to find one online – the price may vary from one company to another.

We have listed two examples of companies that offer this service in related information but we don't recommend them above any others.


Buyers can use the 24/7 online or phone services to tax their vehicle at the point of sale - confirmation of tax is provided when the vehicle is taxed.

To tax your vehicle online go to - you'll need one of the following:

  • 16 digit reference number on your vehicle tax renewal letter (V11)
  • 11 digit reference number on your log book (V5C)
  • Or, if you've just bought the vehicle, the 12 digit reference number on your new keeper supplement (V5C/2)

If your vehicle is quite old, it may have a reference number of fewer than 12 digits, in which case you should contact the DVLA via the link below:

Taxing a vehicle by phone is slightly different. It's an automated 24/7 service that the DVLA says should only take three to four minutes - but you can't pay by Direct Debit via the phone service. You'll need to enter the same information that you would when applying for tax online i.e. reference number on either the V5C or the V11 and pay via your credit/ debit card. The number is 0300 123 4321 (textphone 0300 790 6201) - calls are charged at the local rate.

You can still tax your vehicle at the Post Office - make sure you check before you go, not all of them still tax vehicles. You'll need to take:

  • your completed V11 reminder, V5C or new keeper supplement (V5C/2)
  • your MOT test certificate if required (must be valid when the tax starts)
  • the payment shown on the reminder

In Northern Ireland, you'll also need an insurance certificate or cover note.


When you sell or transfer your vehicle you must notify the DVLA straight away using the V5C part of your registration document. Remember by law, it is the seller's responsibility to tell the DVLA about the change of keeper. If you don't do this you commit an offence and you will still be liable for the vehicle.

If you have your V5C registration document you need to:

  • Fill in sections 6
  • Sign and date the declaration in section 8 along with the new keeper
  • Fill in section 10 (V5C/2) and give it to the new keeper – they will need this to tax the vehicle
  • Keep a record of the new keeper's name and address
  • Tear off section 1 to 8 (V5C) and send it to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA

If you don't have your V5C registration document you need to write to the DVLA via the following address DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA, and give them the following details:

  • The vehicle's registration number, its make and model
  • The name and address of the new keeper
  • The date when you sold it
  • Your signature

You should check that the new keeper sends a completed form V62 (application for new registration certificate) to the DVLA – if they don't do this the police could contact you about the vehicle. Form V62 is available via the link below:

Note that if you buy a vehicle without a V5C certificate you can't tax it and drive it on public roads until you get a replacement.

You must fill in section 9 of the V5C and send it to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BD – the motor trader does not require this section and should not keep it. You should then give the rest of the V5C to the motor trader. Remember it is your responsibility to ensure that section 9 is sent to the DVLA – this is the case even if the trader offers to do it for you. In the event that the motor trader keeps the whole of the V5C, you should send a signed letter to the DVLA that confirms who you passed the vehicle to (motor trader's details) and the date that this occurred.

You can also notify the DVLA via the link below:

Contact your local police force

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