How to transfer car ownership

    When you sell your car or transfer ownership to another person, there’s more to the process than just agreeing on the terms and handing over the keys.

    Unlike other possessions, if you give your car to another individual, the ownership of that car has to be legally registered by UK law. 

    Even if no money is changing hands (e.g. you are giving a car to a family member), the transfer of ownership still has to be logged with the DVLA and there are several important things you need to be aware of when you complete this handover.

    Read on to understand the key steps for transferring ownership of your car.

    Transferring ownership to an individual 

    Transferring the ownership of a vehicle to another person can feel confusing, but it can actually be broken down into three easy steps:

    Step 1: Find out if you are the owner or the keeper of the vehicle 

    Step 2: Fill out the V5C logbook Section 6 with the new owner’s details 

    Step 3: Send the V5C form off to the DVLA 

    You can also transfer car ownership online using a simple form on the DVLA website

    This guide breaks down the above steps clearly so that you can correctly and easily transfer the ownership of your vehicle. The sections are as follows:

    This article will also tell you how to transfer car ownership to a dealer or scrap yard.

    The DVLA handles the transfer of vehicle ownership.

    Find out if you are the owner or the keeper

    The owner and keeper can be the same person, but they can also be different people or companies. The keeper of the car is the person named in the V5C logbook.

    The keeper is legally responsible for the vehicle, and the person who could potentially be pursued if a motoring law is broken.

    Someone else could have paid for the car, but the keeper is responsible for things like insuring and taxing the car, keeping it in roadworthy condition, and obtaining an MOT if it’s more than three years old.

    If the car is involved in an offence (eg. speeding), the authorities will contact the keeper who is named on the V5C logbook. The keeper may or may not have been driving at the time, but the keeper will be the one held responsible for any fine.

    A V5C, logbook or registration document

    Who needs to complete the V5C logbook?

    The V5C logbook is issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) when the car is first registered. Every time the car’s ownership changes, it needs to be updated and sent back to the DVLA. The DVLA then issues a new V5C logbook in the new owner’s name.

    The current keeper on the V5C logbook (usually the seller) is the one responsible for completing it and sending it to the DVLA to transfer ownership.

    If you are the owner, it’s imperative you fill in the V5C with the new owner’s details and send it off. This will ensure you’re no longer held responsible for a vehicle you do not legally own.

    Transferring ownership is more than just handing they keys over.

    How to transfer car ownership online

    You can now transfer car ownership quickly and easily online. 

    To transfer ownership online you’ll need to complete a form on the DVLA website. You’ll need the details of the new owner, and the 11-digit reference number from the car’s V5C logbook.

    Once the online form is completed and submitted you’ll receive an email confirmation. If you include the new owner’s email address too, they will also get an email confirming the transfer.

    A new physical V5C will be sent to the new owner within five working days.

    Transferring ownership to a dealer or scrapyard

    When selling your vehicle to a dealership or scrapyard, like when selling to an individual, you need to make sure you legally transfer the ownership of the vehicle from yourself to the buyer. 

    This is a relatively quick process and can be done in three steps:

    Step 1: Find out if you are the owner or the keeper of the vehicle 

    Step 2: Fill out the V5C logbook Section 9

    Step 3: Separate Section 9 from the rest of the logbook and send to the DVLA 

    Filling in the V5C logbook when selling to a dealer or scrapyard 

    On the V5C logbook you’ll see how many owners a vehicle has had. Each time it’s transferred to a new owner, that number increases – except when sold to a dealer or trader.

    In that case, you don’t fill in Section 6 as you would do when selling privately. Instead, you fill in Section 9, separate it from the rest of the V5C logbook, and send that part to the DVLA.

    The remaining parts of the V5C logbook should then be given to the trader. The same process is used if the car is being sold for scrap or transferred to a scrapyard.

    How do I transfer ownership when selling my vehicle on Motorway?

    When you sell your car on Motorway, you sell to a verified dealer and this counts as a ‘trade sale’ with the DVLA. This means you follow the same steps as selling to a dealer, listed above. 

    Once your buyer has collected your car and paid you for it, you’ll need to fill out Section 9 of your V5C logbook with the dealer’s details, and then send the booklet to the DVLA. 

    This can also be done online via the DVLA website

    Here, you’ll be asked whether you sold your car privately or to a motor trader and you must select, ‘Sold it to a motor trader’.

    Then just fill in the dealer’s details and the 11-digit reference number from the car’s V5C logbook. If you’ve included the new owner’s email address, you’ll both get an email confirming the transfer of ownership, and a new V5C logbook will be sent to the new owner within five working days.

    Please note that you should not under any circumstances transfer ownership to Motorway, as we did not purchase your vehicle. If you believe you have done this in error, please get in touch with us on

    Need to sell your car?

    Want to learn more about owning, maintaining, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from Clean Air Zones to car tax, and plate changes to part exchange.