What paperwork do I need when buying a used car?
What paperwork do I need when buying a used car?

What paperwork do I need when buying a used car?


When you are buying a car privately you need to think about what paperwork you will need to sort at the time of purchase. If you don’t get this all in order then you could be at risk of being unlawful or not covered by insurance if something were to happen. Below are all the relevant documents you will need when buying a used car privately.

Driving license

When buying the car make sure that you bring your driving license along with you to prove that you are able to drive the car and to prove your identity. It is always advised to keep this on your person when driving in case stopped by the authorities.


Although you don’t need to have insurance to buy a car, you will need it if you are driving the car anywhere after the purchase, even if it is a short journey. You are only legally allowed to drive the vehicle on roads once you have insured it. We recommend using Confused.com to find the best price for car insurance.

Vehicle tax

When you buy a used car, the vehicle tax doesn’t transfer from the previous owner to you. You will need to tax the car yourself before you can start driving it. You can do this online on the government website, by post, or by calling the DVLA which has a 24/7 phone service. Once you have bought the car the seller will provide you with a ‘new keeper’ slip. On this, you will need the 12-digit reference number to tax your car.

Finance and payment documents

You need to make sure that you have all the relevant paperwork to make the payment. If you have taken out a loan for this vehicle, make sure you have the paperwork stored away safely so you can refer back to it whenever you need to. If you are looking for car finance, you can apply quick and easily through CarFinance 247.

What information do I need from the seller?


It is really important that you get the green V5 section slip from the seller. It proves that you are the new registered keeper of the vehicle and will be useful to keep hold of in case you have any issues down the line. If the seller has lost the logbook, you are able to apply for a replacement by using the V62 form.

The seller’s details

You need to get a hold of the seller’s name and address. You will then need to check that this matches the information on the V5C logbook. If it doesn’t, then you need to ask some questions, as this could indicate that the car has been stolen or isn’t theirs to sell. If any other details you find on the V5C don’t match the car you are buying including the Vehicle Identification Number and engine number, then you need to ask the seller why.

Service and MOT history

Before buying the car, you should look at what service history the car has. The service book should contain all this information, or the seller should be able to provide the receipts and information from the garages it got serviced at. Look at the last MOT to see how it faired in its last check. If there are a lot of advisories, then you need to understand that these will be added costs in the future. If there are recurring issues with the car in its service history, you need to think about whether it is worth it to purchase a vehicle that might be faulty and therefore cost you a lot in the future. It is always worth purchasing a vehicle history check to see if the vehicle has any hidden history.

Receipt of purchase

Once the purchase has been made you need to ensure that you get a receipt with a copy for both you and the seller. This should contain information on the price of the sale, when has happened, the car’s specifications, and details of both you and the seller. It should be signed by both of you and kept as proof of purchase and payment. This will help settle any disputes that may come up in the future.

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