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How to change the owner of a car

If you're selling your car privately or giving it to a family member, you'll need to formally transfer its ownership to the new keeper.

This is important because the car's registered owner is legally responsible for the car. Thankfully, it's quick and easy to change a vehicle's legal owner – either by sending off a section of the car's V5C document to the DVLA, or by completing a form online.

How to change car ownership – step-by-step guide

Car key closeup with blurry car in background
  1. First, make sure you're actually car's legal owner – only they have the right to transfer ownership to someone else. If you bought your car on finance, for example, you won't be the car's legal owner until the agreement is paid off in full. You can check this by making sure your name's on the car's existing V5C registration document – new ones can be issued by the DVLA for £25 if you've lost yours.
  2. Confirm who will become the car's new owner. If you're selling the car privately, it'll most likely be the person you're selling it to or, if you're giving it away, it'll be the particular friend or family member who's receiving the vehicle.
  3. Either – fill out section 2 of your car's V5C document, called 'Selling or transferring my vehicle to a new keeper' with the new owner's details. You'll need their full name and home address as well as the date of the sale or transfer.
  4. Or – visit the DVLA's website and fill out the online form with the new owner's details.
  5. Be aware that road tax (VED) does not transfer to the new owner. Once the transfer is complete, the former owner will get a refund of any road tax left on the vehicle if applicable. The new owner will need to tax the vehicle online before they drive it.
  6. Tear off section 6 of your car's V5C document – the 'New keeper slip' – and give it to the new owner. They can use this slip to tax the vehicle in their own name.
  7. Once the DVLA receives the transfer document, it'll automatically issue a new full V5C to the car's new owner.

When do I need to change car ownership?

Car driving in the distance on a pretty coastal road

You'll need to transfer ownership of a car as soon as you formally sell it to someone, or give it away to a friend or family member. It's important to transfer ownership immediately because a vehicle's legal owner is considered legally responsible for the car.

That means, for example, if the transferred vehicle ends up involved in a motoring offence, such as speeding or running a red light, the authorities won't be knocking on your door asking about a car you no longer own. It's quick, easy and free to transfer ownership, so make sure you do it as soon as you sell the car or give it away.

What details do I need when changing car ownership?

Car buyer writing down details

You'll need the details of the vehicle's new owner when you sell or give away your car. These details are entered into section 2 of the car's V5C and sent off to the DVLA, or entered into an online form.

The only mandatory details are the new owner's full name and home address, along with the date of the sale or transfer. You can also enter more information into optional fields such as the vehicle's mileage to help prevent fraud. If you're filling out the DVLA's online form, you can optionally enter the new keeper's email address which means they'll also receive formal confirmation of the ownership transfer.

An easier way to sell your car

If you're thinking of selling your car, Motorpoint's free value-my-car tool can offer you a quick, convenient and competitive quote for your current car.

Transferring car ownership FAQs