Should I buy a car without a V5 logbook?
A reader asks if it is legal to buy a second-hand car from someone who has lost the logbook...
I’m thinking of buying a car from an elderly woman who has dementia and has lost the V5 for her car. Her son is selling the car on her behalf. It is a 2004 Toyota Yaris with only 41,000 miles on the clock.
The woman has owned it from new and appears to have looked after it really well. I have all the service history and it was given an MOT test every year until 2015, when it was put on a statutory off road notice (SORN) and was left in her garage because her illness meant she could no longer drive.
Her son recently had the car fitted with four new tyres and took it for an MOT test, which it passed.
It looks like a great car, but I’m concerned that it might not be legal to buy a car without the V5 registration document, or that I might have a problem because of this in the future.
What Car? says…
The advice from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is that you should never buy a car without a V5 logbook, because the car could have been stolen, written off or have finance owing on it, or the seller might not legally be entitled to sell it. If the car turns out to be stolen, you could end up paying for it twice, because you would have to pay the real owner for it too. Similarly, if there is finance outstanding on it, you’d also have to pay this.
There is a standard form, called V62, which you can get from a Post Office or download online, and this can be used to obtain a replacement logbook for a £25 fee. Our advice would be to ask the lady’s son to complete this and get a logbook before you buy the car from him. Although the DVLA is operating slower than usual due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the new logbook should arrive in less than six weeks.
There are a number of other things you can do to check that the car and seller are legitimate. You can check the MOT history of a car at gov.uk/check-mot-history using the car’s registration number. This will show you the date, mileage and results of all MOT tests done on the car, including information on any items that caused it to fail or ‘advisories’ that might need to be addressed before the next MOT is due. This is a good indicator of how well a car has been looked after; one with a string of clean test passes will be a better buy than one with a list of failures due to lots of worn or broken components. It’s also a useful way to check that the mileage is correct.
If you have the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), you can also find out where the MOTs were done using the same website. If the same garage or one in the same area has done all of the tests, this is also a good indicator that the car is genuine and has been owned by the woman since new. The VIN is a 19-digit number that can usually be found on a plate in the engine bay or elsewhere on the car’s chassis.
We’d also advise you to get a comprehensive online history check done on the car. This costs around £20 and will let you know if it has been stolen or written off or has outstanding finance.
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