Required documents

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You can’t consider buying a car without these required documents. They help establish the vehicle is legitimate. Never accept photocopies and always insist on the originals.

V5C registration certificate

Every new car sold in the UK has a unique V5C registration certificate.  DVLA issue the V5C as a crime prevention measure. The V5C contains details of the vehicle and the person recorded as its registered keeper by the DVLA in Swansea.

Note: you will not be able to obtain car road tax without the V5C.

MOT certificate

All cars three years and older require an annual MOT test. When buying a car, you must see the current MOT certificate (VT20) and preferably any previous ones.

For older cars, these documents often get lost, but if you have the car registration (number plate) and V5C document reference number, you can check up on MOT certificates issued after 2005. This check will also show the vehicles registered mileage at each MOT.

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Full-Service History (FSH)

With older cars, the full-service history might not be available, but you should still be able to see recent garage receipts for repairs and servicing.

VIN vehicle identification number

The VIN on a car – unlike a number plate never legitimately changes. The VIN (vehicle identification number) location is on a metal plate in the engine compartment as well as other places on the body of the car.

  • Make sure the same VIN is in each location and also matches that on the V5C.
  • Is there any indication of tampering with the VIN.
  • The VIN could have been scratched off. Check to see if there are any scratches on the glass.

Beware!

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