How To Guides - Unofficial Guide to the DVLA
For helpful and convenient driving licence and vehicle advice:
Telephone 0905 801 7211
Calls cost £1.53 per minute from a BT Landline.
Advice provided is available free of charge from DVLA
Advice you can trust, when you need it
We provide helpful and convenient advice regarding United Kingdom driving licence, vehicles, MOT, SORN and tax disc including advice on the following:
- Change of address of UK driving licence
- Renewals of UK driving licence
- Lost or stolen of UK driving licence
- Learner and new driver information
- Register a vehicle
- Who to notify when you buy or sell a vehicle
- Making changes to your registration
- Taxing your vehicle
- MOT Certificates
- SORN a vehicle
- Locations and Hours
Is it Stolen?
If you are buying a vehicle privately and it is later identified as having been stolen you may have no right to its ownership. You could lose both the vehicle and the money you paid for it. If you purchase a new pre-registered vehicle the dealer must return the Registration Certificate (V5C) immediately so that the vehicle can be registered in your name.
These tips may help you avoid becoming a victim of vehicle crime.
Advertisements and Viewings
- advertisements specifying a time to call, could indicate a phone box - be suspicious
- beware of mobile phone numbers, they are virtually untraceable
- arrange to view the vehicle in daylight, preferably at the seller's home
- do not agree to the seller bringing the vehicle to your home or to a public place such as a motorway service station
- ensure that the owner is familiar with the vehicle and its controls
- never buy a vehicle without a registration document or certificate even if the seller says it has been sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for changes
- hold the registration certificate up to the light, the DVLA watermark should be contained within the layers of paper. Make sure that a fraudulent watermark has not been merely printed on to the surface of the paper
- the registration certificate is not a document of title, the person recorded on it may not be the legal owner
- assure yourself that the person selling the vehicle has the right to sell it
Check the Vehicle Identity
- decide what make and model you are interested in and find out where the vehicle's identification number (VIN) should be
- check that the 17 character VIN, matches the VIN on the registration certificate
- be suspicious if the VIN shows signs of having been tampered with
- if the VIN has been removed, ask why
- the VIN should be stamped in an even way somewhere on the vehicle, often under the bonnet or in the floor panel on the driver's side, check the surrounding area for signs of any alteration
- a ‘Q’ registration number indicates that the age or identity of a vehicle is unknown. The vehicle may be rebuilt from parts, some or all of which may not be new. This also applies to vehicles imported without supporting evidence to identify the vehicles age
- if a registration mark or part VIN is etched on the windows ensure it matches the registration certificate
What to Look For on the Vehicle
- check carefully underneath stickers, where fitted - they can be used to conceal etching
- does the engine number match the registration certificate?
- has the engine been interfered with, altered or changed?
- do the locks differ? (Thieves often change locks they have damaged)
- are there any signs of forced entry?
- has the locking petrol cap been forced and replaced?
- Get the vehicle inspected by a professional
- consider taking an independent qualified examiner with you to see the vehicle
Vehicle Check Services
You can easily check information about the vehicle through online and telephone services offered by DVLA and private vehicle check companies.
Online Vehicle Checks
Use this service to check certain information that DVLA holds on its database about a vehicle including:
- year of manufacture
- date of first registration
- engine capacity
- expiry date of the current tax disc/SORN declaration
- vehicle excise duty rate
- Vehicle details enquiry
Click here to make an online vehicle check
Vehicle Checks By Phone
The DVLA offers two premium rate telephone services that give vehicle information. Yes, premium rate is a nice way to say they charge you for the call. Calls are charged at 49 pence per minute and lines operate Monday to Friday between 8.00 am and 8:30 pm, and Saturday between 8.00 am to 5.30 pm.
The vehicle check service gives details of date of registration; year of manufacture; engine capacity (cc); CO2 emissions and confirmation of colour.
Telephone number 0906 185 8585
The date of liability (vehicle tax due date) line gives the expiry date of the current tax disc.
Telephone number 0906 765 7585
Here is what the DVLA says about the information provide by over the phone.
Vehicle records are constantly updated. And it's possible that an outstanding, vehicle tax application may be waiting processing and hasn't yet updated the vehicle record. The information given by this service will, in most instances, be correct but shouldn't be taken as confirmation that there's a current vehicle tax in force.