What is a V5c logbook?

What is a V5c logbook?
8th October 20205 min read

The V5C is one of the essential documents that you will ever have as a vehicle owner. Sometimes referred to as the logbook or the V5 form, it is very different from other car or van documents because, even now, it is not available in digital form. That is unlikely to change anytime soon, and because it’s such an important document, it’s worth learning a little bit more about it. Whenever you buy, sell, or own a vehicle, knowing more about your V5C document is vital. Even if you’re selling your car for scrap metal, that V5C logbook is going to be an essential piece of paper that you can’t do without. 

What is the V5C form/logbook?

At its most basic, the V5C logbook is the official record that identifies the Registered Keeper of a vehicle. Even though it’s sometimes called the V5 form or just the logbook, it is the legal declaration of the person who will be paying that vehicle’s tax, but it isn’t always in the name of the person who owns the car. In the vast majority of cases, the car owner and the registered keeper will be the same person, but there are situations where they are not. 

The V5C logbook is one of the things that you are advised to look at whenever you are going through the process of buying a new car. Upon payment of that vehicle, you should always be given the green V5C/2 slip that is part of the original owner’s V5 document. That green slip is the ‘new keeper’s details’ form, and when buying a car, it is a legal requirement that you be given that. And just as you as a buyer should expect to see the V5C form, if you’re selling a car then you will be expected to hand over the V5C/2 when the sale is completed. In some situations, you might buy a car, but the person you’re buying it from doesn’t have the V5C/2. In those cases, it is possible to apply for a new logbook from the DVLA, but it is not recommended simply because the lack of the V5C/2 might mean that you’re buying a car from someone who isn’t the official owner. The V5C form will also be needed if you’re planning to put a personalised number plate on your car.

The V5C document is four pages of information, and up until 2012, it was blue. Unfortunately, a huge number of V5Cs were stolen in 2012, and the change to a red document was made. It is highly recommended by the DVLA that if you still have a blue V5C logbook then you should update it. It is also advised that if you are purchasing a car and the owner still has a blue V5C, then you should ask them to update it to the newer version before you hand over any money. 

When do you have to register a car?

You very rarely have to register a vehicle for the first time. You will only ever have to do this if you build a kit car, make some major modifications to a vehicle, or restore an older, classic car. You will also have to register a car for the first time if you import a vehicle from another country. Building a kit car or making radical modifications means making a specific registration request in the form of a V627/1 document, and you’ll need to provide a lot of documentation alongside the registration form, including receipts for any parts that you have purchased and used. 

What information does the V5C document contain?

There is a lot of information contained within the four pages of a V5C logbook. It will have the official date of the first registration, and the name of both the current registered keeper and the previous registered keeper. There will also be a lot of facts about the vehicle, such as the make, model, the vehicle’s tax class, the VIN number (also known asv5 the Chassis or Frame number), the colour of the vehicle, and the size of the engine. The final pages will have the required form that you will need to fill out and send to the DVLA when making changes to the vehicle or when the registered keeper is changing. Finally, there will be a dedicated section that will need to be filled out if you are selling your car for scrap or sending it to another country permanently.

What to do if I have lost my V5C?

It’s very easy to lose paperwork, and it’s very common to realise that you’ve lost your V5C document. Whether it’s gone missing during a house move or it’s simply nowhere to be found, you will need a replacement V5 as quickly as possible. If you have recently bought a car and you haven’t received your V5C in your name after four weeks, then you might also need to apply for a replacement V5. 

Replacing a lost V5 will cost £25, but you won’t have to pay that if you are a new keeper or if your original document was destroyed by an insurance company due to being categorised as C or S salvage. When applying to replace a lost V5, you will also have to fill out the V62 DVLA form. The good news is that the form to fill out for a replacement V5 is very short. However, you will need to apply for your replacement V5 by post, sending your cheque or postal order for £25 to the DVLA offices in Swansea. You can do this by phone or email in some cases, but only in those situations where you’re not making any changes to the registered keeper’s name or address, or if any of the vehicle details have changed. 

How do I get a replacement V5C document?

While replacing a lost V5 is common, you will also need a replacement if your V5 has been destroyed, damaged, or stolen. The process in these cases is much the same as replacing a lost V5C, and will also incur that £25 replacement fee. If you are requesting a replacement V5 logbook, then you can do this by phone, and it will usually take around five days for your new logbook to arrive. If you are doing it all by post, then it can take up to six weeks for your new V5C document to arrive. It’s also worth knowing that you can also order your new logbook by making the request at the same time as you pay your road tax at the post office. That post office can order a new V5 logbook for you, but you will still need to pay the £25 fee, and you’ll need to have a filled out V62 DVLA form as well. Remember, that post office will have to check that you can tax your vehicle without having a V5.

How do I apply for a V5C document?

In most cases, when you buy a car, you will be given the V5C by the person you are buying it from. You will be registered as the new owner, and it will take around two weeks for your updated V5 to arrive in the post. If it doesn’t arrive or if the previous owner doesn’t have the V5C, then you will have to go through the same process that you would to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged logbook. You can apply via the post office by sending your cheque or postal order for £25 to the DVLA offices in Swansea. However, you will need to make an application for a new V5C document if your car has been imported from another country or if you have built it from scratch or modified it dramatically.

How do I sell a car without a V5C?

While it is not advisable to sell a car if you don’t have the V5C, it isn’t illegal. Having your V5C will make the sales process considerably easier. However, you can transfer ownership of a vehicle without the V5C document, and these days you can even do that online. If you do sell a car without a V5C but then change the registered keeper details, you will still be refunded any tax that you have already paid on the vehicle. The problem with selling a car without a V5C is that you will need to provide a bill of sale, and it will need to contain every bit of information that the new owner will need when they apply for their new logbook. That bill of sale will need to include basic details like the make and model of the car, as well as the registration number, VIN plate number, and the full name of the buyer. 

It will also need to include the date that the sale happened, signatures of both buyer and seller, and details about the price and any agreed on payment terms. Finally, it will need to include a specific note that the car was ‘sold as seen’. Don’t forget that many professional car buyers will not buy a vehicle if it doesn’t have the V5C simply because it is suspicious. Not being able to show official proof that you are the registered keeper of that car could mean that you have stolen it, or it’s been written off in the past. There’s a good chance that you will have to accept a lower price for your car if you don’t take the time to get a replacement V5C logbook from the DVLA. 

How to transfer or change ownership of a car using a V5C

You might need to change the ownership of a car for reasons other than selling it. A parent might give a child their old car, and divorcing couples might have to change ownership details as part of a settlement. Whether you’re selling your car or giving it to someone, you will always need to legally transfer ownership to whoever will now have the car. The first criterion is that you must be the registered keeper, as confirmed in the logbook. Don’t forget that this doesn’t always mean that you are the person that bought the car but are the main user of it. You will then need to fill out the sections 6 and 8 of your V5C form. Make sure that you go through the form thoroughly, and check that you have ticked the relevant box that confirms whether or not the registered keeper of the car is changing. Once filled out, simply pop it in the post to the DVLA, and the replacement V5C will arrive with all of the new owner’s details.

What if I change my name or address?

Your vehicle logbook will need to be updated if you change your name or you have moved address. In these cases, it is usually free. You must update those details because if you don’t, you could get a fine of up to £1000. Not only that, but if you don’t update your address then your tax reminders will go to the wrong place and any tax refunds will as well. How to change an address on a logbook has changed since the middle of 2020, and you can now do this online. It used to be that changing your name or address took time, but now it’s a job that only takes a couple of minutes. 

Just head to the DVLA website, change your address, and you will get your new logbook within the next five days. When changing your address online, you will still need to provide details from your V5C, as well as your 11-digit logbook reference number. You will also have to give additional details, such as the registration number, plus your existing and new address details. If you prefer to change your address by post, this can still be done, but it will take around six weeks for your new logbook to come back. 

When it comes to changing your name, whether because of marriage or any other reasons, you can only make the name change via post. You will need to fill out the details in either section three of the newer V5C or what is now section six of the older version. You will need to provide proof of your name change. Don’t forget that a name change doesn’t always have to be about a person. In some cases, a business is the registered keeper of a vehicle, and if that business changes its name, then it will also have to get an updated V5C logbook. 

What else is the V5 used for?

The logbook will also have the chassis number of the vehicle included as well as the basic info such as make, model, color, and engine size. When you’re buying a new car, always ask to see the V5C and check that the VIN number on the logbook matches the one on the car. If it doesn’t, then there’s a good chance that the car is stolen. The V5C will be where new keeper details are changed, but it will also include any details about vehicle emissions. This is becoming more and more important, especially if you live in a town or city that implements Ultra Low Emissions Zones. It will also contain the tax status of a car, which you will have to pay particular attention to if you’re planning to buy a classic car. 

Does the V5 prove ownership of the vehicle?

A V5 logbook is not proof of vehicle ownership. The name on the V5 will be the name of the registered keeper: the person who is going to be using the car. The person using the car is the one that is responsible for it, and any communications from the DVLA (or the police) will be addressed to that registered keeper. The owner of the car is whoever has paid for the vehicle, or whoever was given the car as a gift. The DVLA makes it very clear that the registered keeper is not the same thing as the owner. A good example is when a company car is given to an employee. That employee will now be the registered keeper of the car, but the owner will still be the actual company. For married couples who share a car, only one of the couple will be able to have their name as the official registered keeper, and all of the insurance coverage will have to be in their name.  

How to verify your V5C?

The V5C has gone through a variety of appearance changes over the last twenty years, with the most recent change in 2019. However, remember, even an old V5 will still be valid. The best way to verify a V5C is to simply look at it! So, what does a v5c look like? There are two things to look out for. The first is the infographic on the front of the logbook that will show you the six different sections that are within the pages, with each one being coloured differently. If you look at a newer V5 logbook, then you’ll also see the words ‘Don’t share, keep it safe’ on the front page, positioned in the top right. The second thing to look for is the official DVLA watermark. This will be on the front page as well, in the top left corner, and it will also be visible on other pages of the document. The watermark will be the letters ‘DVL’. If you’re still suspicious, then check the V5 serial number on the first page of the logbook. If the serial number is between BG8229501 to BG9999030 or BI2305501 to BI2800000, then it was one of the two million blank V5 log books that were stolen in 2006. 

Can you scrap a car without a V5C?

You can sell a car to a scrap yard if you do not have your V5C, and a good scrap yard will even be able to go through the process of getting a replacement V5C for you. However, payment may be delayed until that replacement log book arrives. 

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