Why Your Vehicle’s V5C is So Important

When buying a new or used car in the UK, there are numerous checks that you must carry out in order to ensure that the vehicle is safe, legal and roadworthy. While you may be expected to pick up various legal documents as part of your purchase, no piece of paperwork is more important than the vehicle’s V5C logbook.

Failing to obtain a genuine updated log book for a used vehicle could impede your legal ownership rights and affect your ability to pay tax, but why else is the V5C such an essential document?

What does your V5C include?

Source: leasefetcher.co.uk

The V5C is issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the United Kingdom as evidence that you are the legal owner of a vehicle. It includes information on the vehicle model, make, engine size, color, and first registration date. It also identifies your name as the registered keeper of that specific car or van. Without a V5C document, it will not be possible to transfer ownership or license a vehicle in your name.

This document should be held with great care – if it is lost or damaged you will need to contact DVLA for a replacement log book form. Although it isn’t illegal to drive without a V5C form, it’s recommended that individuals remain vigilant in protecting themselves from any potential issues by updating documentation when necessary.

Therefore, being aware of its value means understanding why your V5C is so important in protecting your rights as an owner and ensuring no discrepancies occur when selling or transferring ownership down the line.

Checking that your V5C is genuine

While the majority of dealerships and private sellers are likely to be honest and upfront, it’s essential that you check and double-check that your V5C is genuine in order to avoid falling foul of the law or unknowingly buying an unsafe car. This is especially true if you’re buying a vehicle as used or second-hand from a private seller.

Luckily, there are a number of fail-safe ways to check the legitimacy of a VC5 logbook, including checking that the name and address of the registered keeper match those of the seller that you’re dealing with – if the names and addresses don’t match up, consider this a serious red flag.

Similarly, you’ll need to check that the vehicle identification number (VIN) listed in the document matches the physical VIN displayed on the car. A simple way to test for forged documents is by looking for the official DVLA watermark and checking printing quality – if it doesn’t look or feel genuine, it probably isn’t!

Does my V5C provide proof of ownership?

Source: clark.com

It’s worth pointing out that the VC5 logbook does not indicate proof of ownership, but rather proof of whoever is ‘keeping’ the vehicle – for instance if you use a company car or were gifted a vehicle by a loved one, you may be listed on the registration documents despite not being the official owner. Figure out whether you’re the owner or keeper of a vehicle before filling out your VC5 paperwork.

When will you need your V5C?

A vehicle’s V5C logbook should be updated by both the seller and buyer each time the car receives a new keeper – when buying a used car, you’ll be obliged to send the necessary information to the DVLA for processing, whereas new car buyers will usually have an updated V5C sent out to them within six weeks of purchase. Your car’s logbook is only permitted in paper form, so don’t accept any digital documents as proof of ownership.

How to obtain a V5C?

Source: gov.uk

If you are the registered keeper of a vehicle in the UK, it is essential to ensure you have a current V5C for any vehicles you own. Without a valid V5C certificate, your car can’t be taxed or insured. This could mean you could unintentionally break the law and risk being fined or even banned from driving.

When buying a new car from a dealer, they should provide a V5C once you have completed all of the relevant paperwork for registration. If you are buying from a private seller, they should supply their V5C as proof that they own and have the authority to sell it to you before handing over the keys. In both cases, if no release has been requested by them prior to handing over ownership of the car to you, then it’s essential that they:

  • complete section 10 (Transfer/Disposal) on their V5C with your details;
  • post this form to DVLA Swansea SA99 1BD within 14 days of transferring ownership – otherwise, they may be liable for any potential penalties related to its use after this date.

If no release has been requested by either yourself as buyer or them as seller prior to handing over the vehicles’ possession then an application must still be made by yourself:

  • via post (DVLA transfer form) online at www.gov/uk/vehicletax;
  • in person at any Post Office branch which provides vehicle tax services using application forms available from them.

It’s wise to keep confirmation from DVLA that your application is being processed; ensure it’s done correctly before taking on full responsibility for Your Vehicle’s Tax and Insurance matters electronically via UK Government’s website https://www.gov/uk/.


In conclusion, it is essential to make sure you keep your vehicle’s V5C up-to-date. Even if you think that you will never need it, it can be very useful in a variety of situations, such as when you are moving away from the address on the V5C. Ensure that you notify the DVLA using the relevant documents of any changes to the information on your V5C quickly in order to avoid any unnecessary issues arising from not having an up-to-date document.