What is a V5C?

November 09, 2021 by

If you own a car, you almost certainly have a V5C, but why is it so important?

Well, the V5C — often known as a vehicle logbook — is an official record of who is the registered keeper of the car.

That terminology is key as it’s not proof of ownership, rather it shows who is responsible for ensuring the car is taxed for road use.

Though this red slip of paper is not a legally-required document, it’s one that’s very handy to have. Especially when it comes to selling your car. Read on for all you need to know about the V5C.

What information does a V5C contain?

A V5C is a relatively basic document, offering an overview of information relating to a specific car.

This includes:

  • Details of the registered keeper (name and address)
  • Date of the car’s registration in the UK
  • Technical information on the car (inc. power, engine size and emissions)

When should I update my V5C?

You don’t need to update your V5C on a regular basis if your circumstances of ownership don’t change. That said, you will need to request a new one if:

  • You have changed your address or name
  • Significant modifications have been made to the car (such as colour, fuel conversion or a number of seats)

If you’re giving the car to someone within your household or another family member, you’ll need to fill out the new keeper slip — just as you would when selling it.

What should I do with a V5C when buying a car?

If you’re buying a car, it’s worth asking the current owner if they have the V5C before viewing. It may be a waste of time if they need to send off for a replacement and you’re not comfortable buying one without it.

Once you do buy a car, ensure the owner gives you the tear-off new keeper section from the V5C — this serves as temporary proof that you’re the registered keeper. You’ll get a new V5C through the post shortly after the former owner informs the DVLA of the change.

What should I do with a V5C when selling a car?

It’s best to check you have your V5C to hand before selling your car.

It’s still possible to sell it without it, but it’s advisable to get a new one if needed. Tap the green button below for an in-depth guide on how to do that.

When it comes to the point of sale, you’ll need to fill out the new keeper slip and hand it over to the buyer. After that, send the remainder of the V5C off to the DVLA so they can issue a fresh one for the new owner.

You can also fill out the new keeper’s details online if you’d prefer not to post it to the DVLA.

What should I do with my V5C when a car is written off or scrapped?

If your car has been written off, you’ll need to tell the DVLA and provide them with the 11-digit reference from your V5C. You can do that here.

You’ll then need to destroy the ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange’ section of the document — your insurance company will ask for the rest.

I’ve lost my V5C — what should I do?

If you’ve lost your V5C, you can apply for a new one. It’ll cost £25 and requires you to provide a few details of the car.

It’s worth doing if you’re selling your car, though. Having no V5C may put off buyers as this can often be a sign of a stolen vehicle — even if you are the legal owner.