The V5C registration certificate, also known as the log book, is one of the most important documents associated with cars that have an owner.
In this guide we explain what the V5C document contains and how they are relevant when you purchase or own a car.
What is the V5C?
The V5C is the document that registers a vehicle with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). If you already own a car or have just bought one, then you should have a V5C registration certificate associated with your vehicle.
This certificate features essential information about your car, including the date it was first registered, the vehicle’s make, its colour and the size of its engine.
The V5C also confirms who the vehicle’s ‘registered keeper’ is. This term does not, however, mean the same thing as owner. Registered keeper specifically refers to the person responsible for taxing the vehicle, and not necessarily the person with a legal claim to ownership.
These differences are especially relevant when it comes to leasing, as the person who is paying to lease the car and driving it is deemed the registered keeper but it's the company supplying the car that is the legal owner.
When you buy a brand new car, the dealer supplying this vehicle will normally register the vehicle for you. If they do, you should receive the V5C document within six weeks after purchase. If the dealer doesn’t register the vehicle, you can always do it yourself and the same process with the V5C should follow.
When someone is buying a used car, the purchaser should ensure they get the V5C document for the vehicle included, with its details updated.
Changing details on the V5C
You must update your V5C document if you change your name, if you make certain modifications to your car, if you sell the vehicle on or you change where you live.
What address to send v5c?
You need to have your current address on your V5C document and it will need to be updated as soon as you can if your address changes. Having incorrect details on the V5C, such as the wrong address, can potentially lead to a fine.
When a change needs to be made, you can learn how to get the ball rolling on the appropriate government website page. Essentially, you’ll need to send the entirety of the V5C to the DVLA, with your new name or new address filled in the appropriate section of the document. After it’s sent off, you’ll usually get your new V5C for free within four weeks.
When a used car is being sold from person to person, the seller should update the vehicle’s V5C form in order to confirm the new registered keeper and their name and address. Some sections of the document will need to be filled in by both the seller and purchaser. When these are all filled, the V5C should be sent to the DVLA, and the new V5C should come to the new car owner within two to four weeks.
If for whatever reason a vehicle doesn’t have a V5C document accompanying it, get a V62 vehicle registration document, fill it in and post it to the DVLA so you can register it in your name. You will have to pay a fee to complete this process, however.
Also, if you become aware that a used car you’re considering buying doesn’t come with a V5C, or you suspect the V5C it comes with isn’t authentic, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Either case could be a sign that the vehicle you’re looking at has a dodgy history (it could be stolen for instance).