What is a V5C document? An Extensive Guide

Last updated July 28, 2022

If you’re just about to buy or sell your car, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll hear of a V5C. This is an incredibly important document relating to your car, so it’s crucial that you know what it is (and what to do with it) to ensure you’re following the process correctly. We’ve put together a simple but extensive guide detailing everything you need to know about a V5C document.

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What is a V5C?

A V5C, also known as a V5, logbook, or vehicle registration document, registers your vehicle with the DVLA.

What is the V5C for?

It intends to record the registered keeper of the vehicle - legally, this is the person registering and taxing the vehicle, not necessarily the owner. Normally, these will be the same but there are occasions on which this might differ.

What information does the V5C logbook contain?

A V5C document includes the current registered keeper and the date of first registration. It contains all the essential information about your car, such as the manufacturer, the date it was first registered, the engine size and colour.

It should also show your personal details such as your name or address, if any modifications have been made to the vehicle, or if you have a personalised registration plate. Information like the car’s value, accident history and service history won’t be shown here.

Transferring ownership of a vehicle using a V5C

When you purchase or sell a vehicle, you must inform the DVLA that the vehicle has changed hands. The owner will give the new owner the green ‘new keeper’s details’ slip (V5C/2) of their form.

How to fill out a V5C

On the front cover of your V5C, you’ll see a panel giving guidance about the six sections. This will inform you of which section you need to fill in. (If you don’t see this, you’ll have an older version of the V5C.) Each section will include instructions on what to fill in.

Section One enables you to change your vehicle’s details. Section Two should be filled in with the relevant requested information when you’re selling or transferring your vehicle to a new keeper (not a trader). Section Three of the V5C should be filled in if you need to change your name or address. Section Four should be filled in if you’re selling, transferring or part exchanging this vehicle to a motor trader. Section Five covers permanently exporting the vehicle for more than 12 months, and Section Six is the new keeper slip.

How to fill out a paper V5C

All V5Cs are paper, so you should follow the above process.

How do I complete a V5C document when buying a used car?

The seller will register the vehicle to you either online or by post, and fill in the green new keeper slip and give this to you. The DVLA will then send out a new V5C to you in 3-5 days, and the seller should destroy the old V5C.

What should I do if I’ve lost my V5C?

If you’ve lost your V5C, you don’t need to worry - you can get a replacement.

How to order a replacement V5C document

Simply order the duplicate V5C online or over the telephone and it will be posted to the address the DVLA has on record.

You can also tax your car without a V5.

How to change your details on your V5C

You can either fill in the relevant paper section and post it or complete a change online.

How to change the address on your V5C online

Simply visit the gov.uk website to change your address.

How to change your V5C by post

Fill in the relevant section and post it to the following address:

SA99 1DD

How to change your name on your V5C

As above, fill in the relevant section and post it, or complete a change online.

When should I update my V5C?

You should update your V5C if you have any changes in circumstances, such as a change in address, name, or vehicle.

Notifying the DVLA your car has been written off

You should contact the DVLA with the following information to inform them that your vehicle has been written off:

    • Your insurance company’s name and postcode
    • Your vehicle registration number
    • The 11-digit reference number from the yellow ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade’ section of the V5C.

Can you sell a car without a V5C?

It’s entirely possible and 100% legal to sell a car and transfer ownership without your V5C document. The V5 is a record of the registered keeper, not proof of ownership, so providing you inform the DVLA you can sell without the document.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

The V5C number can be found on top of the document where you see a set of numbers, indicating the serial number of the document issued to you.

No; it is a record of the registered keeper.

A logbook will generally take 6 weeks to come.

Download and fill in the V62 form. Send it to the DVLA with the green ‘new keeper’ slip you were given when you bought the vehicle (you don’t have to pay a fee).

Apply online and you should receive it at the address registered.