What is a V5C document?

  • What is your V5C document?
  • When do I need a new V5C log book?
  • What does a V5C look like? 

Every car buyer will receive a V5C registration document. Normally the dealer will register the car for you, then the document will arrive in the post from the DVLA. Alternatively, you can register the car yourself.

Don’t buy a vehicle that doesn’t have a V5C document.

What a V5C log book shows

Your V5C document, also known as a log book, shows that your car is registered in your name, with your address shown too.

The log book shows who is responsible for registering and taxing the car, but NOT who owns it. 

Completing a V5C document when you buy a used car

If you’re buying a used car, the seller must:

  • Complete section 6 of the V5C (‘new keeper or new name/new address details’)
  • Sign the declaration in section 8 (you must do this too)
  • Fill in section 10 (‘new keeper supplement’) and give it to you - this section is also known as the V5C/2
  • Send the V5C to the DVLA

You should receive your new V5C log book within 2-4 weeks from the DVLA.

For more information about your V5C document, visit the gov.uk website

When do I need to update my V5C log book?

You’ll need to register your car and send the forms to the DVLA as soon as you’ve:

  • Bought it
  • Built it
  • Rebuilt or altered it
  • Imported it

Design changes for V5C document

The design of your V5C log book changed in 2010 in an attempt to prevent car crime. A number of blank versions of the old document were stolen in 2006 and used to sell on stolen cars.

The main difference between the two is the colour with the new designs being red compared to the old blue version. The red papers also make it clearer that this is not proof of ownership and there are also details of where to get advice if you're a victim of car crime

The blue version will still be valid for drivers to tax their vehicle, sell the vehicle and notify the DVLA of any change of details of the owner or car.

Get a car history check

Any document that you get with the car should have the DVLA watermark when you hold it up to the light, but there are also other ways to protect yourself against buying a stolen car. Always ask to see other documents from the owner such as MoT and servicing receipts.

To ensure any car that you own or are thinking about buying hasn't been stolen, get a car history check.

Looking for more jargon-busting motoring meanings? Head over to our Parkers Car Glossary page and take a look at our other definitions