The DVLA V5C Car Registration Log Book Explained
The V5C is a paper document that shows who the registered keeper of a vehicle is and can be used to inform the DVLA of a change of ownership, update your name and address or tell them a vehicle has been modified, scrapped or written-off.
While much of the administration involved in running a car, like VED (road tax) and driving licence counterparts, has become digital, the paper V5C will be with us for some years to come. It’s often referred to as the ‘logbook’ or ‘V5’.
Some processes are now available online, though: you can inform the DVLA of a change of ownership on its website. This saves you the bother of filling out the relevant section of the V5C, tearing it off and posting it to the DVLA.
In this article, we’ll take you through the new way of registering a change of keeper and the old paper-only method. We’ll also explain other uses for the V5C, like telling the DVLA you’ve moved house or your vehicle has been scrapped, as well as what you should do if your V5C is lost or damaged.
How to fill out V5C when selling a car (online method)
If you’re selling a car, first ensure you have the V5C for the vehicle and that it’s intact and undamaged. If you leave digging out the V5C until a potential buyer is ready to do a deal, only to find it’s buried somewhere in the loft or garage, you could miss out on a sale.
Once you shake hands on a deal, it’s time to inform the DVLA that the owner of the vehicle has changed. If you plan to do this online, simply take the new owner’s e-mail address as you’ll need to provide it at www.gov.uk/sold-bought-vehicle. This service is available between 7am and 7pm every day. You’ll also still need to complete section V5C/2 ‘new keeper’s details’ on the paper V5C, tear it off and give it to the new owner as proof of the transfer of ownership.
When you’ve completed the simple online form, you’ll receive an instant e-mail from the DVLA to confirm the ownership change, followed by a letter. The same also applies if you sell your vehicle to a garage, trader or dealership.
This process will also prompt the Government to refund any road tax overpayment on the vehicle, because under the latest Vehicle Excise Duty system, road tax cannot be transferred between owners.
What to do when buying a car
If you’re buying a car privately, it can be worth checking beforehand with the owner that they have the V5C, as it could save a wasted trip if the owner needs to get a replacement. Once you decide to purchase the vehicle, inspect the V5C to ensure it’s genuine, the owner’s name and address appears correctly and the details of the vehicle (make, colour, engine size, etc.) match the one you’re buying. Also ensure the paper is intact and undamaged and any details are filled out in block capitals with a black ballpoint pen.
Check if the owner plans to register the change of ownership online, and if so, supply them with your e-mail address. Ensure you’re given the tear-off V5C/2 ‘new keeper’s details’ to temporarily prove your ownership of the vehicle you’ve bought. You’ll receive an e-mail from the DVLA when the change of ownership is registered and a new V5C will be posted to you.
It’s also important to note you’ll need to tax or make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) on the new vehicle straight away, as you don’t take ownership of any remaining road tax when you purchase a car.
To tax a vehicle as soon as you take ownership, use the website www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax or call 0300 123 4321. Both are available 24/7 and the process should take no more than a few minutes. You’ll need to provide the 12-digit reference number on your V5C/2 ‘new keeper’ supplement.
Filling out the V5C (paper method)
If you don’t have access to a computer or the internet, or just like doing things the old way, you can still fill out the V5C by hand to register a change of ownership.
- Use block capitals and a black ballpoint pen
- Seller: complete section 6 ‘new keeper details’
- Both: sign the declaration in section 8
- Seller: fill in section 10 (also called V5C/2) ‘new keeper supplement’ and give it to the buyer
- Seller: send the V5C to ‘DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA’.
The buyer should receive their new V5C within two to four weeks. If the new V5C fails to arrive, you can download a V62 ‘application for a vehicle registration certificate’ form or pick one up from a Post Office. Send this to the DVLA along with the V5C/2 provided by the seller or you’ll be charged a fee. You should receive a V5C within six weeks.
How close a series of letters or numbers are to a real name of word: if the match quality is high (and the numbers and letters are very convincing in making a popular word), the value of the registration plate will be higher. This means that a match like 5IMON, for the name Simon, will be worth a lot more than a more obscure set of letters and numbers that are not as convincing a match, such as S17 MMM for the name Sam.
The style of the plate: this means establishing if it is a new-style plate, an older-style format or if it is dateless or Irish, for instance. Other options are that it is a prefix-style plate or a suffix-style plate. New-style number plates, which have been produced since 2001, tend to be the least valuable because they are a bit less appealing to some collectors, plus the rule about not having plates that are newer than your car can also come into play, putting people off from buying a newer-style plate for their older car. Prefix-style number plates, which were in production between 1983 and 2001 can be more popular as more vehicles are entitled to have those licence numbers, and they may have fewer characters in total. Suffix-style plates, issued from 1963 to 1983 are relatively rare, which means they can attract higher prices than prefix-style plates and newer designs. Dateless number plates, also known as cherished number plates, were produced between 1903 and 1963 and are nearly always the most valuable number plate configurations; they have fewer digits and their dateless nature means that people can hide the age of their car. Irish number plates are similar to dateless number plates, especially because they don’t have a year identifier. They also tend to be cheaper than other types of vehicle registration plates.
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