What is a vehicle log book?

What is a log book or V5? Why is it important to register your car properly? Here's our advice on what you need to do with the V5 when you buy or sell a car.


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Dec 13th, 2022

What is a vehicle log book?

Vehicle log books act as proof of ownership and are used by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to ensure a nationwide record is kept of every vehicle and it’s registered keeper.

A vehicle’s V5C logbook must be filled in by both the seller and the buyer every time that vehicle changes hands. The updated logbook is then sent to the DVLA for processing before being mailed back to the new owner complete with updated registration details.

Recent updates to the V5C registration process mean that it’s now possible to register a vehicle online. This means that it’s no longer necessary to post V5C logbooks to the DVLA every time a car is sold, so long as every change of ownership is reported online. It’s a handy way of speeding up the process.

You can find out more about the online V5C registration process on the Government website but don’t worry if you’re not online, the DVLA still accepts V5C logbook updates by post.

What to do if you’re buying a vehicle

If you’re buying a brand new vehicle you can usually expect the seller to register it for you, in which case you should receive a V5C logbook within six weeks. If you haven’t received it after six weeks you should get in touch with the DVLA to inform them.

Whenever you purchase a used vehicle it’s important to ensure that the V5C logbook is present and correctly updated. Failure to do so could impact on your legal standing as its owner and your ability to tax the vehicle.

It’s a good idea to confirm with the seller that they’ll be informing the DVLA that the vehicle is changing hands. They may do this by post or online, either way, the seller must fill in a V5C/2 slip and hand it to you to confirm the change of ownership. You should hang on to this slip as it functions as a proof of purchase. If the seller is updating the DVLA online it’s a good idea to give them your email address so you’ll be sent a confirmation email when the DVLA’s records have been updated.

Finally, you should receive an updated V5C log book in the post within a few weeks, whether the process was completed online or by post.

What to do if you’re selling a vehicle

When selling a vehicle you’ll need to fill in the V5C/2 form in the V5C logbook then tear it out and hand the slip to the new owner. This is an important record of the vehicle’s transfer of ownership.

You can then either fill in the rest of the logbook and send it to the DVLA or go online to complete the process. You should receive a letter and an email from the DVLA confirming that the vehicle’s registered owner has been updated within 4 – 6 weeks.

I've lost my log book - help!

If you've lost your V5C document, don't worry - there are a few ways you can sort this. Contact the DVSA either by phone or by post, if the original log book has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed. You will need to pay £25 for the replacement V5C, using a debit or credit card over the phone, or a cheque or postal order if you apply by post.

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By Marmalade Author

Providing tips and advice for young drivers on all aspects of driving - from getting through the driving test to buying and running your first car.

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