The V5C logbook is an official vehicle registration certificate produced by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). It contains information including who is the registered keeper of a car or bike, proof of ownership, and details regarding the vehicle, such as the date it was first registered, the previous registered owner (where applicable), the make and model of the car, the tax class, engine size, and more.

Why Is The Logbook Important?

Since 2002, it’s been illegal to sell a vehicle without a valid V5C document, so you should always be wary of sellers who do not produce one.

If the V5C has been genuinely lost, it’s free and takes as little as 30 seconds to apply for a replacement via the DVLA website, so there’s no excuse!

Things To Check:

Sadly, despite it being a legal requirement to produce a V5C logbook, there are some unscrupulous sellers around!

When considering a used car purchase, it’s essential to check if the V5C logbook is valid as well as a vehicle history check. Here are a few things to check before going ahead:

Red Or Blue

In 2012, the four-page V5C logbook color changed from blue to red. This change was mostly due to the theft of numerous blank certificates in 2006. If a seller offers you a blue V5C, it’s a good idea not to proceed with the sale until they update their V5C to the new red version.


Valid V5C forms will show a “DVL” (note: not “DVLA”) in the top left-hand corner of the document in addition to several other places. If you’re not familiar with what a V5C logbook or watermark should look like, get in touch with a specialist who can help you.

Printing Quality

Initially, the V5C logbook was printed on an A3 piece of paper folded in half to produce four printed A4 sides. Unfortunately, this makes it relatively easy to replicate, so it’s vital to check for the DVLA watermark on every page.

Serial Numbers

As we mentioned before, several blank V5C logbooks were stolen and replicated in 2006. Therefore, it’s important to check the serial number of the V5C to ensure it’s not one of the stolen documents. If you spot any of the following V5C serial numbers, don’t buy the vehicle and contact the police:

  •  BG9167501 – BG9190500
  •  BG9190501 – BG9214000
  •  BG8407501 – BG8431000
  •  BG9282001 – BG9305000
  •  BG8229501 – BG9999030
  •  BI2305501 – BI2800000

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

The VIN is a unique identification number every vehicle has. You can find it printed throughout the car, including:

  •  The bottom of the windscreen
  •  Underneath the bonnet
  •  Beneath the carpet on the driver’s side

The VIN and engine number should both match the V5C document.


Taking a little time to check the V5C logbook can ensure any used vehicle you’re considering is in the same condition you’re expecting. It’s also evidence that the person you’re buying from is legally able to sell you the vehicle, and that you’re not buying something that’s been stolen or written off.

If you have any concerns about the validity of a used car sale, don’t go ahead and contact an expert to help you establish whether the V5C is genuine.