How to use a V5 logbook

Whether buying privately or from a dealer you should make sure the V5 logbook is in order. Here’s my quick guide.

Buying a car without a logbook is like moving into a house without deeds or a rental agreement.


Is it there?

You should be suspicious of anyone selling something that may not be theirs. Buying a car without a logbook is like moving into a house without deeds or a rental agreement. Of course logbooks can get lost, but the ownness should be on the seller to replace it and provide you with proof of its existence before any money changes hands.


Check the registration

If the seller has multiple vehicles especially of the same model mistakes can happen, make sure it’s the logbook for the car you’re buying.


Check the registered keeper details

Is it the person you’re buying the car from? Is the car registered at the address you’re viewing it at? It’s not uncommon for someone to sell their car via a friend or relative from another premises, but ask questions and ask to talk to the actual owner to confirm this.


Check the purchase date

If it’s a private seller and they have only had the vehicle a short time you should inquire why they are selling.


Check the number of former keepers

A lot of previous owners might suggest it’s a lemon. It can also affect your resale value.


Special notes

Here it usually says “Declared new at first registration”. What you should look for after that is “Substantially repaired and or damaged”.
This is evidence of a category C insurance write off and if the seller hasn’t declared it as such, you should be concerned.

Check the registration date

Make sure it ties with the model year described in the advert. Cars on private plates can be passed off as a later model.


Check the cylinder displacement

I’ve viewed cars advertised as the “range topping model” and the badges and trim suggest they’re so. But on the V5 and the VIN plate you find out it’s a base model in fancy clothes.


Check the colour

The logbook won’t describe the paint option with the flair of the manufacturer but if the car is Black and the logbook says white you should question that. Resprays can be an indication of covering up accident damage.


Check the VIN

If something doesn’t feel quite right it’s worth checking the VIN number on the V5 against the VIN plate on the car. Most VIN numbers can be found under the bonnet or in the windscreen. If the car has a handbook you can check in there for its location.


Buying the car?

  • You and the seller sign and date the declaration in section 8.
  • You complete the new keeper details in section 6 and 10. The seller keeps and posts off the half with section 6 to the DVLA.
  • You retain section 10 until the DVLA posts you the new logbook updated with your details.

It’s important when buying or selling that the DVLA is notified as soon as possible to avoid any tickets for traffic offences being sent to the wrong party. You should receive your new logbook within 4 weeks.