Your car's registration document (V5C)

Your car's registration document insert.jpg

Your registration document, or V5C, is a record of your car and its owners. All of the information on it is what’s held on the national database at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The V5C is one of the most important documents when buying or selling a car, but it logs only who is the registered keeper – and they may be different from the legal owner. When buying a car, the registered keeper should be the person you’re buying from, and the VIN, or chassis number, should be the same as the one on the car. 

The V5C is one of the most important documents when buying or selling a car

Also check the V5C’s watermark to see that it’s genuine and that it hasn’t been tampered with. Since October 2002 it’s been illegal to sell a car without a valid V5C, so don’t ever accept an excuse that it’s been lost as you can apply for a replacement easily enough. You’ll also need the V5C to tax your car over the counter at the Post Office, and if you need to replace your number, maybe because they’re damaged, you’ll need the V5C for that too.

The V5C is now red but it used to be blue. If the car you’re buying comes with a blue one, you need to make sure the V5C isn’t stolen. A stack of blue V5Cs were pinched in 2007 and 2008, enabling thieves to create a false identity for nicked cars. The serial numbers of the affected V5Cs are:

BG9167501 - BG9190500

BG9190501 - BG9214000

BG8407501 - BG8431000

BG9282001 - BG9305000

BG8229501 - BG9999030

BI2305501 - BI2800000

For more on registration documents, check out the DirectGov website.