The V5C Logbook: How To Check If It’s a Genuine Copy

Written by Danny Collins
Last updated: April 5, 2022

The V5C Logbook is the document that every car owner in the UK needs. If you are looking to buy a used car, you need to check if your potential purchase carries one of these documents. To spot a counterfeit copy, there are some simple things to be aware of. Today, we’ll show you how to check if the V5C Logbook number is a genuine copy.

What Is the V5C Logbook?

V5C Logbook is a document that contains information about a car and its owner or keeper. The vehicle’s registration and taxes are recorded in the logbook. In other words, the logbook is used to connect a person with a particular automobile by showing who maintains it. The logbook verifies your ownership of a car. The V5C is one of the most crucial documents when purchasing or selling a car.

How to Check if The V5C Logbook is Genuine?

The first thing to remember is that since 2002, it has been illegal to sell a vehicle without a valid V5C. So don’t accept this as an excuse from the seller: he or she can quickly apply for a replacement on the DVLA website (it’s free and there is no reason not to do so).

If you buy a new car from a garage or dealer, the DVLA is generally notified of the change in keeper. In a few days, you’ll receive a fresh V5C by mail. If you’re buying a vehicle privately from a private party, there are several things to consider such as the authenticity of the V5C. If you want to check if the VIC is genuine, there are a few things that will help you determine its authenticity.

Related Post: How to Check if a Car Is Stolen

#1. Check for watermarks

If you hold the V5C up to a light source, such as sunlight or lamplight and look at it from an angle. You should see the DVL watermarks on both sides of the document. The paper with which they are printed is called ‘watermarked laid.’ This will help determine if your car’s logbook has been tampered with.

The watermark is in the upper left corner of the document, but it should also be visible across the rest of the document at various locations. You may struggle to tell a genuine V5C from a forgery if you’ve never seen one before, so contact a professional for help.

#2. Check the quality of the printing

If you’re still not sure if the VIC is genuine, check the quality of the printing. A genuine V5C is a single A3 sheet of paper folded in half to produce four printed A4 sides. The paper is watermarked with lines of large text from top to bottom, repeating the words “DVL” throughout – that’s “DVL,” not “DVLA.” If there’s no sign of this watermarking on the registration document, it’s a fraud. Make your excuses and leave immediately if you notice no such marking.

#3. Check the VIN

The VIN is a 17-character code that can be found on the car, the engine compartment or inside the driver’s door, and the dashboard. It is also etched into the glass of some cars and motorcycles. The VIN of the vehicle can be used to check if a car has been stolen, written off or cloned.

If the vehicle identification number (VIN) has been tampered with or is missing, don’t buy the car. Before buying a vehicle, check that the VIN or the chassis number and the engine number are identical to the VC5 logbook. The VIN can be used to check if a car has been stolen, written off or cloned.

#4. Should I meet at the same address?

The registered keeper’s address on the V5C should match the one on the car’s registration document. If it doesn’t, this is a huge warning sign that something isn’t right and you should walk away from the deal.

If the seller refuses to show you a V5C- ask them why (and be suspicious). If they can’t produce a valid V5C, don’t purchase the vehicle from them! Remember: being the registered keeper of a car is not the same thing as having a legal right to possession.

Before purchasing any vehicle, a vehicle history check can also be helpful in highlighting any unknown issues with the car.

#5. Are blue log books legitimate?

The answer can be yes or no.

If the seller has a blue V5C with a serial number between BG8229501 and BI2305501 or BI2800000, don’t go through with the transaction. (The V5C’s serial number is in a white circle in the upper right corner.) When it’s safe to do so, contact the cops. Don’t buy the car if you’re not sure the V5C is genuine or if only part of it is.

On the topic of stolen V5Cs, as you probably know, the V5C is now red but it was formerly blue. If the car you’re considering buying has a blue logbook, double-check to see whether it’s real. Around 400,000 blue V5Cs were stolen, allowing thieves to fabricate a fake identity for nicked automobiles; it’s known as cloning and is quite common.

Extra Tip: What If my V5C Logbook Was Stolen?

Taking into account that these V5 robberies happened a decade ago, one would think everything would have been resolved by now. But, sadly, unethical robbers continue to exploit these blue V5C registration papers, confident that some purchasers won’t notice anything amiss.

The stolen V5s had a different background colour than the ones that were recovered: the Notification of Permanent Export (V5C/4) tear off slip is on page two. On the genuine papers that weren’t stolen, they should be mauve on both sides, but on the fraudulent forms, they should be mauve on the front and pinker on the back.

If your V5C is stolen, you need to report it to the police as soon as possible. You can also contact the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) on 0300 123 9000. The agency will cancel the document and issue you with a new one. If your car is caught using a cloned or fake VIN, it will be seized and crushed.

You would also like our guide to the Most Stolen Cars in the UK