What to do if you've lost your log book (V5C)

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By Sarah Watts
Updated on Wednesday 26 July 2023

A driver looking in the glove compartment

What is a log book and why do I need one?

A V5C certificate is an official paper document issued by the DVLA to confirm who the registered keeper of a vehicle is.

The registered owner of a vehicle is usually, but not necessarily, also the owner of the vehicle, and is legally responsible for taxing or SORNing and insuring a vehicle.

When you sell a car, you will usually need to show a log book to a prospective purchaser and, upon a successful sale, you will need to complete, sign, tear off and pass to the buyer the relevant section from your log book. Here's all you need to know.

What do I do if I’ve lost my vehicle log book?

If you’ve lost your logbook, you should ‘keep calm and carry on’ because when you’re the registered keeper of a vehicle, you can easily apply for a duplicate lost car log book from the DVLA. Panic over!

How to get a replacement log book

There are four different ways in which you can apply to the DVLA to replace a stolen log book, a damaged log book or a log book that's been destroyed.

1. Apply for a new log book online

If you need a V5 replacement urgently, the best way to apply for a duplicate log book is online at www.gov.uk/vehicle-log-book - you will need to pay a fee of £25.

Note: You can only use the online application service if you need a duplicate log book; you cannot use the online service if any of the vehicle details need changing like the registered keeper’s name or address (see below).

Also, it’s the existing registered keeper who can apply online (or by phone); if you’ve just bought a vehicle but were not given the green new keeper slip as the seller had no log book, you will have to apply by post.

To apply online or by phone, if you haven’t got the V5C document reference number, you will need the:

  • Vehicle registration number
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN) or chassis number*
  • Name and address of the existing registered keeper

* The 17 character long VIN or chassis number can usually be found on the driver’s side dashboard. The number will not include an ‘i’ or ‘o’ but can include the numbers ‘1’ and ‘0’.

2. Apply for your lost vehicle log book by phone

Another way to apply for a duplicate motorbike, car or lost van log book is by calling DVLA vehicle enquiries on 0300 790 6802.

DVLA’s phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturdays, 8am to 4pm. However, you will receive a new log book much sooner if you apply online (typically within 5 days) rather than by telephone (can be up to six weeks).

3. Apply for a new log book by email

You can also apply for a replacement registration certificate by using an online email service, but it would make more sense to use the online service referred to above which is by far the most straightforward method of application.

4. Apply for lost log book for car by post

You can apply for a new log book and at the same time, also request a DVLA log book change of details (such as changing a registered keeper’s name or address) by downloading, completing and posting a form V62 to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1DD together with a fee of £25.

Is there a fee to get a replacement log book?

Yes, the fee payable for a replacement log book is £25 and can be paid by credit or debit card online or over the telephone, or for postal applications, you will need to send a cheque or postal order for £25.

How long does it take to get a replacement V5C?

How long it takes depends on the method of application.

Online applications will usually be dealt with much more quickly (usually around 5 days) than phone or postal applications. Due to a backlog caused by Covid-19 restrictions, phone or postal applications are currently taking up to several weeks.

Can I tax my car if I don’t have a log book?

Yes, you can tax your car without a log book if:

  • You have a V11 reminder letter
  • You use a V62 postal application (if the car’s registered in your name)
  • You have the green new keeper slip from the V5C document (if you’ve just bought a car)

The V11 reminder letter will contain an 11-digit reference number you will need to use to tax your car.

A green new keeper slip will contain a 12-digit reference number you will need to use to tax your car.

Alternatively, you can download and complete a form V62 to apply for a new log book and take the form together with a £25 fee to a Post Office near you that deals with car tax. This way, you can simultaneously apply for a new log book and tax your car at the same time.

I've lost my log book and need to sell car

If you’ve lost your log book and want to sell your car, we recommend applying for a replacement registration certificate before trying to sell your car. You can easily apply for a replacement certificate online and this will cost you £25.

You might also want to read: Do I have to cancel my car insurance if I sell my car?

Can I sell my car without a log book?

Yes, you can sell your car without a V5C registration certificate but this is not recommended as not having a log book will put most prospective purchasers off.

The DVLA recommends that an existing registered keeper should apply for a duplicate certificate before attempting to sell a vehicle.

Why is a log book so important?

Without a log book or a V11 reminder letter and the appropriate V5C document reference number, you cannot usually tax your car and without car tax, you can’t drive or park a vehicle on a public road or, unless it’s SORNed, even park a car on private property.

Also, when you want to sell a car, most buyers will expect to see or receive a log book from you; most buyers will be put off proceeding with a sale without proof that you are the registered keeper of the vehicle.

More than anything, it’s important that the DVLA holds the correct details of a vehicle’s registered keeper as you could end up receiving a penalty for a car you no longer own!

Are there penalties for not having a log book?

No, there are no penalties for not having a log book. However, if you fail to notify the DVLA that your name and/or address has changed, you can be fined up to £1,000!

Also, if someone is caught driving a vehicle with no tax or insurance, or receives a Fixed Penalty Notice for unpaid car parking fees and you’re still shown as the registered keeper, then you will need to prove you no longer own the vehicle.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you notify the DVLA of a change of registered keeper as soon as possible after a sale and preferably within minutes of a sale taking place.

If you receive a driving fine or letter but sold or transferred the vehicle to someone else, you will need to write to the DVLA to request proof that you’re no longer the registered keeper at DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1ZZ.

In your letter, you should tell the DVLA:

  • The vehicle’s number plate, make and model
  • The date you sold or transferred the vehicle
  • The name and address of the buyer or transferee

You might also want to read: Do driving offences show on your DBS?

Can I change the details on my log book?

Yes, you can usually change the details on your log book for free, but how you go about making changes, depends on the information you need to change.

How to change your name only

If you want to change your name or your name is spelt incorrectly on your log book, you should complete and submit the part of your log book where you can change the name of the registered keeper. Full details of what to do with your log book, depending on whether it’s the new or old style, can be found here.

How to change your address only

If you only need to change the address on your V5C, then you can easily do so online for free.

How to change your name and address at the same time

You can only change both your name and address at the same time by post. Click here for full details about what you need to do.

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