When you get a new car there are so many words and phrases that are thrown about that it can get very confusing and at times, overwhelming.
However, it doesn’t have to be confusing or overwhelming, which is why we write these articles. We want everything to be as smooth and as uncomplicated as possible for you.
And one of the questions that we get a lot at OSV is ‘what is a log book?’ so in this article we are going to cover what a log book is, what its purpose is and why it’s important. It should be noted here that the log book also can be referred to as the V5. As such, we do tend to say log book more than V5 in this article but just to make you aware that the two are interchangeable.
What is a log book?
A log book is proof that you are the registered keeper of your car. It means that you are the one who is responsible for registering and taxing the vehicle.
The log book is not, however, proof that you own the car. We will go into more detail about that in a minute.
A log book is important if you ever sell your car or if you are buying a used car. It’s issued by the DVLA and when the car is being sold on for new ownership, both the seller and the buyer will have to fill out sections of the log book. Do not purchase a car if the owner cannot produce a log book. Again, we’ll go into that in more detail in a bit.
What is the registered keeper?
The registered keeper differs from the owner of the car and this is where it can get confusing.
The legal owner of the car is the person who has paid for the vehicle, and has proof of purchase. If you buy a car outright then you will be both the owner and the registered keeper. However, you can always nominate someone else to be the registered keeper if you wish.
The registered keeper, however, are responsible for making sure the vehicle is taxed and will also receive any parking, speeding or other related fines. This doesn’t mean they have to pay for them, of course but we’ll talk about that in a minute.
So the registered keeper doesn’t always mean the owner.
Who is the registered keeper on a lease car?
So, what happens if you are leasing a car?
If you have a contract hire, then the finance house will be the registered keeper of the car. This is because they are the fleet operators which means they get greater discounts than other companies or individuals. It also means that they are responsible for taxing the vehicle. However, if you do get a speeding ticket or a parking fine then they will receive the fine.
Some finance houses will let the authorities know the situation and get them to notify you and others will simply pay the fine and then collect the money in your next direct debit (plus an admin fee).
If you have a finance lease, then you will be the registered keeper of the car.
We would recommend that you confirm this with your finance house if you are unsure. For more information on registered keepers you can read our article here.
Can who owns the log book vary depending on Finance Agreement?
Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)
On a PCP the vehicle is registered to the person who has taken out the finance, who is normally the driver.
Personal Contract Hire (PCH)
On a PCH the vehicle is registered to the leasing company
Personal Operating Lease (POL)
On a POL (Privater Operating Lease) the vehicle is registered to the person who has taken out the finance.
Hire Purchase (HP)
On an HP the vehicle is registered to the person who has taken out the finance.
What happens if I don’t have a log book?
If you are sure that you are the registered keeper of the car and you don’t have the log book, then you should apply for another one via the DVLA.
A replacement will cost around £25 and it can take up to 5 days to get a new one. It’s really important that you do apply for a replacement as it means it will be very difficult to tax if you don’t have it. Also, when it comes to reselling you will find it very difficult to resell without the log book.
Also, it should be noted that log books are now red instead of blue. So if you have a blue log book or you are going to buy car that has a blue log book, request that they replace the log book to an updated red one.
What is a V5C?
A V5C is essentially the same thing. It’s the vehicle registration document that registers the vehicle with the DVLA. Basically another word for log book, so be aware that either of these terms could be used.
What do I do if I’ve bought a second hand car and I do not have the log book?
If you have bought a second hand car and the previous owner did not have the log book then don’t panic, but there are some steps you should take.
You can contact the DVLA to do a history check on the car and they will be able to tell you if the car is stolen or not. If the seller says that the DVLA have the log book then they should be able to provide you with the green part of the document.
Always check that there is a log book. You should never buy a car that doesn’t have a log book. And if you have bought a car that hasn’t got a log book then you need to contact the DVLA. It could be a sign that the car is stolen and obviously you don’t want to end up having to explain that one to the police.
What should I look for in the log book?
Because it is hard to sell a car without a log book nowadays, people have gone to the extent of stealing, forging or altering V5C documents. So, here are some things to check when looking over the log book;
- Check the DVLA watermark is there by holding it up to the light.
- Have a look to see if the serial number has been altered
- If the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) has been altered or is missing then do not buy the vehicle. You can usually find the VIN on a metal strip at the base of the windscreen, beneath the carpet on the driver’s side or under the bonnet. Make sure this VIN and the engine number match those on the V5C.
- Also, make sure that the name and address match the person and the persons address that you are going to buy the car from.
If you think that the V5C has been altered or forged, then don’t hesitate to contact the police and they will investigate further. There’s no harm in being extra cautious.
What happens if I need to present my log book when I’m leasing a car?
As we mentioned, you won’t get access to the log book when you are leasing a car but there might be an event in which you need to produce this. For example, you might a parking permit and many parking companies need you to produce a document from the log book.
In which case, you can request a copy of the log book from the finance house. They probably will charge you a small admin fee, however.
Alternatively, you can request the finance house send a letter to you (addressed to the council or the parking company) explaining that the vehicle is on the lease. Many parking companies will accept copies of lease agreements or letters from leasing companies. Many finance houses will be happy to do this for you.
So, the log book is a really important document. If you are going to buy a car and the seller cannot produce a log book then you need to exercise a lot of caution. If you are ever in doubt, you can always contact the DVLA or the police. If you are leasing a car then you don’t have to worry about the log book but you can get a copy of your lease agreement for things such as parking permits that require you to produce the documents.