The government has announced a new type of vehicle registration certificate will be introduced from 15 August 2010 to protect motorists from vehicle crime.
The new V5C will be a different colour to previous versions and will emphasise how it is not a form of identification of proof of ownership.
Junior transport minister Mike Penning said: "Buyers often mistakenly believe the V5C to be proof of ownership of a vehicle. This is not the case.
"The new V5C, which is a different colour, will make it clear the document is not proof of ownership and will help draw to an end the threat posed by the stolen documents."
Car cloning is a growing crime, and primarily involves stealing a set of number plates and using them on another car, usually for illegal activities.
However, car cloning also covers altering a stolen vehicle’s paperwork to make it look legitimate. It can be a problem for buyers who won’t actually own the vehicle and could lose a lot of money.
On method of car cloning is through a forged or illegally altered V5C document. Below is everything you need to know about the V5C document and how to use it to check your potential new car is above board.
The vehicle registration certificate (V5C) replaced the old V5 registration documents in 2005. It is designed as a crime prevention measure to stop car cloning. The V5C contains the manufacturer, model, colour, VIN/chassis and engine numbers of the vehicle.
The V5C replaced the old-style V5 registration document to comply with a new European directive between member states to find a common format for registration certificates.
A vehicle must have a V5C before it can be taxed. Never buy a car without one, and always be prepared to check to see if it is real.
Worryingly, a survey by the DVLA in 2007 found over half of motorists cannot tell when a V5C is fake and a fifth of people did not know what it is for.
The DVLA warns buyers not to buy a car without a V5C even if the seller says it has recently been sent to the DVLA – you could have the car recovered and returned to the correct owner if it is stolen.
V5C - What to check
- The V5C is not proof of ownership. First of all ask the seller for proof that they own the vehicle. This could be a bill of sale, service records or an MOT certificate. Any legitimate seller should have all of these things.
- Once that is established, check whether the V5C is real or not. The V5C should have a serial number on the top right hand corner of the certificate and a DVLA watermark. Be careful to check for signs the V5C has been tampered with, or if there are parts missing.
- If you find a V5C with a serial number in the following ranges, don’t go ahead with the sale:
BG8229501 to BG9999030
BI2305501 to BI2800000
If the V5C is in one of these ranges, contact the police, as these are known stolen V5Cs.
- Next, check the details on the V5C match those of the car. This includes checking the CIN and engine number matches those on the V5C.
- Check the vehicle colour and registration matches those on the V5C.
- The VIN number etched on the windows must match those on the VSC, and it is always useful to check for two or more VIN numbers on the car to look for signs of a cut and shut. For more information on looking for a cut and shut, read out guide.
- If the car has a ‘Q’ registration number, it means the age of the car may be unknown, or it has been rebuilt. The correct V5C should explain why it has received a Q number.
Things to remember
The V5C must be signed by both the buyer and seller but it is the seller’s responsibility to send the updated V5C to the DVLA once the deal is completed.
If the seller does not do this, they will still be responsible for any fines or parking offences picked up by the vehicle.
Always get a private seller to sign the V5C document and if you’re concerned you can always contact the DVLA directly to ensure they have received the document.
What do I need to know about the new certificate?
The new V5C will apply only to vehicles registered after 15 August, but will also be issued when a vehicle passes to a new owner or if there is a change of address.
The re-designed V5C will be issued to all remaining vehicles from July 2011 when they are next re-licensed or declared to be off the road.