The V5C is now more secure, customer friendly, and highlights the need for buyers to check the legitimacy of the vehicle presented for sale.
The latest V5C is red rather than blue, but blue documents issued before the 15 August 2010 remain valid.
Initially DVLA had no plans to recall old V5Cs and issued the new red document only when a new vehicle is registered, a lost or damaged V5C is replaced or when the V5C is to be updated to incorporate a change of keeper or vehicle details.
Tax renewal or SORN
From September 2011 DVLA automatically sent the registered keeper a red V5C when a vehicle is taxed or declared off the road (SORN), if they haven't already been issued with one. Registered keepers will be advised to destroy their blue V5C.
So since September 2012 there should be no legitimate blue V5C registration documents still in circulation.
Besides the obvious change of colour, the new certificate includes information to make it clear that the V5C is not proof of ownership. The 'scrap' box has also been removed.
- Cars, light vans and three-wheeled motor vehicles (apart from motor tricycles) must be taken to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) and a Certificate of Destruction (CoD) issued
- Other vehicles should still be taken to an ATF to ensure they are destroyed to environmental standards
- If you keep the vehicle but break it up for parts, you should make a Statutory off Road Notification (SORN) to let DVLA know that the vehicle is being kept unlicensed and off the road
Beware stolen V5Cs in circulation
A significant number of blank blue registration documents was stolen in 2007 and 2008 and some of these will be in circulation today – used to create a false identity for stolen cars.
When buying a used car it's important to check the details on the V5C carefully including checking that the serial number in the top right hand corner of the document is not within one of the ranges for the stolen documents.
(Page updated 17 July 2017)