If you're looking at legally taking your car off the road with a SORN, Statutory Off Road Notification, there are a few rules you need to know about to make sure you don’t get caught out and end up facing a fine.

We’ll explain what a SORN is, when and how to SORN your vehicle, and the steps you need to take to get back on the road again.

What’s a SORN? Statutory Off Road Notifications explained 

Penalties apply if you drive an uninsured, untaxed car on public roads. But if you know you won’t be taking your vehicle out on the road for a while, a SORN lets you declare this legally. And it means you won’t have to tax or insure your vehicle. You can apply for a SORN through the Government’s website.[1]Footnote 1

But it’s worth knowing that SORN vehicles can only be parked on private land. So, if you don’t have a driveway, garage or other private land to park on, you’ll still need to tax and insure your car. A SORN won’t be right for you if on-street parking’s your only option, even if you have a parking permit. 

When do I need to SORN my car? 

If you’re not planning to drive your car, it can make sense to SORN your vehicle. Doing so means you won’t have to pay vehicle tax or motor insurance, or have a valid MOT. There are also some times where you must make a SORN, find out when on Gov.uk.[1]Footnote 1

Below we’ve listed a few situations when it could be appropriate to SORN your vehicle.

  • Your vehicle’s failed it’s MOT and you aren’t planning to get it repaired.
  • You’re restoring a car as a project.
  • You’re a student leaving your car at home while you study away.
  • You own a classic or collectable car which you don’t intend to drive on public roads.
  • You’re just not planning to use it for a while .

You don’t have to submit a SORN for a vehicle you’ve already sold, you just need to tell the DVLA.

How do I declare a SORN for my vehicle, and how long will it take? 

You can choose to apply for a SORN online, by phone or by post if you’re the registered keeper of the vehicle. If you’re not the registered keeper, then you’ll need to complete the relevant forms by post.

How soon your SORN starts depends on how you apply for it.

  • If your vehicle tax has expired and you have the 11-digit number from your vehicle log book (V5C), your SORN will start immediately. 
  • If your vehicle tax is still valid and you have the 16-digit number from your road tax reminder letter (V11), your SORN will start on the first day of the next month.

If you like to plan ahead, it’s worth knowing you can apply for a SORN by post up to two months before you intend to stop driving your vehicle. 

Full details of how to contact the DVLA and make a SORN application are outlined on the Government’s website.[1]Footnote 1

How long does SORN last? 

A SORN isn’t just for the short-term, So, once you’ve got it, you don’t need to worry about renewing it.

The SORN is automatically cancelled when you tax your vehicle again or if you sell or scrap your vehicle.

What happens if I drive a SORN car? 

Whilst you can still drive a SORN vehicle on private land, it's illegal to drive it on any public road. You could face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500 if you do. The only exception is if you’re driving to or from a pre-booked MOT appointment.

Can I take my car back on the road?

If you’re ready to get behind the wheel again, your vehicle must be taxed, insured and have a valid MOT before taking it out on a public road. As mentioned, a SORN lasts until you tax your vehicle again, so you don’t need to contact the DVLA separately to end the SORN.

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