How to SORN your car: A Complete Guide

Car with SORN attached being worked on in garage

You might have heard your mate talking in the pub about having placed a SORN on his car before he heads off to University, but what was he talking about? Is it good or bad? Should you get one as well? Don’t worry if you’re confused – we’re here to help! The SORN process isn’t compulsory, but it could be useful for you. Read on to find out exactly how to SORN your car and all the conditions involved with it.

What is a SORN?

A Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN), is a legal notice informing the DVLA that you’re not planning on driving your car any time soon and so are keeping it off the road.

That means that you can’t SORN your car unless it’s parked on your driveway or in a garage because a car with a SORN attached cannot be parked on public roads. This is because it no longer has insurance cover or valid road tax.

Why should I get a SORN?

Well, if you’re heading off to university, your car might be sat around for months at a time.

You might own a classic car that you only bring out during the summer and that sits in the garage for nine months of the year.

Or you might have bought an old wreck that you’re planning on restoring over the next couple of years but isn’t in any condition to drive.

All of these situations would end up costing you money and a SORN will remove that cost. If you don’t plan on driving your car for a considerable period of time, SORN it.

Car being stored in garage. Perfect opportunity to obtain a SORN for the car.

How to SORN a car

It’s incredibly easy to SORN your car. You can inform the DVLA of your intentions by post (if the car is not registered in your name, you must do it this way), online or over the phone and you don’t need to provide a lot of information.

If you want to SORN your car immediately, simply provide the 11 digit number on your V5C. Or, if you want the SORN to come into effect on the first day of the next month, provide the 16 digit number on your tax reminder letter (V11). To SORN your car online, click here.

Things to consider

The V11 number can only be used once whereas the number on your V5C can be used multiple times. Make sure you have both available, especially if you plan on removing the SORN after a while.

You will receive a refund if you have outstanding road fund tax. For example, if you tax your car for a year and then decide to SORN it after three months, you’ll receive the remaining amount for the unused nine months.

A pretty nice bonus right? Well, it gets better because your insurance company might send you the remaining cost of your policy as well. Each company varies, so always check the terms and conditions of your specific policy.

A SORN doesn’t transfer between owners. If you’ve bought the old wreck off someone who was working on it previously, you will need to SORN it in your name. Don’t get caught out and have to fork out. You could face a hefty fine!

Don’t avoid the SORN conditions

If you SORN your car, you can’t use it until you remove the notice. Every car on the road must have valid insurance and road tax, even if it’s just parked on the street. If you’re caught driving a vehicle you’ve declared as being off-the-road, you could be fined £2,500! The DVLA can also take you to court over the issue so if you decide to SORN your car, stick to it. You can only drive a car that has a SORN attached to a pre-booked MOT test.

How to un-SORN a car

This is easy enough to do as well. Simply make sure your car has a valid MOT certificate, insurance cover and road tax. Apply for these as you would normally.

Things to consider

Make sure all this hassle is worth it. If you know that you’re unlikely to want to drive the car for most of the year, then applying for a SORN is a great idea. Otherwise, you’re left with a car you have to be able to store off the road and can’t use.

Book a service alongside your MOT. You want your car to be in top condition when you take it back on the roads and sitting in a garage is unlikely to help that. It’s especially important to book a service if the car has been off the road for several years.

Fortunately, BookMyGarage can help with that too! If you’re looking to un-SORN your car, we can put you in touch with a quality local garage to carry out its MOT and service. Simply enter your registration number and postcode and book an appointment in seconds. It’s that easy!

Mandy Weston

Mandy Weston

Mandy is an ex-mechanic, with 22 years’ experience in the motor industry. As an in-house motoring expert, Mandy is the go-to woman for any relevant questions that our customers have; both garages and drivers. From specific problems with your car to general maintenance, Mandy is a reliable source of information and advice. Her passion for motoring is a huge factor to her success and the huge wealth of knowledge that she has. She now uses her remarkable grasp of the industry to write regular content for our readers to help drivers understand their car better, avoid being ripped off by garages and save money on their motoring requirements.

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