Do you need to SORN to scrap a car?

If your car is currently sitting in the driveway or in your garage and is not used on the road, you may require a SORN. If you’re wondering ‘do you need a SORN to scrap a car’ then the simple answer is yes, but only if you want to remove parts of the vehicle yourself and sell them separately before scrapping.

While it can detract from the payment you receive from the Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) that is scrapping your car, there are some circumstances where removing parts first can be beneficial. One instance could be if you’ve got a guaranteed buyer for specific components at a good value, while another is if you wish to use them to repair another car you’re currently working on.

If you do decide to dismantle your vehicle prior to taking it to the scrap yard, you’ll need to register your car as being off the road with the DVLA. To avoid fines, this notification is an essential step before scrapping your vehicle.

What is a SORN car?

SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification and it’s an official declaration to the authorities that your car isn’t on the road. You may be intending to take your car off the road, or it may already be tucked away in your garage, but either way you’ll need to make an application for a SORN. It could be a rusty wreck you’ve been meaning to scrap or a classic sports car you’re tinkering with. Whatever the situation, you’ll need a SORN if you’re not using your car on the road.

Car owners who declare their vehicle as SORN will be exempt from paying both tax and insurance. If your car is permanently off the road and standing on your driveway, you’ll still have to pay these costs unless you get a SORN. A SORN is also required by registered car owners when a car is used only on their private land.

Remember if you’ve bought a vehicle with a SORN, this document is never transferable, and you’ll need to apply for a new one in your own name for it to be valid. It’s also worth noting that a SORN is only valid for a single year, so if you know your car will be off the road for a term longer than 12 months it’s a good idea to set a reminder for renewal.

The main circumstances when a SORN is required is if you are dismantling your vehicle for its parts before disposing of it, you are purchasing a vehicle specifically to keep off road or if your car is either untaxed or uninsured.

The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rules state that it’s the legal requirement for all vehicles to be always covered by an appropriate insurance policy. Under these regulations you could face a fine as a car owner not covered by insurance if you’ve not officially declared your off-road status to the DVLA with a SORN.

Even if you’re not driving your vehicle on the road, you can get caught out for not having insurance. The authorities can compare records on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) and the DVLAs vehicle files to discover uninsured vehicles. It is always best to avoid this situation by either acquiring the correct cover for your vehicle or registering it as SORN with the DVLA.

If you neglect to declare SORN without an insurance policy in place, an Insurance Advisory Letter will be sent to you. It’ll inform you of your lack of insurance and remind you that if you fail to obtain the necessary car insurance, you’ll be fined. Such penalties range from fixed fines of £100 to £1,000 plus prosecution.

Applying for SORN is simple and can be conducted easily over the phone if you’re the vehicle’s registered keeper or by filling out a V890 SORN application and posting it to the DVLA. In some circumstances, for example if you’re not the vehicle’s registered keeper, you’ll only be able to apply for SORN via post. If you possess the V5 registration document, you can complete the appropriate section and send it off. If not, you can apply for a replacement logbook from the DVLA for £25.

Do you need to SORN a scrapped car?

You only need a SORN for your car prior to scrapping the vehicle if you remove parts to sell individually or hold onto before scrapping takes place. There is no need to acquire a SORN after your car has been scrapped - you only need to inform the DVLA that the vehicle has been scrapped.

If you possess a V5 registration document, sometimes called a logbook, this is a simple process. Locate the reference number comprising 11 digits from the yellow part of your vehicle registration document and get the ATF to fill in its details here. This part of the logbook is labelled “Transferring or selling your vehicle”. After this section has been completed, simply send it to the DVLA by post, in some cases this action will be completed online by the scrap dealer.

If you don’t have your V5 certificate, you can either replace it by applying to the DVLA for a new one or simply contact the DVLA after scrapping takes place. Notify them that your vehicle has been scrapped and let them know its registration, model and make. Include the exact date the transaction took place and inform them of the name and address of the scrap yard. Failure to include any of these details in your posted notification will cause it to be rejected, so ensure there are no omissions.

Rejection will result in you being the registered keeper on record of a car which no longer exists, and you could face fines of up to £1,000.

If you’re looking to get the maximum value for your scrap vehicle, it’s well worth considering leaving it in one piece. The first reason is you can never guarantee that you’ll receive a fair price for the parts you remove if you choose to sell them individually. The second reason is that ATFs will deduct money from your final payment for each individual component missing from the car.

A scrap car’s weight is a major factor in calculating its worth. If you remove bulky and heavy items like an engine, it can decrease the final amount you’ll receive by more than £60. Valuable components, for example catalytic converters, found missing can knock between £30 and £85 from your payment.

Missing components can also make your car difficult for scrap dealers to collect. Vital parts such as wheels when removed can cause great inconvenience to the ATF picking up your vehicle and you’ll be charged for any extra work involved.

Can you drive a SORN car to scrap?

It’s illegal to drive a SORN car to the scrap yard. UK law prohibits cars that are uninsured, untaxed, unsafe, dangerous or unfit for the road from being driven on roads. This applies even when you’re driving that car to be scrapped at a breaker yard or ATF. The DVLA states that to drive a SORN vehicle on the road under any circumstances other than to or from MOT testing is punishable by a fine of up to £2,500.

If you’ve removed parts from your car before taking it to be scrapped and acquired a SORN, you must not drive it to the ATF but instead arrange for collection.

There is never a good reason to drive a vehicle in these circumstances when there are several more suitable options readily available. Most prominently and conveniently, ATFs will typically collect your vehicle and take it to be scrapped. While the cost of this will be accounted for in your final payment, it’ll be far cheaper than running the risks of massive fines.

To minimise collection costs, always choose a scrap yard close to your car’s location. Scrap dealers will calculate the distance they have to cover to collect, so the closer the better if you want to ensure the top value for your vehicle when scrapped.

If your chosen ATF can’t provide a collection service, you can contact local garages who’ll be able to tow you to the scrap yard for your appointment.

Remember you’ll need your V5 registration document if you’ve got it and both photo identification (such as a passport or driving licence) and proof of address to scrap your car. Never accept a cash payment for your scrap car. This is against the law in England and Wales. Any money owed to you must be paid in fully traceable methods such as cheque or bank transfer.

Do your research before scrapping your SORN car and make sure the scrap dealer you choose is reputable. The personal details you supply as proof of your identity must be kept on file for three years so you want to make certain they are well looked after by someone you can trust.