News this week is that since lockdown happened all those weeks ago (feels like forever, doesn’t it?) many of you have decided to cut costs and declare your car officially off the road.
Reports indicate that between 23 March and 19 April, over half a million cars – 544,887 in fact, were declared off the road via a SORN notice made to DVLA – nearly twice as many as the same period in 2019.
Making the statutory declaration to DVLA is free, and for those who were told they needed to shield for 12 weeks, or for those with multiple cars in the family, it seems a smart move, doing away with the need to pay road tax or insurance for the time the car is stationary.
However, this only works if your car is officially ‘off the road’ – if it’s parked on the road outside your home, or even on a grass verge, it can still be towed away, as legally, these need to be taxed and insured.
We hope for those who did SORN their cars, they have remembered to go and turn over the engine regularly, otherwise, they risk a flat battery when the time comes to take your car out of hibernation (and let’s hope you kept hold of your breakdown cover, if that’s the case). Other issues that may strike a SORN car include stuck brakes, flat or damaged tyres, a clogged diesel particulate or broken down air conditioning. Most of these can be resolved by starting the car regularly and moving the car forwards and backwards a few times on your driveway or in your garage.
Taking a car out of SORN is easy (assuming it starts) and is as simple as going back to the DVLA site and re-taxing the vehicle, when it becomes instantly legal to drive again (don’t forget you’ll need a new car insurance policy too).
Thanks to ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition), driving a car that is declared off the road illegally will likely result in a fine of up to £2,500. You are, however, allowed to drive a SORN car to or from an MOT or testing appointment (although given that you don’t actually need an MOT to tax your car at the moment, we’d suggest you wait until your car is legally back on the road before doing this).
If you have taken your car off the road, now may be the time to start thinking about getting it back on the road so when we are told to get out there once more, we’re ready to do so and can enjoy a change of scenery as we take our first, tentative steps out there once more.