Can I sell a SORN car?

February 21, 2024 by

If you’ve got a car you’re not using, and can legally store it off the road, declaring it as SORN is a common way to avoid having to tax it each month.

When it comes to selling it though, you may be wondering how you can go about this and how it differs to selling a car that’s both taxed and insured. This guide explains that.

Don’t forget you can now sell your car through Carwow. See how thousands of dealers could be bidding to buy your car. It’s free to use and simple to do.

What does SORN mean?

SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification, simply meaning you’ve declared a car off the road and thus legally being exempt from a monthly tax payment and insurance on it. When you declare it as SORN, you will automatically get a refund of any road tax that’s been paid for any full remaining months.

In case the name wasn’t a giveaway though, this means you cannot drive the car on public roads — with the only exception being if you’re driving it to or from a pre-booked MOT or other testing appointment.

If you’re driving a SORN car for any other reason, you could face court prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.

Selling a SORN car

The good news is that it is perfectly legal to sell a car that has a SORN, and through the same channels as any other car — however,  you must make sure you make it clear the car is declared as being registered as SORN (off the road), and also be aware of some other important factors.

Selling a SORN car is not quite as straightforward as handing the keys over to the new owner and letting them drive off in it. You need to declare the car as SORN because the person buying it must tax and insure it before they can legally drive it on public roads or risk paying a fine of up to £2,500. This means that when selling a SORN car, a prospective buyer will not be able to test drive it on public roads and if they buy it, they will have to have it taken away on a trailer, unless they arrange road tax and inurance, too. If they are not happy about doing this, they may get suspicious about the car’s condirion, meaning it could have a negative effect on the car’s value.

You cannot transfer a SORN to the new owner or from the previous owner. Any existing SORN is automatically cancelled when the car is sold. If the new owner will not be using or parking the car on public roads, then they must register the car in their name and apply for the SORN themselves.

To avoid these issues when selling a SORN car it is usually recommended to tax and insure it first.

Ways to sell a SORN car

Sell your car with Carwow

You can sell your car with Carwow even if it has been taken off the road. As mentioned above, taxing it and insuring it again will probably mean it will secure a higher price. See how thousands of our trusted dealers could bid on your car. It’s free and easy; click Sell My Car to find out more.

Sell as SORN privately

Just as with any other car, you’re able to sell a SORN one privately. Just ensure that buyers are aware the car is declared off the road and understand that this means they cannot drive it on public roads (or risk a fine) unless they tax and insure it first.

Therefore, the buyer will need to have the means to take the SORN car away without illegally driving it on the road, most likely by towing it on a trailer (unless they have a transporter). You should factor this into your asking price for the car to give it the best chance of a sale.

Once sold, the process of transferring ownership or a SORN vehicle to the new owner is the same as any other vehicle: you need to use the car’s ‘logbook’ (V5C document) to inform the DVLA of the change of owner (this can now also be done online). Here is our guide to how to transfer the ownership of your car from you to the buyer: https://www.carwow.co.uk/sell-my-car/guides/how-to-change-car-ownership

Sell directly to a dealer or part-exchange it

You can also sell your SORN car directly to a dealer or as a part exchange as long as you make its SORN status clear and can agree who will be responsible for it being collected or delivered to the dealer legally.

Sell through carwow and if you find an offer you like, the dealer will be able to arrange collection of your SORN vehicle — which should take the burden off you.

Can I scrap a SORN car?

You are able to scrap a SORN car, though again you can’t drive it directly to a scrap yard as a SORN car cannot legally be driven on the road.

If you want more info, we have a handy guide on on how to scrap a car.