How to buy a sorn car

Written by colette mccormick
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How to buy a sorn car
Just because a car is declared SORN does not mean that it isn't a good buy. (car key #5 image by Adam Borkowski from

SORN (Standard Off Road Notification) is a legal requirement for a vehicle that is untaxed and kept off the road. Some cars that are declared SORN are not roadworthy and are only kept for spare parts. Others may just not be taxed or have an expired MOT (Ministry of Transport test). Maybe a person has moved abroad and decided to declare the vehicle SORN to avoid the cost of keeping it on the road. Just because a car has a SORN certificate doesn't mean that it won't be a good buy but driving it away is not a simple as an ordinary car.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Check the car over thoroughly as you will not be able to take it for a test drive because you cannot legally take it on a public road. Look at the engine and the bodywork and check the repair history of the car. Once you are happy that the car is what you want you can buy it.

  2. 2

    Get the car Ministry of Transport (MOT) tested if it is over three years old. It will need a valid MOT certificate before it can be insured. As you still cannot drive the car on the road you will need to get it loaded onto the back of a truck or a trailer and have it taken to a garage.

  3. 3

    Insure the car. One of the first questions that you will be asked is "Are you the registered keeper of the vehicle" which is why you need to buy the car before you insure it. Insurers hate ambiguity and some companies will refuse to insure the car unless you can prove that you are the owner.

  4. 4

    Buy road tax for the car. You can do this at your local Post Office by filling in a V10 form or online at To tax the car you will need a valid MOT, insurance and proof of ownership (V5C form)

Tips and warnings

  • It is illegal to drive a car without tax and insurance and if it is over three years old, a valid MOT certificate.

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