Can You Get Fined for Having a Dirty Car?

We’ve all seen them, those cars so dirty that you can barely see the colour they’re supposed to be as they’re hurtling down the motorway. It often boggles the mind that owners can let their cars get into this state, but does it really matter? Scrap Car Comparison dives deeper into the filth and finds out just what the rules are surrounding dirty cars.

But first, if your car is so dirty that you just can’t bring yourself to begin the cleaning process, why not scrap it and take all of those problems away from you by default? All it takes is one phone call to our friendly team and you’ll be given the very best price for your car – and with collection agents across the country, we’ll even come and collect it directly from your door. We only deal with certified Authorised Treatment Facilities, meaning your car will be disposed of and recycled in line with all government regulations, so get started today and see just how much your car could be worth.

"Wash me" drawn in dirt on the rear window of a car

Is it illegal to have a dirty car?

As is often the case, this is one of those yes and no type answers. No, there is no law that says you have to keep your car clean, but there are certain areas of the car that must be kept clear of dirt. If your windscreen is too dirty to see out of, or your number plate is impossible to read, that’s when you’re going to be drawing attention from the police. Likewise, if the dirt on, or in, your car begins to inhibit your abilities behind the wheel, then you could face sanctions including fines and penalty points on your licence.

How can a messy car be dangerous?

You might be sitting there thinking you understand the reason for needing a clear screen ahead of you, but what does it matter if you have a mountain of detritus with you in the cabin? It’s only you in there, right? If you’re okay with it, then whose business is it? Well, when some of that junk falls into your footwell and underneath the brake pedal, it becomes the business of the person in front of you, whose car is about to need a new rear end when you can’t stop. If an accident caused in this way results in injury or worse for the other driver, then you could be looking at a £5000 fine and nine points on your licence – a hefty price to pay for refusing to use a bin, wouldn’t you say?

What external areas of the car need to be kept clean?

Getting a car muddy is sometimes unavoidable, particularly if you live down a farm-track road and it’s been raining, but what areas of your car do you need to ensure stay clear to avoid a slap on the wrists? We’ve already mentioned the windscreen, and we’d like to think that that one goes without saying – if you can’t see out of your car, then you’re not going to be able to drive to the best of your abilities. You also need to make sure that your number plate can be clearly visible, too. This is for the police’s benefit, as they can glean from your registration number when and where the car was registered, and if it has been stolen – and while there is no law regarding the cleanliness of your car as a whole, there is when it comes to having visible licence plates.

Can I be fined for having a dirty car?

If your number plate is impossible to read, then you could find yourself with a penalty notice of £100 there and then, although some unlucky drivers may find this fine is boosted up to £1000. You could also get a £100 fine if you are slapped with a ‘driving without due care and attention’ penalty, which, again, could grow depending on the severity of your incident. While a simple dirty windscreen is likely to face the lower end of the penalty table, more serious indiscretions could see you landed with a £2,500 fine or even a driving ban.

If your car or van is so dirty that it’s beyond help – perhaps the interior is literally falling to pieces through lack of care – then it may be easier to simply scrap the lot. In that case, Scrap Car Comparison is here to make the entire process as stress-free as possible. With collection agents in operation across the country and with scrap and salvage specialists on our books waiting for your car, all it takes for you to get the very best price for your car is to pick up the phone, provide us with your postcode and registration number (if you can read it, that is).

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