Car tax warning for Britons as drivers face massive clamping charges by DVLA


Drivers will need to pay at least £100 to unclamp the vehicle

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 08/10/2023

- 10:00

Updated: 19/10/2023

- 22:31

Drivers may need to pay hundreds of pounds to have their vehicle released after it's been clamped

New data has uncovered which car brands are the most likely to be clamped around the UK, with drivers facing hefty fees to get their vehicles on the road again.

Between April 2022 and May 2023, there were almost 160,000 vehicles clamped across the country because they did not have valid car tax.

Research has found that Ford was the most clamped car brand, with a total of 24,014 cars clamped during the 12-month period.

This may not be surprising as Ford makes up almost 10 per cent of all registered cars in the UK thanks to models like the Fiesta, Focus and KA.


Ford was the most clamped car brand, with a total of 24,014 cars clamped


A British brand placed in second with Vauxhall cars being clamped 19,338 times, while Volkswagen was the third most targeted brand with 15,123 vehicles getting the clamp.

If a car is not taxed, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will charge £100 to release the vehicle from the clamp.

In the event that a driver cannot pay, they can put down a “surety” deposit before it gets released if they cannot show the vehicle has been taxed.

For a car or motorcycle owner, they will need to pay a £160 fee, while other vehicle owners will pay up to £700.

If the release fee is not paid within 24 hours, the DVLA will impound the vehicle and the fee rises to a staggering £200.

Every day that passes, drivers will also be charged a storage charge of £21 per day.

The surety fee of £160 must be paid in this instance too if the motorist cannot show that the vehicle has been taxed.

BMW and Audi rounded out the five most clamped brands, combining for more than 20,000 clamping incidents for unpaid tax.

Dan Reavley, head of Vehicle Finance at Anglo Scottish, commented on the clamping data, saying it was a much worse punishment than getting a parking ticket.

He added: “Somewhat unsurprisingly, the most-clamped car brands in the UK are some of the most popular brands in the country by ownership.

“However, it’s interesting to see Ford ahead by a good distance, particularly when Volkswagen had a reasonably similar market share in the UK in 2020.”

The data, which was found using a Freedom of Information request, revealed that French brand Peugeot placed sixth.

Despite over 7,500 Peugeots being clamped between April 2022 and May 2023, they still account for less than 10 per cent of total vehicles clamped.

The DVLA regularly undertakes clamping action to target untaxed vehicles in a bid to boost the levels of compliance around the country.



Almost 160,000 vehicles were clamped in the 12-month period


The most clamped car brands in the UK

Ford - 24,014

Vauxhall - 19,338

Volkswagen - 15,123

BMW - 11,299

Audi - 9,098

Peugeot - 7,557

Nissan - 6,408

Renault - 6,365

Toyota - 5,955

Citroen - 5,723

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