How to scrap a car

How to scrap a car
Scrapping a car is a relatively simple process, but to do it legally, you’ll need the correct documents and carry out the correct process.

In order to avoid breaking the law and receiving a large fine, the owner of the vehicle must stick to the rules to successfully scrap a vehicle.

Should a car no longer be safe to drive – or abide by the laws of the road – then it could be time to scrap it.

This guide looks at all the steps you’ll need to take.

Average lifespan of a car

According to official Government figures, the average car in the UK has a lifespan of around 14 years.

This could mean that a vehicle can last anywhere from 120,000 to 200,000 miles.

The exact number is impacted by a variety of factors including make, model, quality of the parts, driving style, whether it had regular servicing, where it was kept overnight, technology, and many other influences over its lifespan.

Regular car maintenance and servicing can increase the lifespan and safety of a vehicle.

How to scrap a car

In order to successfully and legally scrap a car in the UK, there are several key steps that owners will need to take.

The first step is to make sure that you have cleared your car of all personal belongings. Make sure that you check all the side pockets, glove box, centre console – as well as anything in the boot.

You’ll then need to collect all the relevant documents you will need to complete scrapping the vehicle.

This is your V5C logbook and your driving licence.

The next step is to find a licence scrapyard, known as an Authorised Treatment Facility – also known as an ATF. Some places in the UK might also call them a ‘breaker’s yard’.

It is worth noting that there is a different process if the vehicle is an insurance write-off.

The owner of the vehicle will now have to contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and tell them that you are scrapping your car.

You can do this by completing Section 9 of the V5C and sending it to the DVLA. The ATF can often help with this process.

In order to get the vehicle to the scrapyard, you may need to organise transportation of your car.

Some ATFs will offer a collection service – however, this may come with an extra charge.

Once at the facility, you will need to provide evidence that the vehicle is yours along with some form of identification (driving licence and/or passport).

The car will then be taken to be scrapped.

Following this, you will receive a Certificate of Destruction (CoD), which legally confirms that the vehicle has been disposed of.

You can then contact the DVLA to see if you can get a refund on road tax. This might not always be possible, but it is worth a phone call.

Finally, inform your car insurance company that the vehicle has been scrapped. Speak to them about your policy and your next options if you are looking to get a new car.

Scrap a car without keeping any parts

If you are looking to scrap the vehicle without keeping any part of it, then you’ll need to take it to an ATF – but keep the yellow  ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade’ section from the V5C logbook.

You’ll need to tell the DVLA that you have taken the vehicle to an ATF, and provide them with the relevant details.

Scrap your car and keep parts of it

According to the DVLA, ‘You can take parts from your vehicle before you scrap it so you can use them to repair another vehicle that you own’.

However, they do advise that you will need to remove parts before you take it to an ATF.

Also, fluid and parts that might pollute the environment must be removed in a way that does not soak into the ground – or are poured down a drain.

The DVLA states: “If you buy a vehicle for the sole purpose of removing parts to sell or to restore another vehicle, you must have the parts removed at an ATF.”

The process is slightly different as you will need to inform the DVLA that you are removing parts from it. This is the same process if you want to keep you registration number.

If you choose to do this, the ATF can charge a fee for removing certain parts of the vehicle. If you do not, then it is free or has a minimal fee.

How long does it take to scrap a car

The actual process of physically scrapping a car takes a few hours, but the preparation from the owner may take a few days.

Paperwork confirming the car has been scrapped can sometimes take up to seven working days to be delivered to the previous owner.

If you need to have the car delivered to an ATF, you will need to organise this a few days or weeks in advance of the day of the scrapping.

What documents do you need to scrap a car

In order to successfully scrap a car in the UK, a driver will need a V5C, driving licence, and proof of address.

It might also be helpful to have another form of ID with you, such as a passport.

You’ll be given a Certificate of Destruction (CoD) from the ATF once the vehicle has been successfully scrapped.

Scrap value of a car

In most cases, you will receive a fee for scrapping your vehicle. However, this will depend on the size, weight, make, model, age, and quantity of valuable materials.

This will also be discussed ahead of your visit to an ATF.

Other factors, such as missing or damage parts will decrease the value of the scrapped vehicle.

Catalytic converters, for example, a highly prized for a variety of reasons. So, removing it before taking it to an ATF will drastically reduce the price you will get for your old car.

How to check that a car is scrapped

For the owner, once you receive the Certificate of Destruction (CoD), you will know that the vehicle has been officially scrapped.

However, for members of the public wanting to check to see if a vehicle has ever been scrapped, they will need to use the DVLA website.

They have a dedicated vehicle information page, where you can find certain details about a car.

For urgent requests, it is advisable to call the DVLA.

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