Over 2 million UK drivers scrap their vehicles which have reached the end of their lives and simply cost too much to run anymore. But how do you scrap a car?
The scrapping process can be confusing if you’re new to it. By the end of this article, you’ll understand:
- What scrap metal is
- Where you can scrap a car
- How to scrap a car
- How scrap metal prices work
- What documents you need to scrap a car
- And plenty more besides!
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What is scrap metal?
Scrap metal refers to any waste metal or metallic product which has recyclable value. These parts can be used again to build new cars and appliances or as raw building materials. Scrap metal also has monetary value, so you can make a tidy sum when you scrap your car.
The EU has created an ‘End of Life Vehicle Directive’ which demands that 95% of every new car must be recycled. We create 8 million tonnes of scrap metal each year, so it’s important to reuse as much of it as possible.
If your car isn’t in sellable condition but you don’t want to fix it up, the best option is to sell it for scrap. However, you can’t just hand over the keys to anyone who offers to scrap your car. You must complete the process responsibly.
Where can I sell scrap metal near me?
A law passed in 2005 made it illegal to scrap a car anywhere but an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). Whoever scraps your vehicle must have an Environment Agency or Scottish Environment Protection Agency license to prove they recycle car parts properly. This is to minimise the impact of scrapped vehicles on the environment.
You can find your nearest authorised scrap metal dealer online, either by going direct or using a comparison site.
However, you can easily get burned when searching over the internet…
Make sure you check everything
Removemycar highlighted how easy it is to find an unauthorised scrapyard online. They searched for ‘scrap my car’ and got the following results:
- Only 9 of the 25 results were ATFs
- Out of 11 sponsored links, only 5 were ATFs or ATF networks. The other 6 were ‘Lamp Post Traders‘.
- Out of the 7 local search listings, only 1 was ATF registered.
- Out of the 7 organic search results, only 1 was an ATF registered company and 2 were ATF comparison sites (including Removemycar).
Sadly, this proves how many unscrupulous scrappers there are in the UK. When you scrap your car, you must understand how to complete the process legally.
Here’s a simple explanation of how to scrap a car. Underneath, we’ve also included 5 other points you need to know to scrap a car properly.
How to scrap a car in 6 easy steps
- Apply to take the reg number off your car if you want to keep it (i.e. it’s a personalised plate). This costs £80.
- Find a registered ATF near you who will scrap your car.
- Complete the relevant paperwork with the ATF. This involves the yellow ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle’ section of your logbook and a Certificate of Destruction, which usually arrives within a week.
- Receive payment for your vehicle.
- Notify the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency) that you no longer own your vehicle. You face a £1,000 fine if you don’t.
- Cancel any remaining insurance and ensure you get your unused road tax refunded.
Donate your car to charity instead?
While it’s quite easy to scrap a car, it still might be too much hassle for you. If your car isn’t worth much or you don’t have time to compare ATFs, you might want to just get the car off your hands as quickly as possible.
They collect your vehicle free of charge and either scrap the car or sell it at auction. All the profits go to charity, so you get the satisfaction of doing a good deed as well.
Scrap Car Prices
It’s hard to predict how much your car is worth as scrap. For starters, the market price regularly fluctuates. This is due to inflation, the value of the pound and supply and demand.
However, if your car has lots of high-quality copper, steel and aluminium, it’s likely to be worth more as scrap. These are all highly sought-after recyclable metals.
There are plenty of other factors which also affect the price:
- The size and weight of your car. If you own a Land Rover, it’s worth more than a Ford Fiesta simply because it contains more scrap metal.
- The age of your car. Newer cars are full of more high-quality parts and so are often worth more as scrap than older cars.
- The price and running costs of your car. Likewise, if your vehicle was expensive to buy and run, there’s a good chance it will also be worth more as scrap.
- What valuable parts it has. If parts like your clutch, gearbox and brake pads are in good condition, they can be sold as replacements for other vehicles. This will increase the price of your scrap metal.
- If it has a catalytic converter. Cars registered before 1993 may not have this exhaust part which can reduce their scrap value.
- When you choose to scrap your car. Scrapyards often reduce their prices at the end of the month to ensure they have enough time to process customers who are already booked in. That’s why it’s vital to do your research before scrapping your car.
To find out how much your car is worth as scrap, enter your reg and postcode into an online car scrap calculator.
Scrap Metal Prices Near You
Here are some rough scrap metal prices from scrapacarcomparision.co.uk. To find out what price your vehicle is worth as scrap, just enter your reg and postcode into their online tool.
Make and Model Year of Registration Weight (Tonnes; to 1 decimal place) Price BMW 3-Series 2002 1.4 £192 Ford Transit 2001 1.7 £232 Peugeot 307 2004 1.3 £161 Renault Megane 2004 1.3 £167 Suzuki Swift 2006 1.1 £146 Vauxhall Zafira 2003 1.5 £231 VW Golf 2004 1.4 £215
Make and Model
Year of Registration
Weight (Tonnes; to 1 decimal place)
How much does it cost to scrap a car?
You should be able to scrap your car for free in the UK.
However, some scrapyards may try and charge you. Due to the ever-changing price of scrap metal, the scrapping process sometimes costs more than the parts’ value. There may also be a charge if you live some distance from the scrapyard and ask them to collect your car.
That doesn’t mean you should pay to scrap your car.
There are plenty of scrap car comparison sites, such as scrapacarcomparison, cartakeback and removemycar. Make sure you search the web to get the best price. Most importantly, they’ve done all the check for you and put you in touch with a registered ATF. That way, you know that you’re scrapping your car legally.
Can you scrap cars for cash?
You cannot be paid in cash when you scrap a car. You must be paid by cheque or bank transfer instead.
The Scrap Metal Dealers Act of October 2013 outlawed this process. If someone offers you a wad of cash for your car, you shouldn’t accept the offer. They’re unlikely to be a lawful scrapper.
The same law also requires you to show ID and proof of address when the scrapyard takes custody of your vehicle. If they don’t ask to see yours, DO NOT continue with the deal.
What do I need to scrap my car?
As well as ID and proof of address, you should be able to provide the car’s logbook when scrapping your car. This proves that you own the vehicle and stops unauthorised or unlawful sales. Keep the yellow slip from your logbook and make sure the ATF provides a receipt.
After 7 days, you should receive a Certificate of Destruction from the ATF. This is proof that you scrapped the car and so can’t be held liable for any future offences.
Can I scrap my car without the logbook?
Yes, you can. While it’s much easier to scrap a car with the logbook, sometimes you just don’t have one. They’re easily lost or you may have bought a car that didn’t have the logbook.
To scrap a car without the logbook, you must send a letter to the DVLA informing them of the sale. It must include:
- Your car’s reg number
- The make and model
- The exact date of the sale
- Name and address of the scrapyard
Some scrapyards require a logbook as further proof of ID and may refuse to process your car without one. If you find yourself in this position, you can either pay £25 for a new logbook or find an alternative scrapyard.
Don’t let a less reputable dealer take you for a ride if you don’t have a logbook. If someone tries to charge you a £25 fee to scrap your car without the logbook, walk away. You don’t need to pay this fee.
If you want to scrap a car, you must do so responsibly. This means finding a registered ATF who will ensure that they recycle 95% of the metal in an environmentally friendly way. The scrapyard shouldn’t charge you but, as scrap metal prices fluctuate, they may try to if prices are very low.
You must always inform the DVLA when you scrap a car and ensure that you are paid by bank transfer or cheque. You can also claim back any unused road tax. And, while it is easier to scrap your car with the logbook, you shouldn’t be penalised if you don’t have one for your car.
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Drew works for BookMyGarage writing blogs, website content and almost everything else in between. He works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts. When he’s not helping you save money on running your car or making your driving life easier, he can be found either with his head in a book or with a golf club in his hands (usually looking for his ball in the woods)