If your car has reached the end of its life or you just want to make a little money, you may want to consider scrapping your car.

Read on and find out how to scrap a car, what documents you will need and what to do before scrapping your car.


How to Scrap a Car

If your vehicle is no longer useful, legally you must have it scrapped at an Authorized Treatment Facility (ATF) - sometimes known as a scrap yard or breaker’s yard.

The system for scrapping a car can vary depending on whether you want to keep any parts, or if you are trying to scrap a car that's registered abroad.


Scrapping Your Car without Keeping Any Parts

If you want to keep it, you must apply to take the registration number off your vehicle.

You can then scrap your vehicle at an ATF – usually for free.

Make sure that you give the ATF the log book (V5C) for the vehicle, but keep the ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade’ section.

You will need to inform the DVLA that you have taken your vehicle to an ATF, otherwise you could be fined £1,000!


Scrapping Your Car and Keeping Parts

If you want to repair another vehicle that you own, then you can take parts from the vehicle you are going to scrap before you scrap it.

That being said, you must remove any parts in a way that doesn’t pollute the environment.

For instance, any oils and fluids must not soak into the ground or go down the drain.

In the event you are buying a vehicle only to remove parts to sell or restore another vehicle, you must have the parts removed at an ATF.

You should inform the DVLA that the vehicle is off the road whilst you’re taking parts from it.

The vehicle must be kept off the road in a garage, on a drive or on private land.

If you want to keep it, apply to take the registration number off the vehicle.

You can then scrap your vehicle at an ATF after taking parts from it.

The ATF may charge a fee if you remove any vital parts, like the engine, wheels, gearbox or bodywork.

You should give the vehicle log book to the ATF but keep the ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange' section.

Remember to tell the DVLA that you’ve taken your car to an ATF.


Scrapping a Car That's Registered Abroad

If you have a vehicle registered outside the UK which is classed as ‘seriously damaged’, you won’t be allowed to register or tax it in the UK.

The registration certificate for the vehicle may say ‘statutory write-off', ‘non-repairable’ or ‘scrapped’ if this is the case.

If the vehicle is damaged, you should check if it is ‘seriously damaged’ with the registration authority for the country the vehicle is from.

If it’s not, you should ask the registration authority to provide evidence of this.

You must use an ATF to scrap the vehicle once it’s in the UK.

You will receive a ‘Certificate of Destruction’ that proves that the vehicle has been destroyed.

You must tell the driving authority in the country where the vehicle is registered that it has been scrapped.


red car held by scrapping crane getting crushed in scrap yard

Are you thinking about scrapping your car?


What About Insurance Write-Offs?

If your vehicle is an insurance write-off, then there is a different process you must follow.

When making an insurance claim because your vehicle is damaged, your insurer will tell you if the vehicle is being ‘written off’ and how much they will pay you.

Once the vehicle is written off, the insurance company will pay you the current value of the vehicle – as opposed to the cost of repairing it.

Please note that the insurance company won’t decide if the vehicle should or should not be written off.

There are different write-off categories that a vehicle can fall into, including Cat N or Cat S.


Write-off Categories

Category Repairing the Vehicle Using the Vehicle
A Can't be repaired Vehicle must be crushed
B Can't be repaired Body shell to be crushed, but other parts can be salvaged
C Can be repaired - but this will cost more than the vehicle's worth You can use the vehicle provided it is repaired to a roadworthy condition
D Can be repaired. Repairs would cost less than the vehicle's worth. Other costs (like transporting the vehicle) will take it over the vehicle's value You can use the vehicle provided it is repaired to a roadworthy condition
N Can be repaired following non-structural damage You can use the vehicle provided it is repaired to a roadworthy condition
S Can be repaired following structural damage You can use the vehicle provided it is repaired to a roadworthy condition

If your vehicle is to be scrapped, the insurance company will usually deal with this for you.

If you want to keep it, you should apply to take the registration number off the vehicle.

You should send your vehicle log book to the insurance company, keeping the yellow ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade’ section.

You will also need to inform the DVLA that your vehicle has been written off, or you could be fined £1,000.


Keeping the Vehicle

If you are planning on keeping a vehicle in categories C,D, N or S, the insurance company will give you a payout and sell the vehicle back to you.

Please note that keeping a category C or S vehicle means you will also need to send the complete log book to your insurance company and apply for a free duplicate log book using form V62.

The DVLA can then record the vehicle’s category in the log book.

You can keep the log book if you’re keeping a category D or N vehicle.


Where Can I Scrap My Car?

You can scrap your car at an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF).

It is illegal to scrap your vehicle anywhere else!

Once the ATF has your vehicle, they might choose to repair and sell the vehicle themselves or scrap it altogether.

If your car, light van or 3-wheeled motor vehicle – excluding motor tricycles – is completely scrapped, the ATF will issue you with a ‘certificate of destruction’ within 7 days.

You could still be liable for vehicle tax or traffic offence penalties without this certificate as proof that your vehicle has been handed over for scrap.

For other vehicle types, you will not receive a certificate.

The ATF will pay you the scrap value of your vehicle, but it is illegal to be paid in cash for your scrap vehicle in England or Wales.

You will have to be paid by cheque or bank transfer.

If the ATF repairs and sells your vehicle, then you won’t receive a certificate of destruction, and can be paid via any method – including cash.


What Is the Scrap Value of a Car?

A scrap car can be worth upwards of £300.

The scrap value of a car is determined by the amount of scrap metal available on the car and how usable these parts are.

Many scrap yards will pay cash for the value of the metalwork or other elements of the car.

The less usable metal your car has, the less cashback you can expect to get.

Likewise, the better condition those usable parts are in, the more value they are likely to have.

Other scrap value factors include:

  • The size of the car
  • The weight of the car
  • The price and running costs of the car
  • If it has a catalytic converter
  • When you scrap the car

Scrap yards often reduce their prices at the end of the month to ensure they have time to process customers who are already booked in.

That’s why it’s important that you do your research before scrapping your car.


Should I Scrap My Car?

If your car has become too old to manage or is too damaged to sell, then you might consider scrapping it.

However, if the vehicle is in a condition where it could be sold to a new owner, then you may get more money for it than if you choose to sell it for scrap.

Cars usually have a lifespan of around 10 to 12 years – if your vehicle is older than this or has a mileage higher than 100,000, you might want to consider scrapping your car.


What Documents Do You Need to Scrap a Car?

There are several documents you will need to scrap your car.

To scrap a car, you are required to show photo identification – a valid driving licence or passport will do.

You will also need to show proof of where you live, such as a current household bill that has your address on it.

You will need your V5C logbook to hand over to the ATF – but you must retain the yellow ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trader’ section.

If you have a private number plate and want to keep it, you have to make a retention application before you scrap the car – or you might lose the plate.

This will cost you £80.


Can You Scrap a Car without a V5?

You don’t need your V5C to scrap a car, but at only £25 for a new document, it’s worth having.

If you don’t have your V5C, you must write to the DVLA and inform them that your car has been scrapped using the following details in your letter:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your car make and model
  • The car registration number
  • The name and address of the ATF scrapping the car
  • The date your car was scrapped

Some scrapyards will require a log book 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 log book or find another scrapyard.

Don't let a less reputable dealer take you for a ride if you don't have a log book.

If someone tries to charge you a £25 fee to scrap your car without the log book, walk away - you don't need to pay this fee.

If your car has been registered as SORN, you won’t need a V5C log book to scrap it.

If you are scrapping a car that is not SORN, it can still be helpful to show the log book as proof of ownership.


What Do I Need to Do Before I Scrap My Car?

Before you scrap your car, you should do the following:

  • Get the required documentation
  • Remove your personal items
  • Follow personalised licence plate guidance
  • Contact a trusted ATF



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