If you’re asking yourself 'can I scrap my car without keys?', the answer is yes - but you will require some supporting documents and you should bear in mind that this circumstance may affect the final sale price for your vehicle.
Proof of ownership
Without a set of keys to go with your car, the breaker yard will need paperwork that proves you’re the owner of the car. Your V5 registration document, also called a logbook, is ideal proof of ownership - showing that you’re the keeper of your car and confirming both your name and address. In addition, photo ID such as a passport and a utility bill with your address on it may be required to back it up. If you’ve lost your logbook along with your keys, you can apply for a new V5 registration document from the DVLA for a fee of £25. Alternatively, if you still have it and it bears your name, you can supply your purchase receipt for the vehicle.
If you’re unable to deliver proof of ownership at the time of scrapping, the dealer will sometimes carry out the work but defer your payment until you supply the necessary paperwork. However, if you fail to supply proof of ownership, you won’t be paid for your car. There may also be a charge for the dealer running an HPI vehicle history check.
Remember when you do receive payment to make sure it arrives via cheque or through a bank transfer. In England and Wales, being paid in cash for a scrapped vehicle is against the law.
Inconvenience at extra cost
While scrap dealers will still purchase your vehicle without its accompanying keys, it may cost you. For the inconvenience and additional work involved in dealing with a car without keys, the scrap dealer will take some money from your final payment.
The scrap yard collecting your vehicle may have extra work if your car doesn’t have its keys. Your vehicle's steering lock is likely to be the largest obstacle. If its wheels are not pointed straight, the vehicle can’t be winched directly onto a trailer. For smaller yards the only solution may be to raise the front wheels and tow the vehicle, but this is not ideal if the scrap yard is a great distance from your location.
While larger yards will typically possess a vehicle with flatbed and crane that can lift your car into place, this will require planning. Heavy vehicles of this kind need adequate access and space to turn around with a hard, flat surface to park on.
If your car is locked and without keys, the buyer may need to break into the vehicle. The handbrake needs to be released before towing or winching can take place and if the car is in gear it must be put in neutral.
Although a scrap dealer will take this trouble into account and subtract a sum from your final payment, it will still be more cost effective for you than acquiring a replacement set of keys. Many new cars possess an ECU (Engine Control Unit), which programmes keys to a specific car instead of just turning the ignition. Even if you replace the key, the car will not start if the chip inside the key doesn’t match. These new electronic keys can be costly to replace.