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How to scrap my car legally

Whether it’s a bump, crash or just a failed MOT, it’s always a sad day when you have to make the decision to scrap your car. When that time comes, it’s imperative that you make sure everything is completed correctly and above board. This means you’ll want to know ‘how do I scrap my car legally?’ Here, we answer this question and more.

Where do I start?

A key question is whether you want to take any parts of the vehicle or not. Should you wish to take any piece of the car, you’ll need to inform the DVLA and declare the vehicle as off the road (SORN). You can then dismantle the car as you wish, removing whatever parts you want, and scrap the rest.

If you’ve decided not to take any parts from the vehicle, then you can start looking for an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). Such places are more commonly known as breakers or scrap yards. The best place to find a reputable company is on the internet. Just type in your area followed by ATF and you will be given a comprehensive list of companies in your local area who can help.

Many companies today will come to you and take the car away free of charge, paying you for the scrap value of your vehicle. Whoever you decide to use, it’s essential you get the correct papers completed. For example, if the car is to be dismantled for parts, you’ll need to have the logbook (V5) completed, transferring ownership to the ATF you are using.

If the company is taking the vehicle to be totally destroyed, then you’ll require a Certificate of Destruction (CoD). Failure to ensure all this paperwork is completed and correct could result in you receiving a hefty fine from the DVLA. Everything you need to know can be found on the government’s website.

What happens next?

Once the paperwork has been completed, you’ll receive the scrap value of the car as payment. This should be discussed before you go ahead with the transaction. Another option is to donate the money made from the scrappage to charity. There are a number of websites where you can scrap your car and have the payment forwarded to a charity of your choice. These not-for-profit car donation services may offer to collect your vehicle. They’ll then decide if the vehicle is to be auctioned off or scrapped, send the value to your chosen charity and send you a receipt of the transaction so you know that it has been paid – it’s a great way to ‘give something back’.

Don’t forget…

Be sure to remember that you can claim back any unused car tax, and you’ll also want to inform your insurance company straight away to cancel your policy, or get a quote for any new vehicle you might be purchasing to replace the old one. Finally, make sure there are no CDs in the player or items in the glove compartment, and take a good look around the boot before you hand over the keys and documents.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

When a car is scrapped, any hazardous materials are removed, along with any parts considered harmful to the environment. Tyres will be removed for recycling, the car will then be crushed and separated into plastic, fibre and metal, and recycled.

When a car is no longer roadworthy, it still has some value. An Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) will pay you the scrap value of your car, which could be well over a hundred pounds, depending on the model.

Yes, you can. Before your car is collected, you’ll need to ‘retain’ your registration with the DVLA; either online or through the post. Your registration will then be held on a retention certificate, ready to transfer to another car.

No. It’s important that your car is free of rubbish and personal belongings - as our scrap partners are not equipped to deal with anything other than the car.

End of Life Vehicle (ELV) is the term used to describe a car that is no longer suitable for use – either through wear and tear or damage. ELVs must be recycled at authorised treatment facilities.

Yes – it’s important that you inform the DVLA when you scrap your car, as you could be liable for any on-going charges relating to it if you don’t. The quick and easy way to inform the DVLA is by completing and returning section 9 (or section 4 on post-April 2019 documents) of the V5C log book form.

If you’re entitled to any unused road tax when you scrap your car, you should get in touch with the DVLA to reclaim it. Since tax discs were phased out, this can no longer be done at a post office – so you’ll need to contact the DVLA directly, either on the phone, by post, or using their website.

Someone else can scrap your car for you but they must take it to an authorised treatment facility (ATF) and hand over all appropriate paperwork for it to be done legally.

You can get in touch with your insurance company and cancel your cover after your car has been collected. If you cancel your insurance before collection, you’ll be breaking the law if you drive the car on a public road. -

It’s illegal to scrap someone’s car without their permission and take payment. The Scrap Dealers Act requires that individuals scrapping cars provide photo ID and proof of address and are never paid in cash, ensuring transactions can be easily traced.