If you’re curious about what happens to scrap cars, read on for a breakdown of the steps taken by scrap dealers to destroy vehicles safely. Your car should only be scrapped at an authorised treatment facility (ATF) where they’ve got the skill set to recycle your vehicle properly. It’s illegal and punishable by heavy fines in the UK to scrap your car at any other location.
The depollution process
The first step in scrapping your car is to extract the hazardous materials present. The car battery is removed, which contains acid that can cause blindness, and lead, which is poisonous when ingested.
The fuel tank of your car will also be removed, along with any airbags fitted. Both of these parts are considered dangerous as they could explode. With air bags, this is caused by the chemicals they contain. In the case of fuel tanks, traces of petrol or diesel are highly flammable. Containing pyrotechnic charges, seat belt pretensioners are also removed for safety.
Disposing of fluids safely
The fluids contained in a car for scrap must also be disposed of correctly. Remaining fuel, coolants, oils and anti-freeze can contaminate soil or the water supply if not dealt with properly. Car parts that come into contact with fluids and pollutants or contain them must also be removed. From your car’s catalytic converter to its oil cap, all must be dismantled safely.
Recycling your tyres
A scrap car’s tyres will be removed for recycling at a specialist centre. Only a limited number of tyres can be secured at such a site at any one time for safety’s sake. The material they’re made from means that should they catch fire, a large quantity of tyres can burn at extremely high temperatures for several days.
Crushing your scrap car
With the depollution process fully complete, your scrap car is ready to be safely crushed. All of its individual parts are separated by material classification including metal, fibre and plastic, then fully recycled.
Payment for scrap cars
When accepting payment for your scrapped vehicle, it’s important to be aware that you should never take cash from a scrap dealer. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 made cash payments for scrap cars illegal in both England and Wales. This was part of an effort to reduce car crime and prohibit the activities of unscrupulous scrap dealers. Only accept payment by bank transfer or cheque.
Certificate of Destruction and informing the DVLA
Within seven day of scrapping your car, the ATF will send you an official Certificate of Destruction confirming that your vehicle has been disposed of.
You must inform the DVLA when your vehicle’s been scrapped; failure to do so can result in fines of up to £1,000. Before handing your V5 logbook to the scrapyard, remove the slip from the yellow section which confirms you’ve had your car scrapped and post it to the DVLA.
If you don’t have a V5 registration document, you need to write to the DVLA and include your details and the name and address of the ATF where your car was scrapped. Let them know the exact date when the transaction took place and include your car registration number, make and model. Ensure you double check your application before sending, because if you miss out any of these details from your submission it will be rejected by the DVLA and you’ll falsely be registered as the keeper of your scrapped vehicle.