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What is an ELV (End of Life Vehicle)?

If you’re making plans to scrap your car, you may see websites and documents referring to ‘ELVs’, ‘end of life vehicles’ or ‘end of life cars’. 

Here, we’ll explain what these terms mean – and go into a little more detail about the Government’s End of Life Vehicle Directive.

What makes a car an ELV?

There is no legally set end of life vehicle definition; the decision to consider a vehicle as having come to its end of life is generally made by the person who owns it. In many cases, this will be an individual deciding that it no longer makes sense to run the car – either as a result of wear and wear, or accident related damage. 

In other cases, a company will decide whether a vehicle should be considered an ELV. This most commonly occurs when an insurance company has ‘paid out’ – and therefore taken legal ownership of an accident damaged car. 

Different types of ELV

Not all ELVs are considered the same. In fact, there are 2 main categories of ELV:

  • Natural ELVs: These are vehicles that have come to the end of their life, either because of age-related technical failures – or because they are no longer economical to repair.
  • Premature ELVs: These are younger vehicles that would not be expected to fail technically – but have been written-off as a result of an accident or damage.

Don’t panic if you have a vintage or classic vehicle though! While some definitions might deem an older car (or one that requires restoration) not to be economically viable – they are not covered by end of life vehicle regulations. 

End of life vehicle disposal

Every year, millions of tons of waste are generated when cars are scrapped – and it’s important this waste is managed correctly. When it is decided that a car will become an ELV, it must be handled, dismantled and disposed of in a way that is as environmentally friendly as possible. 

In the UK, end of life vehicles can only be dismantled by Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs). When a car is collected by or delivered to an ATF, it is considered hazardous waste and is handled in line with end of life vehicle regulations – created in 2003, but updated in 2015 to this current version.

When the ATF that is handling your car confirms with the DVLA that it has been processed following these regulations, a certificate of destruction (COD) is generated, and the vehicle is deregistered.

Car.co.uk and ELVs

At Car.co.uk, we take the regulations that surround end of life vehicle disposal very seriously. We only work with scrap yards and dismantlers that meet the government’s strict ATF approval and follow UK vehicle end of life legislation.

As a result, you can be sure that when you use our service, your ELV is being handled in a way that limits any harm to the environment.

Other related FAQs

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

The answer unfortunately is no. Once your MOT has expired you must get it renewed immediately. If you’re found to be driving without a valid MOT certificate, you could be fined up to £1,000.

Yes. Vehicle tax is no longer transferable from owner to owner – so, if you’re scrapping your car, we recommend that you get in touch with the DVLA soon after collection to reclaim any tax that may be owed.

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.

Our collection agents work contact-free and all payments are handled online. When it is required for you to show photographic ID simply put this down and our collection driver can then assess and record the information without touch.

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.

To scrap your car legally, the three absolute musts are you must use an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), ensure your logbook (V5 certificate) is completed correctly, and, if the vehicle’s to be destroyed, obtain a CoD (Certificate of Destruction).

When a car is no longer roadworthy and needs to be scrapped, there’s probably a scrap dealer near you who will collect the car and pay you money for this. It’s easy to find a nearby scrapyard.

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.

It’s illegal to sell a car with outstanding finance, so before you scrap a car you need to have paid off the outstanding finance amount. Technically, a car with outstanding finance is the lender’s property, not yours.

Scrapping your car can be the solution when repair or running costs are greater than your vehicle’s value. If your car has been written off, deemed unsafe or no longer in use, these are all additional reasons to scrap it.