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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

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.

No problem. A Certificate of Destruction (COD) can be issued to you when your car is scrapped, but you need to make us aware of this prior to collection.

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).

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.

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.

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, 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.

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.