How to Scrap a Vehicle
There is sadly a time when a car comes to the end of its useful life and needs to be scrapped. It could have suffered accident damage, broken down or failed an MOT and not be worth the cost of the repairs. Whatever your reason for scrapping your car, it’s important to follow the correct procedure and to understand your legal obligations.
If Your Car is a Write-Off
If your car is damaged and cannot be repaired, or the cost of repairs exceed the value of the vehicle, your insurer will declare it an insurance write-off. If the vehicle can’t be repaired, your insurance company will usually arrange to get it scrapped.
You’ll need to send the V5C log book to the insurance company, as you are in effect selling your car to them. But retain the yellow ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade’ section from it.
How to Scrap a Car Yourself
When you’re scrapping your vehicle for any other reason, you must have it taken to a registered breaker’s yard or scrapyard, officially known as an authorised treatment facility (ATF). The ATF can decide whether to scrap the vehicle or repair and sell it. In either case you need to give them the log book, but keep the yellow section.
Some ATFs will pay you the scrap value of your car. In England and Wales, if they scrap the vehicle, it’s illegal for them to pay you in cash, it must be a cheque or bank transfer. They will also provide you with a certificate of destruction within seven days. However, if they intend to repair and sell the car, they can pay by any means, including cash, and you won’t get a certificate of destruction.
You Must Tell the DVLA if Your Car is Scrapped
Whether your car has been written off and scrapped or taken to an ATF, you must inform the DVLA. You can use their convenient online service to do this. If you fail to tell the DVLA, you can face a £1,000 fine.
Salvaging Parts Before Scrapping a Car
If you want remove parts from your car before you scrap it, you’re entitled to do so. However, you need to apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and the vehicle must be stored on private land, such as in a garage or on a driveway. If you remove essential parts like the engine, gearbox, axles, etc, that make the car more difficult to move, an ATF can charge you a fee.
Retaining a Personalised Number Plate
If the car you’re scrapping has a personalised number plate, you can apply to the DVLA to have it taken off. In the case of an insurance write-off, you need to tell your insurance company that you want to keep the private plate before they have the vehicle scrapped.
You can apply online to retain the registration number, as long as you’re the car’s registered keeper. If the vehicle’s not in pour name, you can only apply by post. Either way, the cost is £80 and you’ll receive a new V5C log book and a V778 retention certificate that proves your entitlement to use the registration number.
You must have the new log book and V778 document before you scrap the car, or you’ll lose your valuable personalised number plate.