Do I have to inform the DVLA when I scrap my car?

Do I have to inform the DVLA when I scrap my car?
10th June 20207 min read

Your car has been scrapped. You took the vehicle to an authorised treatment facility (ATF) and had it dismantled. Now what? While you might think the job is done, it’s important you alert the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as to what has happened to the car. 

In fact, it’s a legal requirement to tell DVLA that your car has been scrapped. Not only could you miss out on a tax reimbursement, but you might even end up with a costly fine.

If you have already typed into Google “tell DVLA car is scrapped,” you may be panicking about how to complete the process. Thankfully, you have two positive points in your favour. One, it’s straightforward to do. Secondly, you have landed on this comprehensive guide.

Below we will explain how to inform the DVLA about when you scrap your car, the potential issues if you don’t, and much more. 

How do I notify DVLA of scrapping my car?

When it comes to getting in touch with the DVLA in relation to your scrapped vehicle, there are two main ways of doing this: online or by post. Below is a step-by-step guide on what to do for each method:

An online DVLA vehicle scrapped notification

The most common and easiest way of notifying the DVLA is by doing it online. The government has their own dedicated platform for this, which makes it simple to do. With that said, there are three vital details you will require for this option. These are:

  • The registration number for the scrapped vehicle
  • The 11-digit reference number found in the vehicle logbook (V5C)
  • The address and name of the Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) that scrapped the car and issued the Certificate of Destruction

Even if you didn’t receive any money from the ATF in exchange for the vehicle, you still need to supply their details for verification purposes. Also, an insurance company may have taken the vehicle off your hands instead of an ATF. In this case, simply provide their details to the DVLA when notifying them of your scrapped vehicle.

To let the DVLA know the car was scrapped or written off, use the aforementioned details to complete the online form on the “Tell DVLA you’ve sold, transferred or bought a vehicle” page. Simply scroll down to the “Tell DVLA” button to enter your details. Note: this service is only available from 7am to 7pm each day.

When finished with the V5C, and unless it is already in the hands of the ATF or insurance company, ensure that you destroy it. 
Once you have sent the notification, you will receive an email confirmation from the DVLA stating that it has been received – assuming you provide your email address when filling in the notification. Later on, a letter will come through the post confirming the vehicle is no longer your responsibility, and you’ll also obtain a refund check for any leftover road tax you’re due.

Sending the notification by post

In theory, sending your notification by post is as easy as doing it via the internet. There are just two points against going this route. It’s not as instant when compared to online, of course. Furthermore, you need to have the right paperwork to hand. 
That paperwork is Section 9 of your V5C logbook. Simply fill this in, pop it in an envelope, and mail it over to the DVLA. Their address is as followed: 

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Following this, you may have to wait up to four weeks until you receive a letter in response from the DVLA. This letter will state you have no further ties to the scrapped vehicle.

What if you don’t have your vehicle logbook?

If there’s one common theme between the two methods listed above, it’s the use of the vehicle logbook – aka the V5C. Yet there’s one obvious problem with this: what if you no longer have the logbook? 

After all, it’s far from uncommon for a vehicle owner to misplace their V5C. Fortunately, not all hope is lost. Simply type up or write a letter that details your situation, that you’ve transferred the vehicle to an ATF, and you no longer have access to your V5C.

Also, include the following details: 

  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the ATF
  • The specific date you sold the vehicle to the ATF
  • The car’s registration number
  • The make and model of the car

This letter then has to be sent to: 

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If you deal with an insurance provider over an ATF, the missing V5C situation might also crop up if you hand the entire logbook over to your insurance company. In this case, the letter still remains virtually the same – you just provide details of your insurance company in place of the ATF. The DVLA will then contact the insurers, and your role is over. 

When sending the letter, it’s imperative that it includes all of the requested information. If not, the notification can be rejected, and this will cause a delay to the DVLA recognising the vehicle is officially scrapped. This is problematic for one main reason: your unused road tax. If you’re due a tax refund, a delay can affect the amount you will ultimately receive.

Don’t be tricked into a replacement V5C

Rather than going through the trouble of sending a letter via the aforementioned method, why not simply get a replacement V5C from the DVLA? Well, the one issue with this is cost. You will have to spend £25 for a replacement logbook. 

Certain opportunistic ATFs will try and use this to their advantage. For instance, when they provide a quote for your vehicle, they could do this by taking away the cost of the V5C. So say you were originally going to receive £125 for the scrapped car, they will reduce it to £100 and take care of the V5C for you. 

This doesn’t seem bad on the surface, right? However, the scrap dealer will not actually have to go out of their way for the V5C. Once you have informed the DVLA that the vehicle has been sold, the ATF will be sent a new logbook free of charge. There’s no £25 involved, so never foot the imaginary bill.

What is the DVLA Certificate of Destruction?

When you scrap your car at an official ATF, this will result in the production of a Certificate of Destruction (COD). The COD details that the vehicle was scrapped, and you also relinquished control of the car to the ATF. 

In most cases, the production of the COD will be enough to let the DVLA know about your former vehicle’s status. The reason for this is simple: the DVLA also produces the COD. Yet if you haven’t received a confirmation letter, or if you feel you’ve been duped by a rogue trader posing as an ATF, it’s essential you contact the DVLA and tell them about your scrap car. 

In addition, you should also keep a copy of the COD in a safe place. If the DVLA decides to get in contact for further information about how your vehicle was scrapped, the COD can help provide the answers. Plus, if the COD goes missing, it’s gone forever – there’s no option of generating another copy. 

For more information about COD and how it functions, you can read our detailed breakdown by clicking here.

What if you don’t declare a car scrapped to the DVLA?

If you don’t update the DVLA about the car’s condition, this could result in a number of issues. 

For a start, you could be handed a fine of £1,000 for simply failing to update your vehicle owner details. The fine typically won’t be that severe, but it’s still an unnecessary bill you’ll never want to face. You might think scrapping the car will make a nice bit of money, but that could be wiped out due to failing to complete a minimal amount of paperwork.

You could be handed a fine of £1,000 for simply failing to update your vehicle owner details

On top of this bill, you could receive even further financial hardship. In some cases, a car owner has been given a fine automatically for offences – even if they’re not liable for said offences. As an example, the computer system at the DVLA may list the vehicle as untaxed. Yet the same vehicle could remain registered under your name, which could lead to tax-related penalties.

How do I check if a vehicle has been scrapped according to the DVLA?

You might be aware that the vehicle is long gone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the DVLA knows. Even if you take the steps listed above, how can you be certain that it has been recorded as scrapped? After all, there is no specialised DVLA scrapped car check system.

Fortunately, you’re not going to struggle to receive a response from the DVLA. They are, after all, a government agency – communication is an essential component of their operation. As for how this response reaches you, it is dependent on how you first contact them about the scrapped vehicle.

If you decided to contact the DVLA via their online platform, the best way to receive an instant response is by providing your email address. When doing this, they will send a confirmation by email that will acknowledge your scrap car notification. This should be sent within 24 hours.

When you don’t supply your email address, you will be waiting on a confirmation letter through the post. The DVLA says that you could be waiting up to four weeks for this letter to arrive. When it does get posted, it would be wise to keep hold of the letter and file it away. While you likely won’t ever have to see it again, it’s best to keep it around just in case.

If the letter doesn’t turn up within that timeframe, you should phone the DVLA on 0300 790. Simply explain the situation and see if they have an update about not just the letter, but also if they actually received your notification.

Who else do you have to inform?

Along with the DVLA, it’s also essential you contact your car insurance provider. Ultimately, there’s no need to pay for additional insurance coverage on a vehicle that no longer exists. With that said, always avoid cancelling your coverage too early.

If you were to cancel the insurance before the vehicle is collected by the ATF, you could end up breaking the law. You might think it is only illegal when driving the car, but simply having it parked on a public road is also prohibited. However, as soon as the relevant V5C slip is completed and sent to the DVLA, and the vehicle is recovered by the ATL, the car is no longer your responsibility. This means you can cancel the insurance coverage immediately.

In certain cases, you may be due a refund from your insurance provider. For instance, if you paid upfront for a full month’s coverage but only used three months of this, you could receive some money back for the remaining nine months.

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