How do I scrap a car?

How do I scrap a car?
10th June 20208 min read

When it will cost too much to repair a car, scrapping it is the obvious solution. Unfortunately, many people scrap their vehicles without knowing the best way to do so. That means that they can lose money or even leave themselves vulnerable to fines or criminal proceedings. When tackled right, scrapping a vehicle is a straightforward process. Knowing how to scrap a car in the right way is essential, and learning how to scrap a car has never been easier. If your vehicle is damaged to the point where repairs are pointlessly expensive, here's what you need to know about getting rid of an old car, the best ways to scrap a car, and how to scrap a car for the most money.

When to Scrap a Car?

There are many reasons why you might be thinking about scrapping a vehicle. While some of these situations are fairly obvious, others might surprise you. If you're considering saying goodbye to your vehicle, these are the times when getting rid of an old car is the smart move:

Running Costs

If your car spends more time in the garage getting repairs than on the road, or it's failing its MOT every time you take it to the shop, then you'll end up paying more than the car is worth. Replacement parts and mechanics are not cheap. If your car's running costs are more than its total value, then that's a good sign that it's time to start thinking about selling a car for scrap.

High Petrol Costs

As cars get older, they become less fuel-efficient. That means you can quickly find that the amount of money that you're putting into the tank far outweighs the value of the car itself. If you want to ease the strain on your wallet (and do your bit for the planet), then selling a car for scrap is a good way to get some extra funds to upgrade to your next car.


A money crisis can happen at any time, and scrapping a vehicle is a quick and easy process that will get some much-needed cash into your pocket. If your car is rarely used and tends to sit parked more often than not, it's worth looking at the best way to scrap a car so that you get the most money from the process.

Safety Reasons

When cars get too old, they can become dangerous. If your dashboard lights are like a disco and your engine pumps out as much smoke as your exhaust, then that's a good sign that it's time to think about getting rid of an old car. Cars do not have an infinite lifespan. Therefore, the longer that you drive it when there are warning signs, the more likely that you will be a danger to yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.

After an Accident

A collision of any kind is going to cause vehicle damage. Sometimes, your car will be written off if the damage is severe. Again, if it costs more to make repairs than the value of the vehicle, then it's time to declare car scrapped status and make some money from it.

Once you have decided that you are best off selling a car for scrap, you need to think about how do you scrap a car legally, quickly, and with maximum safety.

When to scrap a car

How to Scrap a Car

A scrap car recycling centre is where you need to go, but there are a number of potential pitfalls to bear in mind when you have decided that scrapping a car is your best option. There are some steps to follow and some considerations to take into account before your vehicle is finally scrapped, and it's important that you get them right.

Step One: Online Scrapping

It used to be that scrapping a vehicle meant somehow getting it to a scrapyard, negotiating with the owner of the yard, and then making your way home without a vehicle. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Now, not only do vehicle owners not have to pay to have their cars scrapped, they can even earn some money from the process too. Now, you can easily arrange to scrap my car online, and, in many cases, transportation of your old vehicle can be arranged too.

Step Two: The Paperwork

As with anything involving cars, there's always going to be plenty of paperwork. You'll need to make sure that you have all of the right documents when selling a car for scrap. If you don't, then there may be complications about who owns the scraped car. If the paperwork is mismanaged then you may end up being responsible for a vehicle that has been destroyed or sold on. Of course, that then exposes you to potential fines from the DVLA for owning a car that doesn't have road tax (even if that car has been scrapped). Even worse, you may even end up paying for speeding fines or parking fines if the vehicle you thought was scrapped was instead sold to someone else. If you don't get your paperwork sorted, then the repercussions can last years. You must understand the importance of getting your documents and paperwork right.

Step Three: Choose Scrapyards Responsibly

While there are plenty of scrapyards that offer high-quality service and all of the right documentation, there are always going to be those that want to cut corners and leave you exposed to risks as a result. Unscrupulous scrapyard owners will tend to make promises that they can't keep, will promise you a cash payment that drops when you turn up with your car, and will usually fail to act responsibly with your paperwork. Since 2005, laws have been in place that dictates that all cars that are being scrapped must do so through an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). That means that all scrapyards in the UK need to have a license from the Environment Agency (or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency if you're in Scotland). These laws were put in place so that scrap is disposed of safely and responsibly. Most importantly, if a scrapyard owner offers you cash for your old car, then that's a good sign that they are not legitimate. In 2013, it was made illegal to pay for scrapped cars in cash. Instead, you will get your payment in the form of a bank transfer or a cheque.

Step Four: Tax and Insurance

The best thing about selling an old car for scrap is that it will stop costing you money on tax and insurance. When you are getting rid of an old car, then you need to make sure that the DVLA is made aware. If you have been using a reputable scrap dealer, then you will have received a Certificate of Destruction. In these cases, the DVLA will be notified, and the good news is that if you are entitled to any road tax refund, then that money will be sent to you without you having to do anything. However, don't forget to notify your car insurance company. Although this is rarely fun, they will tend to offer you the option to transfer your policy to another vehicle. They may also simply offer you a refund if you currently have any unused months of coverage.

Step Five: Talk to Your Scrap Dealer

It's common to see people sell off different parts of the vehicle just before they are scrapped. This is something that you need to think about very carefully, and it's often worth talking to your scrap dealer before you start removing tyres, batteries, or any accessories. This is only something that you should consider doing if you are knowledgeable about engines and car maintenance. Many scrapyards will refuse to take a vehicle if it has had an excessive number of parts removed.

What Documents Do You Need To Scrap a Car?

Failing to provide the right documents when you are scrapping a vehicle leaves you vulnerable to some serious risks. From continued ownership, even if someone else now has the keys, to fines and prosecution, selling a car without the right documentation is a risky business that's best avoided. Make sure that you have:

The Vehicle Registration Document (V5C)

Also known as the logbook, this is the single most important piece of paperwork that you'll need to have. It is proof that you own the car. However, it is possible to scrap a car with the V5C, as long as you can prove your identity and your ownership of the car.

A V5C/3

This is a piece of documentation that you will find in your V5C. It's easy to find as it is a yellow slip of paper. You need to sign this form, as does the dealer buying your car for scrap. That signed document then needs to be sent to the DVLA in Swansea. 

The Certificate of Destruction (CoD)

As long as you are using a registered dealer with an ATF licence, you will get a Certificate of Destruction. Getting the CoD will mean that the DVLA has received your V5C/3 and that responsibility for the vehicle no longer falls onto you. When the DVLA does issue a CoD, then they will automatically send you any refund road tax if you're entitled to it.

How To Scrap My Car Without The Logbook (V5C)?

While it isn't illegal to sell a vehicle without the logbook, it is more difficult. The quickest and easiest way to get around the difficulties is simply to apply for a new logbook from the DVLA. This can be done over the phone or via post, and the cost is just £25. Unfortunately, it can take up to six weeks before you get your replacement paperwork. The good news is that you can avoid all of that by writing to the DVLA to let them know that you have sold a car to an Authorised Treatment Facility. This costs nothing, but you will need to provide some documentation, including:

  • All of your details
  • The details of the ATF that is scrapping your vehicle
  • Vehicle information such as the registration number and the make/model of the vehicle
  • The date that the sale was made

Once this is done, the DVLA will then update their records so that you are not considered to be the owner or registered keeper of the car.

Can I Scrap My Car Without Keys?

If you have lost your keys (and your spare), then you can still sell your car for scrap. You will need to have all of your documentation, especially the V5 that has your name and address details filled in. In some cases, simply having a vehicle receipt will be sufficient. The big problem with not having the keys when selling a car for scrap is getting access to the vehicle. The car will need to be towed, and the steering lock will need to be off. Some yards will have access to a flatbed lorry, which will make everything easier, but this is not something you can rely on. Of course, if you don't have the keys, then your asking price is going to be substantially lower. It's best to negotiate a price beforehand because, in a lot of cases, a window will need to be broken for access. 

How to Determine Scrap Value of Car?

Car prices vary wildly, and there is no set answer for how much your car will sell for when it is being scrapped. Many factors will be taken into account, inducing:

  • Vehicle size and weight
  • Make, model, and age of the car
  • Whether parts have been removed (this can have a dramatic effect on price)
  • The distance that the dealer has to travel to collect your car
  • The current value of scrap metal

When it comes to knowing how to scrap a car for the most money, the more that you know about the value of your vehicle, the more likely that you will get a good price for it. There are a lot of car scrap price calculators available online, and it's worth checking these to have a more basic awareness of how much to expect for your old car.

When it comes to scrapping a vehicle, take the time to gather your paperwork and choose a respectable Authorised Treatment Facility, and you could be driving a new vehicle much sooner than you think.

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