Tuesday 2nd June 2015
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For some drivers there might come a time in their motoring lives when they have to scrap a car.  There may be several reasons, the parts are no longer available or the parts would cost more than the car itself is worth.  Alternatively, it may have been in an accident and your insurance company has declared the car a write off. In the latter case the insurance company will deal with it for you.  Whatever the reason, your car now needs to go to the great car scrapheap in the sky.

Traditionally, people would visit their local breaker’s yard and get a few small notes in return for what was once their pride and joy. Now with increasing demand for customer satisfaction, changing legislation and the revolution of the internet there are more options available to you and other things to think about too.  To find breakers just visit our car breakers page to find a list of breakers in the UK, some of them are on our network of car and van parts suppliers.

You could use a dedicated website such as CarTakeBack.com or removemycar.co.uk. Enter the reg no and your location and you will receive quotes for collection and delivery.  The factors that determine price are location, scrap metal prices and the size of the car.  I checked out my car, an old Vauxhall Corsa 1999 on CarTakeBack.com and was offered £95 to arrange collection or between £60 and £110 if I used a reasonably close centre.   That was more than I expected.  Ford use CarTakeBack as their recycling partner.

If you aren’t worried about the money but want a charity to benefit then you could donate your car to GiveACar.co.uk or CharityCar.co.uk. They will take your car and then either auction or scrap it and the proceeds will go to a charity in the UK of your choosing.  There aren’t any costs involved for you and at the same time you get rid of the car and get to help someone out.

How to scrap a car

You have to make sure that you dispose of the car legally and that all paperwork is done otherwise you could still be held liable for the car. When scrapping a car you should find your V5 ownership document and follow the instructions in section 9.  Send the relevant part of the form to the DVLA who should write to you to confirm that you’re no longer liable for the car.  The DVLA will automatically refund you any unused road tax.  You should also contact your insurance company to claim a refund in case you are entitled to one.

Legislation brought in during 2005 made it a legal requirement that all cars being scrapped must go to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). Therefore all car scrapyards are required to have a licence issued by the Environment Agency to ensure that scrapped vehicles do not present any danger to the environment.  They must recycle all parts appropriately, especially bearing in mind battery acid and gearbox oil.  The EU requires that 95% of scrap cars are recycled.  Only ATFs are legally allowed to dispose of scrap cars so that they can deal with the hazardous parts like batteries and oil. These are the only places who are authorised to issue the ‘Certificate of Destruction’ (CoD). If you recycle your car anywhere else you are committing a criminal offence.

Be wary of any sites or companies that offer ‘Destruction Certificates’ or ‘Certificates of Collection’ as these aren’t genuine.  The ATF should send you the CoD within 7 days.  Do be very careful about this as once the car is out of your hands if you don’t have the certificate or proof that you transferred ownership you could be in trouble should something untoward happens with the car.

The other thing to be wary of is that the Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act of 2013 declares that it’s illegal to pay cash for scrap cars in England and Wales. If anyone offers you cash then run!  Dealers should pay you using a cheque or pay the money direct into your bank account.  You are legally required to show ID (passport/driving licence) and proof of address when using scrap dealers and the dealers are legally obliged to store copies of these documents for three years.  Some dealers will store information electronically and use anonymous identification and encryption to protect individuals from identity fraud.  You may want to check with the scrap dealer how they will hold and protect your data.

Each year about 2 million cars are scrapped and the majority of them are aged between 10 and 16 years old.  The price varies depending on age and can be anywhere between £100 and £300, the average price is about £150.  Do check your car out before you scrap it though in case it is a worth more than its scrap value.  For more information visit the DVLA page.