Scrapping a car

What does scrapping a car involve?

So, you’ve got a car in need of scrapping. It might have once been your pride and joy, or your first car, but now it has come to the end of its life. If you’ve been left wondering how you should actually go about scrapping your car and what it involves, we’re here to help.

Keeping car parts

The first step is to decide if you want to keep any car parts. If you’re handy with a spanner, or just can’t bear to lose those alloy wheels, you may want to keep some of your old car. To do this you will first need to contact the DVLA to declare the vehicle off the road (SORN) . This tells them that the car won’t be driven anymore. This will also mean that your car will cease to be taxed and you will get a refund for any remaining months of road tax. Once you have done this, you can then start salvaging any parts you want to keep.

Bear in mind that there are negatives to taking parts from a car you want to scrap. For starters, it may affect any payout a breaker offers you. Declaring your vehicle SORN means you legally won’t be able to drive it to a scrapyard either. As a result, you will need to arrange collection – even if you haven’t taken the wheels off your vehicle. Depending on the authorised treatment facility (ATF) you talk to, this may be free, or they may charge you for collection.

Finding a scrapyard

Once you’ve chosen whether to keep any parts or not, the next step when scrapping a car is to find a local ATF. Doing this is actually pretty straightforward. You can either simply search the web for something like “breaker’s yard near me”. Or you can use the postcode-based search on the government’s scrapyard finder.

You’ll probably get a sizeable number of suggestions, after all there are over 1,600 registered ATFs in the UK. So, this means you’ll want to compare and narrow down your options. Looking into things like whether they charge for vehicle collection may help with this. It’s also worth getting in touch with some to find out what they’re willing to offer you for your car – it definitely pays to shop around.

Getting your scrap car to the scrapyard

If the car you want to scrap is still a runner, then this may be as simple as driving round to the scrapyard. If it’s not, or you’ve removed functional parts from it, your vehicle is going to need to be collected. As mentioned above, not all scrapyards will offer collection and some will charge for the service – either separately or by deducting the cost from your car’s valuation.


First things first, you’ll need to bring personal identification and proof of address. As part of a bid to cut down on rogue traders, it is now a legal requirement for a scrapyard to document who they buy scrap vehicles from. It is also illegal for them to pay you cash in hand, so be prepared to provide details for a bank transfer or cheque.

Once you have scrapped your car, you need to inform the DVLA. This is a legal requirement and you can be fined if you don’t. Ideally the breaker’s yard will take care of this on your behalf. But if you have to do this yourself, you’ll need the 11-digit reference number that’s listed on your car’s log book (V5C) and the ATF’s details. The DVLA treats scrapping a car as selling it to the motor trade, even if you weren’t paid for it. So, when asked for the trader name and postcode you’ll want to give them the details of the scrapyard you used.

Assuming you’ve scrapped a car, light van or three-wheeler (think Reliant Robin not trike), the breaker’s yard should provide you with a certificate of destruction within 7 days. You’ll definitely want to keep hold of this when it arrives. This certificate acts as proof that you have done your part in disposing of the vehicle responsibly. It also protects you should any traffic offence penalties or unpaid vehicle tax somehow crop up after you’ve handed your car over for scrapping. Unfortunately, though, certificates of destruction are not provided for other types of vehicle.

So, now you understand what the car scrapping process involves, why choose us? At Hamptons we ensure your vehicle is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way, offer free collection and process all the paperwork for you. If you’re looking to sell a vehicle for scrap using a quick, hassle-free service why not get in touch on 01782 614 456 to discuss your options?

Alternatively, if you’re interested in learning more why not check out our scrap cars page for some interesting facts and figures?