How to scrap my car

March 01, 2024 by

Parting with those closest to us can be particularly hard and, for many of us, that’s just as true with our cars.

Sometimes though, you just need to let go — be that your ex, or the rusty old car sitting on your driveway.

But instead of resorting to scrapping your car, have you considered selling it instead? With Carwow, you can do that completely hassle-free and without any fees.

If you’ve accepted it’s time for your car to be scrapped though, this guide is here to tell you just how to do that.

When should I scrap my car?

It might be hard to know exactly when a car should be scrapped rather than sold, but there’s a handful of telltale signs

Repairs cost more than the car is worth

If it costs more to repair your car than it would be worth in good shape, then it makes sense to scrap it if you see it purely as a cash asset.

Of course, if there’s sentimental value to it and you’d rather pay over its worth to get it in good condition, then that’s completely understandable.

It’s been written off

If your car has been involved in an accident and your insurer has declared it a write off, then it is likely to make more economical sense to scrap it.

If it’s declared a category A or B write off, then you’ll have no choice but to scrap it. These are for cars deemed beyond repair, and must not be used on the road again.

It’s not worth enough to sell

If you’ll get more money for your car as scrap metal than selling it as is, it seems something of a no-brainer if you want a quick quid.

It’s been stripped for parts

Perhaps an old car of yours has been stripped for parts to serve as a lifeline for others of its kind. If you’re then left with a shell or a mass of unsalvagable parts, then perhaps it’s time to send the remains off to their final resting place.

Where can I scrap my car?

There’s only one type of place to scrap a car legally, and these are known as Authorised Treatment Facilities (known as ATFs). These are licensed by the government, so to find ATFs near you, just enter your postcode in to its ‘find a scrapyard’ search function: Many ATFs are independent, local scrapyards

These facilities have licences to deal with hazardous parts such as oil, batteries and various other bits of cars that other scrapyards may not be permitted to do.

How should I prepare my car to be scrapped?

There’s not much you’ll need to do to prepare your car for scrapping, though you’d be wise to clear it of any personal belongings. After all, you wouldn’t want to inadvertently destroy that CD of Busted’s ‘A Present for Everyone’ you got for Christmas 2003, right? But you will need to get together the important documents for your car (see below).

Unless your car is still fit and legal to be driven on public roads, you’ll need to arrange a collection of it it. You can either find a company willing to sort this for you, or you can trailer the car to a facility yourself if you have the means.

What documents do I need to scrap my car?

The key document you need to scrap your car with an ATF (authorised Treatment Facility) is the V5C (logbook). It is also a legal requirement to provide proof of your identity (e.g. passport or driving licence). Make sure you have your bank account details with you as well as you’ll need to give these details to the scrapyard so they can pay you.

Before you take the car to the ATF, ask if there’s anything else they need for the vehicle. The handbook may be of use to them if they are breaking the vehicle for parts, but be careful not to leave any service records that may have any of your personal or credit card details on them.

If you don’t have a V5C for the car, you can request a duplicate one through the DVLA website here. It will usually cost £25.

How to scrap my car: step-by-step

1. Check ways to scrap your car online

If you’re happy to do the admin work yourself, you can search online for your nearest ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility) where you’ll be able to scrap your car, or use the government’s official search tool for licenced ATFs:

If you think that’s too much hassle, there are companies that will handle the process for you, including its collection.

2. Take it for scrapping

If you’re doing the work yourself, you’ll need to arrange to get the car to the ATF of your choosing. If it’s roadworthy, insured and has a current MOT, you may be able to drive it there yourself. If not, you’ll need to arrange transportation – either by renting a trailer (if you can tow it) or finding a company to do this for you.

Perhaps you could also consider the easy option of selling it with Carwow instead.

3. Accept payment for your car

The ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility) will value your car based on its weight and the current prices in the recycled metals market. The price if offers you may be more for some newer cars, but may also be affected by if they have to come and collect the vehicle.

When it pays you for the car you’re scrapping, it will only be able to pay you by cheque or an electronic bank transfer (so make sure you have your bank account details with you).

It is important to note that it is illegal for the scrapyard to pay you cash for your scrapped car. Apparently, the ban on cash sales was introduced as a legal requirement to try to avoid dodgy deals and so there is an official record of the transaction.

4. Tell the DVLA you’ve scrapped your car

Once the car has been scrapped, you’ll need to notify the DVLA. You can do that easily online here, all you’ll need is the 11 digit reference number from the V5C.

After notifying the DVLA, you’ll then need to destroy the logbook if you haven’t already handed it over to the ATF.

If you do not tell the DVLA you have scrapped your car you will be fined £1,000.


How much will I get for scrapping my car?

How much you’ll get for the scrap value of your car varies wildly, with factors including the number of recyclable materials to metal values on the day. It’s worth chatting to the ATF before scrapping the car if you’re hoping for a more accurate estimate.

Can I scrap a car without the V5C logbook?

You can scrap the car without the V5C, but it may be tricky. Some AFTs may refuse if you don’t have this proof of ownership or other documents supporting your ownership of the car.

You’ll still be able to inform the DVLA without one, but you’ll need to do this by post.

Can I get a refund on my car insurance if I scrap it?

If you’ve scrapped your car, you’ll be able to claim a refund on your insurance premium if you have time left on your policy.

Each insurer will have its own ways of handling this, so it’s best to get in touch directly with them.

Does scrapping a car affect my insurance?

If you’re scrapping your car on your own accord, you won’t need to tell insurers you’ve done this and it’ll have no direct impact on your premiums.

If it’s been scrapped as a result of a write-off, the incident itself will be noted by insurers and is likely to affect your premiums.

How can I check if a car has been scrapped?

Read our useful guide to how to check if your car has been scrapped here.