How to Scrap Your Old Car – And Make Money

scrap cars cartoon image

Sometimes your car becomes too expensive to maintain. Constant repairs and struggles may eat away at your bank balance until you start to realise it’s not economical to keep it on the road. Especially when you know the repair is probably worth more than the whole car.

At these times it can be worth simply biting the bullet and scrapping the old vehicle. Yes, if you have a rare or appreciating classic, then you could take it off road, but this is the exception to the rule. So how can you scrap the old motor, and hopefully still retain a few pounds to get another car in your life?

Table of contents:

How Much is My Scrap Car Worth?

The answer is unfortunately not that much. It could potentially be only worth the scrap value of its metals and alloys – such as aluminium copper and steel. And there’s always the chance that if the markets are against you at the time, you could even be charged for the disposal of the steel. Conversely of course, sell your car in boomtime for scrap, when materials are in short supply, and you might make more than you thought.

With the new guidelines in place to stop owners from ditching their cars and running off, there are now a host of companies that will take your car for free, should the worst come to the worst. However, before this, it’s always a good idea to have a ring round 3 to 4 breaker’s yards to see if you can get an offer.

How to Scrap Your Car

Follow these simple instructions to get your car successfully scrapped:

Get the Right Paperwork

Get your books in order before you start or your old car will be going nowhere. You’ll need these documents at the start of the process:

  • The vehicle’s logbook (V5C) – don’t try to scrap the car without this vital piece of information that basically confirms you’re the owner – to stop people selling the vehicle without authorisation. You need to retain the V5C/3 yellow slip and make sure you collect your receipt from the ATF (see below in recycling section for more information).
  • The certificate of destruction (CoD) – once you’ve scrapped the vehicle, expect this document to be returned to you, either over email or post, directly from the DVLA, within a week. It’s an official certificate that proves you’ve had the car recycled, absolving you of any further responsibilities. Send this back to the DVLA and they’ll refund any outstanding road tax.
scrap car on a transporter cartoon

Check Online

The easiest option when it comes to scrapping cars has to be through online channels. Sit at home and organise the whole process from your tablet on the sofa on a site like, which will give you a flat offer or use or – both of which offer you prices based on quotes from local scrapyards. Generally, you’ll need to make sure of the following to for the price to be held:

  • Somewhere that’s easy to reach and accessible (on a road, not dumped in field for example)
  • Complete and with all the parts as listed on the site.
  • Free from waste, rubbish and any other matter that might require disposal.

You’ll need to also make sure that the tyres are pumped up fully and all sets of keys for the car are made available.

Charity Option

Want to feel good about scrapping your car? Consider using a site like or These sites will bring out your philanthropic side, allowing you to select a charity to receive the money raised by the scrapping of your old vehicle. All you have to do is get them to collect the vehicle, with the relevant paperwork (as we’ve already mentioned) and they’ll donate the cash.

Go to a Recycling Centre

These days most cars are made of up to 95% recyclable materials, thanks to EU legislation, but don’t think for a moment this means you can take them to any recycling facility. You want to check that the place is an authorised treatment facility (ATF) that’s licensed by the Environmental Agency. This way you can be sure that the car will be disposed of properly.

Scrapyard cartoon

Notify the DVLA

Got no V5C? You can still notify the DVLA via post, informing them of the sale by letter. Detail the registration number, make and model, date of sale and the name of your insurer or the scrapyard that took your vehicle. If you prefer to go the V5C route – then you can pay a charge of £25 to get a new one issued.

Insurance Refunds

Once your car’s been scrapped and the CoD has been issued, you’ll need to ring up your insurer to cancel the remaining insurance. And with a bit of luck, you might even get the remaining months refunded. It’s also worth bearing in mind that you can get a full refund on your remaining road tax.

Be Wary of Counterfeit Scrap Schemes

Watch out when you’re online – or dealing with potential scrap companies on the phone. It’s easy for them to appear legitimate. CoDs could be misrepresented as Destruction Certificates or Certificates of Collection (for example) which would not be legally valid. You may find they offer more cash and free advice schemes could try to get you to part with your vehicle for free.

And also remember – since the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (October 2013) it has been illegal to pay for scrapped cars in cash. This law also requires you to show proof of address and ID when taking your vehicle to the scrap merchants.

And Finally

Scrapping your car is a fast and simple process. If you need to get rid of your car then its much more time efficient than selling it. You can arrange for your car to be processed at an ATF in minutes through today’s web portals and most dealers will be able to pick it up in a matter of days. If you just want your car gone, then scrapping is a very good way to go. As with all transactions, make sure you keep your wits about you.

This entry was posted in Buying & Selling on by Justin Smith.

About Justin Smith

As the man at the helm of BreakerLink, it is no surprise that its Director, Justin Smith, has always had a keen interest in cars, bikes and most things wheeled. Having spent over two decades in the car parts industry, Justin combines his passion that since 2002, has successfully united those looking for new and used car parts with the breaker that supplies them. Follow Justin on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: These articles are for guidance purposes only. If you have any questions regarding any matter relating to your vehicle we would recommend that you seek the advice of an appropriate professional. We accept no responsibility or liability should you suffer financial or personal damages in relation to the advice stated on this website.