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How to scrap your car

It’s never easy saying goodbye to your old car – chances are you’ve been through a lot together – but sometimes there’s no option but to scrap it.

Whether the engine’s given up the ghost, it’s failed its MOT or you’re upgrading to a newer model, there are a few things to bear in mind when you decide the old car has got to go.

Here’s our complete guide to scrapping your car…

1. Make sure you are getting paid what your car is worth. There are plenty of websites offering a collection service for your car – but be careful. Most will have a standard pricing system, which means you could be missing out on value for your car. What’s more, some sites will give you a provisional quote, but will pay you much less when they come to collect it if there are any defects on the car.

2. Don’t just sell it to the nearest scrap merchants; you may be missing out on a lot of money for your car. Sites like Scrap Car Network search for a collection partner in your area who will pay the most for the car, making sure you can get as much value as possible.

3. You may be able to make slightly more money by taking your car apart yourself and selling the parts; however, you should only do this if you are a trained mechanic or if you have the right skills and experience. It will also take a lot longer to find individual buyers for each part of your car, and you may struggle to sell some parts. Often, the time and hassle isn’t worth it when there are so many other quick, simple options.

4. You can’t get paid in cash for your scrap car. Don’t sell your car to anyone who tries to; it is illegal to pay cash for any scrap metal, so make sure you choose a reputable buyer.

5. If you do decide to sell some parts, don’t take the wheels off. If you take the wheels off to sell, or for any other reason, most places won’t collect your car and if they do, there is likely to be a hefty fee for taking it.

6. Make sure that the site which will scrap your vehicle is an Authorised Approved Treatment Facility; they are the only sites legally permitted to process your car. AATFs will meet the Environment Agency’s recycling standards, to make sure the vehicle doesn’t end up in environmentally harmful landfill sites.

7. If your car is being scrapped, you should receive a certificate of destruction. If you don’t get this, you could still be liable for traffic offence penalties or tax. The ATF will tell the DVLA that your can has been scrapped – but you also need to send section 9 of your V5C to the DVLA.

8. If you don’t sell your car instantly or if you want to take some parts off before you sell it, you will need a Statutory Off Road Declaration (SORN) if it isn’t taxed – otherwise you may have to keep paying tax and insurance.

9. Make sure you don’t lose your personalised number plate. If you do have a personalised number plate which you want to keep, you will need to send a v317 form to the DVLA to retain your registration. If you don’t and your car is scrapped, your plate will be put up for resale.

It may seem like there are a lot of rules, but a good scrap car service will take care of everything for you.

Sites like Scrap Car Network offers free collection for any vehicles in the UK. Their pricing system also ensures that you will get the best price possible, by choosing whoever, from their network of collection partners, will pay the most for your car.

All you have to do is put your reg number and a couple of details in on their website and they will give you a competitive quote for your car.

And here’s the really good bit. If you choose a site like Scrap Car Network, every car it collects allows it support the Recycling Lives charity – helping homeless and vulnerable adults get back on their feet.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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