How Do You Check If a Car Has Been Scrapped?
If you are considering purchasing a used car, it is crucial that you establish whether or not it has been scrapped as this could save a potentially costly error.
Scrapped vehicles are unfit for sale or use on public roads, and must be destroyed at a scrapyard before they become roadworthy again. While written off cars can often be repaired back into roadworthy condition, scrapped ones must be destroyed as soon as they reach irreparability – otherwise their destruction would create more waste at landfill sites than necessary.
The DVLA’s online vehicle enquiry service
Scrapped vehicles have been removed permanently from the road due to age, mechanical problems or damage from an accident. While written-off cars can often be repaired and returned to use on the road again, scrapped cars cannot. Therefore, it is vital that potential buyers verify whether any vehicle they are considering purchasing has been scrapped by conducting an HPI check which includes a car scrap check.
Once a car has become unfixable and unsellable, it will be officially scrapped by the DVLA. This involves transporting it to an authorized treatment facility (ATF) where they will dismantle and destroy it before notifying DVLA of their destruction and provide them with a Certificate of Destruction document as proof that this vehicle no longer belongs to DVLA registration.
ATF will then use the parts from these cars to repair other vehicles or manufacture materials such as metal. This process, known as downcycling, is an eco-friendly way of recycling waste; however, not all cars may qualify; some of their spares or parts could still have value as spares and parts are often needed by repair shops for other projects like building roads or repairs.
Though vehicles that have been officially scrapped are no longer legal to sell or drive on public roads, unscrupulous dealers may sell such cars illegally and pose an immense danger. Before giving anyone money for this purchase, always run an HPI check with a car scrap check to protect your own wellbeing and keep yourself protected from potentially hazardous deals.
Use the DVLA’s Online Vehicle Enquiry Service to quickly check if a car has been scrapped, using its free tool of vehicle enquiry. This free tool provides all relevant details about it such as SORN status, MOT test results, manufacturer details and theft/written off details if applicable – plus whether the DVLA has recorded it being scrapped!
The DVLA’s vehicle history check
Once a car is written-off or has reached its end of life due to serious damage, it must be scrapped formally in order to become no longer legal to drive on public roads and be sold or bought again. Before buying a second-hand vehicle as secondhand it is vitally important that its registration number has been checked with an established company to confirm this has occurred.
This will show whether or not a vehicle has been scrapped; if so, DVLA will mark it with a yellow “Scrapped” marker. You can also visit an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), providing them with your V5C logbook, so they may dismantle and inform DVLA of its scrapping status.
The ATF must also issue you a Certificate of Destruction (COD), which is critical. It verifies that they have accepted responsibility for your vehicle and no longer own it; you should keep this document safely as proof that your car was properly and legally disposed of.
A DVLA car history check is the ideal way to check whether a vehicle has been officially scrapped, helping you avoid purchasing potentially hazardous used cars while also getting adequate cover for it. This is particularly important when driving overseas – this check provides added protection from unscrupulous dealers who might attempt to sell off scrapped vehicles to unknowing customers.
Purchase of scrapped vehicles is illegal and could lead to fines as well as loss of insurance coverage if caught. Therefore, it’s vital that you confirm whether a vehicle has been officially scrapped – you can do this with an online DVLA car history check which does not cost anything; alternatively there are agencies which provide similar information at reasonable costs.
The DVLA’s scrapyards
When a vehicle becomes no longer roadworthy or written off, it needs to be scrapped legally and appropriately. To do this, an ATF, also known as an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), must be taken where it will be dismantled and disposed of – usually through scrapyard or car recycler facilities; although notification to DVLA by filling out their Yellow ‘Sell, Transfer, Part Exchange Your Vehicle to Motor Trade’ section on V5C logbook must also take place and received by them before ATF provides them with a Certificate of Destruction (COD), providing proof that everything has taken place accordingly.
Before scrapping any vehicle, it is crucial that you obtain and secure a Certificate of Destruction as soon as possible and store it safely. This will help avoid fraud and ensure the car has been legally scrapped. You should notify your insurer as well, so they can cancel their policy and reimburse any money that has been paid out on its coverage.
Once the DVLA has received your Certificate of Destruction (COD), they will send you a letter confirming that it has been scrapped from your name. Keep this for future reference or as proof that your car was actually scrapped instead of stolen or sold on for salvage.
Inform the DVLA that your vehicle has been scrapped by filling out form V890 available on their website or at Post Office branches; it’s free. Furthermore, inform ATF of your intention to scrap your vehicle.
When taking your vehicle to be scrapped, ensure the ATF keeps the yellow slip (V5C/3). If they do not, inform DVLA immediately that an unauthorised dealer has acquired your vehicle and remove any essential parts that would compromise its roadworthiness – this may impact upon their roadworthiness rating.
The DVLA’s scrap certificate
Certificate of Destructions are issued by the DVLA when you scrap your car for sale, officially relieving you of responsibility. They’re sent directly to an ATF where your car was disassembled and destroyed, who will report back to them and update their records accordingly. A Certificate of Destruction (COD) is an essential legal requirement when selling vehicles for scrap. Without it, further legal or financial obligations could arise after selling them off as scrap.
Cars that have become too damaged for repair or have reached the end of their lifespan should be considered scrapped and, to protect yourself from potential danger, run an HPI check before purchasing any used cars. This often happens after being involved in an accident but could also happen if no longer roadworthy. Although some individuals opt to repair these scrapped vehicles themselves, this can be extremely hazardous – to ensure safety it is wiser to run an HPI report first!
If the car you want to buy has been recorded as scrapped, you won’t be able to register or drive it legally on public roads. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous dealers may falsely claim they’ve scrapped it when this hasn’t actually happened, which could cause untold trouble for unsuspecting buyers if caught unawares by this scam. It is therefore wise for buyers to be wary of such schemes in order to stay protected against them.
An HPI check can reveal whether or not a car has been scrapped, but is less comprehensive than purchasing a full vehicle history report with COD checks included. An HPI report can tell you whether or not SORN status, MOT history and manufacturing details have changed, but won’t tell you whether the vehicle has been declared statutory write-off or scrapped; to do this you will require purchasing one with all these features included.
Personalised registration numbers cannot be used on scrapped cars, but can still be transferred or retained for future use. Additionally, the DVLA may issue a refund of any taxes paid. In cases of sales without returning license plates to them however, DVLA could take legal action including fines and prosecution.