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Should you scrap an old car?

By raccars Published

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Traditionally, cars were scrapped when they could not be repaired or when the cost of doing so outweighed the market value of the car itself. However, a few years ago scrap metal prices had risen to the point whereby you could be well paid for a scrapped car. However scrap metal is a global commodity which, like gas, gold and other commodities is subject to the vagaries of market forces.

At the moment those market forces have depressed the price of scrap metal so that you can no longer be sure that you will make any money from scrapping your car. In some cases you are lucky to get away with not having to pay for the removal process.

Is your old car worth anything as scrap?

Some two million cars are sent for scrap every year in the UK alone, so it's clear to see how easily a glut of scrap metal can build up and prices can fall in response. Bear in mind however that a number of cars are not sent to the scrapper in their entirety but are broken up to salvage any usable parts before going into the crusher.

If your car is particularly rare or desirable this process can make you some money but otherwise you are relying upon a shortage of recyclable metal in the world to get any kind of financial return from scrapping a car.

You can, of course, attempt the stripping out process and try to sell the parts yourself. This is arguably the most profitable option but you may find that, in return, scrap dealers will be pay you less and may even charge for collection of the stripped-out shell because there's less profit in the job for them once you have removed the valuable parts.

There are various routes to scrappage, all of which are detailed online and it's worth doing a bit of research. If, for example, you aren't offered much for your car as scrap, consider donating it to charity instead. There are websites which can organise this for you. If you are determined to try and make some money you will also find agents, some of which work in partnership with manufacturers, who will handle the scrappage process for you.

Beware unlicensed scrap metal merchants

There are a number of legal steps to be followed when scrapping a car. EU legislation stipulates that 95 per cent of a car sent to scrap must be recyclable, but not all facilities are licensed to carry out this process. You must make sure that you use an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), which is licensed to deal with hazardous remains such as batteries and oil correctly. Furthermore, you will need a Certificate of Destruction (CoD) to inform the DVLA that you have scrapped your car. These are only available from ATFs. It is a criminal offence to scrap your car in any other way.

Do the paperwork

You need to make sure that the DVLA receives a CoD for your car or you will still be charged VED or road tax. There is a section on your V5C registration document which you must fill in and provide in exchange for a CoD, which you then send to the DVLA. Any remaining full months of VED will be refunded to you automatically and you should contact your insurer for a refund from them too.

Remember that the Scrap Metal Dealers' Act of October 2013 makes it illegal to accept cash for your scrapped car. Authorised Treatment Facilities will also want to see I.D. and proof of address. They must keep a copy of these for three years.

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