Why might you need to find out if a car’s been scrapped?
It might seem like an odd query to have – you’d hope that if a car’s been scrapped then it would already have been disposed of through a scrap dealer at an Authorised Treatment Facility.
There are, however, a few occasions when you might want to check if a vehicle has been scrapped. For example:
· Maybe you’ve just purchased, or are about to purchase a second-hand vehicle and want to make sure there hasn’t been any illegal activity in its past. It could be that the car you’re about to buy is labelled as ‘scrapped’ by the DVLA, which could mean it’s a written-off vehicle that has somehow slipped back into the market, posing a potential hazard to the driver and other road users.
How to check if a car has been scrapped
You can run a few checks on a vehicle for free through the DVLA, but unfortunately, while these will show plenty of details such as SORN status, whether the car is taxed, MOT and also manufacture details, they don’t actually show whether the car is marked as scrapped.
Instead, one of the most popular and reliable ways to check a car’s history, and something you should be doing for any second-hand vehicle purchase anyway, is to run an HPI check. HPI stands for Hire Purchase Information, and goes into a great deal of depth about the car’s history, often running checks with the DVLA, finance companies and insurance companies too. You do need to pay for the service, but you can be reassured that you’ll find out whether the car has been scrapped, stolen, marked as an insurance write off, or had any number plate changes, as well as any outstanding finance and the number of previous owners.
Plenty of reliable companies offer HPI checks, so have a search online to find one you like the look of – some examples include HPI Check, Check Car Details or Total Car Check. You can expect to pay somewhere between £10 – £20 for this check, and it could be worth every penny for the peace of mind it provides.
Has my car been scrapped? check if your car has been scrapped
If you’ve secured a great scrap quote, arranged for collection of your vehicle and have sent it off with a scrap buyer, you may feel like your involvement in the process is finished. Well, it mostly is, but you need one final document to make sure the vehicle is scrapped for good – this is called the Certificate of Destruction, or COD. The COD will be issued by the DVLA to the ATF (or Authorised Treatment Facility) that was in charge of the final processing of your car, once the vehicle has been fully destroyed or recycled.
While it’s not essential for you to have a copy of this document (it’s mostly to inform the DVLA of the car’s status), you can request one if you want to be sure the car has actually been scrapped. When you sell a vehicle to a scrap dealer, you’ll complete the relevant section of your V5C document to show that the car, van or motorcycle is no longer in your name and has changed ownership. Then, the scrap dealer has the choice to either scrap the car or sell it on for salvage. If you want reassurance that the car is definitely scrapped, then it’s worth requesting a Certificate of Destruction when you arrange the collection.
If you’re ready to scrap a vehicle, you can start the process by using our scrap value calculator to see how much your car, van or motorcycle could be worth. We’ll compare quotes from our trusted network of scrap dealers to find you the best option at no cost to you.
Scrapped car check FAQs
How long does it take for a car to register as scrapped?
In most cases, your car will go to the scrap yard the same day as collection. Once the scrap process has begun, it should then take around a day to process the car through all the stages of scrapping.
Can I check if a car has been scrapped for free?
The short answer is no, this can’t be done for free. One of the most reliable ways to check a car’s history is to run an HPI check. This is something we’d recommend doing any time you purchase a secondhand car.
HPI stands for Hire Purchase Information, and goes into plenty of depth about a car’s history, often running checks with the DVLA, finance companies and insurance companies too. You do need to pay for the service, but you can be reassured that you’ll find out whether the car has been scrapped, stolen, marked as an insurance write off, or had any number plate changes, as well as any outstanding finance and the number of previous owners.
The average cost for a HPI check is £10 – £20.
What happens to a registration number when a car is scrapped?
When a car is scrapped, the number plate is also considered scrapped. The DVLA will consider the registration number to be wiped from existence. Taking a number plate from a scrapped car and reusing on a different car, is illegal.
The reason for this is because the default number plate that is on a car when it leaves the factory is connected to that car forever.
What should I do if I buy a car that was registered as scrapped?
We recommend avoiding buying a previously scrapped car, by paying for a HPI check when purchasing secondhand. If it’s too late and you have already bought the car, do not drive it. You will be unable to legally insure it, or drive it, as it doesn’t officially ‘exist’ as a vehicle. You can find information for how to report illegal vehicle dealers on the government website.