Old rusty car being towed through the snow

How To Get Rid of a Broken Down Car

The number of things that can go wrong with your car is incomprehensible to the average driver who’s never picked up a car jack in their life. Newer cars are undoubtedly going to be more reliable, but as they begin to age and scrape through their MOTs with more advisories than you’d care to think about, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself sitting behind the guardrail of an A-Road wondering how long the recovery van is going to take to arrive this time.

If this situation feels all too familiar, then it’s probably time to consider upgrading to a new ride. The problem is, you’re currently stuck with the unreliable let down that’s caused you so much stress and need to dispose of it first. Read on and let Scrap Car Comparison tell you what to do with a broken down car that’s left you stranded one too many times.

A man stands in front of his broken down car which has the bonnet raised

What Should I Do With A Broken Car?

If you’ve now decided that parting ways with your unreliable car is the best course of action, these are the best ways to do so.

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Sell It As Scrap or Salvage

This is the fastest and easiest way to get rid of any car, broken down or otherwise, and can make you a significant sum of cash in the process. In fact, if you sell your car with Scrap Car Comparison, we’ll handle all of the hard work and you’ll have cash in your bank and a space on your driveway within, on average, just 48 hours.

We’ll connect you with fully-licenced and professionally staffed Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) that will collect your old car, for free, then pay you that same day.

Or, if there’s life in the old car yet, they might even take it on a salvage car. This could even land you with a higher offer, as long as you accurately describe the condition of your car during our free consultation. Salvageable cars can be used in one of two ways; they’ll either donate parts to other cars, or if it’s financially viable, your chosen salvage company will fix them up and get them back on the road. Obviously, if your car has been breaking down because of a litany of problems caused by multiple faulty parts, the salvage value will be lower.

Donate It To Charity

You may not immediately make a connection between scrapping cars and wholesome, charitable causes, but here at Scrap Car Comparison, we try to do our bit to help those in need. By choosing to sell your car with us, you’re given the opportunity to support a whole host of charities by donating some – or all – of the value you’re quoted to their cause.

Over the years, we’ve supported charities that help improve the lives of unfortunate animals, children and adults in desperate situations, and even boosted the funding of road safety campaigns. Each month, we feature two chosen to give them their own time in the limelight to showcase the incredible work that they do.

If you’re feeling generous and would like to give your car an honourable send off, consider donating a portion of your sale price to any of our charities when asked by a member of our sales team. We won’t make you feel pressured into giving away your cash, but please spare a thought when asked.

Dismantling It Yourself

If you’re up for a challenge, you could opt to dismantle your car yourself. Of course, this is only really an option if it’s broken down on your driveway or in your garage and won’t start. Still, even if your vehicle has died on your own property, a DIY dismantling job is probably going to be far more difficult than you’d anticipate. That’s often how it goes with ‘do it yourself’ projects, after all…

First of all, you need the right gear to do the job. If you’re unprepared and unequipped, removing parts for a car will range from difficult to impossible. You could buy or hire the tools you need, but keep track of your expenses or you might end up with less profit than if you’d simply offloaded it to one of our scrap buyers.

Secondly, the location must have ample room to allow you to manoeuvre around and under the car safely. Trying to operate on a car whilst you’re cramped up in the corner of a tiny garage or sticking your legs through a hedge is a recipe for disaster. You could end up developing joint or posture problems if this is a regular occurrence, or worse, one wrong twist may knock the jack and bring the car tumbling down on top of you.

Even if you can successfully break down your broken down car, you then need to find somewhere to store everything. Leave it out in the open and you’re practically inviting would-be thieves to come and take a closer look, but bring it inside and you’re going to be clambering over it until it’s sold. If this is a one-off project, it’s unlikely you’ll have buyers queuing up to examine your wares, so be prepared for an awkward conversation with your other half when they find your filthy catalytic converter resting on the dining room table.

Finally, there’s the most obvious hurdle of all to overcome if you want to dismantle your own car: knowing what exactly you’re looking at when you open the bonnet. The average driver wouldn’t have a clue where to begin if they were asked to take apart a vehicle, and a ‘have-a-go hero’ won’t get far. If you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s a good chance you’ll end up damaging something and rendering it useless. If in doubt, leave it to the professionals.

Race It!

Right, let’s be clear here… Do not race your car on public roadways. We are not suggesting you get your old, broken down car fixed up for one final tear down the motorway before the engine explodes in a blaze of glory.

Instead, you could get it going again and take it down to your local banger racing track when it can be legally smashed to bits by other vehicles in the name of entertainment. Banger racing would have filled out the Roman Colosseum back in the bloodsport days, but even now, respectably-sized crowds will gather to watch you (or someone else) drift around a muddy figure-of-eight until your poor car is T-boned by a 2002 Nissan Micra doing 25mph in reverse.

What Is The Law On Abandoned Cars In The UK

Now you know the best ways to get rid of your broken down car, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t do. If you’ve never seen one, it may sound like a strange thing to do given how much they can be worth, but a surprising number of people think it’s acceptable to dump their broken down car and never return to it. This is not a clever idea for a few reasons…

It is Illegal

Abandoned cars pose a threat to both the environment and members of the public. If you dump your vehicle at the roadside, the hazardous substances inside of it (like fuel and oil) may end up, over time, leaking through corroded or damaged metalwork and polluting the immediate area. It also ruins the wild, grassy areas that flank our road networks and are often inhabited by small creatures.

Dumping cars is dangerous, too, with many of them being tampered with or even set alight. A burning car is an obvious danger to the area and can cause wildfires in susceptible areas and at certain times of the year, or even damage man made structures in more urban environments. Furthermore, car carcasses – burned or otherwise – are extremely unpleasant, ugly and dangerous things filled with sharp, dirty and broken metal and glass. When left in a public area, the potential for someone to be injured by them doesn’t go away because they’re not in operation.

You can find out more about what to do if you just need to leave your broken down car for a bit here.

It’s a Waste of Potential

If you’ve read this far, you’ve learned about far better ways to dispose of a broken down car than to dump it at the roadside. Why would you break the law and leave your car to decay when you could make some cash by selling it in a safe, legal and efficient manner? The cost of recovery from the roadside will most likely be far less than the offer you’ll receive from one of Scrap Car Comparison’s dealers, or if it’s in a suitable, safe location, we might even be able to arrange a collection from the site of the breakdown!

Man looking under bonnet of car at the side of the road

How Do I Report a Broken Down Car?

If your own car is broken down and likely to be stuck in one stop on a public road for quite some time, you don’t technically need to do anything. You could give your local council a call to give them advanced warning that other people may be reporting it in the near future, but there’s no official method or requirement to inform anyone that your car has not been dumped.

If you’ve seen another car which looks like it’s been abandoned, then this should be reported to your local council online through the GOV.uk website. They’ll need some detail about yourself, followed by information about the vehicle itself, including:

  • The exact location of the car.
  • The registration number.
  • The make, model & colour.
  • The date it was abandoned.

How To Spot An Abandoned Car

It may not always be clear whether a car is actually abandoned or simply owned by someone who doesn’t get out on the road too often, but the following features are typical signs that a car has been dumped:

  • The tyres are flat.
  • It’s missing wheels.
  • It has broken windows.
  • There is mould growing on it.
  • It’s filled with rubbish.
  • The number plates are missing.
  • It has wires dangling from the dashboard.
  • There are signs of vandalism.
  • Nobody in your area knows who it belongs to.

How Much Is An Abandoned Car Worth?

The value of an abandoned car will depend on a few things. First of all, if we’re talking about scrap value, the most important factor is the weight of the vehicle. So, if someone has dumped a Smart car, it’s probably not worth as much as an abandoned Transit van.

However, the condition of the vehicle will also play a part in putting a figure to it, and that matters whether we’re on about scrap, salvage, or even private resale. Has the abandoned car on your street become a target for bored kids who want something to throw rocks at? Well, it’s probably not worth an awful lot. However, if that car seems to have suffered one major component failure but is otherwise in good nick, it might be a worth a small fortune to the right buyer.

What If I Don’t Want To Get Rid of My Car?

We understand that you may have an attachment to your car. They become a mechanical part of the family that you rely on for so much. They open up the world to you and let you explore, and they do their best to keep you safe in an accident. You might feel inclined to keep on paying out for repair work to get them, and yourself, back on the road out of the sheer enjoyment you get from driving your car when it does work.

However, owning a car is usually a fairly long-term commitment, and a pricey one at that. It’s important to look to the future and try to anticipate what might go wrong so that you can balance your finances accordingly. Whilst it’s always a good idea to have a contingency plan, if you find yourself putting cash aside because you’re expecting to pay for a repair job every few months, it’s probably time to take a long, hard look at the money pit sitting on your driveway.

Unfortunately, ‘finders keepers’ doesn’t fly in a UK court of law so please don’t attempt to sell an abandoned vehicle with us. However, for every other car that is yours to sell, Scrap Car Comparison will find you the best price in just 30 seconds and our nationwide fleet of collectors will pick up your broken down car at no extra cost, no matter where you are in the country. Get a quote and cash in on your broken down car today!

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