Broken down auto vehicle car towed onto flatbed tow truck with hook and chain

What Does it Mean if a Car Has Been Salvaged?

The term salvage has become more well known in Britain over the past decade thanks to Drew Pritchard and his team of Salvage Hunters scouring the country to find pieces they can restore and resell at a later date. Effectively – that process is exactly what happens when your car is deemed a ‘salvage’ vehicle.

Before we delve deep into the rabbit warren that is salvaging, if your car is currently awaiting repair, then Scrap Car Comparison is here to help. We have a wide-reaching network of specialist buyers and collectors spanning the entire country, meaning that no matter how badly broken, beaten or scarred your car is, we’ll be able to come and take it off your hands, providing you with the very best price in a quick and stress-free manner.

Stacks of broken and damaged cars awaiting scrap or repair

What is a salvage vehicle?

A salvage vehicle, simply put, is a vehicle that has been written off (or is likely to be) but the damage is not enough for it to be doomed straight to the scrap pile. Levels of damage are categorised (we’ll explain this more later) by its extent and severity, and in some cases the cars can be restored back to working order.

Salvaging a vehicle can go one of two ways – you can either remove the usable parts from the broken car, turning it into a donor car, to help repair and restore other ailing vehicles. Alternatively you can find new or recycled parts from other vehicles to repair the car itself. For example, if your car has been written off due to a mechanical fault in the engine that may have been deemed too expensive to repair, but you know you have perfectly capable parts lying around in your garage, you could make the switchover yourself and get your car back on the road without condemning it to a scrap pile.

What are salvage titles?

When your car is involved in an incident, or suffers significant mechanical damage, and the costs to repair the vehicle outweigh the car’s sale value, then it will be deemed a write-off. When a car is written off, it is put into one of four categories, depending on the severity of the damage.

These four titles are listed below:

Category A – Scrap

Reserved for the most severe of damages, often including significant structural damage and meaning the car will simply not be safe to drive, even after any repair work can be carried out. The vehicle cannot be repaired and the entire vehicle has to be crushed.

Category B – Break

Much like Category A, the vehicle cannot be repaired. The body shell and chassis has to be crushed, but you can salvage other parts from it to help repair other vehicles or be used as spare parts. Neither Category A or B cars can ever be driven on the road again.

Category S – Structural

A Category S stamp means that the vehicle has suffered damage which has had a detrimental effect on the vehicle’s structural rigidity. The vehicle can return to the road after repairs have been carried out by a professional. 

Category N – Non-Structural

Category N vehicles are a lot like Category S vehicles, except on this occasion there are no structural defects as a result of the damage. This can often be problems with electrics, for example, which can be particularly expensive or tricky to repair.

For more details on the salvage titles and what they mean, we’ve put together a handy guide for when your vehicle is written-off.

Can you remove a salvage title?

Once a car has been deemed a salvage vehicle, it is registered as such with the DVLA and a record will remain on the car’s V5C logbook for the remainder of its life. It is not possible to have this removed as the stamp gives prospective future buyers, and mechanics working on the car, an accurate description of the car’s history, and means that when you’re on the other side of the fence, i.e. buying a used car, you can be confident that there are no nasty surprises waiting for you once you take the keys.

How much is a salvage car worth?

There are many factors at play when it comes to working out how much a salvage car could be worth. The make and model of your car will provide a base for how much you can expect to receive, as well as its age and mileage – just like with selling a car in full working condition, the younger and better looked after a car is, the better the price will usually be. The extent of the damage will also have an impact on the price you’ll receive, as a car with significantly more damage is going to take much longer to fix and at a higher price for parts and labour. In some cases a car may well be too badly damaged to be classed as salvage, and may even be sent straight to the scrap yard. Another factor to keep in mind is that the price of scrap metal is constantly changing, and you may find that your price could well change month-to-month as the market fluctuates. You can keep track of the price of scrap metal with our Car Scrap Value Calculator.

The easiest way, by far, to find out just how much a car may be worth as salvage is by getting in touch with the team at Scrap Car Comparison. We have a nationwide network of scrap and salvage specialists waiting for vehicles just like yours, and our friendly team of experts are on hand to take your call seven days a week. We’ll check your local area and find you the very best price available to you, and on top of that, we’ll even arrange for a collection from a location convenient to you, absolutely free of charge. If you’ve got a broken car clogging up your driveway, then don’t delay, phone Scrap Car Comparison today and replace your problems with some money, sent directly to your bank account.

Get Quote Now

Get Offers For
Your Scrap Car In
Less Than 30 Seconds


Best price in 30 seconds

Your request is processing

Your request is processing...