Fast Way to Check If a Car Is Scrapped
Even with sales that fluctuate, the used car market in the UK is huge, with more than 2 million vehicles changing hands in Q3 2020. That means there should be a vehicle for anyone’s preferences or budget. If you’re in the market for a pre-owned Fiesta or BMW Series 4, don’t put a pound down unless you’ve verified the car hasn’t been scrapped.
Why Scrap A Car?
It’s simple. Your car was heavily damaged in an accident with your best mate and can’t be repaired, general maintenance is too expensive, or there are other costs to operate it which you can’t afford. Either way, one thing is a certainty: Think twice before purchasing any used car you suspect was scrapped, and the seller can’t prove otherwise – especially if it’s a vehicle you plan on driving regularly.
Fast Way to Check If a Car Is Scrapped
Checking to see if a car in the UK has been scrapped is straightforward. Our service can provide that information on your behalf, but if you want to dig up the information on your own, keep reading.
If you suspect a car has been scrapped and believe it can be salvaged for spare parts, for instance, ask the seller to show the vehicle’s Certification of Destruction (COD). A COD is a document the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) issues each time a vehicle is salvaged as scrap. You can obtain a destruction certificate free of charge; however, you may have to pay for scrapping your vehicle.
Where Do You Get A COD?
The DVLA issues the COD to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). An ATF is a scrap yard that adheres to detailed rules and regulations when disposing and disassembling of scrap cars. Per the government’s “End-of-Life Vehicle Regulations 2003,” ATFs are the only businesses licensed and certified to carry out the “dismantlement, depollution, and disposal of scrap vehicles.” Every time a scrap yard completes recycling a vehicle as junk, they electronically transmit the data to the DVLA. This lets the DVLA know that the car has ultimately been destroyed, so they can then issue the COD.
Do Scrapped Cars Need A Certificate Of Destruction?
Yes, it’s the law that all vehicles an ATF scraps and recycles must include a COD. So, if you’ve found a great deal on a used car the owner insists only has minor body damage, ask if it’s been scrapped. This is especially true because even if a vehicle has been sent to an ATF, there’s no guarantee it’ll be recycled. The DVLA implies that the ATF can decide what they want to do with any car that’s brought in. Any vehicle that’s completely depolluted, dismantled and recycled requires a COD. If it’s just been dismantled, it could be salvaged for parts. Thus, any vehicle not completely recycled doesn’t require a COD.
But you still have to be careful. Who’s to say that someone selling a Corsa didn’t buy a bunch of recycled parts and cobble it together as a “working” car?
I’ve Sold My Car to an ATF, Now What?
You could pick the COD up in person or have it sent by mail. In either case, the ATF has seven days to issue the certificate to the last official owner. If you experience a delay, that could mean the ATF hasn’t scrapped it, yet, or the facility has decided to sell it whole or for parts. This could lead to confusion because if the ATF decides to sell the vehicle you turned it, then technically you’re no longer the last owner and aren’t entitled to the COD.
If you’re certain your car was destroyed but the scrap yard hasn’t issued a COD, take the matter up with the DVLA. Just fill out the section of your car’s V5C or logbook marked as “Selling or transferring your vehicle to a motor trader, insurer or dismantler” and send it to the agency. Eventually, you’ll receive a letter from them signifying that you aren’t legally responsible for the vehicle anymore. If you haven’t received the letter within 20 days, contact the DVLA.
Should I Keep The Certificate Of Destruction For My Old Car?
Yes. It’s proof that you relinquished ownership of the vehicle. The certificate will display your name, address, signature, nationality, and information regarding the vehicle, the ATF you dealt with, and the licensing agency responsible for granting the scrap yard’s licence. You have to keep the COD on file because you never know where your car may eventually end up. You don’t want to get blamed for anything that transpires with the vehicle after you’ve given up ownership.
Do I really Need a Certificate of Destruction?
Yes. It proves you relinquished your car to an authorized scrap yard and are no longer the legal owner. If the ATF keep the car rather than scrapping it, you don’t need – and won’t receive – a certificate. Instead, you should have a letter from the DVLA stating that you are no longer responsible for the car.
The Certificate of Destruction or letter from the DVLA is your proof that you’re not responsible anymore. In all cases, a COD marks a car as undrivable. But there are unscrupulous individuals who game the system whenever they can, so if you suspect a used car you want to buy was actually scrapped, look elsewhere. We can also verify the information on your behalf.
It’s important to notify the DVLA if your vehicle has been scrapped. Otherwise, you could be fined, or be responsible for any penalties which transpired with the vehicle, like traffic offences or illegal use of a vehicle in your name. That’s why it’s so critical to have a COD telling the DVLA you no longer hold legal responsibility for the vehicle.
Fraudsters are an inventive lot. If there’s a way for someone to circumvent the law, to get by without proof of a vehicle being scrapped, they’ll do it. Just make sure you don’t fall victim to that kind of scam. If you’re interested in a used car, ask for proof that it wasn’t taken to an ATF by the previous owner.