In certain situations, scrapping your car can be a great way to get some money from your vehicle, especially if it’s not in a sellable condition or has been damaged beyond repair and is deemed unsafe to drive.
That said, navigating the world of car scrapping can be scary for first-timers, and it’s typically not something that everyone will have much experience with. Before you scrap your car, you may wonder what a fair and accurate price is. Despite the industry being heavily monitored and regulated by the government and the DVLA, there’s still potential to get ripped off.
Here’s some guidance to help you figure out how much your scrap car should be worth, which can help you get the best price when you decide to get rid of your vehicle.
What affects the scrap car price?
Multiple factors can influence the worth of your scrap car and the price you can get for it. By understanding what can impact the amount you can get, you’ll better understand the amount you should expect when you go to scrap a car.
Some of the major things that influence the price you’re offered when you scrap a car include:
Size and weight
The size and weight of your car is the biggest factor determining how much your vehicle is worth. Scrap metal is paid on a per-weight basis, like a pick-and-mix. When you scrap your car, your car is weighed, and then the price you get is based on that weight and how much metal is worth per kilogram.
This means that if your car is bigger and has more scrap metal, it will be more valuable and fetch a higher price. The most common metal in a car is steel, but it also has other valuable metals such as copper and aluminium, so the heavier and thus more it has of this metal, the better the price. Scraping a large SUV or estate car may be best instead of a hatchback.
Make and model of your car
More expensive and premium cars will be worth more when you scrap them. This is because these cars usually have more expensive and premium materials and parts, which can be taken out and sold at a high value.
So, to better understand how much you can expect from your scrap car, consider your model’s resale value and make. If it’s a premium, top-end car, it will get you a better price than a budget option.
As a result of how scrap cars are valued based on weight, it means that if a vehicle has any parts missing, the value will decrease. So, if you’ve stripped your car of its engine, gearbox, and other parts to sell individually, the vehicle will be much lighter, meaning that you’ll get a much lower price when you scrap it than if it was whole.
Of course, this drop in scrap value can be mitigated if you’ve managed to resell the parts that have been scrapped, so you need to spend some time deciding if stripping the car before it gets scrapped is an economical option or not.
Scrap metal value
Scrap metal is a commodity. It’s a material used to create products, and as a commodity, its value changes and alters depending on demand and need. This means that the value of scrap metal is never concrete and will change on a day-by-day basis.
This means that the value of your scrap car will depend on the value of scrap metal, making things much harder to predict and keep up with.
As scrap cars deal with a high volume of weight, even a tiny difference in scrap metal per kg can mean you lose out on a fair chunk of cash. For example, a 10p difference per kilogram of metal can alter the value of a 1.5-tonne car by £150.
Are there any costs when scrapping a car?
Most of the time, getting a car scrapped should be a free service and will have no charges taken off the value of your vehicle when you get paid. This is because the scrap dealer will likely be stripping the car for parts and materials, and selling those parts and materials for profit, which is why you usually don’t have to pay anything.
That said, if you’re having the car collected from your location by the scrap dealer, you may have to pay for that service, as you’ll have to get the car towed to the scrap yard. You may need to get the car collected if it’s not able to run or if it’s been SORN and isn’t allowed to be driven.
The fee for this collection service will likely be taken off the total value of the car’s scrap value, and the amount this costs will be determined by the distance you are from the scrap yard and the weight of the vehicle.
Another thing you should pay attention to that can lower the amount you get when scrapping a car is that different scrap yards offer different prices. This means that you could cost yourself some money if you use the closest scrap yard to you without looking around and comparing the amount that you can get.
To help you get a fair quote when going to a scrap yard, get an online valuation first that you can use to help with negotiations.
How do I scrap my car properly?
To scrap a car properly, you must follow a specific process to ensure that everything is legal and that you avoid a fine. First, you must deregister your license plate before the car is destroyed if you don’t want to keep the registration. This prevents the illegal practice of swapping an untaxed car’s license plate with the scrapped car’s.
When scrapping your car, you need to make sure that you use a registered ATF, as these ensure that they scrap the car within environmental regulations. Ensure that the scrap yard you use displays proof of their registration.
You’ll need a few pieces of documentation before you scrap your car, such as ID and proof of ownership, and although you don’t need a logbook, having this will make the process much easier and more straightforward.
Once the car has been destroyed, you should be sent a certificate of destruction. This will likely come via email and should take at most a week to arrive. If there is a delay, chase for it, as this document ensures no issues can be traced back to you. In addition to this document, you’ll also need to inform the DVLA that the car has been scrapped and removed from the road. This is usually done online, but this method requires you to have a code found in your logbook. You’ll have to send them a letter if you don’t have a logbook.
If you don’t inform the DVLA, you could be fined up to £1,000, so don’t delay this important step.
Scrap Car FAQs
So many factors are at play in determining the value of a scrap car, making it hard to provide an average that you should expect. This is because the value your car can fetch may be drastically different from someone else.
That said, when looking at all the cars scrapped in January 2022, the average received varied between £165-£195 per tonne. The average hatchback, the most common body type of car in the UK, weighs around 1.5 tonnes (although this also varies a lot), so you can expect an average payout of around £290.
Once you’ve scrapped your car, the value you’re due from the car is paid via a bank transfer, with the money entering your account within a few days at most.
This is the only way to legally receive payment for scrapping a car, so ensure you have a bank account to be paid into if you’re looking to scrap your car.
It is an offence to be offered and accept cash payment for your scrap car. This is because cash payments are unregulated, making it harder for the authorities to keep tabs on the transactions. If your scrap dealer offers to pay in cash, it’s a tell tail sign that they may not be legitimate and could either plan to dispose of the car improperly or use the vehicle for nefarious means.
One of the most significant factors that determine how much you get from your scrap car is the size and weight of the car. Heavier vehicles are favoured because they simply have more materials that can be scrapped, meaning they will be worth more.
That said, the material that the car is made from will also influence the price. For example, carbon fibre can’t be scrapped, so a luxury car with this material will likely not be as valuable as a smaller car with more steel and aluminium.
If you can’t drive your car to a scrap yard for whatever reason, such as if it’s a non-starter or if you’ve SORN the vehicle to save you money on road tax, then some dealers will be able to collect the car from your location.
Not all can offer this service, so it may dictate which scrap dealership you work with. Some may have a distance limit and won’t collect if you’re outside their catchment area. Plus, this service will usually cost you a fee, which can drastically affect how much you can get from your scrap car, as in most cases, the value you get is usually in the low three-figure range.
Ultimately, when a car is scrapped, it is crushed and destroyed, meaning that it won’t be able to be driven again. However, other things can happen before it’s destroyed based on its condition.
If the car has not been written off or has only obtained a CAT S or N, the car can be harvested for parts and materials, with things like the engine, gearbox, tyres, and more being removed and potentially sold separately.
It may also be stripped apart further, with materials like copper from the wiring or other easy-to-access metals being taken from it. This is done because sorted scrap metal is worth more than metal that has been mixed up, allowing the scrap metal dealer to make more money from the car when the metal is sold to be melted down.
There are many situations where scrapping your car is the only sensible option. However, depending on the circumstances, you should consider other alternatives. If your car is a non-starter or has been damaged beyond repair, then you’re going to have a hard time selling it and, in fact, may not be allowed to sell it legally. In this situation, scrapping a car is the best option. In addition, if the car is super old and has a meagre value when sold, you may find it easier and less hassle getting it scrapped, as it’s likely quicker than negotiating with buyers and advertising the car.
That said, it may be better to sell your car if you can get a better value for the car if you part with it this way.
Scrap metal value is constantly in flux and changes daily depending on national and worldwide demand. This means the amount you can get in one week may differ if you scrap your car a different week. It can be hard to predict how much each type of metal is worth due to how volatile the market is, meaning it can feel a little bit like a lottery when you scrap your car.
Plus, certain metals are much more valuable and desirable than others. This means that if your car contains a lot of this expensive metal that can easily be stripped, you may get more for your car.
Our valuation tool is up-to-date and uses AI intelligence to monitor scrappage prices so that you always get an accurate valuation when determining how much your scrap car is worth.
Much like when selling a car, the luxury makes and models are usually worth more when scraping them. This is because these cars typically have expensive parts and pieces of equipment that are valuable when resold, and they usually have more premium materials and metals in them.
Brands such as Mercedez-Benz, Audi, Porsche, and premium cars like this will be worth a lot when scrapped, but of course, also check to see if you can get more if you sell the vehicles.
Once you’ve had your car scrapped, you need to tell the DVLA, the governing body for motorists in the UK, that the vehicle has been taken off the road. This is so that they can keep their records updated, making it easier to keep tabs on all registered vehicles in the UK.
It would be best if you aimed to do this the day of the scrappage, and it can be done online as long as you have your logbook. If you don’t inform the DVLA, you may get a fine of up to £1,000.
When you SORN your car, you’re telling the DVLA that it is off the road and isn’t used for driving. You can do this to save on tax and insurance, providing your car is stored on private land or a driveway and isn’t being used.
When scrapping a car, you do not need to SORN your vehicle beforehand, as you will inform the DVLA that it’s offroad once the scrappage has been completed.
Of course, nothing is stopping you from getting a SORN for your car before you scrap it; however, be aware that if you do, you won’t be able to drive it to the scrap yard.