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Scrap your car and make money

Severely damaged front end of a silver carWhen your car fails its MOT or has a fault that's too expensive to repair and you decide to scrap it, what are the options? We find out.

When a car breaks down, crashes or fails its MOT and the cost of making it roadworthy isn't worthwhile, it's time for a trip to that great car park in the sky - the scrapyard.

In the past, you may have had to pay to have your vehicle taken off your hands. But current guidelines put in place to avoid abandoned cars means that disposing of your old vehicle should be free of charge.

And because of the increase in scrap metal values you should be able to get some payment for your car.

The scrapping process has changed a lot in recent years. Under the EU End of Life Directive brought in in 2005 there is a recycling target of 85 per cent for scrap cars.

This needs to take place at a scrapyard, or Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) as they're now called, that is licenced by the Environment Agency.

Sorting out the paperwork

The most important aspect of scrapping your car is sorting out the paperwork. When you hand over the car you'll need to produce the V5 registration document and should be given a receipt.

A Certificate of Destruction (CoD) should then be posted or emailed to you within a week.

The CoD is a DVLA certificate which proves you've had the car recycled properly and absolves you of any future responsibility for it.

Online scrap valuations

The easiest option for scrapping your car is to use a site such as Car Take Back which offers you quotes based on the best price from local scrapyards.

All you have to do is enter your postcode and the registration number of your car and the site will generate a number of quotes.

These will vary based on whether you deliver the car or have it picked up but often the difference is not a significant one.

For example, for an N-reg Vauxhall in Devon in June 2011 the collection price offered was £100, while driving it to a scrapyard 13 miles away would be £125. The price offered by online sites are based on the car being in an accessible location, complete, free from waste, with inflated tyres and keys available.  

Selling car parts

Some motorists prefer to sell off the most saleable parts such as tyres, battery and the like individually and then negotiate direct with the scrapyard for a price for the remainder so they can make more money overall.

However, this is a strategy best left to those who know their way around a motor.

If you don't fall into this category then don't attempt it as you're unlikely to get a significantly better price than you would from selling the vehicle intact.

Also, beware of adverts offering unrealistically high amounts for your scrap car as generally, when you arrive at the scrapyard, the quote will drop dramatically.

The charitable option

Organisations such as Charity Car and Give A Car will collect your car, complete the necessary paperwork and donate the cash you would have received to a charity of your choice.

"It's a really easy way to give to charity," says Give A Car founder Tom Chance.

“We work with over 400 charities, from major ones such as Cancer Research UK to smaller and regional ones, so you'll be sure to find a cause that's close to your heart.”

Don’t forget your refund

Once your car has been scrapped and you have the CoD, you can claim a refund for any unused months of car insurance and road tax.

Thinking of selling rather than scrapping? Check out our 30-second video guide for more information.

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Maria McCarthy

Maria McCarthy

Maria McCarthy is a motoring and lifestyle journalist and author of The Girls' Car Handbook and The Girls' Guide to Losing your L Plates published by Simon and Schuster. She's also a regular on BBC Breakfast news, and local and national radio, commenting on motoring matters. Her pet motoring hates are potholes and high fuel prices.

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