Scrapped check – How to tell if a car has been scrapped?

Scrapped check – How to tell if a car has been scrapped?

A Scrap Check is included with every Premium vehicle check at FreeCarCheck. But what exactly is a Scrapped Check and how useful is it? Should I worry if I’m buying a scrapped car?

Firstly let’s explain what scrapped actually means, and what it doesn’t mean.


What does “scrapped” actually mean?

In the UK, a scrapped vehicle is simply a vehicle that has been legally taken off the road – forever.

It may or may not have been crushed; not all scrapped cars have been crushed. Many are later sold for parts. There is no one-size-fits-all definition, but in a nutshell it’s a black marker against any vehicle.

It’s illegal to drive a scrapped car on the public highway, but buying a scrapped car unknowingly is surprisingly common. An HPI-style check from us will tell you instantly if the vehicle has ever had a scrap marker added to it.

The DVLA handle the scrapped vehicle register. We source our data from the DVLA directly – among others – so for the ultimate peace of mind, get a scrapped car check from us for just £8.99.

You also cannot insure a scrapped vehicle easily, if at all, in the UK — in short, don’t do it!


How does a car become “scrapped”?

The most common method for scrapping a vehicle in the UK is when it has become too old and/or costly to repair, for example after it has been in a serious collision. The vehicle’s insurance company will have made a decision not to repair it, and scrapped it.

If a vehicle is a non-mover but the parts are worth money, then it’s possible to SORN it first, strip the parts, then scrap it afterwards. This is an increasingly common method.

Be aware that this is quite different to being “written off” (sometimes called an insurance write off). You can still drive a written-off car in the UK under some circumstances, but you cannot drive a car that has officially been “scrapped”.

The main difference with a write-off vehicle and a scrapped vehicle, is that the latter has not been repaired. A write-off vehicle will sometimes have been repaired and returned to the road, legally. But a scrapped car cannot be allowed back onto the road, and should not be purchased. It is a permanent record of removal of the vehicle, also known as a certificate of destruction.

That is why it’s important to know if the vehicle you’re buying has ever been scrapped.


What scams should I be aware of?

The main concern is that a scrapped vehicle hasn’t actually been scrapped, and the paperwork is false. This is a fairly old scam in the UK, but be aware of it. Normally, it results in your old car being re-used in a “cut and shut” scam. There are some pointers here on what to avoid.

Generally, asking for all paperwork and license information when scrapping your car is a good tip, and only use reputable scrappage firms.


How do I check if a vehicle has ever been scrapped?

A scrapped marker cannot be removed, once it has been registered. So it will always show on the vehicle.

You cannot check if a vehicle has been scrapped directly with the DVLA for free sadly, but you can buy a car check from us (or elsewhere) and check it that way. This is because the DVLA does not release this information for free.

If a vehicle has ever been scrapped then it should have been taken to an “authorised treatment facility” (ATF) — otherwise known as a breaker’s yard or scrapyard. You can find out more here from the DVLA about the process. Be aware that you must notify the DVLA yourself if you have scrapped a vehicle – see the above link. It is an offence to not inform the DVLA if you have scrapped your car.

Note that it can take up to a month for any scrapped status to update with the DVLA database – but it rarely takes that long.

In short: If you’re purchasing a vehicle and you aren’t sure if it’s scrapped or not, buy a car check first.

One thought on “Scrapped check – How to tell if a car has been scrapped?

  1. I have seen a scrapped truck for sale, I did a check with you but it says I have to upgrade to pay for this data. Is there a way to chec it for free with dvla

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