After receiving the following comment on a previous blog about scrapping a car without a logbook, the author asks “I have an even more complicated issue, how do you scrap an unregistered car? I have no logbook or anything,”.

It’s a great question, so let’s answer it in a bit more detail. Spoiler alert, the short answer is yes you can scrap a car if you don’t know the registration number and there are a few ways of going about it.

How might this happen?

Firstly, unregistered vehicles tend to be “off-roaders” such as scramblers, quadbikes, tractors, plant machinery and so on. This means that a standard road car will almost certainly have been registered with the DVLA at some point in its life, even if the registration number is unknown for whatever reason. For the record, if you have an unregistered vehicle and want to register it, you can do so by visiting this page off the gov.uk website

A scenario like this might arise if, say for example, a car has been stored in a garage or barn for years. Maybe the plates got broken, fell off and got thrown away, maybe the owner died and the car was sold or moved elsewhere. With no number plates and lost paperwork, the car’s “Vehicle Registration Mark” (VRM) will be a mystery. And, if you don’t know it and want to scrap the car, what do you do?

The first thing all reputable scrap car companies will want to know is the vehicle’s registration number so they can look up the make/model, engine type, weight etc. With this crucial information, they can calculate an accurate price to offer you. As they’re legally required to be a registered Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), they’ll also want this so they can notify the DVLA that the vehicle has been depolluted and then legally disposed of.

Locate the car’s unique “Vehicle Identification Number”

The car will have a unique VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). You might find it inside the engine compartment (have a look under the bonnet). It could be labelled “engine number” or “chassis number” or it might say “identification number”.

On a metal plate (easy to find)

Depending on the make/model/ it can also be found on a metal plate similar to the one below. You may find this located somewhere around the driver’s door (open it and have a look).

Stamped onto the vehicle body (harder to find)

If you can’t find it on a metal plate, it might be located under a plastic flap built into the carpet or it could be stamped onto the vehicle elsewhere (often on the floor). It could be dirty, rusty and therefore difficult to locate so you might need to persevere. All cars have a unique VIN on them somewhere so you’ll just have to keep looking until you find it.

Contact the DVLA

Once you do, you can contact the DVLA and tell them you don’t know your vehicle’s registration number but you do know its VIN. One possibility is to apply for a vehicle registration certificate (form V62) from the DVLA. At the time of writing, the fee for this is £25. Click here to download/view a copy of the form. You’ll need to provide the reason for not having a V5C (log book) on the form.

Unfortunately, the form’s notes do say that you need to provide the DVLA with the reg. no. or they will reject the application. I don’t really recommend this method as it may not be successful but it may still work if you provide a cover letter to explain why you do not know the registration number.

HPI Check

An easier (and cheaper) alternative is to get the number plate (VRM) by having an HPI check done using just the car’s VIN. Although not free, it’s cheaper and easier than the DVLA approach mentioned above. Armed with the newly discovered registration number, you can now easily dispose of your vehicle at your local scrap yard.

Contact your local scrap yard

The last option is to contact your local scrap car company directly and ask them if they can look up the VIN for you. A decent one will be able to get the car’s registration (number) from this single piece of information. Please be aware though, we ONLY offer this service for local residents so we may ask you to prove you live locally before we run a check for you. This is because we have to pay to run the check and therefore don’t want to be inundated with requests from across the UK.

The VIN isn’t on the car

Lastly, if you’ve looked everywhere and there is no metal “Data Plate” because it’s been forcibly removed or the VIN has been deliberately ground down so it can’t be read, this is a bad sign and could signify illegal activity such as vehicle theft or cloning. If you suspect this to be the case, your only option would be to inform the police. Bear in mind this is very rare though, so it’s unlikely to happen to you.

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