Differences between scrapping a vehicle in UK vs scrapping a vehicle in the USA

Although the language is the same and most of the United States once belonged to the British Empire a few centuries ago, the cultural evolution of each country has been totally different. The customs and habits on each side of the Atlantic Ocean are very different, and when it comes to taking a car to the scrapyard there are also a few differences. Just as example, the way they say it. While in the UK they say scrapping a car, in the USA they say junk a car.


While in the UK it is entirely optional to remove the plates from the vehicle and most drivers will not bother to do so, unless they have gone through the process of applying for a personalized plate, in the USA the law is completely different from state to state. In some states such as Maryland or Nevada it is a legal requirement to remove the plates from the car, others such as Pennsylvania strongly recommend it. Most states do not have a rule about it, While others, such as California, do not require you to remove the plates, but do require them to be de-registered, and some, such as Idaho, will even buy back the plates for reuse on other cars.

Removing car parts

This is similar in the two countries. In both the UK and the USA the owner can remove parts from the car before scrapping it. In most cases no one bother in doing this as it can be complex and reduce the price you will be paid by the scrapyard. But in some more rural areas of the USA, they are more likely to keep parts, possibly because spares are harder to find, and they prefer to be conservative in case themselves or a member of the community might need them at some point.

Authorised Treatment Facility

In the UK, the only scrapyards authorised to scrap your vehicle are ATFs. But it's very easy to find out which ones they are. In the USA it is a bit more complex as some scrapyards cannot recycle the whole vehicle, which will result in a lot of wasted time.


In both the USA and the UK you will need to hand in your car's paperwork at the time of collection from the scrap yard. In addition, in both countries you will need a photo ID (this has been a major problem in the USA until recently, with criminals taking cars to the scrapyard without the owners' knowledge). In the UK it´s important don't forget to keep the yellow slip as it will be needed to notify the DVLA that the car has been scrapped.

Notify the authorities that the car's been destroyed

In UK this is something you do after taking the car to the scrapping yard. Using the 11 digit yellow slip you notify the DVLA that the car has been scrapped, a few days later they will send you a certificate of destruction. Scrapping a car in the US depends on the state. Each state has its own forms, and in many states it is recommended to start the process before taking the car to the scrapyard. As for the certificate of destruction, it is not as standard as in the UK. Again, each state has its own certificate.
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