Scrapping a car in France: how to do it?
If diamonds are eternal, the same cannot be said of our lives, or of your car. In France, scrapping a car is subject to strict regulation. The same can be said about motorcycles and any other registered vehicles. They have to follow the « VHU procedure ». This procedure may also be mandatory after an car crash, when the vehicle has been classified by the expert as « seriously damaged vehicle ».
What does the end-of-life vehicle (ELV, VHU in French) procedure consist in, where to perform it, what documents do you need, how much does it cost… This article will tell you everything you need to know about scrapping a car in France. And as usual, you can rely on Eplaque for any car registration in France in English, or any other procedure such as an ownership transfer declaration.
« VHU » procedure: scrapping a car in France
The VHU procedure (ELV) has to be followed when a vehicle is scrapped, whether by the owner’s will (vehicle that is too old, when it does not make sense from a financial point of view to fix it, etc.) or due to certain classifications by an automotive expert (severely damaged vehicle that cannot be repaired, for example). It’s similar to the ATF procedure in the UK.
What can I do with a non-running car in France?
Please note that it is forbidden to keep a vehicle in order to resell its parts in France. You have the right to keep a car withdrawn from the roads, you can take parts from it to reuse them for your own benefit. In other words, to fix a similar car you own. But you are prohibited from selling them. It is also forbidden to sell a non-running vehicle for parts to an individual. In short, to transfer car ownership in France you need a MOT. Which you cannot get, of course, if the car doesn’t work. Looking for a MOT checker? Click on the link for more info.
You can, however, sell a non-running car to a professional instead of scrapping your car in France. Simply because the MOT is not mandatory when selling a car to a garage or a dealership. If you choose that path to get rid of your car, you simply have to follow the standard ownership transfer procedure. After signing the “certificat de cession”, don’t forget to declare the transfer. Now let’s say you want to destroy the car; let’s see how to scrape it in France.
How much does it cost to scrap a car?
By law, VHU centers cannot charge a fee for scrapping old vehicles. There are, however, 2 exceptions to this rule:
- Towing: the VHU center can bill a fee if the car must be towed to the premises
- Modified vehicles: if the vehicle contains unapproved components or waste that must be subject to specific treatment, costs may be charged
If you face the above situation(s) , do not hesitate to ask for a quote to several centers to pay as little as possible. Otherwise, it will be free.
How to scrap a car in France?
The first step before scrapping a car in France is to contact an approved centre VHU to plan the destruction of the vehicle. From an administrative point of view, it consists basically in a simplified ownership transfer procedure. The « buyer » being the center.
Paperwork for scrapping a car in France
The following documents must be submitted to the VHU center:
- Original crossed-out carte grise (log book) with the words « cédé le (day / month / year) pour destruction »
- Certificat de cession (Cerfa 15776 form), on which you will tick the box indicating that the vehicle is transferred for destruction to an official VHU center
- A certificat de situation administrative not older than 15 days
Once the procedure is done, the VHU center will give you a destruction certificate. Please request it if they don’t.
How to scrap a car without logbook or registration document ?
If you do not have the registration certificate of the vehicle to be destroyed, it is possible to carry out the procedure anyway by presenting one of the following documents, depending on the case:
- Vehicle over 30 years old: any document proving that you own the vehicle instead of the car logbook
- Theft or loss of the vehicle registration (carte grise): declaration of loss or theft + proof of ownership (requesting a new copy of the certificate is therefore not mandatory)
- Registration certificate withdrawn by the authorities: notice of withdrawal from the police or notification from the prefecture
More about the scrapping process in France
The scrapping of your vehicle must be done via a “centre VHU” (véhicules hors d’usage) approved by the prefecture of the department where it is located. This applies to cars, but also to any other vehicles such as motorcycles, quads, trailers, etc. The mission of the VHU centers is to recover waste by collecting recyclable elements, as well as to eliminate pollutants such as various liquids and fluids, batteries, etc. Once this is done, the carcasses are sent to a crusher where a second sorting for recycling takes place.
You don’t have to give back the French plates to the administration. You can destroy them if you wish, or just leave them on the car. The log book is kept by the scrapper.
Don’t forget that if you purchase a clean car, you may be entitled to subsidies. See French government grants for electric car for more information.
Can I scrap my car without registration document?
Yes, as explained above it is possible to scrap a car without the registration certificate or log book. You will, however, have to provide in place the the registration document a declaration of loss or theft made at the police. If the carte grise is kept by the police, you’ll need to give the notice of withdrawal from the police or notification from the prefecture to the scrapping company.
FAQ how to dispose an old car in France
The procedure is the same. You will have to advise the DVLA though.
Yes. This allowance is called « prime à la conversion » (conversion bonus). It’s subject to conditions, but they are not hard to satisfy (more than 10 years old diesel car, more than 15 years old petrol cars).
No, any encumbrance will prevent the scrapping (the « certificat de situation administrative » must be clear).
Mostly you won’t be able to scrap a car for cash, but it shouldn’t cost you either. You can however get a French grant from the state if you buy a green car to replace it.
Yes, but only if the buyer is a professional. It is forbidden to sell such car to an individual.
No. In France cars are attached for life to a car (VIN). It is therefore not possible to transfer a number to another car.
You can check if a car has been scrapped thanks to the HistoVec report, which can be generated online for free.