Scrapping a car in France: how to do it?

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Publié par Eplaque - 5 min de lecture ⏳

Le 11/10/2021 - Mis à jour le 11/12/2023

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 You have the right to keep a car withdrawn from the roads, you can take parts from it to reuse them for your own benefit.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:

  1. Towing: the VHU center can bill a fee if the car must be towed to the premises
  2. 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

How do I scrap in France my car registered in the UK?

The procedure is the same. You will have to advise the DVLA though.

If I buy a green car, can I get an allowance if I scrap an old car?

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).

I didn’t pay a speeding ticket, can I scrap my car anyway?

No, any encumbrance will prevent the scrapping (the « certificat de situation administrative » must be clear).

How much do you get for scrapping a car in France, or how much does it cost?

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.

Selling a scrap car, is it allowed?

Yes, but only if the buyer is a professional. It is forbidden to sell such car to an individual.

Can I transfer a number plate from a scrapped car in France?

No. In France cars are attached for life to a car (VIN). It is therefore not possible to transfer a number to another car.

How to check if a French car has been scrapped?

You can check if a car has been scrapped thanks to the HistoVec report, which can be generated online for free.

Une question ?

Nous vous répondrons dans les meilleurs délais.

Les questions des utilisateurs

  • KAD

    31 mai 2024

    We have a UK registered car in France that has broken down and we can’t afford to repair it. We’ve just left it parked in a friends garage and now the insurance and mot have expired so even if we repair it we cannot drive it back home. it possible we scrap it here in France or do we need to tow it back to the UK?
    • Logo Eplaque


      3 juin 2024

      DVLA website doesn't provide guidance for scrapping a car abroad. On some forums, people advise to send the export slip, since it deregisters the car. We are not sure whether it's the way forward, you might want to liaise with the DVLA to double check.
  • barney waylen

    10 avril 2024

    We are on holiday but our 20 year old english reg car has broken down the repair will cost far more than the value of the car. What are our choices? We have as uk residents to buy another newer car in the UK on our return We do not wish to trade it as it has little value I have read this web page
    • Logo Eplaque


      10 avril 2024

      It makes sense to scrap it in France. You can download the official list of scrappers here :
  • Jody Eddy

    19 mars 2024

    Bonjour - I am an American who purchased a car while I was living in Prague and it is registered in the Czech Republic. I have been living in Normandy for the past several months and am leaving the country next month. I was to scrap my car but am finding it challenging because it’s not registered in France. Can you assist me or offer any advice? I am willing to pay for assistance. Thanks so much.
    • Logo Eplaque


      19 mars 2024

      Hello, it shouldn't be an issue to scrap the car in France, at least it's legal. Did you try to contact a "VHU" center?
  • mike murphy

    22 janvier 2024

    my car was scrapped in the UK but is french registered how do i inform the french registration authority
    • Logo Eplaque


      23 janvier 2024

      You have to fill in a "certificat de cession" (download: with the scrapping company. Don't forget to tick the box "céder pour destruction" (scrapping). Then declare online the ownership transfer.
  • Gordon Polley

    11 janvier 2024

    We are a Scottish family who have sold our French registered car to a car dismantlers in the UK. Following a pre control technique assessment, we decided it would be uneconomical to carry out the repairs. We would like to know who to notify in France of this action? Thank you, Gordon and Angela
    • Logo Eplaque


      12 janvier 2024

      You need to fill a "certificat de cession" (see - then declare it online. You have to tick "céder pour destruction" (scrapping) on the form, so that they know the car has been destroyed. The dismantler address and name should be written in the "new owner" area, he has to sign. If he gave you a proof of destruction, attach it to your request.
  • wallace, Michael

    10 octobre 2023

    Comment mettre à la casse mon Renault Kangoo 11, un véhicule électrique. La batterie appartient à Diac Location.
    • Logo Eplaque


      11 octobre 2023

      C'est la première fois que je suis confronté à ce cas de figure, et bien franchement je n'en sais rien. Le plus simple est de demander à un centre VHU ce dont il a besoin. Il faut peut-être restituer la batterie à Diac, c'est peut-être stipulé dans le contrat de location.
  • Fabienne Smits

    30 août 2023

    Bonjour, j'espère que vous pourrez m'aider. Puis-je garer ma voiture sur mon propre terrain sans payer d'assurance ni de taxes si je l'annule et que je n'ai plus de plaque d'immatriculation ?
    • Logo Eplaque


      31 août 2023

      Bien sûr, il suffit de faire une demande de retrait de la circulation du véhicule. Cela annule jusqu'à nouvel ordre l'immatriculation (à savoir jusqu'à une éventuelle remise en circulation), ce qui permet d'annuler l'assurance.
  • Andrew Bradshaw

    1 février 2023

    Hi I have a British caravan in Normandy it is ready to be scrapped. It is old and I have no paperwork whatsoever. Any ideas on how I can scrap it legally and where in lower Normandy?
    • Logo Eplaque


      2 février 2023

      You have to bring it to a "centre VHU". You'll find a list on this website : Since those vehicles don't need a registration certificate in the UK, the caravan should be accepted without documents. If you have some proof of insurance that mentions that caravan, it might help if the VHU center pulls a face.
  • Peter Willis

    27 décembre 2022

    Good morning I wonder if you could help me? I recently moved back to England to live and, after it broke down, I had my car (on French plates) scrapped at a UK Government approved recycling site. I wrote a covering letter explaining the situation, crossed through the Carte Grise and enclosed the official Certificate of Destruction? Do you know the full correct address in France of the appropriate government department that I can post all of this to? Also their full name? I hadn't completed the 15776 as I was unaware of it? I am grateful for your help. Sincerely Peter Willis
    • Logo Eplaque


      28 décembre 2022

      It's not possible anymore to do it by mail, you have to notify the scrapping using an online service, and yes by filling the Cerfa 15776 form (tick box "Que ce véhicule est cédé pour destruction...").
  • E Pope

    10 septembre 2022

    What documents are required to scrap a french registered car in the UK? Will I have to hand over my French registration cert to the scrappage company? How do I notify the French authorities that it is scrapped? What documents will they require as proof?
    • Logo Eplaque


      12 septembre 2022

      You have to fill a Cerfa 15776.You'll have to tick "céder pour destruction" (hand over for destruction) and "Que ce véhicule est cédé pour destruction à un professionnel de la destruction des véhicules hors d’usage (VHU)". The scrappage company details will have to appear in the "Nouveau propriétaire" area. Once that form is filled and signed, you need to declare the "cession" to notify French authorities that the car is no more. I guess that they give a proof of destruction in the UK too, attach it to your request. Make a copy of the crossed registration certificate ("cédé pour destruction le " + date and time + signature).
  • angela holland

    20 juin 2022

    What paperwork do I need if I want to keep my old motorcycle for parts to use for an identical motorcycle that I own. I need to cancel the insurance on the non running bike and think I have to have a special 'form' to do this? thank you very much
    • Logo Eplaque


      21 juin 2022

      There is indeed a special procedure for that : the "déclaration de retrait de circulation d'un véhicule" (the link leads to the form). It means something like "car withdrawal request". In short, it cancels the registration (it can be reversed, if needed). Once submitted, you will get a receipt. With this document you will be able to cancel the insurance.
  • Robert Hackenbroch

    18 mai 2022

    Hi I have a Uk registered car,here in France,how can I scrap it with only my UK registration certificate?
    • Logo Eplaque


      19 mai 2022

      It's possible to scrap a French car without the registration card, you just have to file the loss at a police station by filling this form and hand over the document instead of the carte grise. Check with a VHU center whether this is also valid for foreign car, we are not 100% sure.
  • sue reynolds

    11 janvier 2022

    Je veux garder quelques pièces pour mon autre voiture la meme avant de la mettre au rebut. Dans quel état doit se trouver la voiture pour pouvoir la mettre à la casse ?
    • Logo Eplaque


      12 janvier 2022

      Un véhicule à mettre à la casse doit être entier, selon le site

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