Scrapping a Motorcycle in the UK

There are strict rules and regulations to adhere to within the UK when scrapping a moped, scooter or motorcycle. All breakers offering a service to scrap bikes must be pre-approved by the government as an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), this service is usually free. As such, before any motorcycle can be crushed, all waste (hazardous) fluids (brake fluid, antifreeze,  oil and petrol), battery and tyres must be removed, for environmental reasons. An ATF may charge however if the vehicle is not complete and is missing essential parts.

If your bike has been written off by the insurance company they will usually arrange for it to be disposed of although not in all cases!

A Certificate of Destruction (CoD) must be issued once any vehicle has been crushed, it is the current owner’s responsibility that they receive one and could be prosecuted it they cannot provide one, receiving a fine. Some treatment facilities do not issue them until the vehicle has been crushed and it is issued several days (usually within seven days) after you drop off the bike (or it is collected) so make sure you follow up if a CoD is not forthcoming.

In terms of notifying the DVLA, this is done by the ATF, however you do need to complete section 9 of the logbook and post to the DVLA. A letter confirming receipt should follow from the DVLA within a few weeks. If not then you should contact them.

Unbeknown to many, to combat increased metal theft in the UK, from October 2013 it is also illegal to be paid in cash for scrapping a bike.

Unfortunately, the UK market has been flooded in recent years with poorly built, cheap imported scooters from China, many of which are of a poor build quality and break down after just a few years and often within the manufacturer’s warranty! Used spare parts are in poor supply and low demand, we are therefore regularly asked to collect broken Chinese scooters that are just 2-3 years old but sadly there is virtually no money in them and it’s not worth the effort.

The breakers industry has been in decline in recent years with the growth of the internet and websites such as eBay and Gumtree. This means anyone can sell their own bike from the comfort of their own home (with little effort) and immediately have a global audience at their fingertips, making the breaker yards largely redundant. Buyers are equally attracted to the same venues as the sellers, largely due to the ease of use, again from the comfort of their own home, although as a result the price of secondhand motorcycle parts has fallen.

Engineers Report
A damaged motorcycle will have to be inspected by an engineer, who will produce a formal report for the insurance company. The report will confirm its pre-accident value, based on current market value (which can be argued if you can demonstrate that bikes of a similar age and condition are selling for more). The report will also confirm the salvage value. In theory the insurance company will offer you the pre-accident value minus the salvage value, less your policy excess. Make sure you see the engineers report before making any decisions.

Quick Motorcycle Breaker Facts

A HPI check will only reveal a bike has been written off, if it was declared to the insurance company. If a motorcycle was insured third-party only and the owner had an accident, why would they tell their insurance company (and therefore probably the DVLA too), especially as it would affect their insurance premiums. However, by law you are obliged to inform them! A motorcycle that has not been declared a write-off is worth more too.

A motorcycle is usually written off when the repairs add up to approximately 70% of its value.
A seller is legally obliged to inform a buyer about the bike’s history, if they are aware of any. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

When a motorcycle has been written off the logbook is ‘withdrawn’. If is written off under category A or B then it will not be reissued as it should not be put back on the road. It may be re-issued with category C and D but must be applied for from the DVLA.

When insuring a previously written-off motorcycle (many insurance companies won’t entertain quoting and will simply refuse) make sure you have the paperwork relating to the work as some insurance companies require comfort confirming the work has been done to a satisfactory standard. If the frame is bent then the bike will have to go on a frame jig. Alloy frames are a lot harder to straighten than steel and there are very few companies within the UK that offer a frame straightening service!
It depends on the insurance company whether you can buy your damaged bike back or not, not all offer it.
A motorcycle remains your property and should not be sold or scrapped without your prior consent.

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