I Scrapped My Car, What Happens to it Now?

If you’ve ever heard of car scrapping, you probably think of those scenes in the movies where a car gets crushed by a giant machine. That isn’t exactly what happens when you sign your car over to the scrapyard. While it is true that many cars do end up getting squished, that doesn’t explain what happens between the time the vehicle leaves your possession to the final moments where it looks like…well, a car. Whether you’ve been in an accident or the car has just lived past its time, there are plenty of reasons why you might be needing to scrap your car.

You do have to have the title

You can’t just go scrapping any car, at least legally. Any company worth its salt will require that you provide the car’s title to show proof of ownership. Sorry car thieves, you’ll have to figure out another way to ditch your cars. This is also a good way to gauge the company you are inquiring about, because believe it or not, you should get several quotes from different local companies when scrapping your car.

Destroyed car bodies lie stacked | Christoph Soeder/picture alliance, Getty Images

Depending on the scrap yard

What happens to the car after it leaves your garage sometimes depends on where it goes. Some pick and pull yards will buy or take cars and allow them to sit openly in lots. From there people can pay a fee to enter the yards and remove any parts they are looking for themselves. Some pick and pull yards will do the work for you themselves, essentially taking the ‘scraps’ of your car for what is still usable.

From there the cars are essentially picked bare until they are no longer desirable. Occasionally the metal from the frame and body panels will be recycled for new products, but it really just depends on where you sell your car.

Automotive spare parts are stored in a hall on the premises of Autoverwertung Resch | Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance, Getty Images

What can you scrap

In theory, you can scrap a vehicle for just about any reason. As long as you have the legal ownership to authorize the transfer of the car, you can get rid of it no matter the condition. Old cars, new cars, rare, or common, depending on how much money you are looking to get for your car. Sure, some scrap yards might just crush it for metal, but unless you track your car’s VIN with something like VinWIKI, you never know what happens to it anyways.

Broken cars can be found on the grounds of the Resch car recycling centre | Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance, Getty Images

When is a Vehicle Considered Totaled?

Whether you are looking to scrap a car that has given you nothing but grief or just ready to retire a car that isn’t worth selling, scrapping a car can be a good option. If you’ve ever wondered what became of your childhood hot rod or first car, chances are at least some of the parts are living on in another vehicle. Of course, if you completely totaled it, it might just be recycled metal by now, but we like to be more hopeful than that.