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Can I scrap my car without keys?

  Wednesday, 23 September 2020

This is a common question asked by customers with older vehicles that are stored on private land and have reached the end of their life. Over time, it’s highly possible that you will misplace the keys to unlock your end-of-life vehicle. You might think that this is a disaster in terms of vehicle recovery, transportation and scrapping it, but as a matter of fact losing your car keys shouldn’t be a barrier to recycling your old vehicles responsibly.

If you’ve owned a vehicle for a long time and inadvertently lost your set of car keys, don’t panic, these things happen. Read on to discover the possibilities of scrapping your car without its key.

Hand holding out a car key

Can I scrap my car without keys?

Yes, you will find that the majority of breakers yards will continue to accept your vehicle for recycling, even without the car keys. The main stipulation you’ll still need to abide by is to prove to the breakers yard that you are the registered owner of the vehicle. If you have the vehicle’s V5 logbook stored somewhere safe, this should suffice as it demonstrates your name and address on the form.

If you discover that you have misplaced your V5 logbook too, all is not lost. An alternative would be to present your receipt of purchase from the time you bought the vehicle, to prove that you are its genuine owner. Alternatively, an up-to-date SORN document from the DVLA should also be acceptable. Failing that, one final option would be to pay for an HPI check to be undertaken by the breakers yard. This should prove that you were the last registered keeper, but the cost of this HPI check will, of course, eat into the car’s scrap price.

Does losing my keys affect the price I can get for scrapping my car?

Unfortunately, it’s almost certain that a breakers yard will lower the price they offer for your scrap car without any keys. The reduced price will factor in the extra inconvenience of not having easy access to the vehicle or paying for replacement keys to enable them to manoeuvre and strip down the vehicle for reusable car parts and scrap metal.

Note: Newer vehicles that are destined for the scrap yard tend to have an Engine Control Unit (ECU) fitted internally. All car keys are programmed to a vehicle’s unique ECU, so if a replacement key does not match the ECU, the immobilizer will prevent the engine from starting. Furthermore, the cost of replacement keys and having a matching chip fitted is often prohibitive, making it harder for breakers yards to accept newer end-of-life vehicles without a working key.

Does the car need to be unlocked to be scrapped?

Your car doesn’t need to be unlocked in order for a breakers yard to scrap it. Once it has purchased the vehicle from you, it will more than likely gain entry by smashing the driver’s side window, allowing them to release the handbrake and enable the vehicle to be towed or lifted onto a vehicle transporter.

It’s also possible for breakers yards to siphon out the remaining fuel in the car’s tank without the key by cutting the fuel pipe. However, this process all takes additional time that will be factored into the reduced price they pay to recycle your keyless end-of-life vehicle.

Can I scrap my car at ASM Auto Recycling without the keys?

At ASM Auto Recycling, we are prepared to accept end-of-life vehicles for recycling that don’t have keys. We do however ask that registered keepers can provide some proof of ownership, either in the form of a V5 logbook, SORN document or a receipt of purchase.

We’ve been recycling cars and breaking vehicles for parts for more than 35 years now, so we are well-versed in handling vehicles of all shapes and sizes. We’re also committed to paying an industry-competitive price for your keyless scrap car, that takes into consideration the added time it takes to process a locked, keyless vehicle on your behalf.

For more information on scrapping your car without keys, call our friendly and experienced team today on 01844 268 940 (Option 3).

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