How to Recycle Your Old Car

Old banger in France

If you have been wondering what to do with the old heap rusting away at the bottom of the garden, you will be happy to know that it is easy, and free to scrap your car.

Risks to the environment
Every year in France more than 1,5 million de vehicles are scrapped. A VHU (véhicule hors d’usage) can pollute both ground and water, due to the various liquids they contain such as oil, brake fluid and coolant, battery acid…… all hazardous wastes which need special treatment to prevent any risk of pollution

Under Article R 322-9 of the Highway Code, owners of a VHU must dispose of the vehicle via an approved wrecker, (un démolisseur or  broyeur agréé)  who complies with environmentally friendly processing requirements.

Your local prefecture will be able to provide you with a list of approved wreckers.

The scrapping service is free, although a charge may be made if the vehicle has to be towed to the breaker’s yard.

You have 15 days after scrapping your vehicle to make the ‘déclaration de cession pour destruction’ at the prefecture of your choice, using a form which you can download here

The SIV (service d’immatriculation des véhicules) will acknowledge receipt and cancel the registration of your vehicle.


  1. We had a car accident in our UK registered car on the day we were meant to leave France after our holiday 10 days ago. The car is still in France. Our insurance say it is uneconomic to repair or recover and that is our responsibility to dispose of it. The garage where it is stored, where our roadside recovery arranged for it to be taken to immediately after the accident, say they cannot dispose of it (I presume due to paperwork?). DVLA seem to be happy for us to state it has been permanently exported by returning section 5 of the V5c and could offer no further advice. We offered to send the remaining part of the V5c document to the garage in France so they could arrange disposal, but they are saying this is not possible. Does anyone know if there anyway to dispose of an English car in France under these circumstances please? We feel stranded by our roadside recovery and insurance, and genuinely don’t know what to do. Any advice gratefully received, thank you.

    1. Hi Helen
      First of all, glad you’re safe and hope the accident was just material damage.
      I suggest you put your question on our Facebook group at where you might find somebody who can advise on this apparently complicated ‘should-be-simple’ question. Bonne chance.

  2. we arrived from Ukraine in Daewoo Matiz 2010 that experiences recently manifold problems with cooling, breaks etc. what compensation we obtain if we recycle it?

    1. No compensation im afraid. You just get it taken off your hands for free.

  3. Thank you for this detailed information! This is some of the highest quality content I’ve ever come across….

  4. Very useful article, many thanks!

  5. My grandmother died a long time ago and her car needs scrapping. I can not find the registration documents for it. Please advise how to go about scrapping the car

    1. If you’re unable to use the form in this article, pop into your local prefecture and they will advise you. Or most mairies will be able to give you the info if they’re on the ball! Best of liuck.

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