Scrap yards can be a great place to pick up spare car parts, but what about number plates? Many people assume you can purchase a car registration number from a car that’s been scrapped but this isn’t the case. 

The short answer is:

No, you can’t buy a number plate from a scrap yard.

The only way you can keep the number plate from a scrapped can is if you are the registered owner of that vehicle.

number plate swap

Why Can’t I Buy a Number Plate from a Scrapped Car?

If you’re asking if can you buy a number plate from a scrapped car, it’s probably because you’ve seen a registration that you’d like to purchase for another vehicle. So, why is this not permitted?

When a vehicle is manufactured and released, it is given a car registration number in the form of a number plate. This is assigned to the vehicle, so, when the car is scrapped, the vehicle registration number is retired too. This prevents anyone from simply giving the plates to someone else and allowing them to be affixed to a different vehicle. 

However, the registered owner of the vehicle can apply to keep the vehicle registration number and have it assigned to another car, if they choose to. 

Read more: Vehicle Recycling: The Environmental Benefits of Scrapping Your Car

Can You Remove a Private Number Plate from a Scrapped Car?

A private number plate or personal registration is a popular way to personalise a vehicle. You might choose a number plate that reflects your name or initials, for example. Understandably, many people want to keep personalised registrations, even if they sell or scrap their vehicle. 

Fortunately, there is a way to do this, but you’ll need to use a retention service to ensure that your private number plate can be kept and reused in the future. To keep your registration mark you’ll need to:

  1. Complete a DVLA V317 form
  2. Submit it to the DVLA
  3. Pay the £80 fee

You can either visit the DVLA, request this form online or complete the form via the internet.

When you submit a V317 form, you can choose to transfer the number plate directly to another vehicle with a valid MOT or put the number on a retention certificate. This essentially means that the number isn’t currently in use but allows you to transfer it to another vehicle in the future. 

Section A of the V317 form should be completed if you want to put your number plate straight onto a different vehicle. If not, you can leave this section blank and simply complete Section B, which allows you to apply for a retention certificate. 

Retention certificates expire every 10 years, so you’ll need to renew your certificate before the time runs out if you want to keep your personalised number plate. 

Remember – you’ll need to transfer the number plate to a different vehicle before you can use it again. 

Related to this: Why you need to notify the DVLA of scrapping your car

Is It Too Late to Save a Personalised Number Plate from a Scrapped Car?

Typically, you need the logbook or new keeper supplement to transfer a number plate, so it’s advisable to retain your number plate before the vehicle is scrapped. However, if your car has already been scrapped, it may still be possible to save the number plate and have it put on a retention certificate or transferred to another vehicle.

If the vehicle is classified as a write-off, for example, the number plate will be retired with the vehicle. Following this, you’ll need to liaise with your insurance company and the DVLA if you want to retain the number plate but you may need to wait twelve months before it can be assigned to another vehicle. 

Are You Ready to Scrap Your Car?

Scrapping a vehicle can be the easiest way to dispose of a car that is no longer roadworthy or simply doesn’t have a resale value. With scrap car collection services, we make it easy to dispose of unwanted vehicles and we ensure you get a great price for your scrap car too!

Assington Autos is a Suffolk-based car and metal scrap merchant, we operate in Essex, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. We go as far as Colchester, Southend-On-Sea or even Newmarket contact our friendly team now on 01787 210519.