(ELV) End of Life Vehicles – A guide

What happens to your car when it has reached the end of it’s useful life?

This guide covers most questions that you may have regarding End of Life Vehicles (ELV’s).

What are ELV’s?

ELV stands for End of Life Vehicle.  Vehicles which have come to the end of their useful life and are no longer worth repairing.

There are two forms of ELV. Natural ELV’s and Premature ELV’s.

  • Natural ELV’s mainly refers to older vehicles which are worn out and no longer worth repair.
  • Premature ELV’s refers to vehicles which are being disposed of due to damage, accident, fire or theft.

What is the European ELV Directive?

Every year in Europe, End of Life Vehicles produce between 8-9 million tonnes of waste. The End of Life Vehicles Directive October 2000 was put in place by the European Union to address the increasing amount of waste produced during the disposal of ELV’s and to improve the environmental practices used by car dismantlers, car breakers and scrap yards concerning ELV’s.    The Directive was adopted as a UK law on the 21st April 2002.

The main objective of the directive is to minimalise waste produced by the disposal of ELV’s by recovering and reuse of vehicle components and recycling (de-pollution) which in itself should reduce the environmental impact.

Targets aimed for by the End of Life Vehicle’s Directive when it was put in place were 85% of ELV’s recovered via scrap metal recycling by Jan 2006 and 95% by Jan 2015.

De-pollution

De-pollution is the process used to achieve the recycling targets set by the ELV Directive.  The process involves recovery of all working and re-useable components and the removal and safe disposal of those parts which are potentially harmful to the environment.

What is the process of De-pollution and Disposal of ELV’s?

The first step is the removal and recycling of all the vehicles operating fluids. Eg. Oil, brake fluid, petrol.

Next, all reuseable parts are recovered to be sold as salvage parts.  The remaining recoverable parts such as glass, tyres and plastics are recycled through their own separate processes.

ELV parts

The remaining bodywork is shredded and separated into sub categories. The ferrous and non-ferrous metals are separated from the shredded material. After reprocessing and treatment they are reused..Non metallic remains are separated ready to be recycled.

End Of Life Vehicle (ELV) Process Video

In the video below you will see a salvage vehicle being loaded into an ELV bay for the de-pollution process.  Below the video, you will find a summary of each step.

  • First, the professional technicians at AFF Vehicle Services remove the wheels to gain better access.
  • The first yellow container is wheeled in to remove the breakfluid from the vehicle using a vacuum.
  • Whilst the breakfluid is being removed, the technicians continue to recover parts and separate them either for re-use as salvage parts for recycling.
  • A gas canister is wheeled in to remove the air conditioning gas.
  • The second yellow container is wheeled in and is connected up using a vacuum again to remove the fuel from the tank before being wheeled around to the front of the car to remove the fuel left in the engine.  You will notice that this is pressure pumped by hand.
  • A black container is positioned under the vehicle to drain the engine oil.
  • The third and final yellow container is wheeled over to drain the vehicles water system, again using pressure similar to a vacuum.
  • Now that all of the vehicle’s operating fluids have been removed, the technicians proceed to remove the engine.
  • The vehicles interior is then dismantled.
  • All remaining salvageable parts are then removed for processing, leaving a bare chassis.

Where should an ELV be recycled?

In order to decommission your end of life vehicle you will need a certificate of destruction. The certificate of destruction confirms that your vehicle was properly disposed of.

Your End of life vehcle should be recycled by an authorised and certified ATF (Automotive Treatment Facility) or a manufacturer approved tack back station who will issue a Certificate of Destruction (COD).    A copy of the COD will be provided to the registered keeper of the vehicle and the vehicle licensing agency will be automatically notified by electronic means.

 

 

 

Choosing the right MOT Testing Centre

The right MOT testing Centre….

If your car is over three years old then you will be due an MOT at some point in the next twelve months.  You may have had a previous hefty repair bill following an MOT failure in the past, or maybe you are new to the area and have no word of mouth to reply on.  Looking for a reliable and thorough testing centre with a good reputation which you feel you can trust may therefore seem like a bit of a task.

So what should you look out for?

There are a few factors which you should consider when searching for the right MOT centre.

  • Dont necessarily pick the testing centre with the lowest test fee.
  • Choose an authorised MOT testing centre.
  • Ask around, word of mouth locally is priceless.
  • Consider possible repairs,  labour charges and specialisation?
  • Are you charged a retest fee if you choose not to have repairs done there?

MOT test Fee

The garage or testing station with the lowest fee is not necessarily the best choice as sometimes these low fees can end up costing you in the long run with repair bills.  Consider the labour charges and the reputation of the testing centre too especially if you are not expecting your vehicle to pass.

Car dealerships are renowned for having high labour charges but often offer deals on MOT testing fees.  They do however have newer and more specialised diagnostic equipment over local garages and testing centres though and often provide a courtesy car.

Authorized Testing Centre.

Authorised MOT testing centres will display three white triangles encircled in blue.  Ensuring that the testing station is authorised with the council is essential.  Some councils also have authorised testing centres which are authorised MOT testing stationdedicated to the testing of their council fleet.  These centres do not carry out repairs so you can be assured that they have nothing to gain by failing your vehicle, however another reputable and trusted garage would need to be found should you need any done which could take extra time and possible cost you a retest fee.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find an MOT testing station which you are going to be able to trust.  If the garage or testing station has a website, look for testimonials and ask around friends, family and neighbours who may have had good or bad experiences.

Repairs

If you have an older vehicle or you think there may be some reason why your vehicle may not pass the MOT test then potential repair bills can be a very big factor.  Make sure that you find out what repairs the testing station or garage that you are taking the vehicle to do.  Will they be able to carry out the necessary repairs and are there any which they would not be able to do?  What are their hourly labour charges?  What parts do they use?  Do you need to leave the car with them to repair immediately to avoid a retest fee?

You dont want to be saddled with a repair bill either for things that may not necessarily need doing or for work which is not done properly so ask around regarding the reputation of the testing station and the quality of their repairs.

Retest Fee

If unfortunately, your vehicle fails the MOT test for whatever reason, will you be charged an MOT retest fee if the repairs are not done at the garage?  How long have you got to get the repairs done before a retest fee is incurred if the garage does not carry out repairs or if you wish to do the repairs yourself?

Some garages insist that the repairs which are necessary are carried out without the vehicle leaving the garage for you to not incur a MOT retest fee.  This is because, should the vehicle leave the testing station then another full MOT test is needed to provide a certificate.  However, if repairs are carried out at the authorised testing station without the vehicle leaving then a certificate can be issued by re testing the areas which have been repaired and without the need for a complete retest.

Leap of faith versus calculated decision

 

In many ways, choosing an MOT testing station is a leap of faith, however if you have considered all of the factors above then you can make a calculated MOT testdecision which you can trust.

An MOT is a legal requirement and the penalty for driving without one is a £1000 fine.  In the event of an accident, it also invalidates your vehicle insurance, therefore rendering you driving without insurance to boot!

To check the exact date that your MOT test is due and for a more detailed explanation of what the test entails, you can look at the ‘getting an MOT test’ page at  gov.uk.

AFF vehicle services are an authorised MOT testing centre and repair centre with competative prices and a list of recommendations and testimonials.

CARS Event 2016 – see us there

AFF Vehicle Services are exhibiting this year at the biennially held CARS trade show (Complete Auto Recycling and Secondary Materials).

AFF Vehicle services at CARS

What is CARS?

CARS is an auto recycling event which includes an exhibition, live demonstrations, circuit racing and a skills lab for the auto recycling sector.  In 2014 there were 75 exhibitors from the sector , with guest speakers and expert trainers alike and a massive 1300 attendees from 25 countries all over the world. India, Japan, Germany, Australia and the USA.

Tickets for the CARS event 2016 are FREE and an increase on these figures is expected.   Llunch, a drink, tea and coffee and the full education programme are all included in the ticket.

Visitors

If you are thinking of joining AFF Vehicle Services at CARS this year as a visitor, you will be able to take advantage of the live demonstrations of industry products, talks on how to make your business more profitable, and also take advantage of up to date training from industry experts in the skills lab.  All this and there is also a chance to socialise and network with other industry peers and experts at the Gala Dinner.

This leading event in our calendar is dedicated to auto recyclers and material processes and is the only event of its type for the industry in Europe.    It is a great way of keeping up to date with new processess, products available and to increase your knowledge of the auto recycling industry in general.  It can create new opportunities and give your business a boost.

It is a two day event and there is so much to do that you will fnd it hard to fit everything in.

Where is CARS being held?

The Complete Auto Recycling & Secondary Materials Event 2016 is being held at Donnington Park Circuit, Derby.  Aff Vehicle Services will be there for both days.

For more information of the event, where to get tickets, a list of exhibitors and where to find AFF Vehicle Services, take a look at the dedicated  website.

 

 

 

 

Recycling engines – Ford Innovation

Ford cutting CO2 emission by recycling engines instead of replacing

When a car’s engine fails before the car is at the end of it’s useful life, the usual course of events is to replace it with a new engine – at a high cost both financially and environmentally.

However… Fords development team are striving to reduce co2 emissions by around 50% using  an innovative new plasma process which will breath new life into the faulty engine instead of scrapping it. Basically, they are recycling engines.

Recycling engines

How is it done?

New and innovative technology which uses a plasma thermal spray coating process which was originally developed to enhance high performace vehicles such as the Mustang Shelby GT is being used to recycle engines otherwise destined for the scrap yard  giving them a new lease of life.

This new Ford patented  process uses half of the co2 emissions that would be produced building a new replacement engine.

The process of recycling engines

This exciting and eco driven new patented process  is a plasma transferred wire arc coating sprayed to the inside of the worn-out engine block.  The coating restores the old engine to its original factory condition saving the need to fit a new engine block.

Where and when has this process been developed?

This new process has been developed at the Ford Research and Innovation Cebtre in Aachen, Germany and was announced on 2nd December 2015.

Other examples of Ford’s innitative to reduce it’s carbon footprint

The new process of reusing old engines is only one of Ford’s innovative new measures for reducing it’s effects on the environment.

Aluminium, Carbon Fibre and High Strength Steels

Ford are also looking into the use of lighter weight materials to improve fuel efficiency which will have a knock on benefit to their carbon footprint and their vehicles environmental impact.

Renewable Materials

In addition, the team at Ford are also looking into using renewable plant based materials such as tomato by products of Heinz Ketchup, castor bean oil and shrubs to produce parts such as fuel lines, bins, wiring brackets and cloth seats.

With this dedication to recycling engines and reuse of vehicle parts and sustainable materials, Ford are proving their intention of developing more eco-friendly vehicles and motoring and striving to reduce the impact of motoring on the environment for future generations.

 

Environmentally friendly eco motoring

Being an Eco Motorist does not necessarily mean changing your car for an electric or hybrid version. There are many ways that you can reduce your cars carbon footprint and its affects on the environment without spending any money. This guide will cover:

Eco driving means energy efficient use of your car. Consuming fuel costs money and produces CO2 emissions which have a negative impact on the environment. There are many ways in which using smart driving techniques can reduce fuel consumption, therefore improving safety and lowering emissions.

10 smart rules for eco driving.

1. Read the road ahead Try to anticipate traffic flow as early on as possible. Using your cars own momentum and increasing stopping distances. Slowing gradually rather than at the last minute and using your gears to decrease speed can all reduce fuel consumption. Being aware of what is happening ahead as early as possible helps you do this. 2. Try to maintain a constant speed at low RPM. Maintaining a constant low RPM and speed in as high a gear as possible rather than increasing and decreasing speed can save on fuel consumption. Constantly stopping and starting and driving at high speeds increases stress, reduces aerodynamics and burns fuel. AA studies show that driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph. 3. Change gear at earliest opportunity. Try not to labour the engine and change gears upward at an optimum engine speed of around 2,000 rpm in a diesel car or around 2,500 rpm in a petrol car. Full throttle acceleration should be avoided if possible. On occasions where you need to accelerate more forcefully, try skipping gears. This can help to save fuel by getting you to your target gear and rpm faster. 4. Decelerate smoothly and try rolling. When slowing down or stopping, decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator in time, leaving the car in gear as this uses less energy. If you can keep the car moving all the time , rather than stopping and starting (rolling) then so much the better. Stopping and starting uses more fuel than rolling. 5. Check your tyre pressures regularily. Keeping your tyres properly inflated will reduce fuel waste. Under inflated tyres create resistance and so use more fuel. Check your vehicles handbook or inside door for correct tyre pressure dependant on load. 6. Keep windows closed when driving at higher speeds, streamline and lose dead weight. Having windows open when driving at speed, carrying items on a roof rack or driving with a full boot unnecessarily can all increase aerodynamic drag and therefore consumes extra energy and fuel. Close windows, buy a streamline roof box and only carry what you need. 7. Combine short trips, drive off immediately after starting the engine and turn off when stationary. Stopping and starting all the time and sitting stationary with the engine running uses unneccesary fuel. Dont warm the car up before setting off, leave as soon as you start the engine. If you stop and wait for someone or are stuck in a traffic jam, stationary for any period, turn the engine off. Similarily, you can combine short trips so that you just make one journey.  Cold cars use more fuel than those that are kept running. 8. Have your car regularily checked and serviced and use the specification engine oil. Get your car serviced regularly (according to the manufacturer’s schedule) to maintain engine efficiency and use the right specification of engine oil. 9. Consider using public transport or car sharing. It may seem obvious, but not using your car or using a means of transport which means that only one vehicle is on the road instead of several, will cut down on fuel consumption and pollution.  Why not try cycling or walking as this will not only be more eco friendly but will mprove your health. 10. Buy a low emission car or consider upgrading to an eco car.
Vehicle emissions are a major contributor of greenhouse gases.  Choose a low emission car or a fuel efficient model with reduced CO2 emissions.  Cars with cruise control can decrease fuel consumption.

Emissions

Being an eco driver always starts with decreasing emissions. The government are helping with incentives for those who use low emissions vehicle with tax incentives. You can check on the fuel consumption and emissions data of your current vehicle or one that you are considering buying, new or used, through the government website.  In addition, The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is a team working across government to support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV). They are providing over £900 million to position the UK at the global forefront of ULEV development, manufacture and use. This should help reduce greenhouse gases and pollution from our roads.

The recent VW fuel emissions scandal which saw VW and other manufacturers cheating on emissions testing has thrown more emphasis on testing.  for more information, see the our guide from Auto Fuel Fix.

The ULEV are also providing plug-in car grants for those who wish to convert to a new electric plug-in car or van.  Consider buying an electric car or hybrid (one which runs on either electric or fuel).

Hybrid cars are a combination of battery driven electric motor and conventional combustion engine (ptrol and/or diesel) and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK.  They boast outstanding fuel economy and low tax rates, saving the driver a tidy penny alongside their positive impact on reducing damage to the environment making then eco friendly.  These days they can be plugged in at home to charge batteries.  The advantage that they can be fuelled traditionally reduces anxiety of some drivers about driving distance using electric alone.  It has to be said that hybrid and elctric powered vehicles these days have very good performance levels and are extremely quiet to boot.

The future

The eco motoring future seems to be gearing towards hydrogen fuel cell cars.  Similar to a battery-electric car, a fuel cell car dispenses with the internal combustion engine altogether.

Fuel cell cars are significantly more energy efficient than conventional vehicles. If renewable energy is used to generate hydrogen, then lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are virtually zero. With the exception of water vapour, this is a true zero-emission car.  For more information on Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars.

Parts Recycling

used car parts - eco driving Another great way of eco-motoring is to use second hand or salvage car parts. The more we can recycle any working and reuseable parts, the less waste we are producing.  Accident damaged vehicles or End of Life vehicles are disposed of or sold on by the insurance company after being written off to authorised salvage and recycling plants such as AFF Vehicle Services.  The Salvage vehicles are then either sold as damaged repairable cars for sle or they are dismantled and all reusable parts removed to be sold as salvage parts. By using salvage parts, you can save yourself a considerable amount of money and in addition you are reducing waste.  Less waste always has a positive effect on the environment.  The comprehensive guide to buying salvage parts on AFF Vehicle services will help you understand what you are looking for and what to look out for.

Salvage Cars for Sale – Auto salvage guide

Salvage Cars for Sale / Auto Salvage

This guide covers buying salvage cars for sale, salvage car parts, everything you need to know about auto salvage and what happens when a vehicle comes to the end of it’s life (ELV).

What is Auto Salvage?

Auto salvage is the process of removing and reusing automotive parts from scrap or salvage cars, then safely and legally disposing of the parts of the car that are beyond use.  Auto salvage yards, scrap yards, junk yards, wrecking yards or auto recyclers are all names which may describe a place where auto salvage is practiced.  Auto salvage reduces waste by reusing working parts and materials, and promotes environmental conservation.

Salvage cars for sale could save you money….

Salvage cars for sale are the perfect opportunity to buy a car for a lot less money and providing you have the necessary mechanical skills and some free time, you can,  with a little tlc, end up with the car of your dreams.  Similarly, second hand salvage car parts can be an inexpensive alternative to new parts when your car needs repairing…. or upgrading, meaning that with the right knowledge and/or experience, you could feasibly end up with the car of your dreams for a lot less money.

Knowledge is the key with salvage cars for sale, beginning with a basic comprehension of the main categories which written off salvage vehicles fall into once assessed by the insurance companies after accident, fire or theft.  These cars, commonly known as write offs by insurance companies who decline to repair them on economic or safety grounds are classified and labelled  A,B,C,D,E,F and X.  The main 4 being CAT A- CAT D.

CAT A Vehicles – Not For Resale – Scrap ONLY

CAT A vehicles are the worst of insurance write offs. It is illegal to sell or drive them.   Vehicles in Cat A cannot even be used for salvage car parts and should be crushed or sold for scrap metal by an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATFs).

The DVLA are notified of the vehicle destruction via an online Cerficate of Destruction and this information is also recorded with the HPI.

Category A auto salvage

Category A salvage van

CAT B Salvage Cars – Not Fit For Resale

Cat B Insurance write-offs have sustained severe structural damage.  They must not be driven or sold as salvage cars for sale and the body must be destroyed in the same way as with Cat A by an ATF,  but many of the working parts may still be ok and can be  sold by the scrap yard as salvage car parts.

There will be auto salvage yards in your local area.  Many of them have parts on the shelf already.   If you call them in advance, they should be able to tell you if they have a salvage CAT B or C car with the salvageable parts you need.  You may need to take your own tools and mechanic to remove the part from the salvage car yourself  tho so be prepared to get dirty.

Be savvy and check the terms of sale…..Some auto salvage yards may honor returns and refunds on parts within a certain time period; whereas other auto salvage yards may stipulate that all sales are final.

CAT C Salvage Cars For Sale

Cat C cars could have sustained moderate-heavy damage and likely have been written off due to economic reasons but can be fixed.   These salvage cars for sale can be repaired.  If you are in a position to do the repairs yourself and use salvage car parts – you could end up with a very nice car at a low low price .

Salvage cars for sale cat c

A Cat C salvage car for sale

The buyer will require a VOSA Test before being able to tax or drive the car on the roads again legally to ensure that the repairs have been carried out properly and the vehicle is safe to drive

CAT D Salvage Cars For Sale

Cat D cars can be fixed and the repairs will cost less than its market value.  The damage to these cars is minimal and the insurance company’s decision to not repair it is based on more than soley the cost of the repairs.  These are almost always sold as complete salvage cars for sale and with the right expertise are definitely worth fixing up.

For Category D salvage cars for sale, the (V5) Log Book is issued upon application.  No VOSA VIC check is required.

If you are considering buying a CAT C or D salvage vehicle which has been repaired, or which you intend on repairing yourself, remember that safety is always key.  Check for any chassis damage.  If you are inexperienced with auto salvage, get the vehicle checked by a qualified mechanic.   Also remember to call your insurance provider to check that they will insure it.  Although salvage cars are not impossible to insure, not all insurers are happy to insure rebuilt or repaired cars and you may incur a higher premium even if the work has been carried out to the very best standard. It will entirely depend on your insurer and your policy.  You must however always ensure that you have declared the auto salvage past of your car or any claims may be affected.

CATEGORY X Salvage Cars for Sale

CAT X cars are  “not recorded” as being damaged on the HPI register. They could well have been stolen and
recovered  with minimal or no damage whatsoever.

When purchasing a new car, how do I tell if it has been in an accident and repaired?

Up until recently, salvage cars for sale will have a ‘VIC marker’ put against them by the DVLA if they have a CAT marker against them.  VIC or  Vehicle Identity Check,  was a scheme designed to help stop stolen cars being passed off as repaired accident damaged cars – also known as ‘ringing’.  The DVLA wouldn’tt issue a registration certificate V5C, or vehicle license reminder V11 if there was a VIC marker on the car.  VOSA carried out the VIC test and it took roughly 20 minutes. It was designed to confirm the car’s identity and whether it was ever been sold as salvage cars for sale.

On October 1st 2015 the VIC scheme was abolished for Cat C salvage cars for sale (unless a test slot has already been issued) as it was no longer deemed economically of any use, after 26th October Cat A & B vehicles were no longer be able to obtain a V5 certificate. Up until 26th October Cat A & B vehicles still required a VIC test to confirm they were roadworthy with a new V5 certificate.

V5 replacement certificates are now also be free of charge for Cat C salvage cars for sale.  Meaning less cost for you.

For more information on the VIC test changes see the AFF Vehicle Services guide.

If you are thinking about buying a salvage car it is always advisable to get it looked at by a qualified technician in the first instance.  A professional mechanic who looks at vehicles every day can often tell whether a car has had any repair work done – especially if the work has been extensive.  If you are still concerned that the car is an accident damaged car then check with the DVLA.

Buying salvage cars for sale and other auto salvage

Salvage Cars for sale should be purchased from a professional and accountable vehicle recycling and processing facility such as AFF Vehicle Services.  By purchasing your auto salvage cars and/or parts  from a reputable and registered auto salvage company, you can be sure that the necessary documentation has been obtained and that the vehicle has been categorised as C or D.

Salvage Car Parts Online

Salvage car parts are not only found at auto salvage yards.  You can purchase more or less every single part of a car online (with the odd exception).  You can often hunt down rare parts and its easy to compare prices. Just be sure that you have as much information as possible when searching to ensure you obtain the correct salvage  part.  Remember that certain parts will be modified very slightly in their manufacture, sometimes for just one year, so the more information you have the more likely to get the correct  part.  Do your research!

Check the guarantee provided by the seller.  Salvage parts bought online may be licensed, but some often have no warranty.   If possible, always check the part youself.  Make sure you know what you are looking for or get more information from the manufacturer or main dealer.

EBAY –  EBay Motors features new and used parts for sale by individual consumers, auto mechanics, auto retail stores, auto salvage yards and more.  Prices are often cheaper as many of the sellers overheads are cut by not having a shop front premises so you can save more money.  Always read the sellers feedback before purchasing, check postage costs and check guarantees.

Fitting salvage parts

The best way to save money is of course to do the repairs or upgrades to your car yourself, however this should always depend on your experience and expertise.   Always bear in mind that extra damage caused to the car by not doing the work properly could cost you extra and that once the part is used or fitted, the warranty will not cover errors in fitting.

Pick a reputable auto salvage vendor

It’s important to ensure that you purchase salvage cars for sale and salvage parts from a reputable vendor.  Cars and their working parts aren’t something to mess around with: bad choices can turn your car into a death-trap!

End of life Vehicles (ELV)

An end of life vehicle is one which has come to the end of its useful life.  There are two types of ELV.

Natural ELV’s generally refers to older vehicles, those which have simply been worn out.

Premature ELV’s are those which are no longer useful or repairable due to damage by fire, theft or accident.

During the End of Life process, the car is dismantled and stripped in accordance with the European and UK guidelines.  The European Directive 2000 targeting ELV’s was initiated to try and minimise the amount of waste generated from the disposal process used to dismantle ELV’s and to reduce adverse environmental impacts by increased recycling, recovery and re-use of a vehicle’s components.

If you’re still unsure of what to look at when buying salvage cars for sale and would like some help and guidence, please call  AFF Vehicle Services

VIN number, a complete guide.

VIN – Vehicle Identification Number

Your VIN number is sometimes referred to as your chassis number.

This guide covers the following:

 

What is a VIN?

The VIN number of your car is a 17 figure code made up of both capital letters and numbers to enable you to identify it.  It serves as  its own personal fingerprint.  Each cars  VIN number is individual and no two VIN numbers are the same.

What purpose does VIN have?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began requiring vehicles to have VINs in 1954 for all vehicles on the road.  The length and format of them varied.  After 1981, all VIN numbers on vehicles became 17 characters long.

The VIN number  gives indications to a vehicle’s background including the manufacturer, year and place it was built.  It can help dealerships when it is necessary to recall certain cars and police when a theft has occurred amongst other things.

What does a VIN look like?

salvage vehicles vin number

What do the 17 characters of a VIN number mean?

The first three characters identify the manufacturer. 

  • First character: Defines the country of manufacture.
  • A,B,C,D,EF,G & H : Africa.
  • J,K,LM,N,P & R  : Asia
  • S,T,U,V,W,X.Y & Z: Europe
  • 1,2,3,4 & 5:  North America   6 & 7:  Oceania  8 & 9: South America
  • Second & third character: Indicates the manufacturer and division.

The next 6 digits indicate decriptive details about the vehicle.

  • Characters 4-8: are details about the vehicle, spec, safety, engine.
  • Character9: This is the manufacterers security code or check digit.  This character shows that the vin number hs been authorised by the manufacturer.

The last 8 digits identify that specific vehicle.

  • Character 10: The year of manufacture.
  • A=1980     B=1981     C=1982     D=1983     E=1984     F=1985     G=1986     H=1987     J=1988     K=1989      L=1990     M=1991     N=1992     P=1993      R=1994     S=1995     T=1996     V=1997     X=1999     Y=2000       1=2001     2=2002     3=2003     4=2004     5=2005     6=2006       7=2007     8=2008     9=2009     A=2010     B=2011     C=2012     D=2013     E=2014     F=2015     G=2016     H=2017     J=2018     K=2019     L=2020     M=2021     N= 2022   P=2023
  • Character 11: The place where the vehicle was manufactured.
  • Characters 12-17: This is the serial number or production number of te vehicle and is totally unique.

Where to find your VIN number

You can locate your vehicle identification number in your vehicle documentation and on the vehicle itself.

Documentation

Your Vin number should be recorded on any documentation you have for the vehicle:

  • Vehicle Registration document
  • Insurance documents
  • Owner’s manual
  • Repair records and service history.
  • Police reports

On the Vehicle

You can usually find your VIN number in at least two places on your vehicle..

  • Dashboard.  Your VIN should be visible  at the corner of the dashboard where it meets the windscreen.
  • Front of the engine block.This should be easy to spot by popping open the bonnet, and looking at the front of the engine.
  • Front of the car frame, near the container that holds windscreen washer fluid.
  • Rear wheel well. Try looking up, directly above the tyre.
  • Door posts/shuts/jam. Where the latch meets.
  • Underneath the spare tyre.

Why keep a record of your VIN?

It is useful to write down or record your VIN number.  Should it be stolen, it may help in its recovery.

VIN Check

You can check the VIN number of the car against any documentation by using a VIN checker.   This is often free and will give you the year, make, model, style, country of manufacture……………………all of the details from each of the 17 characters.

When you may need a new VIN

If you have a kit car, a rebuilt car, or radically altered vehicle, you may have to apply for a replacement VIN number after the DVLA have assessed it.

VIC Scheme Abolished, what it means

Since 2003 there has been a VIC scheme in place which was intended to stop the “ringing” of vehicles, this VIC scheme was abolished on 1st October 2015.

What is the VIC scheme?

department of transportIn 2003 the VIC scheme was introduced by the Department for Transport (DfT) to reduce vehicle crimes, specifically car “ringing”. Car “ringing” is where criminals try and pass off stolen cars as accident/damage repaired and cost an estimated 3 billion pounds a year to the UK economy. The scheme was also intended to stop innocent motorists being sold stolen cars and losing their hard earned money as the vehicle would be taken away if this was found to be the case.

When a vehicle was written off by insurers the VIC test would mean that a marker would be placed against it on DVLA records. A replacement logbook (V5) would not be issued until the vehicle had a VIC test and passed its requirements. The VIC test would be taken out by the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in Great Britain and the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland to prove the vehicle’s identity, so that the DVLA could issue a replacement V5C. The VIC scheme applied to all Ca A, Cat B and Cat C vehicles that were being repaired to be put back on the UK roads.

What changes have been made?

On October 1st 2015 the VIC scheme has been abolished for Cat C vehicles (unless a test slot has already been issued), after 26th October Cat A & B vehicles will no longer be able to obtain a V5 certificate. Up until 26th October Cat A & B vehicles will still require a VIC test to confirm they are roadworthy with a new V5 certificate.

V5 replacement certificates will now also be free of charge for Cat C vehicles.

Why have they changed it?

It is reported that the VIC scheme has been largely ineffective since its introduction in 2003, with over 916,000 vehicles subjected to inspection and testing, with only 40 “ringers” being identified. With advancements in modern technology it has become increasingly difficult to “ring” cars, so the Department for Transport (DfT) made the decision that the costs for running and maintaining the VIC scheme was not viable.

What do these changes mean for you?

VIC checkWith the abolishment of the VIC scheme, if you’re looking to purchase a Cat C vehicle to get back on the road, it’s going to save you both time and money. With the VIC test no longer necessary or required, you will save £41 on the cost of the test and further savings on the transport fees for getting your vehicle to and from the test centre. The test could also be time consuming, some areas would have up to a 6 week wait to get your vehicle tested, so delaying the issuing of the vehicles new V5.

For more information check out the offical government site on VIC checks.

Salvage Car Parts – A definitive guide

Buying used and second hand salvage car parts can often be an inexpensive alternative to buying brand new auto parts when you need to repair or upgrade your car. There are many different ways you can approach the task of buying used auto parts; such as visiting auto salvage yards or junkyards in your local area, reviewing your local classified ads, or even buying used parts online from retailers or auction websites.

Which salvage car parts can I buy?

Salvage car parts You can purchase more or less every single part of a car online (with the odd exception).   Just be sure that you have as much information as possible when searching to ensure you obtain the correct salvage car part.  Remember that certain parts will be modified very slightly in their manufacture sometimes for just one year, so the more information you have the more likely to get the correct part.  If you’re still not sure, then consult a mechanic, Google or you car’s manufacturer.

Why should I buy second hand parts?

If you are considering purchasing second hand or used salvage car parts then this could save you a considerable amount of money providing that you have the inclination or necessary skills to fit them yourself.  Do check the guarantee provided by the seller  though as although second hand parts may be licensed, some often have no warranty.   If possible, always check the part youself.

Purchasing online or on the  web means that you can hunt down exactly which part you’re after and compare prices,  specific vehicles and specific years.

Where can I buy used car parts?

Salvage / Junk Yards

There will be auto salvage yards in your local area.  Consult the telephone directory or internet search engine by entering “auto salvage yards” or “junk yards”.  If you call them in advance, they should be able to tell you if they have a car with that part or a part on the shelf which is of the right specification before you go there.

You may need to take your own tools and possibly a mechanic to some salvage yards to remove the part from the scrap car yourself so be prepared and know what exactly it is that you require.  That being said, it can save you a lot of money.

The terms and conditions of the sale.

Some salvage yards may honor returns and refunds on parts within a certain time period; whereas other salvage yards may stipulate that all sales are final, we recommend you check with the auto salvage breakers you’re purchasing from.

Classified Ads

Salvage car parts are often advertised for sale by their owners in the classified ad sections of local newspapers, magazines, on ebay or freeads.

If purchasing in that way, make sure that you check the part before buying or that there is a return and refund policy in place if it is being sent to you.

Online Retailer

This method can be a convenient way to locate a specific or rare car part.  The prices of salvage car parts are often found to be lower online since most retailers can eliminate overheads incurred through having staff and a premises.

EBAY –  EBay Motors features new and used auto parts for sale by individual consumers, auto mechanics, auto retail stores, and more.  Always read the sellers feedback before purchasing, check postage costs as this can increase the total price paid for an item (especially if it is a particularily heavy part) and then check what guarantees and return policies are in place.

Should I repair the car myself?

used car partsWhether you decide to renovate or repair your vehicle yourself, should depend mainly on your experience.  If you are relatively inexperienced, then it might be worth taking the part to a qualified mechanic.   However, if it is part which you are familiar with then you could save money by doing it yourself.   Always bear in mind that extra damage caused to the car by not doing the work properly could cost you extra and that once the salvage car part is used or fitted, the warranty will not cover errors in fitting.

Do your research

When purchasing used or second hand salvage car parts,  always try to look at it first or get as much information accross as possible.  Just because it is the same part and same brand does not necessarily mean that is correct part as some manufacturers change a part ever so slightly for just one year.   If in doubt, consult with the manufacturer or a mechanic.

How do I ensure I get the correct salvage part?

Most reputable auto salvage yards will give you the opportunity  to enter your registration number on their website to see a list of parts which are available from their breakers for your particular vehicle. Sometimes the auto salvage company may require your vehicle chassis or engine number to ensure you get the correct part, you will usually find that a simple phone call to the auto salvage company will put you in touch with someone who will tell you what information is required and how to find it on your particular vehicle.

Pick a reputable vendor

It’s important to ensure that you purchase salvage car parts from a reputable vendor.  Car parts aren’t something to mess around with: a bad one can turn your car into a death-trap!

If you’re still not sure what you’re looking for, get in touch with AFF Vehicle Services who will be happy to help and guide you.

01992 468146
Liam@affvs.com Sales Manager
Ben@affvs.com Managing Director

 AFF Vehicle Services salvage car parts are fully tested and condition guaranteed to be as described.

Accident damaged repairable cars – a definitive guide

Damaged Repairable Cars for sale

Damaged repairable cars & insurance write offs for sale from auto salvage companies are the perfect opportunity to buy a car for a lot less money and providing you have the necessary mechanical skills and some free time, you can,  with a little tlc, end up with the car of your dreams.  Similarly, you can purchase a damaged repairable car that requires restoration and with a little love and knowledge, restore them back to their original glory.

Insurance companies assess vehicles which have been stolen or sustained damage  from fire, theft or an accident.  Each claim is investigated and estimates are made as to the cost of repair back to its original condition.  This estimate includes the cost of new parts and labour.   If the damage is considered uneconomic to repair ( The car would cost more to repair than its market value) then they are considered to be insurance “write-offs“.    The claim is settled with the owner and the vehicle is disposed of with a licensed auto salvage company.

The insurance company then classifies them into insurance categories labelled A,B,C,D,E,F and X.   These categories describe the extent of the damage to the vehicle and give a guide to how auto salvage companies should dispose of them .  There are 4 main write off categories – these are A-D.    They are often refered to as CAT. CAT A, CAT B etc….

Any car described with the ‘CAT’ moniker will have been damaged in some way, and written off by an insurance company.

Auto salvage companies then either dispose of the vehicle if necessary or sell it on as repairable salvage cars or damaged repairable cars.

In this definitive guide to buying damaged repairable cars from auto salvage companies you’ll find the following content:

What do all the different write off categories for accident damaged cars mean?

In a nutshell, there are 4 main insurance write off categories, CAT A, CAT B, CAT C and CAT D.    Insurance companies assess vehicles in a claim and put them in one of these 4 categories based on the extent of the damage that they have incurred from either an accident, fire, flood, theft or being used in a crime. The vehicles are then sold onto licensed auto salvage breakers such as AFF Vehicle Services.

CAT A vehicles are the worst of insurance write offs.  Vehicles in Cat A cannot even be used for salvage and should be crushed or sold for scrap metal.

Cat B Insurance write-offs can be sold for spare parts.  These are not sold as damaged repairable cars.

Cat C cars are damaged repairable cars, and by using a combination of new, second hand or replacement parts, and with some expert knowledge, you can put the car back on the road at relatively little cost.

Cat D cars are damaged repairable cars and the repairs will cost considerably less than its market value, with very little damage.  The insurance company’s decision to not repair it is based on more than soley the cost of the repairs.  These are almost always sold as damaged repairable cars and with the right expertise are well worth fixing up.

Here is a more comprehensive overview of the 4 main categories:

CATEGORY A Insurance write-off cars

Category A written off car

Category A write off

Cat A is the worst of insurance write offs.  Vehicles in Cat A cannot even be used for auto salvage and should be crushed or sold for scrap metal.

Category A Insurance write off vehicles are those which have sustained extensive damage and have no salvageable parts.  These cars are deemed too damaged to repair and in as much would be unsafe to drive if repairs were attempted.  This kind of written off car must be completely destroyed including all parts and must not be resold. Only Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) like AFF Vehicle Services are legally permitted to do this.  It is illegal to sell a CAT A vehicle as a re-buildable repairable car.

The DVLA are notified of the vehicle destruction via an online Cerficate of Destruction and this information is also recorded with the HPI.

For more information  take a look at HPI check

Cat A vehicles could well have been in a flood or fire.

You must never drive a CAT A write off.

CATEGORY B Insurance write-off cars

Category B writen off car

CAT B write off

CAT B write off

Category B write off

Cat B Insurance write-offs can be sold for spare parts.
Category B Vehicles have sustained severe structural damage.  They are considered to be damaged beyond repair, possibly the chassis , and as such are not to be sold as a repairable salvage cars.  You must never drive a CAT B car but these cars however may be dismantled and the working spare parts can be sold individually.

The vehicle body must be destroyed for scrap.  As with Cat A vehicles only Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) like AFF Vehicle Services  are legally permitted to do this.

CAT B cars are often those which have been major accidents where the main body of the car has been completely destroyed but many of the working parts are still ok.

CATEGORY C Insurance write-off cars

Category C write off

Category C write off

Cat C cars can be fixed, the insurance company has written off the car due to the cost of fixing the car with NEW parts at a main dealer. DON’T BE PUT OFF – By repairing bodywork, using after market panels or second hand parts and carrying out the repairs yourself or by a local garage, YOU CAN SAVE £££ with little effort!

Auto Salvage

CAT C damage

CAT C Vehicles could  have sustained moderate to fairly heavy damage.   These cars have been ‘written off’ because the cost of repair far outweighs the pre-accident value of the vehicle, if the vehicle was repaired by a main dealler using new genuine parts.
These vehicles can be sold by the insurance company or the salvage company as repairable salvage cars.   The buyer will require a VOSA Test before being able to tax or drive the car on the road again legally to ensure that the repairs have been carried out properly and the vehicle is safe to drive.

A good example of a ‘CAT C’ write off is the mini pictured here, this car sold for £1,700 and has a market value when repaired of at least £4,500. As you can see from the damage shown in the photos, with some cosmetic repairs and re-spray to the boot and rear bumper, the car would be back to its former glory before the incident, all for a cost of around £500. That’s a massive saving of £2,300, a saving of over 50% on the normal selling price.

As you can see, if you are looking to buy a damaged repairable car which has been classified CAT C , with a little bit of knowledge, maybe some searching for after market and second hand parts, and a little bit of work,  you could bag yourself a bargain!

CATEGORY D Insurance write-off cars

Category D write off

Catergory D insurance write off

Cat D damaged repairable cars have very light damage and will cost less than its market value.  The insurance company’s decision to not repair it is based on more than soley the cost of the repairs.

CAT D Vehicles have sustained light damage and repair costs would be less than the market value of the car.  However, the car has been been written off by the insurance company  due to other reasons.  These cars can be sold as a damaged repairable cars for sale.  Insurers tend to value cars on the lower end of their market price, in order to make as much money as they can when selling on the car – so sometimes the damage to write off a car can be very minor.  This could be a contributary factor to why some vehicle are still considered a CAT D write off rather than worthy to repair.

For Category D damaged repairable cars, the (V5) Log Book is issued upon application.  No VOSA VIC check is required.

Cat D write off

CAT D write off

An example of a CAT D write off would be a small dent in a 10-year old car. The insurer sees that some examples of the car are selling for around £1,000, but the dent would cost £800 to repair. This could result in a ‘Cat D’ write-off. However the car could be in good condition for its age and be worth more than £1,000 in reality, so the dent could be repaired and the car would be put up for sale.

If you are considering buying a CAT D damaged car which has been repaired, remember that it could very well have been in an accident.  There is no guarantee that it hasn’t incurred chassis damage.  Get it checked over and a full mechanical inspection by a qualified mechanic.   Also remember to call your insurance provider to check that they will insure it.   Not all insurers are happy to insure rebuilt or repaired CAT D cars.  It will depend on your insurer and your policy. You must declare that the vehicle is a CAT D car or you run the risk that they will not pay out in the event of you needing to make a claim.

CATEGORY X Insurance write-off cars

CAT X write off

CAT X write off

CAT X damaged repairable cars are  “not recorded” as being damaged on the HPI register. They could well have been stolen and
recovered  with minimal or no damage whatsoever.

The vehicle doesn’t need to go through any checks to get it back on the road (so long it has a valid MOT) and with a bit of TLC and some very light repairs, you have the car you really wanted.

Why wont the insurance company repair the vehicle if it is a damaged repairable car?

insurance agent assessing car damage

Insurance agent assessing damage

Insurance companies often air on the lower side of a cars market value when insuring the vehicle and when guaging the cost of a claim. Insurance companies assess each claim based on the cost of repair to the car including all new parts and labour at the appointed garage, along with all other costs invloved like a courtesy car. If the cost for the car outweighs the estimated market value allocated to the vehicle the insurance company classify the car as an “Insurance write-off”.  This is when an insurance company decides that a car is not worth repairing after a crash – because of a high cost of repair, or because the car is not worth much.

Sometimes the vehicle’s actual market value is higher than the estimated average value for a car of that make and year.  This may well be because of the way in which it has been maintained, because it has extremely little wear and low mileage or because it has been highly upgraded and these are not accounted for.  In these circumstances, provided the damage to the vehicle is deemed repairable, a mechanically minded individual could pick up a damaged repairable car for sale and with a little TLC and time have a real bargain.  These cars will always fall within the CAT C or CAT D bracket with the CAT C cars having more extensive damage.

Will I be able to insure a CAT C or CAT D repaired car which has been written off previously and will is cost any more?

Written off car insurance

Insuring a written off car

These cars are not impossible to insure. Sometimes insurers won’t want to cover a ‘CAT D’ or ‘CAT C’ damaged repaired car, you will need to check first.  It could be that your insurance company will insure a previously accident damaged car but it may well mean accepting a higher premium.

You must always ensure that your insurance company is aware of the CATC or CAT D status of your car or this could effect any pay out that you may get in the event that you need to make a claim yourself.

So long as the repairs on accident damaged repairable cars have been carried out professionally or to a high standard there is no safety reason why the car should not be insured.

Is a damage repaired written off car as safe to drive as a standard car?

Repaired accident damaged car

Repaired accident damaged car

Firstly, a damage repaired written off car is a standard car, just one that has been sold as a damaged repairable car and re-built or repaired following an accident or being stolen.

CAT C and CAT D vehicles have been fully checked by qualified assessors and deemed in a repairable re-buildable  state.  If they have been repaired by someone who has the necessary knowledge and skills then they should be as safe as any other vehicle on the road.

Unless of course this repair work has been carried out by a registered garage or dealership, then there is no way of guaranteeing however that the work has been done properly or that the vehicle didn’t sustain any damage to the chassis.  For these reasons, you should always get a qualified mechanic whom you trust to check over the car before you purchase it.  If you are looking for a bargain damaged repairable car and it seems too good to be true, the chances are that it probably is so it’s always best to get a professional opinion first.  Ask for a full mechanical assessment.

How can I tell that a car was in an accident and was written off and repaired? (pre-1st October 2015)

DVLA logo

DVLA

Vehicles that have been written-off by an insurance company and classified CAT A, B or C will have a ‘VIC marker’ put against them by the DVLA.  VIC or  Vehicle Identity Check,  is a scheme designed to help stop stolen cars being passed off as repaired accident damaged cars – also known as ‘ringing’.

This scheme was abolished on 1st October 2015, please see next section for more details.

While there is a VIC marker on the car, the DVLA won’t issue a registration certificate V5C, or vehicle license reminder V11. The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) carries out the VIC test and it takes roughly 20 minutes. It’s designed to confirm the car’s identity and help ensure that the genuine car is returned to the road. It will also detail whether the car has sustained any accident damage .  Any vehicle that requires or has passed a VIC test will have this noted on the V5.

If you are thinking about buying a car it is always adviseable to get it looked at by a qualified technician in the first instance.  A professional mechanic who looks at vehicles every day can often tell whether a car has had any repair work done – especially if the work has been extensive.  If you are still concerned that the car is an accident damaged car then check with the DVLA.

For more information on how to recognise a write off,  take a look at HPI Check

For information on how to check if a car has a VIC marker:  Vehicle Identity Check

VIC scheme abolished, what you need to know

The VIC scheme as outlined above was abolished on 1st October 2015, originally introduced in 2003, it was intended to stop car “ringing” which reportedly cost the economy £3 billion a year. With new modern technology it has been made more difficult to “ring” cars and the VIC scheme has been reportedly uneffective with only 40 “ringers” being identified from almost 916,000 inspections since it’s implementation. So the Dft made the decision to end the scheme as the running costs to maintain such a system far outweighed the results it was obtaining.

For more information on the changes, check out our VIC Scheme abolished blog post.

So what does this mean for the buyer

The benefits are in both time and money when it comes to buying a Cat C vehicle you wish to get back on the road. There will no longer be the need to get your vehicle transported to and from the VIC testing centre and pay the £41 for the test, the VIC test could also take up to 6 weeks to get booked in some cases.

You will still need to get a replacement V5 from the DVLA as previous, but these will be free of charge for Cat C vehicles. Cat A and B vehicles will still need a VIC test up until 26th October 2015, but after that time they will be unable to obtain a V5 certificate.

Can you really save money buying a repairable car?

Save MoneyIf you have the time to spare and enough mechanical knowledge to do the repairs and rebuild yourself then you could potentially bag yourself a bargain on a CAT D write off car.  damaged repairable cars are often sold for a great deal under their current market value.

Because insurance companies often under value vehicles based on the lowest end of their market value when insuring them, a car which is relatively new, has been maintained to a very high standard or has done very little mileage could well have a market value which is higher than its average.  In these cases, the repairs to the vehicle if not too excessive and if they could be done by yourself could leave you with a car with a market value higher than you paid out for it.  Making you money, and leaving you with a rather nice car.

Where should I buy written off cars for sale?

environment agencyDamaged repairable cars, CAT C and D cars should only be purchased from a professional and accountable vehicle recycling and processing auto salvage facility such as AFF Vehicle Services.

AFF Vehicle services has attained compliance levels required to hold both Authorised Treatment Centre and recycler of End of Life Vehicles status, recognised by the Environment Agency.

If you purchase your damaged repairable cars for sale from a reputable and registered company, you can be sure that the necessary documentation has been obtained and that the vehicle has been categorised as C or D.  You should never be sold a CAT A or CAT B vehicle as a re-buildable repairable car for sale.

Useful links

UK End of life vehicle regulations

Vehicle end of life guidance notes