Car Breakers / Dismantlers

Car Breakers / Dismantlers Information

Car Breakers (also known as Vehicle Dismantlers, Breakers Yards or Scrap Yards) provide second-hand parts from vehicles that have generally been scrapped for one reason or another and provide a means of disposing of end-of-life vehicles.

When a car is badly damaged, is malfunctioning beyond repair or is uneconomical to repair, it's owner may sell it to a car breakers. Some breakers will buy vehicles from auctions. Some buy accident damaged vehicles from insurance companies.

The car breaker will remove parts that can be sold for reuse, remove the potentially environmentally polluting materials such as operating fluids and batteries, and the hulks are then sold to shredding operations. Shredders are high capacity hammer mills that break the hulk into fist-sized pieces. Ferrous metals are removed magnetically, non-ferrous metals are sorted mechanically and by hand. Comprehensive details on end-of-life vehicle recycling can be found on the MVDA web site.

Cheap Replacement Car Parts

There are several situations where it is viable to use a car breaker.

  • Cost

    The main advantage of buying replacement parts from a car breaker is cost - parts will often be a fraction of the cost charged by dealerships.

  • Original Manufacturer Parts

    Many after-market replacement parts such as brakes, exhausts, electrical components, etc. are not original parts but are just patent copies. When buying from a breaker you will usually get the original equipment fitted at manufacture.

  • Discontinued Parts

    Breakers yards are also a rich source for parts that have been discontinued or are hard to find. This means they are a necessity for many classic and vintage car enthusiasts.

How do car breakers operate?

Types of Breakers Yards

Car breakers generally fall into one of two categories:

  • Traditional Breakers Yards

    Where a customer removes the parts from the donor vehicles themselves.

  • Vehicle Dismantlers

    Businesses that remove the parts, clean and test them before keeping them in their premises for customers to buy "off the shelf".

As businesses have become both more professional and more technologically sophisticated, the uncertainty of buying recycled parts has all but disappeared. With the advent of Internet linked parts locating systems and modern freight services, sourcing the right part for next-day delivery is becoming standard across the industry.

Specialist Car Breakers

Many car breakers will specialise by selling parts for vehicles made by a single manufacturer such as Ford, Vauxhall or BMW. Some will deal with a limited number of manufacturers, so it is not unusual to see Japanese car breakers or German breakers yards advertised. Other car breakers will break all vehicles available to them which may even include 4x4 and commercial vehicles.

Trades Bodies

The Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association (MVDA) was formed in 1943 and is the Trade Association representing the interests of over 200 vehicle dismantlers and their customers throughout the UK. They are members of the European Group of Automotive Recycling Associations (EGARA) and currently hold the chairmanship of EGARA.

Many car breakers are also involved in vehicle salvage. The British Vehicle Salvage Federation (BVSF) was set up on 1st July 1998 and its members represent approximately 85% of the vehicle salvage business in the UK.

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