The sale of cars’ spare parts to individuals

The sale of a vehicle for spare parts to an individual is strictly prohibited by law in the case of an end-of-life vehicle (not rolling) and is subject to several conditions in the case of a rolling vehicle.

What is the sale of a vehicle for spare parts?

In some cases, the owner of a vehicle may wish to get rid of it, beyond the simple willingness to sell it to get a decent price.

This is particularly the case in the following situations:

  • After the purchase of a new vehicle and the lack of parking space to keep the old one (who is concerned by the declaration of purchase of a vehicle?
  • If the vehicle, which is too old or worn out, often breaks down or, worse, is no longer in working order and can no longer be restarted due to excessive repair or maintenance costs.

Consequently, the private individual may be tempted to take a price from it by selling the vehicle to value its spare parts. The purchaser would thus only purchase the vehicle to remove spare parts that are in good working order or that are repairable.

The question of the legality of such an operation arises. The answer will depend on both the condition of the vehicle and the quality of the purchaser of the vehicle.

Thus, if the vehicle is no longer in a roadworthy condition, it is strictly prohibited to sell it to a private individual, but it is possible to dispose of it by selling it by selling it “spare parts” legally to an authorised professional who is able to ensure the destruction of non-running vehicles, recycling and decontamination of harmful elements, without risk to the environment and in complete safety, while respecting certain conditions essential to the proper conduct of the procedure.

On the other hand, in the case of a vehicle still in roadworthy condition that has obtained the roadworthiness test report within the last six months, it is possible to transfer it to a private individual by carrying out the usual procedure for selling a vehicle between private individuals (in particular by signing a declaration of transfer of a second-hand vehicle) without any particular mention being made (the buyer may use the parts for his personal use or sell the vehicle to an authorised breaker).

Note: It is possible to make a power of attorney for the sale of a car. In addition, when an owner has mechanical difficulties with his car with or without a registration and it becomes “old”, he can consider getting rid of the car without a registration, selling it for loose parts.

Prohibition of selling a non-rolling vehicle for spare parts to an individual

Definition of the non-rolling vehicle

As soon as a vehicle is no longer able to pass the roadworthiness test, it is considered by law to be a “non-rolling vehicle”, immobilised, and is not authorised to travel on public roads.

The prohibition of the “sale for spare parts” of non-wheel-drive vehicles between private individuals

The new registration system introduced in 2009 stopped the sale of non-wheel drive spare parts vehicles between private individuals in order to put an end to parallel markets for the sale and purchase of spare parts. No vehicle registration document or roadworthiness test bearing the words “non-rolling vehicle” may therefore be issued. The sale of a non-rolling vehicle for spare parts to a private individual therefore becomes impossible. However, the owner of an immobilized vehicle has the right to keep the vehicle for conversion, dismantling or repair, but only for strictly personal use. To do so, he must make a withdrawal declaration suspending the vehicle’s authorization to operate on roads open to traffic.

The non-road vehicle may also be transferred to an approved breaker for destruction, provided that the vehicle has retained its essential components. It is therefore strongly discouraged to dismantle a non-running vehicle to sell the parts separately or risk having to pay for the handling for destruction.

Sanction of the “sale for spare parts” of a vehicle between private individuals

A non-rolling vehicle cannot be legally sold to an individual. To be legal, the sale of a vehicle even in the case of the death of the spouse between individuals requires a valid roadworthiness test report. The new registration system no longer allows the issue of roadworthiness tests marked “vehicle not in motion”. In addition, no registration certificate may be issued to the new owner. The seller of a non-running vehicle for spare parts will remain the sole owner of the dismantled or destroyed vehicle and is exposed to great risks in the case of license plate theft.

It is also important to know that the law strictly prohibits owners of old vehicles, whether or not they are on the road, from disposing of them by leaving them in the wild, after having deleted the license plates or destroyed some or all of the vehicle components. A fine of 1500 euros is then provided for.

Possibility to keep a vehicle off the road

As the sale of non-running vehicles for spare parts is not authorized, the owner may choose to keep the vehicle at home to make some modifications or alterations. He can also repair it or recover certain parts still in good condition but only for strictly personal use.

The only condition to be respected is to consider making the withdrawal declaration that will protect the owner from possible problems related to theft and license plate traffic. Before starting the online process, you must have a digital copy of the following documents:

Possibility of dropping off a vehicle that is not in motion in an approved ELV centre

Approved ELV centres with an approval number are a good alternative to prohibiting the sale of a vehicle for spare parts to an individual. ELV centres are approved breakdowns, authorised by the State to take charge of the destruction of an end-of-life vehicle (ELV) considered a hazardous waste.

These centres comply with a procedure strictly governed by European regulations. They shall take charge free of charge of the destruction of end-of-life vehicles that have their main components (powertrain and catalytic converter for vehicles that were originally equipped with them). A proof of assumption of responsibility for destruction, also called a certificate of destruction, is then given to the owner.

Depositing an end-of-life vehicle in an ELV centre is not profitable and the towing costs are the responsibility of the owner. Once the certificate of destruction has been obtained, this procedure allows the owner of the end-of-life vehicle that has been scrapped for destruction to take the necessary steps to cancel the vehicle registration document. The Cerfa form provides for this purpose under the heading “transferred for destruction”. This very important approach makes it possible to be in order with regard to public services and to avoid any legal problems later on.

Possibility to sell a rolling vehicle for spare parts

As soon as the vehicle is on the road, its sale is quite possible, even if it is a sale for spare parts.

Transfer a rolling vehicle for spare parts to an individual

The sale of a rolling vehicle for spare parts to a private individual is legal. This is a transfer subject to the usual procedure for the sale of vehicles between private individuals. Vehicles with a roadworthiness test report less than six months old may be sold for spare parts as a simple transfer, in the same way as a transfer of used private cars. The buyer may indeed, in full knowledge of the facts, wish to acquire a second-hand vehicle, old but not stationary, in order to recover the parts for his personal use.

Selling a rolling vehicle for spare parts to a professional

Approved breakages are also suitable for receiving a vehicle travelling for destruction always provided the vehicle is complete. This is why it is strongly discouraged to dismantle a vehicle in order to sell certain parts. Indeed, this makes it difficult for a VHU centre to take charge of the vehicle for destruction and even if dismantled, a vehicle without a certificate of destruction cannot obtain the declaration of withdrawal from circulation. Thus, in the eyes of the law, the vehicle remains a rolling vehicle, equipped with a registration certificate always in the name of its owner. In the case of usurpation of identity plates, it will be difficult for the owner to justify his situation.

Buying auto parts on the Internet: good tips and tricks!
Where to buy products and auto spare parts?