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How to Register a Scrapped Vehicle in South Africa

Do you want to start a business selling refurbished scrap vehicles in SA? If YES, here are 6 steps on how to register a deregistered vehicle in South Africa. Scrapped vehicles are most times unusable, except for recycling, or in rare occasions refurbished for personal use.

What is a Scrapped Vehicle?

Scrapped vehicles are known as old or ruined vehicles, either because of time, negligence, or damages beyond repair. Scrapped vehicles also tend to be missing most of their valuable parts or components.

These vehicles are either just body shells or completely destroyed vehicles which cannot be roadworthy unless much money or labour is invested to refurbish the vehicle. In most cases, scrapped vehicles have no title, no registration papers, and no traceable owners.

Most times, scrapped vehicles tend to be a subject of fires or similar devastating forces which left them totally unusable. Those vehicles are mostly good for crushers or recycling plants. Also, scrap vehicles can be harvested for spare parts if needed.

Why Should Take an Interest in Scrap Vehicles?

The main reason scrap vehicles are cheap is that they are worth their weight in steel, or if the engine is still sound can be refurbished. Since the price of steel is not very high, you can agree that scrapped vehicles are only worth a couple of cash.

If you have a scrap vehicle and you want to see how much you can get for it, just see what the current prices of scrap steel are and what the exact weight of your vehicle is. The actual weight in metal is around 65 to 70 percent since all vehicles have a lot of plastic, rubber and other materials in them.

If you don’t invest resources and labour to refurbish a scrapped vehicle, there is practically nothing you can do with the vehicle other than to recycle it. In most cases, these vehicles are either already stripped of any valuable parts or components, or are in such a bad shape that no parts are usable.

For instance, if it’s an extensively burned vehicle or a vehicle that was submerged under water for a long time, even if the vehicle is complete, no parts or components are reusable or recommended. That is why scrapped vehicles are mostly good for scrap yards, recycling, and feeding the crusher. Through this means, people not only help the industry get materials for new vehicles, but help the environment as well.

6 Steps on How to Register a Scrapped Vehicle in South Africa

Scrapped vehicles can be returned to fully working condition, registered, and sold. A scrapped vehicle in South Africa can be considered a used vehicle. With some work and investment, it can be fully functional and in presentable condition.

The law in South Africa requires that you register a used vehicle in your name within 21 days of taking ownership. If you fail to do this within the prescribed time, you will be subject to fines and penalties on a scale determined by the amount of time your registration is overdue.

1. Get the Vehicle Inspected by a Mechanic

Although not a legal requirement in South Africa, it is advisable to get an independent mechanic to inspect the scrapped vehicle prior to purchasing. However, even if you gave the vehicle a pre – sale check-up, it makes sense to bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection and basic preventative maintenance after the purchase.

Have it in mind that buyers of scrapped vehicles should immediately replace all filters and fluids. In addition, you should have a mechanic check your brakes and the wear on your tires. Depending on the age and condition of your vehicle, your mechanic may recommend replacing all the engine belts, spark plugs, and wires, conducting a wheel alignment, and refreshing the AC unit.

2. Starting the Registration Process

The entire registration process in South Africa is about changing the particulars of the vehicle certificate of registration to reflect your own. You want the vehicle papers to have your name and ID or traffic register number. When this is achieved, you have successfully registered the vehicle.

3. Get your Roadworthy Certificate

You may register a used car in your name without providing a roadworthy certificate. But the traffic authority will only issue you with a license for road use once a valid roadworthy certificate for the car has been presented at the licensing authority.

Note there are both private (but authorised by the National Traffic Authority) and public office Roadworthy testing centres located in the country. You should present your vehicle for testing in a condition that is roadworthy. If it fails on certain items, these items should be rectified, and the vehicle re – submitted for testing.

You will be mandated to submit the vehicle’s registration document (Scrap paper), your identity document (ID) and the prescribed fee. You will be required to fill out a form known as an ACR (Application for Certification of Roadworthiness). Once the car has passed a roadworthy test; it is valid for a period of 60 days.

4. The NCO Form (Notification of Change of Ownership)

This is a double sided form that is officially distributed as a yellow document. Note that a limited amount of these forms seem to be available and as such a blank black and white copy can be used. If you photocopy this document, ensure to copy and complete both sides. The NCO form contains;

  • The sellers’ details. This contains a section for the seller, the sellers proxy (the scrap yard, where applicable) and an area for acknowledgement, i.e. a signature.
  • The buyer’s details. Contains a section for the buyers details, buyers proxy where applicable and signature
  • The vehicles details. To be completed by the seller, all the information required for this section can be found on the license disk of the vehicle.

Note that the Notification of change of ownership document must be filled without errors especially in the date fields. When completed correctly, the NCO form is the official document that constitutes a receipt. In some cases, an NCO may not be required provided there’s a correctly worded receipt, invoice or letter from the bank for the vehicle. It’s better to be prepared and have an NCO form completed before you attempt to register a vehicle.

5. Registration Form

A blue form called the RLV is also expected to be completed and signed by the buyer or in the case of a company, the proxy or proxies representative. This form contains 3 sections

  • The details of the title holder
  • The details of the owner. If the owner and title holder are the same, section B can be left blank
  • The details of the vehicle
  • Proof of identity, this can be in the form of a South African ID, a South African Drivers License, a traffic register certificate or a business register certificate. If you are registering a vehicle for the very first time, a driver’s license will not suffice.

6. Proof of Address

Have it in mind that once a year your address must be verified by the MVR, this is done by submitting proof of address and your ID. Documents that can be used to verify your address is correspondence received in the form of:

  • A municipal account
  • A lease agreement
  • Telephone bill
  • An account from any recognized company, a big chain store.
  • A bank statement


There is nothing wrong with buying a scrapped car but just make sure that you have all relevant information. Check that the service manual is up to date. Also there are various AA Dekra tests that can be done on a vehicle.

The Roadworthy Test is a legal requirement and must be conducted every time a vehicle changes ownership, ensuring that it meets the safety standards as defined by the SABS. For extra peace of mind, you could also have the Multi – point Check, Technical Inspection or Safety Check performed. For a few hundred rand you could be saving yourself thousands in the future.