Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling

Adam Hewitt
Auto Solutions T

What to do with data in vehicles once they arrive at your yard?

Gayle Parker from GDPR Solutions gives us an insight into what happens with data found in vehicles in your yard since the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the Data Protection Act 2018 came into force earlier this year. 

Now that all the fuss has died down around GDPR and businesses are now getting on with things under the new legislation, a number of issues are starting to emerge in how the new rules affect different industries. One such issue is the amount of personal data that can be found in cars as a result of on board computers. This is particularly relevant to dismantler’s yards who receive a great many cars which may hold such data.

With recent technological advancements in car manufacturing, particularly around the idea of ‘connected cars’, the vehicle captures vast amounts of data via its On Board Diagnostic (OBD) systems, including driving destinations and phone contacts, addresses and text messages and the amount of data being captured is growing by the day. These are all personal and sometimes sensitive bits of data which fall under the purview of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the Data Protection Act 2018.

So what happens to this data when the car is scrapped? 

The car makers have not made it easy to disconnect or wipe data from an OBD, not that many drivers would necessarily think to do this anyway. So cars will often arrive at a scrapyard still fully loaded with data. It then becomes the organisations responsibility to ensure the data is treated in accordance with the principles of GDPR. Those principles are: 

  1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency – data should be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals rights;
  2. Purpose limitation – data should be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;
  3. Data minimisation – the data collected should be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
  4. Accuracy – data must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;
  5. Storage limitation – kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals;
  6. Security – data must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.

Because the personal data in the cars has no audit trail, complying with the six principles under GDPR regulations would be extremely difficult. Therefore data should be erased as soon as possible not only to protect the organisation but if a third party were to compromise the data for their own uses and it is traced back to the organisation then the organisation could be liable for a fine of up to 4% of yearly turnover. 

Ensuring that there are processes in place will help protect your business from any exposure under these privacy laws. This could include updating your privacy policy to reflect the deletion process and getting a document signed when a car is dropped off that covers the yard in terms of data protection. 

If you would like to find out more about how you can protect your business when it comes to data protection, contact GDPR Data Solutions on 01604 372355 or email or take a look at their website at 

adam hewitt ltd

More News


ATF Professional is produced by ARW- Group LTD, which is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 14914439

The views and opinions expressed on ATF Professional are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the editor, publisher or staff of ATF Professional.


01432 355099

© All rights reserved

Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

e2e awards logo

e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

New Client Special Offer

20% Off

Aenean leo ligulaconsequat vitae, eleifend acer neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, tempus.