Are you tired of looking at that old clunker in your driveway, and you are finally going to sell it? Maybe you have no idea how much that old car is even worth. Would someone pay you cash for that thing, and is now the best time to sell?
Even scrap cars have some value, but the specific value of your car depends on many factors. The size and weight of your vehicle and the current scrap metal market are just a couple of the things that will affect how much you can expect to receive for your car. Keep reading, and we will tell you everything that you need to know about scrap car prices so that you can get an idea of how much your car is worth.
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How Much Is Your Scrap Car Worth?
One of the most common questions that we receive is, “How much do you get for scrapping a car?” The value of scrap cars tends to fluctuate with the current scrap metal prices. If you have an old junk car with no usable parts, then the car will simply be used for recycling. The junkyard will typically pay you for your car based on the weight of the different types of metal inside your car.
The largest and heaviest portion of your car is made of steel. An average car today has anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 pounds of steel inside. In addition to the steel, today’s cars also contain aluminum and copper. Those metals are found in much smaller quantities inside your vehicle. The amount of aluminum in your vehicle is usually around 200-300 pounds, with an even smaller amount of copper.
If you can separate the metal in the vehicle, you can probably get a little more for it. According to current scrap prices as of September 2021, the value of scrap steel is $208 per ton. That equates to roughly $0.10 per pound. Many scrap yards will even price complete cars at a scrap rate. Currently, that rate is at $203 per ton or about $0.10 per pound. So, you can take your car’s weight and determine its value.
The scrap price for cars averages somewhere between $150 – $300 for mid-size vehicles. For smaller cars, that figure could be as low as $100. For larger SUVs or trucks, you might see $250 – $450. Now we will take a look at how these numbers are calculated.
Calculating Scrap Car Prices
The numbers mentioned above are calculated based on pure scrap values. The salvage yard will take the weight of your vehicle and multiply that by the current scrap price for a car to arrive at the scrap value of a car. In some cases, they might decide to calculate the value by adding the value of the different types of metal in your car, which can often lead to a higher figure. For example, they might determine that your car has 2,000 pounds of scrap steel, 200 pounds of aluminum, and 30 pounds of copper. Since aluminum is worth about $0.50 per pound and copper wire is roughly $1.00 per pound, you might be able to get $350 for an average-sized car using this method.
Most junkyards are not going to separate things for you like that because it is too time-consuming. Instead, if your car has usable parts, then you might be better off selling it to an auto salvage yard like Pull-A-Part or parting it out yourself. A single part like a catalytic converter can bring in a couple of hundred dollars if you can remove it and sell it yourself since catalytic converter replacement is so expensive.
The amount of money that you can expect to receive from a salvage yard is about 40% of the value of the parts in the car. Remember that the longer a car sits, the less valuable it becomes. The usable parts go bad and lose their value over time. So, if you want the best price for the parts, you should sell them sooner rather than later. Perhaps your car has a nice set of wheels on it, and you could probably sell those for a few hundred dollars as well. Some examples of the most valuable parts in a car include the catalytic converter, alternator, electric motors, rims, car batteries, and radiators. Parting out a car can sometimes bring in $1,000 or more, but it requires the time and know-how to remove the valuable parts.
How Scrap Metal Prices Affect Junk Car Values
As we have already discussed, scrap metal prices play a huge role in junk car prices. You might be wondering, “How much is my junk car worth?” or “How much do I get to scrap a car?” It depends on the current market value of scrap metal. Scrap metal prices have dropped relatively low over the past couple of years, and this is due to several reasons.
First, other countries like Canada have started to produce their own steel, and they are not as dependent on American steel as they once were. In addition, global demand for recycled steel has dropped. As with anything else in the economy, when the demand drops, so does the price. Current scrap car prices have followed this trend and are thus lower than they were in years past.
Since a scrap car primarily consists of scrap metal, the prices of the two are directly related. When scrap metal prices fall, so do the prices of scrap cars. Similarly, when the market for scrap metal rises, then your scrap car is going to be worth more. When markets are low, you must decide whether to wait and see if they rise again soon. Waiting can lower the value of your vehicle if you plan to sell usable parts, but it could net you more money if scrap metal prices rise high enough.
Current Scrap Metal Market Conditions
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused the scrap metal market to be quite volatile in the past 12 to 24 months. At the beginning of the pandemic, scrap prices dropped dramatically. Prices were already on their way down due to several countries beginning to produce their steel and not relying as heavily on the global scrap market. The pandemic also caused global demand to drop significantly. This had a significant adverse effect on the scrap market. Prices fell to historic lows, although they have started to rebound.
The ripple effects of the pandemic are now starting to reach global supply chains. Demand for products has begun to rise again. In fact, prices and demand for new and used automobiles are surging. The global supply chain is currently experiencing huge issues with shipping and transportation, and it is becoming more difficult to get raw materials where they need to go. For this reason, prices of scrap have started to rise again.
Most analysts expect that prices will continue to rise through the remainder of 2021. This is good news if you have a junk car that you need to sell! Junk car buyers are paying higher prices than they were a few months ago, and this trend should continue until the supply chain problems begin to subside.
Do Scrap Prices Change Often?
You might be wondering how often the prices of scrap metal change. The answer is constantly! In many ways, scrap prices are similar to the stock market, and the prices in the global scrap market change daily. However, you are not likely to see considerable fluctuations in price from day to day. Unlike a stock that might rise or fall several percentage points from day to day, scrap prices typically only change by a few cents from day to day.
The more likely scenario is to see weekly changes in prices. Most scrap buyers will update the price they pay weekly, and they will observe the trend in the global market over the past few days, and then they will set their prices based on those trends. Still, these weekly changes are usually relatively small.
You might even find some scrap buyers who only update their pricing monthly. Since the changes in prices are usually small and slow, monthly updates will generally suffice. However, monthly updates might not be enough when the market is very volatile like it is currently. A scrap buyer could find himself in an unfortunate position if prices are not updated more frequently.
5 Ways To Sell A Scrap Car
Now that you have an idea of how much your scrap car is worth and how the price is calculated, you might be wondering how you can sell it. You have several options for getting rid of a junk car, and here are the most common methods for selling.
#1. Sell To Private Party
You could attempt to sell your car to a private party through Craigslist or some other method. Some people might desire to have a particular model, and they wish to purchase a vehicle that they can restore. Selling this way can often get the best price, but it can also be the most difficult. Finding a private buyer for a scrap car can be difficult, and it can take you a long time to sell it.
#2. Part It Out
This method can also lead to more money in your pocket. Selling the parts from your vehicle can result in the most significant overall payday, but it can take time. You also will need to find buyers for each part, and you will need the proper tools and knowledge to remove the parts. The average car owner does not typically have the skills required to do this. However, if you do, this is a great way to put the most money in your pocket! Even after all the valuable parts are gone, you can still take the rest of the car to the junkyard and get a few dollars for it.
#3. Sell To Auto Salvage Yard
Selling to an auto salvage yard can net you a little more money, but it puts the hard work on someone else. If your car still has usable and valuable parts, then the salvage yard will do the work to remove and sell them. However, you can still get a portion of that extra money. In most cases, a salvage yard will pay you around 40% of the value of the car parts that are still in good condition. So, if your car has $2,000 worth of good parts left in it, then you might be able to get $800 for the car.
#4. Sell To A Junkyard
If your car is pure scrap, then this is a popular method for unloading your vehicle. The price you get will be based on scrap car values calculated from the weight of your car. However, this method is relatively easy for most people. Just watch out for hidden fees! Some junkyards might want you to pay for your own towing, which can eat into your profits. Plus, you can always negotiate with them or get offers from other junkyards if you are not satisfied with the first offer.
#5. Sell To Online Junk Car Removal Service
This is typically the easiest method of all. These car buying services usually offer a hassle-free experience. You can get an instant offer from them within a couple of minutes over the Internet or phone, and they will come to you and pick up the vehicle with free towing. Some even have apps that you can use for an even easier experience. You will typically receive an average price, but many will buy your car even if it is in good condition. In that case, the price you get will be based on the book value of the vehicle. It costs nothing to get an instant quote from their car value calculators, so many sellers choose to at least get a quote from one of these buyers.
Getting The Most Money For Your Scrap Car
Everyone wants to get the most money possible for their vehicle, so how can you do this when selling a scrap car? Here are a few tips. First, determine whether your car still has usable parts. If it does, then you will probably want to sell quickly. The longer it sits, the lower the value of those parts will go. Stainless steel starts to deteriorate, the rubber begins to harden, and electrical components stop working. If you wait too long, then you will have nothing more than a non-running scrap car.
If you have a purely scrap car, then keep an eye on the metal recycling market. If the market is trending upward, waiting a little longer might get you more cash. However, if the market is on the way down, then selling sooner might be a better option. The key is to do your research to prepare you with the knowledge to get top dollar for your vehicle.
The Bottom Line
Scrap car prices fluctuate with scrap metal prices, but now you should have a good understanding of how the two are related. If you are looking to get the most money for your car, you might consider another option besides recycling. If your car is still in decent shape, you might be able to double or triple the amount of money you receive by selling it to a salvage yard or online car buyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between scrapped cars and recycled cars?
These terms are often used interchangeably, and to some people, there is no real difference. However, here are the differences that we recognize. Recycled cars are simply that. They are going to be crushed and recycled for scrap metal. A scrapped car, on the other hand, might still have some usable parts. These cars could be parted out before they are recycled. It is a minor difference, but that is the most significant difference between the two.
When is the best time to scrap my car?
If you plan to sell individual parts from your vehicle, then the best time is now! The longer you wait, the less likely you are to find parts that are still usable. However, if you are only going to recycle your car for scrap metal, the best time is when scrap metal prices are high. Those prices are currently in an upward trend, so it might be worth waiting a little longer to see how high they will go before scrapping your car.
What are the benefits of scrapping my old car?
The most obvious benefit is that you can get some extra cash in your pocket! You might be able to collect anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to over a thousand, depending on your car’s size, weight, and condition. Next, you will know that your car will be disposed of properly. Letting it sit and rot away with old fluids leaking into the ground is not good for the environment. However, scrapping your car will ensure that these things are handled properly and safely.
How do I know if my car is worth scrapping?
All cars have some value, even if they are total scrap. So, how much can you get to junk a car? The real question would be whether you can sell it for parts or only for scrap metal. If you are unsure, you can always contact a couple of potential buyers to get their opinion and an offer. But even if your car does not run and has been sitting for years, it is still worth scrapping if you want to earn a few extra bucks. Even in the latter situation, you can probably net at least $150 in your pocket.