6 Secrets to Maximize Your Return When Selling Your Car for Scrap

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

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Do you have a junk car or truck taking up unnecessary space on your lawn or driveway? Are you looking to sell your junk car, but aren’t sure where to start? Luckily, there are quite a few options for junk car owners, and we’ve assembled a list of tips and tricks to help you maximize your payout, and find the best option for you.

Secret 1 – For Scrappers, The Value is in the Weight, Not the Accessories

Typically, if you call a cash for cars company like Cash Auto Salvage, the quote you receive for your vehicle is based on the scrap weight, versus the value of parts. When you call a scrap or junkyard, chances are, they’re not going to pay you extra cash just because your ride has an expensive stereo system or brand new transmission. This isn’t to say there isn’t a market for parts, it’s just that many online-based junk car companies are more interested in the scrap metal value, rather than the components of the car.

Secret 2 – There is Money to Be Made Off Of Parts — If You Have the Time

If you’re looking to scrap your car on your own, this means removing everything from the interior of the car that is not metal. You will have to drain or flush out all of the fluids, remove all wires, extract the engine and transmission, take out the seats, and so on. While removing all of the parts and selling them can be more profitable than selling to a junkyard, it is also the most time-consuming and labor intensive. Unless you have immediate buyers for parts, you will need to properly store the components you take out of the car. Another time factor to consider is you’ll probably need to research how much the parts of your car are worth, so they when you do put parts up for sale, you can understand what your profit range will be.

Secret 3 – Selling to a Junkyard is the Easiest Option, but May Not Be the Most Profitable

As with anything, there are pros and cons to selling to a junk or salvage yard. Typically, when you call a cash for cars company, they will give you a quote for the scrap metal value, and exclude the value for parts. As mentioned in Secret 2, there are benefits to scrapping the car on your own. Unfortunately, if you do not have the time to devote to taking apart your vehicle, selling to a salvage yard is probably your best option, especially if you’re looking to get rid of your car quickly. A major benefit of junking your car through an online outlet or to a junk yard is that they will usually pick up your vehicle for free, pay you on the spot, and take care of the appropriate paperwork so you never have to worry about your vehicle again.

Secret 4 – A Vehicle’s Year, Make, and Model Matter

There are many car models that didn’t really change from year to year — take the 6th Generation Buick Century, for example. This model was in production for 9 years (1997-2005) and the changes between model years were very few. This means that if you’re retiring a Century from this era, it’s relatively safe to say there are a plethora of parts available, which means the junk value of your car may not be as high as a different make and model, or even model year. This isn’t to say there isn’t value in junking a car that was mass-produced and popular. You just have to be aware that if you’re looking to get money for parts in your car, shopping around for a price isn’t a bad thing. Yard A may not be interested in your car, whereas Yard B, might want to buy it faster than you can say the title number.

Secret 5 – Where You Live Can Determine Your Payout

Like any other commodity, the price for scrap can vary from month to month and year to year. On top of this, every salvage and junk yard across the country has different vehicles they’re interested in buying, whether it is for scrap value, to refurbish parts, or for resale and restoration value. Another factor to weigh is how far the towers will have to drive in order to pick up your car. Many salvage yards will pay you more if you can drive your vehicle right to their facilities.

Secret 6 – Don’t Confuse Junk Value with Used Value

The biggest mistake many people make when trying to sell their unwanted vehicles is assuming that because their car is still running smoothly, despite age or other factors, is that they’re going to get a higher payout for their car. If you’re looking to get rid of a late model vehicle with low mileage, a clean title, and relatively unblemished body, you can’t expect a cash for cars company to give you a couple thousand dollars for it. Their business is usually in scrapping and recycling materials, not buying and reselling used cars. You may think your car is junk, but it’s important to remember that everyone’s definition of junk varies. To junkyards, it usually means end of life vehicles that have more value as scrap metal, rather than parts. To you, it might mean the car handles horribly and is a gas guzzler. On the other hand, what you might think is incredibly valuable, a mechanic or junk yard attendant will see as a rust bucket with little to no parts value.

Narrowing this list down to 6 secrets was no easy task, and we hope you found it helpful. We appreciate you taking the time to read through these tips and tricks, and hope this gives you an idea on best way to scrap your car. If you have additional tips or questions about this topic, please be sure to comment below. Even better, if you liked what you read, we encourage you to share it your friends.

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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