Cash Auto Salvage

Beware: Don’t Fall For These Auto Junk Yard Scams

junk yard scams

We all want a good deal.

But knowing what your car is worth can be difficult. And it’s made more difficult by unscrupulous dealers who might exploit your ignorance.

We’ve put together some of the top auto junk yard scams you need to avoid when selling your car. Read on to find out what they are.

How Widespread Are Scams?

Junk yards and used car dealers don’t always have the best reputation.

However, most auto junk yards are legitimate businesses who will give you honest information and a fair valuation. Sadly, there are a significant number of businesses who won’t.

We can’t know for sure how many junk yards use unscrupulous tactics. But reports suggest that there are over 1 million used cars that have been title washed. This means a vehicle designated for scrap was ‘washed’ of its scrap brand and resold.

So there are dealers out there who are getting rich by skipping morality and the law. Now let’s take a look at how they do it.

Vague Units

How many pounds in a ton?

If you answered 2000 pounds, then you’re ready to be swindled. When selling your car for scrap, it’ll often be valued on the tonnage. But there are two kinds of tons.

The net ton is equivalent to 2000 pounds. But the long or metric ton is equivalent to 2,240 pounds. Dishonest junk yards won’t go out of their way to tell you which units they’re using. Instead, they’ll pay out in long tons and you’ll miss out on cash.

Stay vigilant and check what units they’re quoting you. If it looks like they’ve been trying to scam you, it might be time to find a new auto junk yard.

Tow Troubles

Is the tow charge included in your cost?

Shady dealers won’t tell you, and if you don’t ask then you could be in for a surprise. A disreputable auto junk yard will add the tow cost on to the fee they’ve already quoted you.

You might only find this out when they come to take the vehicle away. This tactic is often paired with highballing their offer. This way, they come to collect and not only demand money for towing, but also a higher figure for the car as well.

In some cases, you can even be charged twice for the towing. One charge will be included in the car’s cost, and one at the point of towing the car away.

You need to ask questions about this in advance. Upfront junk yards will tell you, but if you don’t ask then you only have yourself to blame.

False Incentives

If your auto junk yard is trying to sweeten the pot with non-cash incentives, watch out.

These dealers will offer you below the going rate for your car. But they’ll try to offer incentives like coupons to make up the difference. This might look good at first glance, but these coupons aren’t equivalent in value.

Often the coupons they issue will be very restrictive. They might be holiday coupons for very limited times of the year. Or discount vouchers that can only be redeemed in very specific circumstances.

It’s rare that these incentives will ever equal the amount of cash you’re losing from them. Don’t trade your car in for anything less than the cash it’s worth.

Putting on the Pressure

If your auto junk yard is putting a lot of pressure on you to sell, it might be time to reconsider.

A good buyer will give you time to think about their offer and will answer any questions you have. If you’re being pressured into making a decision, it’s so you don’t have time to think over the details of the offer.

Not only is this poor customer service, but it’s a classic con man trick. People make poor decisions under pressure, so it’s the best way to get you to sell your car for less than its market value.

This is most likely to occur if you’re already at the auto junk yard. Perhaps you were given an offer over the phone. Now they’re trying to push you into handing over your car and accepting whatever figure they’ve offered.

Always keep in mind that you’re absolutely entitled to walk away at any point. The more pressure involved, the less likely you are to be getting a good deal.

Payment Method

Make sure you know how you’re getting paid.

Generally, cash is the safest way to get the worth of your car. Checks could bounce, and other forms of payment might never appear in the first place. Don’t expect to see the money if you’re not being paid at the point of handing your car over.

Signing over the title of your car means you no longer own it. If you don’t receive the money by this point, you won’t be able to do much about it.

If you are accepting payment by some other method, be sure you’re with a reputable dealer. Dealers with a strong reputation are rarely going to try anything so obvious.

Never accept any kind of installment plan for your payment! Your car should be sold for a single lump sum. You have no way to police installments yourself, so you can’t take action if the buyer refuses to pay up.

Be wary if you’re told your money will be held in escrow. Escrow services should be third-parties that exist to protect a transaction. But there are fake escrows that only exist to cheat people. You’ll discover the money has vanished when you come to claim it.

Operating Without a Licence

If an auto junk yard is operating without a license, walk away.

A license isn’t always a guarantee that you’re dealing with a trustworthy business. But the lack of a license is a definite red flag. If the business is legitimate, then why wouldn’t it have a license?

Don’t be afraid to ask for your auto junk yard’s license. This should be perfectly normal for them. A genuine merchant will be happy to provide the information to put your mind at ease.

Moving the Goalposts

Bad dealers know how to think on the fly.

One of their sneakiest tricks is to play ‘shell games’. This involves deliberately confusing you as a way to get around the decisions you’ve made.

For example, let’s say you’re selling your car as a trade-in. They’ll make sure to offer you the price you want. But at the same time, they’ll also increase the cost of the car you’re purchasing.

Or this trick might get flipped. The dealer will lower the price on the car you want. As soon as you’re  interested in the savings, he’ll lowball the trade-in cost of your car. Suddenly, the generosity has disappeared.

You’re still getting what you want in theory, but in practice, you’re being swindled. Again, take the time to understand the math of what you’re being told. You’ll often be pressured into making a poor decision if you let the trader blind you with numbers.

Revising the Offer

Used car dealers are very good at getting people to the yard.

Just like when it comes to selling cars, they’ll say anything to get you to turn up. Often this means quoting a high figure for the car you’re selling or trading in.

When you arrive, that figure will mysteriously change. They’ll say the car is in poor condition, or is a less popular variation on the model.

This is especially useful to out of the way auto junk yards. They know the more effort you’ve taken to get there, the less you’ll want to walk away empty-handed. They also rely on your desperation to get rid of a car you no longer want.

Try to keep your patience. Don’t sell just because you’re already there. Take your car to a more reputable auto junk yard and leave the dishonest dealer out of a profit.

Doing You a Favor

Have you been told your car isn’t worth anything, but they’ll take it anyway?

If so, you’ve been conned. The vast majority of cars will have value as scrap metal, if nothing else. But most will have more value than that.

After all, the dealer wouldn’t touch it if it wasn’t worth anything to them. If your chosen auto junk yard tries to feed you this line, find another one. It’s a sure sign of a dishonest buyer.

Buyers will often try to undervalue your car. This tactic has two purposes. First, it makes you feel like you’ve got a good deal when you negotiate your way up. But really you’re only getting what the car’s worth – if you’re lucky.

Secondly, the dealer can use this to work out how much of a sucker you are! If you accept their valuation without question, they know they can exploit you.

No Demand

It’s in the interest of the buyer to convince you that your car isn’t worth anything.

Many buyers will say they just don’t have a demand for the model you’re selling. Then they can get away with quoting you under the going rate for your vehicle.

The best way to combat this approach is by doing your research in advance. Is your car popular in your area? Does it often get used for spares? Many shady dealers rely on their victim’s lack of knowledge, so they’ll quickly back down when you tell them the facts.

But even if you get them to budge, you should shop elsewhere. If they’re prepared to try this trick, then they’ll probably try many others.

Too Expensive to Repair

Related to the above, auto shops will sometimes convince you that your car is too expensive to repair.

In this case, auto shops will offer to take your car off you for scrap, once again. But this time, they’ll just fix it up and sell it on for a profit. Not only are you down a car, but you might have the displeasure of seeing your car for sale at a later date.

This may also be a sign that the yard is in the business of washing titles. They want the car to be sold as scrap so they can sell on a serviceable vehicle elsewhere.

The Paperwork

If you’re selling your car, be sure to cancel your registration and remove the plates.

Don’t ask the auto junk yard to do this for you. Some dealers will fail to cancel the registration. That means anything that happens with the car will still be traced back to you.

Some dealers even have the nerve to charge previous owners for storing the car on their lot.

So What Can I Do?

You might be asking this after reading a list of ways you can be scammed!

Thankfully, the majority of junk yards are honest businesses. They’ll be upfront with you and treat you as a customer. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to find junk yards with good reputations. They should also have few complaints lodged with the Better Business Bureau.

But you should also stay informed. Even with an honest business, you could get unlucky and deal with an unscrupulous member of staff.

The best way to avoid scams is to research. Know what your car is worth and stick to that figure. If you’ve been told your car is repairable, don’t accept an offer to scrap it.

You should always be as honest as you can with a dealer to avoid surprises. Even an honest yard may have to revise the price if you haven’t told them everything.

Finally, make sure to cancel your registration and remove your plates before selling your car on. You don’t want to be liable for anything that happens after you’ve sold it.

Be Smart at The Auto Junk Yard

There are more cons than those listed here. But if you keep the above in mind and stay informed, you should be able to avoid the worst the industry can offer. Seek out a reputable dealer and get the full value on your car.

Be sure to follow our blog for more tips on selling your car to an auto junk yard, or contact us for a free quote.

2017 Scrap Prices and Your Junk Car’s Value

junk car prices

Nearly everyone, at least once in their life, has ended up with a car that needs to be scrapped. Maybe you’ve been driving an old clunker that finally met its end.

Or maybe you were simply in a bad car accident and your car was totaled.

And while thankfully you’re okay, your car isn’t.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t earn some money by getting rid of your car. Because you can sell it for scrap. And if you’re considering scrapping your old car, it’s important to know the scrap prices of 2017.

Because what you don’t know when you get rid of your car can mean money out of your wallet.

So here’s what you need to know about the current scrap prices of 2017.

How Do Scrap Prices Affect the Value of my Junk Car?

Scrap cars tend to be sold by the ton. Some places often tie-in bulk metal rates with junk car rates.

No matter where you sell your car, you’ll need the following information to get the best deal on scrap prices.

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model

Knowing your mileage and any damage done to your car will also help us come up with the most accurate price possible.

And while rules vary from state to state, you’ll want to bring a copy of your registration and your title. Also important to note is that if you still owe money on your car, you cannot sell it for scrap until it’s fully paid off.

It’s also a smart idea to do some research on how much your car weighs before you come in. It will help you understand how much you can possibly get for your car.

Understanding Scrap Prices

When it comes to figuring out how much you can receive for your car, it’s important to understand current scrap prices.

But did you know that scrap prices vary throughout the country? And even the world? And that those prices are changing all the time?

Or that metals are commodities which mean that their prices are changing all the time? And that if you want to follow scrap pricing trends in real time, you’ll need to pay for an online subscription service?

Luckily, we have some numbers from those services dated January 2017.

From Scrap Monster

STEEL:

  • Structural Steel $240.00
  • Shredded Auto Scrap $270.00
  • Sheet Metal $180.00
  • HMS 80/20 $230.00
  • #1 HMS $240.00
  • #1 Busheling $275.00
  • #1 Bundle $265.00

From Scrap Register

STEEL SCRAP:

  • Steel Casting $314.650
  • #1/#2 HMS 80/20 $203.00
  • #1 HMS $213.150

How to Determine the Price of Your Car Using Its Weight & Scrap Prices

The average car weighs about 4,000 pounds. That’s including your typical passenger vehicles which are cars, trucks, vans, and SUV’s. About 55% of that weight comes from steel.

Once you know the weight of your car in tons, you can then multiply whatever the per ton price happens to be by the actual tonnage.

What that amounts to is about one metric ton of steel that has value. But did you know that same car also holds about 330 pounds of aluminum?

And also copper and iron? All of which are also worth something.

Why is the Metal Market So Volatile?

Metal prices change constantly and they can also change drastically.

Why? It all has to do with global economics. When countries begin to build, like China did in 2010, they buy up tons of steel. They bought so much it brought up the demand. But their demand outpaced production. The result was record high steel prices.

Today China is still producing steel but isn’t using it. The result? They sometimes sell steel to the U.S. and other countries at a loss.

The Oil and Steel Markets Reflect One Another

Another reason why the steel markets rise and fall is due to their close alliance with the oil industry.

Thanks to this relationship, steel prices are actually rebounding since U.S. oil and gas production has been increasing recently.

Why Do Scrap Prices Matter When Selling Your Car?

The value of your car changes throughout its lifetime. The value also changes if a car has been in an accident. But that doesn’t mean those old cars hold no value. Nor does it mean that a recently totaled car will have no value.

They both do.

Here’s why:

  • A new or rare car that has been wrecked can often be repaired. They can also retain some utility and value.
  • Newer, low mileage, and very desirable cars that have been totaled also still hold some value.

Why? Because if you have one car that’s wrecked but has good mechanics and another car that’s broken down and has bad mechanics you can create one good car out of them.

What Parts Have the Highest Scrap Prices?

While steel makes up the majority of metal used in a car, it’s far from being the only metal. And steel is definitely not the only metal that holds value. Scrap prices also include the following metals.

Aluminum

While aluminum may seem weak, cast aluminum is found all over your car. It’s used within the engine and makes up the rims of the car, doors, and hoods. And aluminum is valuable.

January 2017 prices for aluminum:

ALUMINUM SCRAP:

  • 356 Aluminum Wheels (Clean) $0.59
  • 1100 Scrap $0.58, 3003 Scrap $0.58
  • 6061 Extrusions $0.53
  • 5052 Scrap $0.55
  • Al/Cu Radiators $1.03
  • Al/Cu Radiators /Fe $0.87
  • 6063 Extrusions $0.60
  • Aluminum Transformers $0.10
  • Aluminum Radiators /Fe $0.25
  • Aluminum Radiators $0.42
  • Litho Sheets $0.59
  • MLC Clips $0.55
  • Painted Siding  $0.53
  • Zorba 90% NF $0.51
  • UBC $0.46
  • Old Sheet $0.4
  • Old Cast $0.50
  • Mixed Aluminum Turnings $0.25
  • E.C. Aluminum Wire $0.75
  • Breakage 50% Recovery $0.11

Copper

Copper is used for electronics, wiring harness, and the battery. It’s also found through the car’s safety system, radio, computer and within the starters and alternators.

January 2017 prices for copper:

COPPER SCRAP:

  • #1 Copper Bare Bright $2.34
  • Alternator $0.37
  • #1 Insulated Copper Wire 85% Recovery $1.62
  • #1 Copper Wire and Tubing $2.26
  • #2 Copper Wire and Tubing  $2.12
  • #2 Insulated Copper Wire 50% Recovery $0.86
  • #3 Copper – Light Copper $2.02
  • Cu Yokes $0.60
  • Copper Transformer Scrap  $0.38
  • Copper Radiators $1.41
  • Cu/Al Radiators $1.03
  • Cu/Al Radiators /Fe $0.87
  • Cu/Al Radiator Ends $0.53
  • Romex® Wire $1.24
  • Heater Cores $1.17
  • Harness Wire 35% Recovery $0.81
  • Xmas Lights $0.23
  • Starters $0.29
  • Sealed Units $0.18
  • Scrap Electric Motors $0.19

Stainless Steel

Most often found in the exhaust. The best way to check is to try to stick a magnet to it.

If it doesn’t stick it’s probably stainless steel.

January 2017 prices for stainless steel:

STAINLESS STEEL:

  • 201 SS $0.24
  • 301 SS $0.28
  • 304 SS Turning $0.25
  • 304 SS Solid $0.43
  • 330 SS $1.10
  • 316 SS Solid $0.62
  • 310 SS $0.86
  • 309 SS $0.62

Lead

Here’s where you’ll most likely find lead:

  • Wheel Weights: Usually found on the aluminum rims.
  • The Battery: Sounds weird, but your car’s battery is actually lead based.

January 2017 prices for lead:

LEAD SCRAP:

  • Soft Lead $0.61
  • Scrap Auto Batteries $0.28
  • Lead-Solid Lead $0.56
  • Lead Wheel Weights $0.33

Platinum and Palladium

Found more commonly in cars than most people realize, these metals are found within the catalytic converter.

They are also really valuable metals and they’re difficult to process separately.

January 2017 prices for platinum and palladium were unavailable.

What Car Components Have Value?

It’s not just the metal portions of your car that hold value. There are plenty of other features that can help you get more money when you sell your car to us.

Features like:

  • GPS System
  • Wheels, Tires, & Rims
  • Bumpers
  • Doors
  • Air Bags
  • Air Conditioning
  • Windshield Wiper Arms
  • Tailgates
  • Radio
  • Motor Oil & Oil Filters
  • Catalytic Converters
  • Fenders

But if you’re really looking to make some big bucks, these next components hold the highest resale value of all.

Battery

Remember that the battery does contain lead, so you can get money for that. But you can also sell your used battery to someone with the same make and model as you.

Used batteries can often be sold for $15-$25.

If your battery is completely dead you also have the option of recycling it. Most recycling programs will give you a $10 gift certificate in exchange for the dead battery.

Radiator

Depending upon what metals are found in your radiator, you could make as much as $1 per pound by selling it for scraps. Or if your radiator is still in good condition you can sell it on its own for $30-$75.

Tires

If your tires are still in good shape, they can fetch up to $50 per tire. Even damaged tires that can be repaired might be worth as much as $10.

If Scrap Prices Fall, Should I Wait to Junk My Car?

When the prices of steel and other metals are low, you’re not going to get the best price for your car. Especially if you try to sell it yourself.

But you will get a better deal if you:

  • Sell it By the Part: As you know, certain parts are still valuable even when the price of metals gets low. So you can still make money off your car by selling the more valuable parts.
  • Hold Onto the Car: You can always wait until metal prices rise again or until you find the right buyer for your car.
  • Sell Your Car to Us: The time is always right to sell your car to us. You’ll always get the best value for your car here, no matter what the price of steel is at.

And don’t forget that a drivable car is worth more. But if yours doesn’t work, we’ll be happy to pick it up for you no matter where you live. For free!

Contact us today for a free quote on your car.

How to Tell It’s Time to Junk Your Car

junk cars

There comes a time in most car owners life where they have to ask themselves — Should it stay, or does it have to go? It could be an opportunity to buy another car, even if it means saying a painful goodbye to your beloved ride. At a certain point, the repairs just aren’t worth it, and it’s time to say farewell. But how can you tell when that time has finally come, especially if your affection for your vehicle is clouding your judgement?

Check out some of these indications that will help you decide: “It’s time to junk my car”:

Your Maintenance is Higher Than Your Monthly Car Payment

If you are paying hefty maintenance fees every month, it might be even more than you would be paying if you took out a car loan. Do the math and make sure you aren’t cheating yourself by digging a hole in your own pocket.

Body Condition

Is the outside of your car badly rusted? Even if you don’t see most of it, a rusted frame can make it very hard for you to sell you car, even if some of the parts are in good condition.

Remember: junk cars are often those with unsalvageable frames.

Safety

The number one most important thing to consider when you are assessing your car? Safety. If your brakes, tires, and seat belts aren’t up to snuff, then you need to get rid of your vehicle and make sure that its parts end up responsibly recycled.

The Big Two

There are hundreds of repairs you could need on a car, but generally, the biggest ticket items are the engine and transmission. If one or both has been replaced recently, it might be worth it to keep it around, but if they haven’t, and your car is very old, they might just be two ticking time bombs.

On the bright side, you can still get cash for cars and junk cars that are otherwise unsellable on the market, and your car will be recycled responsibly. Scrap prices for cars are high right now, and in fact, every year the automobile recycling industry in North America provides enough steel to produce roughly 13 million new vehicles!

That’s one great justification for junking a car.

Do you live in Scranton, Harrisburg, or Philadelphia? Junk cars needed! Contact Cash Auto Salvage to junk your car responsibly.

The Junk Car Checklist: 4 Things to Do Before Salvaging Your Vehicle

junking a car

Even if your car is not drivable or unsafe to operate, you shouldn’t lose hope on getting your money’s worth. Exchanging a junk car for cash is great idea for people in these types of situations. In some cases, the scrap prices for cars are actually higher than the value of the car as a whole. In fact, in North America, auto recycling provides 40% of the ferrous metal recovered by the scrap processing industry. So you really could walk away with much more than you bargained for, even if you have a clunker sitting in your yard.

When junking a car, however, there are some things to keep in mind. Here is a final checklist of things to do before you send ol’ faithful to a junk car buyer:

  • Collect the necessary documentation. It’s a requirement for most salvage yards that the seller presents their driver’s license or another form of photo identification, vehicle registration, and vehicle title when they drop of a junk vehicle. Without this, the junk yard will be unable to prove that the vehicle belongs to you or was obtained legally. If you cannot find a copy of your vehicle’s registration, one can be easily obtained by calling your state’s department of motor vehicles. In some places, a title is not necessary, but it’s best to stay on the safe side and bring it with you if you have it.
  • Ask the salvage yard if they have any additional requirements for requests before they take your vehicle off your hands. Do they require that you be with the vehicle during pickup or allow you to be off premises? Will they need your keys? Should you remove any fluids or gasoline first?
  • Make sure you remove any personal items from your vehicle before it is taken. When junking a car, it’s easy to write off the entire contents of the vehicle as junk, but in many cases people lose valuable items when they let their cars go. Check between the seats and in any compartments for jewelry, lost credit cards, cash, sunglasses, pay stubs, or other sensitive information. Anything with your name and address on it should definitely be removed from the vehicle.
  • Remove your license plates. Remember, your plates are still worth keeping. Plates can usually be transferred when you purchase a new vehicle. Instead of having new ones made, keep them for your new car. If you do not have a new car to transfer your plates to, it is required that you return the plates to the DMV to be reissued.

If you have any other questions regarding what to do before junking a car, contact Cash Auto Salvage. We provide money for disabled vehicles to sellers in all 50 states and will make sure that your car will be valued fairly.

We have an updated post: “10 Things to Do Before You Junk Your Car

Hybrid Car Battery Recycling Industry Expected to Take off By 2035

recycle junk cars
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Junk cars aren’t just the old, rusty clunkers that you see crowding mechanics’ yards. Some unwanted junk cars have been made in the last decade. Hybrid cars are just starting to appear in cars auto salvage lots. And just as these cars cost more to buy, the scrap prices for such cars can earn you a pretty penny.

Hybrid and electric cars are in high demand, but the manufacturing costs for replacement parts are extremely high. However, in most cases, you don’t have to buy brand new parts. Despite being banged up, some cars have perfectly good engine parts that can be easily refurbished and put to use in another vehicle.

About 12 million cars are recycled every year in the U.S., but few are hybrids. With only about 2 million hybrids and electric cars driven on U.S. roads alone, however, they have not been around long enough to contribute to recycling or reuse programs.

But by 2035, the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium estimates that 1.3 million to 6.7 million worn-out hybrid and electric cars will be up for grabs by recycling and reuse centers.

Mineta says that the individual components of these recycled vehicles won’t be very high, but batteries and engines, which can be reused in other cars or recycled to be used at solar, wind, or other sustainable energy plants, will be more lucrative. The impending antiquating of these hybrids will bring about a new industry in the coming years. The “second life” battery industry is estimated to be worth $3 billion annually by the time it truly takes off in 2035.

Some hybrid cars have already hit the junk lots, including the earliest models of the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. But with only 19,000 Insights and 33,000 Priuses sold through the 2003 model year, there are not enough hybrids to spark a commercial hybrid recycling industry.

This isn’t to say that you can’t trade hybrid cars for cash, though. If you’re the owner of an old hybrid that doesn’t drive anymore, you may be in luck. Cash for cars services are still looking for hybrid and electric car batteries to use for private reuse and recycling. When it’s known that someone needs a hybrid battery, you’ll likely be paid top dollar for your salvaged hybrid battery.

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