Everything You Need To Know About Auto Salvage

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Are you thinking about selling your car for cash to an auto salvage yard?

When you sell your car to a salvage yard, you get instant cash. Salvaging a vehicle can be an excellent means of getting an unwanted vehicle off of your hands quickly and easily.

There is more to auto salvage than meets the eye, however. It’s important to know the ins and outs of salvage before you sell your car to a yard.

Read on to learn more about how salvage works, so that you can rest assured you are making the right decision.

1. The Definition of Auto Salvage

If you haven’t ever heard of salvaging a vehicle, it’s worth getting a clear-cut definition. A lot of people assume that to salvage a vehicle means to turn in a totaled car over to a company that will essentially “junk it.”

This isn’t at all close to the full story.

Auto salvage is one of several options that car owners have when it comes to selling or getting rid of a car quickly. It presents a quick and easy way to get instant cash for your car, without having to worry about listing your vehicle privately through Craigslist, trading it in, or selling it to a dealership.

When you agree to have your car salvaged, you will sell it to a salvage yard for an agreed price. We will cover what a salvage quote looks like and how it’s created in the next step.

Salvage yards will then remove every single usable part from the used, junk, end-of-life, or unwanted vehicle. This can include any and all hardware, tires, wiring, exterior and interior panels, and lighting. The company will then repurpose these parts as much as possible.

Before the hardware is taken out, the yard will actually capture all fluids in the vehicle and even try to repurpose these for other vehicles or dispose of them properly.

Metal scraps that aren’t deemed useful will be recycled, and parts can be refurbished and then sold. Even tires can be retreaded and resold to customers.

Some salvage yards will sell refurbished or scrap parts on site to customers, or online as retail.

2. What A Salvage Quote Looks Like

Now that you’ve got a good grasp of what it actually means to salvage a vehicle, you’ll get a good sense of what an auto salvage quote or offer will look like.

When you call up an auto salvage yard to inquire after a quote for your vehicle, you’ll have to provide the year, make, and model of the vehicle. You will also be asked to detail the mileage the vehicle has and any damage it may have sustained since you purchased it.

The more detailed a description of your vehicle that you provide, the more accurate your quote. You can even type in all of this information and submit it online without having to talk to a representative.

However, we definitely recommend getting on the phone with a rep so that you can make sure you get the highest price possible for your vehicle.

Quotes will vary based on your vehicle’s condition, age, and usable parts. They will also depend on the type of parts that are useable and what demand is for these parts. The price of scrap metal also changes all the time.

Totaled or wrecked vehicles, in general, will have lower quotes than driveable, lower mileage vehicles.

These quotes are often free offers, meaning that you can take it or leave it without any strings attached. You’ll get this amount and this amount only in cash when you drop off your vehicle at the yard or have it picked up.

3. Who Should Salvage Their Vehicle

Not sure whether or not you should be salvaging your vehicle?

If you’re trying to get rid of your car, you luckily have a lot of options in front of you. To determine whether or not salvaging is right for you, consider first and foremost the condition of your vehicle.

If you’ve totaled or severely wrecked your vehicle, salvaging it is probably a good idea. This means you can get at least some cash for your wrecked vehicle, and you’ll have it off your hands. Plus, you’ll sell it knowing that some of it can be refurbished and resold to other car owners or auto companies.

Owners of vehicles that have been damaged in a flood, hurricane, storm, or other weather-related incidents should turn to auto salvage yards as a great way to get rid of these vehicles. They’ll get fast cash for weather-damaged vehicles that can be put towards a new car.

A lot of people have much older cars sitting on their properties. These cars may just be too old to run properly or have other mechanical issues. These car owners would benefit from salvaging their vehicles.

In general, if you’ve got an unwanted, used, or otherwise damaged vehicle you want to get off your hands quickly, salvage yards are your answer. Even people with newer and higher quality vehicles can rely on salvage yards for an effective and lucrative way to get rid of their cars.

4. How Salvage Yards Differ

Auto salvage yards are all over the country. Chances are you have a location just down the street!

Not every auto salvage yard is the same, however. It’s important to keep in mind how these yards differ so that you can feel comfortable going to the right one.

Some yards sell car parts that are refurbished online or at a shop on-site. Others simply collect and salvage vehicles. You’ll find salvage yards that work in partnership with metal recycling companies and those that do the recycling and refurbishing on the premises.

Yards will also differ depending upon areas and types of vehicles they purchase. For example, you may find that a certain company doesn’t remove abandoned vehicles. Others may only accept junk or scrap cars.

If you are unclear about any of the services a yard in your area provides, reach out to them to clarify.

5. How to Get The Best Deal

It is definitely possible to feel confident about the quote you’ve been given by an auto salvage company for your used vehicle. You can get the best deal by doing your homework, providing detailed information to the salvage yard about your vehicle, and choosing the right company.

Research salvage companies in your area and gather as many different quotes as possible for your vehicle. In general, you should aim for an average of all the numbers you’ve been given. It also can’t hurt to do some hunting around online.

Make sure you give as much detailed information as possible to the salvage company over the phone or in person so that you can get an accurate quote. The right company will be one with excellent customer service and a widespread and well-known professional reputation.

You also want to make sure that you avoid junkyard scams. A lot of fake companies are out there wanting to get a hold of your vehicle and not deliver on the “quotes” they offer.

Scams will often involve hidden fees or charges (such as a towing charge). They may try to put a lot of pressure on you to make a decision in a short amount of time. Scam companies will also offer discounts or coupons that are highly restricted to time windows and eligibility.

The best way to avoid scam companies is too wary of all of these things but to also talk to someone in person at an actual location. Read customer reviews, ask questions, and make sure you get clear answers to everything you ask. You can always walk away if you don’t feel convinced or comfortable.

6. Salvaging Cars Can Be Eco-Conscious

People who want to sell their cars and also support the environment will love working with auto salvage companies. This is because companies salvage, refurbish, and/or recycle literally everything in your car!

This means that used or junk vehicles aren’t just going into a landfill. And because landfills are getting more and more full, it’s important to seek out eco-conscious ways to handle our vehicles.

Auto salvage yards are also doing the environment a huge favor by removing junk cars from old properties and sides of roads. Junk cars can leak toxic fluids and metals into the soil, damaging soil quality and potentially leading to contaminated water sources. Junk cars can also impact valuable ecosystems, particularly in wetland areas.

Contact an auto salvage yard if you are looking for a way to truly reduce, reuse, and recycle your unwanted vehicle.

7. How to Decide It’s Time

If you’ve read through this post and are thinking it may be time to sell your car to a salvage yard, awesome! Let’s make sure it’s actually time to do so.

If you are spending more on monthly maintenance on your car than the actual monthly payment, it’s probably time for a scrap. Vehicles ideal for salvage are those that cost more to run than is actually feasible for your budget.

Assess the safety of your vehicle, as well as the condition of your car’s engine and transmission. If there are any repeated safety issues that cannot be fixed, definitely decide to scrap. If you’ve replaced the vehicle’s engine and/or transmission twice, you might be en route to a junkyard.

You’ll also want to reach out to a salvage yard if the condition of your car’s body is badly rusted. Rusted vehicles can be difficult if not impossible to sell, even privately and on your own terms.

8. Other Things to Keep in Mind

There are some other things to keep in mind before you say yes to that amazing salvage quote.

If you’re still financing your car, you won’t be eligible to sell your vehicle to a salvage yard. Salvage companies will only accept vehicles that have been fully paid off.

If you do sell your car to a salvage yard, you’ll have to collect your license plates before you hand over your vehicle for good. You’ll then need to take these plates and return them to your local motor vehicle department if you aren’t transferring them to a new vehicle.

Also, make sure to cancel your insurance if you have auto insurance the moment you sell your car to a salvage company. You’ll want to check with your state’s rules to see if you need a title to sell your car to a salvage yard. Some states require it while others simply require a driver’s license and proof of registration.

Everything You Need to Know About Auto Salvage

If you are thinking about scrapping that old clunker in your backyard or want to figure out what to do with that totaled vehicle in your driveway, you may want to think about carting your car to a salvage yard.

Before you do, it’s important to know everything you can about auto salvage and how it works. Auto salvage yards purchase used or junk cars from vehicle owners for an agreed upon cash value. This quote is determined by a variety of factors.

If you accept your cash offer, the salvage company will either pick up your vehicle or have you drop it off at a set location. You’ll get instant cash for your vehicle.

Salvaging vehicles is not for everyone, so keep in mind that you should salvage your car only when you’ve assessed its condition, year, make, and model. Do your research so that you avoid scams and get the best deal possible.

At Cash Auto Salvage, we give free, no-hassle offers for junk or used vehicles you’ve decided to salvage. You’ll get a free cash offer after having a conversation with one of our representatives, and if you decide to go for it you’ll also get free towing. Walk away with cash on the spot and a space cleared in your driveway for your next dream vehicle.

It doesn’t matter what condition your vehicle is in. Get your free offer today!

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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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