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Car Scrap Prices: What Is Your Junk Car Worth in 2020?

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

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If you recently tried to sell a junk vehicle it may have been a surprise that the prices are not what they were a few years ago. Car scrap prices have dropped due to the price of scrap metal taking a dive.

When an auto junkyard purchases a vehicle, they strip it of all materials and fluids before sending it to the crusher. The remains are then sold to a local shredder. The end price the auto junkyard is able to get from shred affects the price they are able to pay you for your car.

Keep reading to learn what the prices are on scrap metal and how you can get the best possible value out of your junk car.

The Metal in Your Car

According to the ETF Report, the most common material used in an automobile is steel, accounting for about 55% of the car’s total weight. Aluminum is the second most common metal, accounting for about 8% of vehicle weight, or about 327 pounds in an average size vehicle.

Other metals found in automobiles include copper, platinum, rhodium, and palladium, the last three in catalytic converters. Batteries contain lead, and tin is in solders.

Galvanizing metals contain zink. Cobalt is used in airbags, and if your vehicle is a hybrid it is also in your batteries.

Scrap Metal Pricing

Scrap metal pricing varies throughout the world. It fluctuates on a daily basis, which means the quote you receive this week may not hold true in a month.

The global economy impacts the scrap metal market. When countries are manufacturing products that utilize metal products they purchase tons of steel, which brings up the demand. The result is an increase in scrap metal pricing.

When manufacturing is slow the demand decreases and prices go down.

Taking a look at Scrap Monster, their pricing was last updated in April 2020. The prices fluctuate a bit depending on whether you are on the west coast, east coast, or in the Midwest. Here is pricing for the Midwest:

STEEL SCRAP

  • #1 Bundle – $245.00
  • #1 Busheling – $260.00
  • #1 HMS – $190.00
  • HMS 80/20 – $200.00
  • Sheet Metal – $160.00
  • Shredded Auto Scrap – $225.00
  • Structural Steel – $190.00

STAINLESS STEEL SCRAP

  • 201 SS – $0.20
  • 301 SS – $027
  • 304 SS Solid – $0.49
  • 304 SS Turning – $0.42
  • 309 SS – $0.72
  • 310 SS – $1.13
  • 316 SS Solid – $0.70
  • 330 SS – $1.82

The largest portion of the metal used in a vehicle is steel, but it is not the only component that has value. Aluminum is located throughout the car, most often in the wheels, hood, and doors.

ALUMINUM SCRAP

  • 1100 Scrap – $0.39
  • 3003 Scrap – $0.39
  • 356 Aluminum Wheels (Clean) – $0.39
  • 5052 Scrap – $0.59
  • 6061 Extrusions – $0.35
  • 6063 Extrusions – $0.49
  • 6063 Extrusions/Fe – $0.31
  • Al/Cu Radiators – $1.12
  • Al/Cu Radiators/Fe – $0.96
  • Aluminum Radiators – $029
  • Aluminum Radiators/Fe – $0.23
  • Aluminum Transformers – $0.11
  • Breakage 50% Recovery – $0.14
  • Chrome Wheels – $0.35
  • C. Aluminum Wire – $0.66
  • Litho Sheets – $0.39
  • Mixed Aluminum Turnings – $0.24
  • MLC Clips – $0.35
  • Old Cast – $0.34
  • Old Sheet – $0.33
  • Painted Siding – $0.34
  • UBC – $0.49
  • Zorba 90% NF – $0.39

COPPER SCRAP

The average automobile built in the United States contains about 40 pounds of copper in the electrical components and an additional 10 pounds found in nonelectrical components.

  • Alternator – $0.31
  • #1 Copper Bar Bright – $2.240.02
  • #1 Copper Wire and Tubing – $2.140.02
  • #1 Insulated Copper Wire 85% Recovery – $1.43
  • #2 Copper Wire and Tubing – $2.040.02
  • #2 Insulated Copper Wire 50% Recovery – $0.92
  • #3 Copper – Light Copper – $1.940.02
  • Copper Radiators – $1.43
  • Copper Transformer Scrap – $0.32
  • Cu Yokes – $0.47
  • Cu/Al Radiator Ends – $0.41
  • Cu/Al Radiators – $1.12
  • Cu/Al Radiators/Fe – $0.96
  • Harness Wire 35% Recovery – $0.81
  • Heater Cores – $1.11
  • Romex® Wire – $1.33
  • Scrap Electric Motors – $0.22
  • Sealed Units – $018
  • Starters – $0.22
  • Christmas Lights – $0.21

BRASS/BRONZE SCRAP

Brass may be found in parts of your motor vehicle, including the radiator core, tubes and tanks.

  • 70/30 Brass Scrap – $1.450.01
  • 80/20 Brass Scrap – $1.670.01
  • 85/15 Brass Scrap – $1.830.01
  • Brass Radiator – $1.14
  • Brass Radiator/Fe – $0.64
  • Brass Radiator Ends – $0.260
  • Red Brass – $1.610.01
  • Rod Borings – $1.390.01
  • Yellow Brass – $1.450.01

LEAD SCRAP

There are a number of car components that use lead, including solder in electronics, lead car batteries, and lead wheel weights.

  • Lead Wheel Weights – $0.32
  • Lead-Solid Lead – $0.65
  • Range Lead-Bullets that have been fired – $0.50
  • Scrap Auto Batteries – $0.35
  • Soft Lead – $0.72

When an auto salvage company purchases your vehicle, they are paying you for the value of the scrap metal they are able to extract from the vehicle. This includes steel, copper, aluminum, and other components.

Scrap metal pricing varies depending on demand, and this varies from day to day, even between scrapyards in the same area. The Scrap Register indicated pricing a few pennies higher as of June 30, 2020.

Other Components With Value

In addition to the scrap metal in your vehicle, there are other items that also have value when you sell the car for junk:

  • Wheels, tires, and rims
  • GPS system
  • Doors
  • Bumpers
  • Airbags
  • Air conditioning
  • Radio
  • Catalytic converter
  • Motor oil and oil filters
  • Tailgate
  • Windshield wiper arms
  • Battery
  • Radiator

How to Increase the Scrap Value of Car Scrap Prices

Sometimes a bit of time can turn an eyesore into a treasure. Even when dealing with junk cars, one that has been spiffed up will grab a better price.  Here are a few quick fixes to help rake in the best money for your car:

  • Touch up scratches and pop out minor dents to help increase your scrap price
  • Scrub the wheels so they shine and look attractive, adding curb appeal to the car
  • Vacuum the interior to remove excess dust, dirt, and sand to give it a fresh, clean look
  • Clean interior surfaces such as the dash, doors and interior windows to make them shine
  • Spray the interior with a fabric refresher for a fresh smelling vehicle

If your vehicle is fairly new but has been in an accident, it may still have value when you sell it to an auto junkyard. There is a possibility the vehicle can be repaired, and even if it can’t it will still have mechanical parts that hold value.

Remove Personal Belongings

We spend a lot of time in our cars and they become an accumulation spot for personal items. Make sure you remove all personal belongings, including items you no longer want, before selling the vehicle.

Check all spots where things can become hidden, such as the glove box, center console storage, above visors, and under the seats. Remove all items that contain personal identification on them such as insurance cards and registration.

If you fail to clean out the vehicle completely you risk leaving something of value or importance inside. Left behind items may lower the price you receive.

What If I Can’t Find the Title?

Auto salvage yards need to make sure they are purchasing a vehicle from its legal owner. The title provides this verification. If you have lost your title it is recommended you obtain a duplicate from your state prior to selling the car.

If you are unable to obtain a title, you need to advise the junkyard and see whether or not they will accept the vehicle. Some junkyards may accept cars that have alternative proofs of ownership such as:

  • Car registration and/or insurance certificate
  • Storage lien
  • Mechanic’s lien
  • Auction sales receipt
  • Repossession affidavit

If you are unable to secure a sale without the title, you will need to talk to your state government office to find out what can be done to obtain proof of ownership.

Finding an Auto Salvage Yard

Junkyards or auto salvage yards are a great place to take your vehicle if you want to turn it in for cash. This is an especially good choice if there is little or no value in it when trying to trade at a car dealership.

If you aren’t quite ready to scrap your vehicle yet, but parts have become costly, a car junkyard is a perfect place to pick up parts that are in good condition at a reduced price. Before auto salvage yards crush vehicles, they remove all salvageable parts off them for the purpose of resale.

It is easy to get a quote before making a final decision on whether to repair or scrap your car.

Getting a Quote

It doesn’t matter where you go to sell your junk vehicle, you will need the following information for any reputable car junkyard:

  • Make of the vehicle
  • Model of the vehicle
  • The year it manufactured
  • Vehicle registration
  • Vehicle title (must be clear, no outstanding loans)

In addition to the above, it may be helpful to know:

  • Car mileage
  • Any vehicle damage
  • How much the vehicle weighs

Once you know what your vehicle weighs you can multiply the weight of your car by the price per ton on scrap metal is to get an estimate on what you will be paid for your vehicle. Better than trying to do an estimate yourself, it is simple to obtain an online quote following these steps:

  1. Fill out the online form or call 1-855-922-3095; providing a VIN may result in a higher offer
  2. If you like the offer enter a few more details to finalize acceptance
  3. Schedule a time for the service to pick up your vehicle and you will receive either cash or a check at the time of pickup

It is as simple as that to turn your junk vehicle into cash.

Eliminate Junk Vehicles

It doesn’t matter whether car scrap prices are up or down, a junk vehicle taking up space on your property is an eyesore. If you have any questions about selling your car read up on the market to find out what the options are for your particular vehicle.

We are happy to assist you in selling or with questions. Feel free to call us at 1-855-922-3095 for a quote.

Don’t delay, call us today!

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About the Author

Marc
Marc

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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