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Car Scrap Prices: What Is Your Junk Car Worth in 2021?

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

Table of Contents

The car needs repairs. Again. Are you tired of paying for one vehicle repair only to find another a few weeks later?

Maybe you’d like to be done with your truck, but it still runs, and it’s in decent shape.

Dealerships offer lower prices for trade-in vehicles. Selling your car online can be a hassle and risky. How can you be sure the buyer you’re communicating with is honest?

You’ve got more options. Selling your car to a junkyard is a great way to get cash and get rid of your car.

Scrap car prices can provide just what you’re looking for to get cash for your ride. Keep reading to find out more about selling your car to a scrap buyer.

What Are Scrap Cars?

When people hear “junk cars,” they’re likely picturing rusted-out hunks of junk. While vehicles in really rough shape take up a good portion of scrap cars, that isn’t always the case.

If you’re holding on to a car that needs more work than you want to pay for, don’t count out selling it for scrap. Even repairable vehicles can be sold for scrap. If your vehicle is in pretty good shape, you’ll get more cash for it.

Why Do Buyers Want Scrap Cars?

Junkyards or scrapyards buy vehicles from sellers who no longer want them. While reasons vary, most people can’t or don’t want to keep their vehicles running. So, they decide to sell a scrapyard.

The scrapyards harvest all parts of these vehicles they can save. Any working part of the car is fair game. Once the “guts” of the vehicle are removed, it’s flattened.

The vehicle buyers then sell the parts to shops, mechanics, or other individuals who want them.

What Are Current Scrap Car Prices?

Scrap metal prices for cars are usually determined by how much the junkyard can make by selling parts and metals from demolished vehicles.

Average price for scrap car metal or parts depends on market demand. Prices also depend on the condition of the vehicle and its parts. Let’s take a closer look at what’s in your vehicle and how much you can expect to get for it.

The Metal in Your Car

To find the current scrap car prices 2021, check out current metal market trends. If metals like aluminum and steel are selling high, you can expect a better offer for your vehicle.

Steel makes up almost 65% of an average car or truck. Most components of the suspension and steering elements, frame, chassis, and wheels are made from steel. Exhaust parts, brackets, and bolts are often made from rust-resistant stainless steel.

Aluminum makes up a fair amount of your vehicle as well. Engines and wheels are most likely made from aluminum. It’s a light metal often used to replace iron or other heavy, rust-prone metals used in older cars and trucks.

Titanium may appear in very small amounts in your vehicle’s anatomy. Exhaust and intake valves are sometimes made of titanium. This metal can be fussy to work with, which is why manufacturers use it sparingly.

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

Because scrap metal pricing fluctuates on a daily basis, the quote you receive for your junk car 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, the following prices were pulled on March 12, 2021. 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 east coast:

STEEL SCRAP

  • #1 Bundle – $310.00
  • #1 Busheling – $325.00
  • #1 HMS – $260.00
  • HMS 80/20 – $250.00
  • Sheet Metal – $220.00
  • Shredded Auto Scrap – $290.00
  • Structural Steel – $260.00

STAINLESS STEEL SCRAP

  • 201 SS – $0.23
  • 301 SS – $0.37
  • 304 SS Solid – $0.56
  • 304 SS Turning – $0.51
  • 309 SS – $0.80
  • 310 SS – $1.25
  • 316 SS Solid – $0.76
  • 330 SS – $2.02

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 – $0.52
  • 3003 Scrap – $0.52
  • 356 Aluminum Wheels (Clean) – $0.52
  • 5052 Scrap – $0.76
  • 6061 Extrusions – $0.49
  • 6063 Extrusions – $0.69
  • 6063 Extrusions/Fe – $0.45
  • Al/Cu Radiators – $1.36
  • Al/Cu Radiators/Fe – $1.20
  • Aluminum Radiators – $0.32
  • Aluminum Radiators/Fe – $0.25
  • Aluminum Transformers – $0.13
  • Breakage 50% Recovery – $0.16
  • Chrome Wheels – $0.48
  • C. Aluminum Wire – $0.90
  • Litho Sheets – $0.52
  • Mixed Aluminum Turnings – $0.29
  • MLC Clips – $0.51
  • Old Cast – $0.49
  • Old Sheet – $0.49
  • Painted Siding – $0.47
  • UBC – $0.55
  • Zorba 90% NF – $0.49

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 – $0.32
  • #1 Copper Bar Bright – $3.41
  • #1 Copper Wire and Tubing – $3.31
  • #1 Insulated Copper Wire 85% Recovery – $1.62
  • #2 Copper Wire and Tubing – $3.21
  • #2 Insulated Copper Wire 50% Recovery – $1.08
  • #3 Copper – Light Copper – $3.11
  • Copper Radiators – $1.77
  • Copper Transformer Scrap – $0.37
  • Cu Yokes – $0.55
  • Cu/Al Radiator Ends – $0.44
  • Cu/Al Radiators – $1.36
  • Cu/Al Radiators/Fe – $1.20
  • Harness Wire 35% Recovery – $1.02
  • Heater Cores – $1.42
  • Romex® Wire – $1.56
  • Scrap Electric Motors – $0.27
  • Sealed Units – $0.23
  • Starters – $0.26
  • Christmas Lights – $0.25

BRASS/BRONZE SCRAP

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

  • 70/30 Brass Scrap – $1.77
  • 80/20 Brass Scrap – $2.02
  • 85/15 Brass Scrap – $2.15
  • Brass Radiator – $1.55
  • Brass Radiator/Fe – $0.65
  • Brass Radiator Ends – $0.25
  • Red Brass – $1.93
  • Rod Borings – $1.69
  • Yellow Brass – $1.77

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 – $0.31
  • Lead-Solid Lead – $0.64
  • Range Lead-Bullets that have been fired – $0.48
  • Scrap Auto Batteries – $0.34
  • Soft Lead – $0.67

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.

Take It A-Part

Even if it’s in sad shape, there are likely some working car parts a buyer can salvage. The more useable parts a car has, the higher the offer from the scrapyard.

Common parts sold from scrap cars are:

  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Radiators
  • GPS system
  • Windshield Wiper Arms
  • Tailgates
  • Airbags
  • Air conditioning components
  • Radios
  • Catalytic converters
  • Motor oil and oil filters
  • Bumpers
  • Doors
  • Batteries
  • Rims

The amount of money you’ll get for car parts depends on local demand. If repair shops in your area are in short supply of mufflers or engines, current scrap car prices will be higher.

Let The Pros Do The Math

Knowing metal and parts prices are one thing. Pricing out your vehicle is another. Parts and metal are priced per pound. Unless you know how many pounds of each metal type is in your vehicle, calculating the overall price yourself is very difficult.

Here are a few averages for popular scrap car prices in 2021.

  • A non-running Nissan from the mid-late 90s may only bring in around $100.
  • A functioning Hyundai Tuscon from early 2000s scraps for closer to $575
  • Toyota Corollas from 2002 can sell for around $680-$690.
  • Mitsubishi Lancer 2013 can scrap for $1,000

Junk car prices vary quite a bit with vehicle make, model, age, location, and demand. Always check a few different sources before making the final deal on your scrap car sale.

Want to find out what your vehicle is worth? We’ll give you an instant online offer in just 90 seconds. Click here.

All About That Weight

Before junkyards offer scrap car prices, they need to figure out how much they will make on the vehicle. As state earlier, market and demand play a big role in what scrap car buyers can make in resale.

Another huge contributing factor is the weight of your car. Think of it in terms of materials. You can harvest a lot more heavy scrap metal off of a 4×4 pickup truck than a Geo Metro.

The average price for a scrap car is going to be less than the average price for a scrap SUV or truck.

Has Your Car Seen Some Things?

Mileage has a lot to do with junk car prices. Cars with under 4,000 miles will grab higher-priced offers. Scrap metal prices for cars with over 20,000 miles vary a lot. You can definitely expect the dollar amount offered to decrease as the mileage of a vehicle increases.

How To Sell A Scrap Car

Local markets play a big role in your scrap car sale. Finding local buyers isn’t always easy. Making sure their honest may be even more difficult.

By using trustworthy online tools, you can find a junkyard or scrap car buyer near you.

If you can’t find a scrapyard to take your car or truck, you still have options. Thanks to the power of the internet, you can find online buyers for your scrap car or truck. Some companies, like Cash Auto Salvage, will give you estimates on your vehicle after you fill out their simple form.

After you’ve contacted a junkyard or received an online estimate, you can make arrangements to drop off your vehicle and pick up your cash.

Ask About Towing Fees

Is towing included in the price? If your car is not driveable, make sure to ask about it. Paying to have your vehicle towed to a scrap yard could take a solid chunk out of your profits.

If the junkyard doesn’t offer free towing, do your best to negotiate a price that will cover it. For example, if it’s going to cost $150 to tow the car, ask the junkyard for $150 additional payment for your vehicle to cover the towing cost.

A Clean Car Is a Happy Car

Before presenting your vehicle for sale, clean it up. A lot. Both inside and out.

Vacuum the inside, wipe down or clean any interior surfaces. Remove all personal belongings, whether you want to keep them or not. Take out any garbage, wrappers, or other trash.

Even though you’re selling your car for scrap, how it looks will make an impression on the buyer.

Take it to a carwash or clean the exterior yourself. Pay close attention to the windshield, windows, and wheels. Make anything that can shine shiny!

A Title is A Must

Without a title, you’ll have a hard time proving you are your vehicle’s legal owner. Most junkyards and online companies require a car title for the sale.

If you don’t have the vehicle title, you may be able to prove ownership through a mechanic’s lien or storage lien. You could also show insurance documentation or your state registration to prove the vehicle is yours.

A VIN Helps

When searching online options for scrap car prices, have your vehicle’s VIN handy. A VIN, or vehicle identification number, tells where your car was manufactured and when. Car history can also be found using a VIN.

A VIN helps scrap car buyers find out more information about your vehicle. Providing it will help you get a more accurate estimate than searching for the average price for scrap cars.

Find Reliable Scrap Car Prices

There are a lot of junkyards and scrap car buyers out there. Be sure you’re dealing with legitimate buyers by checking out Cash Auto Salvage.

We can help you find the nearest junkyard to your location. We’re also happy to provide you with an online estimate of your car or truck using our handy estimator tool.

Contact us at 1-855-922-3095 or check out our scrap car value calculator for an instant offer. We offer competitive scrap car prices. We can help you get cash for your clunker (or decently running vehicle) 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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