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Scrap Car Prices: What’s Your Car Worth? [2023 Guide]

Pile of Scrap

Do you have an old junk car sitting around that you need to unload? You obviously want to get the most money possible for it, so that’s probably why you are checking out scrap car prices. We can help take the hassle out of your research by providing everything you need to know about scrap value.

There are several factors that affect whether you will get the best price for your old clunker. Scrap metal values are constantly changing, so if you learn what affects those prices, you’ll be in a better position to get a great price for your car.

If you plan on scrapping your junk car, how long you wait to do so can also affect the amount of cash you’ll get. We’ll provide you information about current scrap metal prices as well as ways that you can maximize the value of your car.

Table of Contents

What’s Your Car’s Scrap Value?

This is an open-ended question as there are so many things that can affect the amount of money you’ll get for your scrap car. One thing that will have the biggest effect on the scrap value of a car is current scrap prices. Let’s take a look at where those are today.

As of January 2021, the price of scrap steel is around $0.01 per pound. Insulated copper wire sells for about $0.51 per pound, and aluminum ranges from $0.28 to $0.45 depending on the type. These prices may seem low, but remember that a car weights a lot! And, all of these types of metals can be found in a scrap car, so that leads to our next point.

The size and weight of your vehicle greatly affects its scrap value. If you plan to use a facility that is offering you money based solely on the weight of your vehicle, then it would be helpful to know exactly what your car is made of. Let’s talk about the materials that are found in most cars today.

The average car today contains about 350 pounds of aluminum. In addition, cars average about 2,400 pounds of steel while a light truck or SUV may contain 3,000 pounds of steel. That’s about 55 – 60% of their curb weight! Today’s cars are starting to include more aluminum and less steel, so if you have an older car these numbers may be slightly different.

You might not realize it, but there are also several pounds of copper wiring in your car. All the electronics in your car have copper wire connecting them to your car’s computer, the headlights, taillights, and other items that require electricity. All this wire can really start to add up!

Finally, things like the battery in your car can be recycled as well. Plus, your catalytic converter contains rare metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium which can bring pretty high prices at a recycler.

The price of scrap metal can also fluctuate widely between geographic areas, so your location has an effect on how much you can expect to get for your car. The season or time of year will also have an effect on scrap prices, as well as some things you might not think about like the current industry demand and even the stock market. Doing your homework can help ensure you get the best price for your car when you get ready to sell.

There is also a big difference between scrap prices and salvage car prices. If your car still has usable parts, you can likely get more for it at a salvage yard than a scrapyard. However, the faster you act, the more you can probably get for it.

The most valuable parts on your car will deteriorate the quickest. Chrome will rust, and the sun will turn the rubber brittle. If you want to get the most for it, then sell that junk car today for $500+ cash. The year, make, and model of your car also has an effect on the price you can expect to receive. You can expect to receive more for a newer BMW than an old Toyota because the parts have a higher value. You also have to consider the fact that the salvage yard that you sell your car to has to make a profit as well, so they will only offer you a portion of the value of your salvage vehicle.

How Much Do You Get For Scrapping a Car?

The answer to this partly depends on how you decide to sell your junk car. You can attempt to tow it to the junkyard yourself or you can find junk car buyers who will come and pick up the vehicle. We’ll discuss both options here to help you determine which is best for you.

You can take your car to the junk yard, but there are several drawbacks to this approach. First, you will have to pay for your own towing to their location. Next, you’re only going to get scrap prices based on the weight of your vehicle. Not the best idea if your car has any usable parts on it. Lastly, beware of the classic junkyard bait and switch. You may get one price over the phone but a completely different story when you arrive. You don’t want to pay to tow that old clunker back home again, so you’re basically left being forced to take their lower offer.

If your car has any usable parts, you can consider going the auto salvage route. You are likely to get more money this way, but you still have to get the car to them. Plus, they have to make a profit so they will often lowball you on the offer so that they can make the most money possible.

To get the most money and make things as easy on yourself as possible, consider a junk car buyer like Auto Wranglers who will come to you and pick up the vehicle. We will buy cars in any condition and always give you top dollar based on the true market value of the vehicle. We’ll make you an instant offer to purchase the vehicle and pick it up at a time that is convenient for you.

If you are truly scrapping your car, the price you get will generally be based on the weight of the vehicle. At current scrap metal pricing in January 2021, you can expect to receive between $100 – $200 for smaller cars and $300 – $400 for larger trucks or SUVs.

If your car is running or has usable parts, then you should consider getting an instant quote from Auto Wranglers as we can often offer you much more than the prices above. Our offers will be much closer to book value and can sometimes exceed $15,000 based on the model and condition of the vehicle!

Current Scrap Car Prices

As you have probably gleaned from reading the material this far, scrap car prices are heavily dependent upon current scrap metal prices. Your scrap car value is going to fluctuate just like the prices for metal recycling do. However, there are some things that you can do to ensure you get the most money for your car when you sell.

The first thing you can do is closely monitor scrap prices. There are a multitude of resources available online, and even smartphone apps, that allow you to check current scrap prices. Many local recyclers have a website that is frequently updated with current prices. This is a great place to start so that you have an idea of what your car may be worth.

You can use the rule of thumb mentioned previously that about 55% of your car’s weight is steel, and you should have around 300 pounds of aluminum there too. The curb weight of most vehicles can be found on a sticker inside the door, so you can use those numbers along with the current scrap metal prices to get an idea of how much you might get. A rough estimate is anywhere from $150 – $400 based on the size of the vehicle and your geographic location.

If your car is not scrap, then don’t let it go for a scrap price. If it has usable parts, then the salvage value is typically higher than scrap value. Remember that you can also negotiate with the salvage yard when selling your car to them. You don’t always have to accept their first offer! Salvage values can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000 depending on the make and model of your car. In some cases, that number can be even higher! Some salvage yards include a car value calculator on their website to provide estimates of value.

If your car is running, check out some resources such as NADA or Kelley Blue Book to get a rough idea of your car’s value. This is at least a good starting point for negotiations between you and any potential buyers. If your car runs and drives, you can expect to get the most for it.

Another place to get a starting point for values is your insurance company. You can call and ask them for the salvage value of your car, and they should be able to give you a number. There are plenty of resources out there, you just have to use them to your advantage!

If all of this sounds confusing to you, don’t worry! That is where Auto Wranglers can help. By providing them some details about your vehicle, they will make you an instant offer to buy the car based on its condition and value. You can rest easy knowing that this is the hassle free way to get the most money for your vehicle.

How Often Do Prices Change?

The short answer is all the time!

  • Daily – Just like the stock market, scrap prices can fluctuate daily or even multiple times per day. Since metals are commodities, there are numerous things that affect their prices and they change often.
  • Weekly – Weekly prices changes are more common for scrap metal. Many buyers will update their prices each week, and they may only change by pennies per ton.
  • Monthly – In some cases, recyclers only update their prices every month. If drastic changes occur within the market, they may update more frequently to prevent themselves from losing money on deals. Most of the time, daily or weekly changes are so small that they can get away with monthly updates.
    If you want to get the most money for your vehicle, then keep a close eye on prices and work with a reputable buyer. However, don’t be surprised if you get different offers on different days. This could be due to fluctuating scrap prices.

Different Ways to Sell a Scrap a Car

There are many different ways to get rid of that old car. Some are easier than others, and some will usually get you more money. We’ll discuss the different options you have available here so that you can make a decision on what works best for you.

Likely the most obvious method is hauling your car to a junkyard. Usually, the price you’ll receive there depends solely on the weight of the car. The price you can expect to receive ranges anywhere from $80-$150 per ton depending on your location and the current market conditions.

The smaller your car, the less money you’ll get. Small compact cars typically weigh in just over a ton – somewhere in the 2,200 – 2,400 pound range. Average SUV’s weigh somewhere around 4,000 pounds, or about two tons. If you have a large truck, it could weigh upwards of 6,000 pounds.

If you don’t like the junkyard route and your car still has usable parts, you can try a salvage yard. This is likely to bring you more money, but remember that the salvage yard still has to make a profit. They will usually offer you somewhere around 50% or less of the value of the parts on your car.

Of course, you can always try parting out the car yourself. This eliminates their cut and lets you keep all the profit from the parts. However, this is a tedious and time consuming process. First, you need to know the value of the parts on your car. Next, you have to remove all the parts so that you can sell them individually. And, finally, you must find buyers for the parts through Craigslist or some other method. Not a very fun way to make money!

Your other option, and perhaps the best way to go, is selling to a junk car buyer like Auto Wranglers. This option allows you to get an instant quote so that you know exactly how much you’ll get for your car. It also makes it very easy as these services will come to you and pick up the car for free.

Whichever method you choose, just be sure to do your homework. Not all methods are created equal, so do your research to make sure you are getting the best price for your vehicle.

How to Get the Best Scrap Price for Cars

Best Car Scrap Cash

When you started reading, you might have been thinking about money and wondering, “How much to scrap a car?” By now, you should have a general idea of scrap prices and how much to junk a car. But, how do you make sure you are getting the best price possible?

Research, research, research. The most important way to make sure you are getting the most money you can is to do your homework. Research current prices in your area and watch the market trends. Also, know your car well. You should know whether you have a car in good condition or one that is total junk.

Call around. You don’t have to accept an offer from the first place you visit. Most areas have more than one option when it comes to selling, so call around and see which one will offer you the most money.

Don’t forget about all the different tools we’ve mentioned in this article. There are tons of websites and apps that you can utilize to stay informed about current scrap prices so that you have a rough idea of your car’s value before you start looking for offers.

Finally, remember that waiting too long can have a detrimental effect on the amount of money you can expect. The longer your car sits, the lower the value typically goes as more and more parts become unusable. It can quickly turn from a used car to a salvage car to a junk car in no time!

Taking these steps might take a little bit of your time. But that’s ok! It will be worth it in the end when you walk away with more money in your pocket!

Get Top Dollar For Your Car Today

If you’ve got an old junk car sitting around and have ever wondered, “What is my car worth?” then the information here should help you answer that question. There are essentially three classifications of cars for you to sell.

In order from most valuable to least valuable would be used cars, salvage cars, and scrap cars. As we’ve discussed, prices will fluctuate often due to changing prices in the metals market. But there are several ways to stay informed of current prices and make sure that you get top dollar for your vehicle.

If you are ready to get rid of that old car, then contact Auto Wranglers today for a free instant offer to sell your car. We will give you top dollar for your vehicle regardless of which category it falls into. And we’ll always honor our quote when we arrive to pick up the vehicle. Take the hassle out of selling and get started with us today.