Table of Contents
Did you know that approximately 80 percent of your car can be recycled?
Although many vehicle owners aren’t aware of it, car recycling is big business. An average of 27 million cars are recycled every year. These old vehicles are broken down into more than 25 million tons of reusable industrial materials.
If you have an older or unusable vehicle, keep reading to learn about car scrap pricing and how you can make money recycling your vehicle today.
What Is Car Scrapping?
Car scrapping is disposing of a vehicle by breaking it down into its component parts. It may also be referred to as “junking a car” or “parting out a car.”
Generally speaking, there are two steps to junking a vehicle. The first is reclaiming still-viable parts for resale. The second is the sale of all remaining materials for recycling.
In some cases, you may choose to skip the first step and simply sell the entire vehicle as-is for recycling.
When to Scrap a Car
There are several factors that can tell you it is time to scrap your vehicle. Typically, the vehicle:
- No longer runs or no longer runs reliably
- Costs more to repair and operate than it is worth
- Is not viable for resale as an operational vehicle
Some people simply wish to be rid of non-functional cars. Such owners may choose to contact one the many charities who collect defunct vehicles rather than dealing with car scrap costs and income themselves.
Savvy owners, however, understand the massive investment that vehicles represent. They also appreciate that in return for some minor effort on their part, their useless vehicles can become an excellent source of valuable income.
Car Scrapping Laws
Recycling laws can vary from state to state. In general, however, there is really only one rule would-be scrappers have to worry about. That is having clear ownership of the vehicle to be scrapped.
Depending on your state, this may take the form of a:
- Bill of sale
- Other legal documents (e.g. court orders or a will)
You need proof of ownership simply to demonstrate that you are not trying to profit from a stolen vehicle. Your local DMV office can provide details on the specific laws and requirements in your state.
Laws for Scrap Yards
Additional legal requirements may apply to scrap yards or charities collecting vehicles for scrap. When selling your vehicle to a scrap yard, be aware that in some states commercial scrappers may be required to:
- Take photos or video of the vehicles, parts, and customers (aka you)
- Pay by check or with digital funds instead of cash
- Hold payments for a set period of time
- Check the driver’s license or other legal ID of sellers
- Get your signature
- Take your fingerprints
- Keep records of your license plate, title, and vehicle information
How to Scrap a Car
When you’re ready to scrap your car, you will find the process relatively easy. There are three basics steps to follow.
Get Your Documents in Order
Make sure you have proof of ownership, such as a title. While you’re at it, cancel your registration and insurance if they are still active since you will no longer be driving the vehicle. Don’t forget to remove any license plates on the vehicle, as well.
Clean out the Car
Clear all your stuff out of your vehicle. Remember to check under the seats, in the trunk and glove compartment, and any other nooks and crannies.
Find a Reputable Scrap Yard
Call around or check online. Be sure to ask lots of questions. Look for scrappers that:
- Are properly licensed
- Offer free pickup or towing
- Will provide you with clear documentation of the sale
- Can provide accurate, upfront information about how costs and payments work
Car Scrap Pricing
Unlike new car sales, there is no definitive guide stating the values of scrap vehicles. Instead, car scrap prices are based on an individual basis. Values are based on:
- Where you live
- The type and extent of damage or ill repair of your vehicle suffers from
- The year, make, and model of your vehicle
- Current market demand for working parts your vehicle contains
When junking a car, you will find that value comes from two distinct places: resellable parts and scrap metal.
Used auto parts are a huge market. Car owners like used parts because they can cost up to 80% less than equivalent new parts. If your vehicle contains parts that are in high demand, you can potentially make great money parting out your car and selling those parts individually.
The average car weighs in at around 4,000 pounds. Over half that weight may be recyclable metals like steel and aluminum. Trucks can have over 3,000 pounds of recyclable metal in them.
As of the first quarter of 2020, scrap metal is going for between $60 and $100 per ton. Although this is significantly less than it has been in previous years, it still represents a strong source of income when scrapping a car.
Getting the Most out of Your Scrapped Car
How valuable any given piece of your vehicle is will depend largely on its make, model, year, and condition. Some parts are consistently more popular and valuable than others, however. Expect to get the most value from:
- GPS devices or systems
- Exhaust systems
- Catalytic converters
- Air conditioners
- Air bags
- Windshield wiper arms
- Radios and other A/V devices
- Truck hatches
- Gas, Oil, and filters
Take the time to evaluate the condition of these pieces before contacting a scrapper. If they are in good condition, they may be worth removing and selling separately.
If you’ve found this information on car scrap pricing useful, check out the other vehicle and finance related articles in our Business and Finance section for more!