While you are bound to receive different offers for your car when dealing with various cash-for-car businesses, they all use the same basic formula when quickly determining scrap car prices.
Junk car buyers use this formula to determine the absolute lowest amount of money for which they can get your vehicle.
Knowing this formula, therefore, affords you a rough estimate of your vehicle’s value and protects you from low offers.
Using the Scrap Car Price Formula
To work out the minimum value of a junk car with the scrap car estimator formula, multiply the weight of the car by the current local price for scrap metal:
Car weight in tons × Scrap metal price per ton
Why minimum value?
While some cars can be stripped for parts, most junk cars are not in good enough shape. So, instead of selling off the parts, the scrapyard will sell the car’s constituent metals to entities like building companies and car manufacturers. Moreover, even if some parts can be sold, scrapyards will often use the scrap car estimator formula to calculate the lowest possible income – i.e., your car’s minimum value – they can make from your car.
Here is how to find the weight of your car and determine metal prices to get an accurate calculation using the estimator formula:
Find the Weight of Your Car
To know how much your vehicle weighs, there are several places you can look:
- Your owner’s manual: This includes a section with vehicle specifications, including the weight of your car.
- Inside your driver’s door: Some vehicles have stickers with vehicle information on the inside frame of the driver’s door.
- The manufacturer: You can contact your vehicle’s manufacturer for this information.
- Online: Websites such as Love to Know have published lists of weights for the most popular vehicle models.
Look Up the Current Scrap Metal Prices in Your Area
Determining local scrap metal prices will take a bit of research.
Many online resources (for example, iScrap App) track scrap metal prices by region for your convenience.
The reason you need to look at local prices is that demand for certain metals varies from place to place. Likewise, metal prices also fluctuate daily. This means you may want to keep an eye on scrap metal prices and look for an opportunity to sell your junk car once the prices go up in your area.
While doing this research, remember that your car comprises different types of metal, all of which are sold and recycled separately.
Steel, for instance, makes up about 60% of the weight of most cars. The more valuable aluminum, on the other hand, accounts for less than 10% of your vehicle’s weight. Although most vehicles have a small quantity of aluminum, this valuable metal is still worth almost half the total scrap value of your car.
Other metals found in your car include copper, platinum, palladium, rhodium, lead, tin, and zinc, but only in trace amounts.
Additional Factors That Impact Your Scrap Car Value
The scrap car estimator formula will give you a good idea of the value of your junk car. However, it does not reflect exactly what a cash-for-car company will offer you. These companies do their best to pay you a fair price, but what they offer may be slightly lower than you had estimated getting for your vehicle.
Besides vehicle weight and scrap metal prices, several business factors will affect the quotes you receive:
- Towing: You may have to pay a fee or have a towing company transport the vehicle to the scrapyard if you cannot drive it. While many companies advertise free pickup as part of their services, they do, in fact, subtract the towing cost from the estimate they give you.
- Driver’s wage: Factored into the towing cost is the driver’s hourly wage. The driver will be paid to pick up and transport the car, handling the collection of the title and paperwork.
- Cost of gas: Also included in towing fees is the cost of gas the tow truck needs to make the trip between the salvage yard and the pickup location.
- Time spent on paperwork: Before scrapping the car, staff must complete the purchase and transfer the title.
- Dismantling and crushing the car: Pulling useful parts from the car and dismantling it for crushing is very arduous work. So, cash-for-car businesses also consider the wages for the staff who scrap the car.
Once these additional costs are factored in, you should have an estimate that accurately reflects the offers you will get from junk car buyers.
Get the Best Offer for Your Junk Car from Car Scrappers
Before you sell your junk car to a cash-for-car business, take some time to research the processes these companies use to come up with their offers. Once you understand the scrap car estimator formula, you can better prepare to negotiate a price for your junk car.
At Car Scrappers, we want you to get the best value for your car. Using the information you provide us about your vehicle, we will give you a fast and appropriate estimate.
We are honest about the operation costs that affect the final offer we present to you. This is because we want to make sure that our offers are clear and fair.