How to Junk a Car For Scrap Metal

Cars can be totaled or be so old that its parts, even the engine, are rendered unusable. By then, it's only good for scrap metal. We'll look at how to junk a car for scrap metal and how you can squeeze even more value from it.

How to Scrap a Car

The process depends on whom you contact to junk the car. Working with an established company will give you the best experience and typically give you the most money for your vehicle.

If you find the right company, the process is as easy as:

  • Accepting an offer
  • Arranging a meet-up time
  • Organizing the paperwork
  • Cashing a check

Be wary of a junkyard dealer who quotes you double what anyone else has — especially if they have few reviews to their name. There are plenty of so-called professionals who will throw in so many fees and charges by the time they’re done that they end up giving you less than the average.

The Value of a Scrapped Car

You’re paid based on the demand of the scrap metal at the time you recycle it. which is not always as high as people might think it is.

CarScrappers owner Todd Bialaszewski says, “We work with people who are sometimes disappointed by the estimated value of their car. What they have to remember is that, by the time they turn it into us, it’s either gone through years of wear-and-tear, or its life cycle has been accelerated by something like a natural disaster or a serious car crash. If a car can be salvaged, we wouldn’t dismantle it.”

The Scrap Metal Market

The market for scrap is dependent on numerous global forces. The countries that are buying scrap, the quality of the available scrap, and the efficiency of recycling plants in the area can all play a role in how much you’ll get.

In addition, the scrapper will take some off the top for their time and effort. This is usually a small price to pay for what you get in return though. You get the benefit of their experience and national network, which is often worth its weight in convenience.

If you’re wondering whether to scrap the car, it’s probably because it’s long past its prime. If you’re tempted to try and sell to a private dealer, you should know that a car that’s worth so little will yield few serious buyers. Unless you have a rare gem, like an old ‘50s Chevy in a neighborhood of almost-mechanics and classic-car lovers, it’s usually better to scrap.

Scrap Car Parts in Good Condition

You may be able to pull a few parts off your car and then sell them on eBay or Craigslist. This includes your GPS, stereo, tires/rims, and battery. A junk car buyer is unlikely to put much stock in these items — even if they’re brand-new. This is why it might be worth your time and effort to sell them on your own.

Just remember that these parts should ideally be in pristine condition to make the sales worthwhile. If you want to take the photos, write up the descriptions, coordinate shipping, etc., you could get a nice little bonus in addition to the weight of the metal.

FAQs

What should I remove before scrapping a car?

When you sell to a company like CarScrappers, you really just need to remove your personal belongings and the license plate. If you want, you can potentially remove parts in good condition to sell on your own (e.g., through auction, classifieds, etc.).

Do you get any money for scrapping your car?

Yes. Though the amount you get will depend on the demand for scrap metal at the time you sell. This is a global market that can be impacted by numerous factors (e.g., world events, production quotas, etc.).

Do I need a title to scrap a car?

It depends on where you live. If you want to scrap a car without a title, some states will allow it, as long as you're only selling for the value of the metal.