If you have a vehicle you no longer need and trading it for a new one is not your intention, you have the option to turn the car into cash by selling it to another party.
There are plenty of ways to sell an unwanted car, some more traditional than others, including taking it to a dealership, placing an advertisement in the newspaper/an auto magazine, or even listing it online for sale as a whole unit or in parts.
Each of these options has its pros and cons. These include a significant difference in the time it will take you to complete the sale and the amount of cash to be received at the end of the transaction.
You'll want to be aware of these industry secrets before you get started, ensuring you make the best decision and arrive at the best financial outcome.
9 Industry Secrets to Selling Your Car for Cash
Many factors can affect price considerations when selling your car for cash. While some factors may revolve around selling used cars for parts, many secrets lie beneath how buyers approach purchasing a used vehicle as a whole. These tips are useful to both those who have never sold a used car before and for experienced car sellers who want to get savvier about their car deals.
1. Newer Parts and Equipment
Most car enthusiasts understand that every part of a car has value, including new tires or expensive parts. However, many dealers will emphasize that your investment in these parts will not impact a purchasing offer. In many cases, that is not valid. Most purchasers will consider your newer tires or parts as somewhat valuable when selling to a junkyard or salvage yard. Why – because they have a resale value.
For example, a used tire's average cost can range anywhere between $25 - $75 per tire depending on how new it is and its current condition.
Many salvage or junkyards will quote you a price for your vehicle based solely on weight, so your quote is only for the value of the scrap metal itself. That may be fine if you are in a hurry to get a junk vehicle out of your driveway or garage, but settling for pure scrap value could be costing you money.
2. There is Always Room for Negotiation
Dealers may provide a bid and insist that it is their best price with no "wiggle room". However, that simply isn't true. There is always room for negotiation.
When selling a car for cash, there are, at minimum, five factors that can impact the value of a used car, including:
- The condition of the vehicle
- The year/make/model of the car
- Your current mileage
- Current scrap prices
- Your buying/selling location
If your current buyer does not negotiate in good faith, you may want to move on to another.
3. Investigate a Variety of Buyers
When dealing with junkyards, checking with several of them may not result in a significant price difference. The reason – many of these dealers are owned or operated by the same parent company, with the same rules or guidelines for bidding on car purchases.
Beware of buyers and junkyards looking to rope you into underselling. Sadly, many individuals within the industry are looking to buy junk and used cars for the absolute lowest possible price. Therefore, it is necessary to do thorough research into each potential buyer you encounter. You want to make sure you are:
- Checking their status with the local Better Business Bureaus
- Reviewing online reviews and testimonials
- Reaching out to trusted sources and getting their opinions on buyers in your area
Without adequate research, you can easily find yourself swindled by a crafty buyer.
4. Your Car May Be Worth More Than Its Scrap Value
When junkyards are bidding on your car, they may advise you that the only value it has is for scrap metal. This is usually not true. Several parts can be removed and sold for extra cash, including tires, electronics, and mechanical parts, such as alternators or transmissions.
While selling individual car parts yourself can be quite profitable, it can also be a very labor-intensive and time-consuming process. If you do decide to take this route, you want to consider the following:
- Do some research to determine what parts may be in demand and at what price
- Remove the sellable parts from the vehicle and clean them up, take photos, and advertise in online marketplaces, such as car forums, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist
- Negotiate prices with potential buyers
- Pack and ship purchased items
This process can eat up a considerable amount of time. However, if you have the time to do it, this can help you make more money on your junk car parts.
5. Junkyards and Salvage Yards Are Sometimes Dishonest
Like used car salesmen, some junk and salvage operators are straightforward and quite honest with customers. Unfortunately, many are not. Some take full advantage of sellers who are not familiar with pricing or unaware of their vehicles' actual value – resulting in lowball offers that may seem great at the time.
Again, the best way to avoid grimy junk and salvage operators is to do your research before conducting any business.
6. Scrap Metal Prices Vary
Scrap metal prices rise and fall just as other markets do. Unfavorable conditions, such as the recent COVID pandemic, can negatively impact the value of your vehicle's scrap metal. For example, the pandemic saw the price of steel lower significantly, which, in turn, had a negative impact on the price of retail scrap metals.
If you expect markets to rise, you may want to hold onto your car a little longer to take advantage of higher prices.
7. Where You Live Does Matter
Some vehicles are more popular in particular regions. For example, convertibles are more marketable in areas with plenty of sunshine, and 4x4s and SUVs have extra value where inclement weather and snow are frequent.
If a buyer must tow your vehicle over a considerable distance after purchase, this will add to their expense – and reduce your check. If the car is drivable, delivering it to the buyer will eliminate towing fees and leave you with a larger check.
8. Evaluate Your Vehicle Carefully and Be Honest When Selling
If your vehicle runs, is reasonably desirable, road-worthy, and safe, consider selling it as a used car instead of a junk car. You will get a higher return selling a used car to a dealer than negotiating a price for scrap or salvage. Your higher cash income may be a trade-off in the time it takes to complete the sale.
Your evaluation of your car's worth should be devoid of sentimentality. Your prospective buyer won't care about your love of the car. Instead, focus on the physical value your car carries, which can be translated into cash.
Determining your vehicle's condition and desirability will help you choose whether to sell it to a dealer, advertise it for a personal sale, or offer your car for auction.
9. Cast a Wide Net
If you choose to go with a personal sale, the more people who know about your vehicle, the faster you are likely to sell it. However, using the already established reach of car buyers who work with several junkyards or salvage yards will give you the best chance not only at getting your car sold faster but also at a higher price.
Car Scrappers – The Most Well-Kept Industry Secret
Car Scrappers works with the best dealers and car auctions to find the best price for your vehicle – whether selling it as a junk car, for a used or salvage vehicle, or purely as scrap. We have strict policies and quickly remove shady buyers. Your local junkyard and auto salvage know that they will be forced to pay you higher for your vehicle if they tell you about us.
Our network of top-notch buyers across the country, coupled with our eager-to-help and courteous staff, is one secret that our competitors don't want you to know about.