• October 18, 2019

How Much do Junkyards Pay for Cars?

How Much do Junkyards Pay for Cars?

If you have an older car that has become more trouble than it’s worth, it could be time to get rid of it. While you may not be able to make a significant amount of money from selling the vehicle, you might get more for it than you anticipated. Numerous dealers, private buyers, salvage yards, and junkyards routinely purchase cars that appear to be worthless. The money you make in the process can be put toward the purchase of a new (or newer) car for your household.

Before you decide what type of buyer is optimal for your circumstances, you will need to evaluate a few details. Selling a car at a junkyard or salvage yard can be convenient, but it may not be the most lucrative option available to you.

Keep reading to discover the best strategies for selling your old car, as well as how to get the most money for your vehicle.

> Is My Car a Junker?

First, you should establish whether your vehicle is actually a “junker.” Just because a car looks rundown and isn’t always reliable, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a junk car.

A junkyard is typically a last resort for a vehicle, meaning that the car is not even eligible to be sold at a salvage yard. Essentially, if a vehicle no longer runs, and is in such poor shape that it would not be worth the money involved to get it running again, then you should probably sell it to a junkyard.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when assessing the status of your old car to determine if it’s a junker:

  • How old is it?

In some locations, your vehicle must be at least three years old before it may be considered a junk car.

  • What shape is it in overall?

Certain details are clues that your car is ready for the junkyard. If you need to replace one or more major parts, your vehicle might not be salvageable. Such components include the engine and the transmission, which are typically expensive to replace. If your car has worn tires and broken windows, this may indicate that your vehicle is a junker. If an accident or act of nature destroyed the car, it might be a junk car. A great deal of corrosion and other deterioration may also be a sign that your vehicle is not worth saving.

  • How long has it been parked in the same place?

If a car has not been moved in a very long time, this could be because it does not run and is possibly irreparable.

  • Where are the documents?

If someone has left a junk car on or in front of your property, you may need to contact your local DMV. They might inform you that the vehicle is no longer registered, which means it may have been abandoned because it no longer works.

  • How much is the car worth?

Generally, a car that is worth less than $500 might be eligible for sale at a junkyard.

> Should I Sell My Vehicle to a Junkyard?

How do you know if it’s not worth the money it would take to get the car running again?

You can start by getting a few quotes from local mechanics. As a basic rule, if the repairs on a vehicle would amount to over half of its value, you will likely be better off selling it and buying a newer car. Also, if repair visits are becoming more frequent, the car probably is not worth keeping. Most importantly, you need to replace a car that is likely to break down at any given moment. No matter how attached you are to such a vehicle, it could put you and others in danger.

Once you have determined that your vehicle cannot be fixed or is not worth fixing, you will need to explore whether it should go to a junkyard or elsewhere. You may be surprised by how many options are available:

  • Sell to an auto salvage yard

Although it may not be worth your time and money to get it repaired, your car might still yield more if you sell it to a salvage yard instead of a junkyard. Salvage yards can make good money selling parts from the vehicles they purchase, and this may be passed on to you, the seller.

  • Sell the parts yourself

Instead of taking a loss on the parts by involving a salvage yard, you could strip your car of its parts and sell them yourself. By cutting out the middleman, you would reap all of the profits. You will need to do some research if you have no experience working on cars, but the time and effort might be worth it in the long run.

You can sell the parts via online marketplaces that allow their sales on their sites. Keep in mind that going with this option could take much longer than merely selling the vehicle to a junkyard or salvage yard.

  • Sell the car privately

Another option is to sell your junk car to a private party. Make sure you are clear that this will be an “as is” sale. This choice could be ideal for a professional mechanic or hobbyist with the desire to fix up an old car. You can ask around at local auto shops, or you might post a listing on Craigslist.

  • Make a trade

Many dealers will allow trade-ins for cars that seem inoperable. If you need to replace your old car for a newer one, this might be the most convenient choice. You can accomplish everything in one place, which may be best if getting a running car as soon as possible is a top priority.

  • Make a donation

You can also donate a junker to a charity. Plenty of charitable organizations are happy to take vehicles that no longer work. Talk to your accountant or the IRS about claiming the donation when you file taxes. Depending on the current tax laws, you might be able to get a deduction. Donating an old vehicle is also a great way to contribute to one of your favorite causes.

> How Much Will Junk Car Buyers Pay Me?

If you have decided that a junkyard or salvage yard is the best place to sell your junker, you should do some research on how much to expect in payment. Several factors may influence the amount you could receive for your vehicle.

A variety of details about the car itself will have some bearing on how valuable it is. The make, model, and year of your vehicle could have an impact on its going price. Cars that are commonly owned and driven will have more value than outdated models that nobody wants. On the other hand, rarer models that are in high demand can lead to a higher demand for their parts.

The condition of your car is also essential. A vehicle that was totaled in an accident may not have many salvageable parts, but one that hasn’t moved in years might contain components that are still in good shape.

How much a car weighs can also affect the sale price. Vehicles that weigh more and are composed of more metal will be worth more to junk dealers, who can make money for scrap metal. The going rate for scrap metal, which varies depending on the current demand, will also determine how much a car is worth to a junkyard.

Your vehicle’s location can be an issue. Scrap metal prices vary among regions, so that may impact your car’s value to junkyards. Regional demand for your vehicle could affect its selling price, too. Additionally, if your car is not running, you will need to deduct the cost of towing from the estimate they give you.

> Tips for Getting the Best Deal

You deserve to get the best possible deal for your old car or junker. In some cases, you might be able to get a junkyard deduction on your taxes, so be sure to consult the IRS or an accountant.

Putting in some research can be well worth your time. Junk cars may be worth as much as 40 percent of the Kelley Blue Book value for the same models in working condition, for example. You might also search online for the going rate on parts for your car. By arming yourself with the facts before you talk to buyers, you may have the advantage of getting the best price for your junk car.

If your car is not running, and a junkyard will not give you a quote over the phone, you might try calling other junk dealers. Towing it just to get a quote could cancel out the selling price.

Once you have sold your car, call your DMV after a week or so to be sure that the buyer transferred the title to their name. If they don’t do this, you could be held liable for any damage or injuries associated with the vehicle after you sold it.

Final Thoughts

Parting with a beloved old car can be tough, but a vehicle long past its prime may no longer be worth your time and money. Always be diligent when researching your options. You might be surprised at how much your junk car is worth to others.

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