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What is the Most You Can Get for a Junk Car?

Discover how you can get more money for your non-running vehicle.

By Contributor

What is the Most You Can Get for a Junk Car?

What is the Most You Can Get for a Junk Car?


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The price of cars seems to be increasing on a monthly basis, along with everything else in this chaotic economic crisis. There’s a market for everything, and that’s also true for junk cars.

Just because you have a broken-down car that’s covered in rust and dents doesn’t mean it’s worthless. What you have is a 2-ton hunk of scrap metal filled with potentially valuable and salvageable parts. If you know where to look and have the right approach, you can get a hefty sum for that vehicle.


Factors that Affect the Value of a Junk Car

If every car has inherent value, where is that value coming from? Why would someone be willing to pay money for a rust bucket that’s been parked on bricks for 30 years?

There are several things impacting that value:

The weight and scrap metal value

The reason a rusted mess of a vehicle still can have value comes down to its scrap metal content. The average car consists largely of iron, steel, and aluminum, all of which can fetch a decent price from a scrap metal dealer.

For this reason, heavier cars and cars with a higher metal content may get more. Even newer vehicles are largely composed of metal, although they use a higher percentage of plastics than older cars.

The make and model

A junk car buyer will always ask for the make and model before providing a quote. It tells them a lot about your vehicle, including the salvageable parts, weight, and composition. It’s one of the most important considerations, so it’s typically the first thing you’ll be asked when selling a junk car.

The condition

Although rusted and damaged cars still have value, they are worth less than those in pristine condition. Obviously, there is a limit to how pristine it can be, as we’re dealing with junk cars here so no one is expecting a car that has just rolled off the lot. But there are levels, and a vehicle in relatively good shape will be worth more than a broken, dented, rusted car that looks like it will fall apart in a strong breeze.

The demand for parts

A part is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. It doesn’t matter if the engine is fairly new and the bumper is relatively untouched—if no one is buying them, the dealer won’t be interested. On the flip side, if you have an older vehicle with a rare part that’s in strong demand, it could fetch a high price.

Your location

The price of junk cars differs greatly from state to state and is impacted by everything from the demand for parts to the availability of scrap. It will also affect your ability to get the very best price, as sellers in rural locations have fewer dealers to contact and have to take what they can get.

How to Get the Most for Your Junk Car

Although junk car prices are mainly dependent on your vehicle, location, and current scrap metal value, it’s not completely out of your hands. There are a few things you can do to ensure you get the best price:

Check your other options

The average price of a used car is much higher than a junk car, and you can always get more money selling privately than selling to a junkyard.

So, if your vehicle is operational, consider selling it through classifieds like Autotrader, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist. You can also get the word out among friends and sell it to someone you know.

If it’s not running but could be after some light work, get a price for repair, check the value of a repaired vehicle, and then split the difference. It’s risky, but if the value is high, it could be worth it.

Research junk car prices

Check scrap value, check Kelley Blue Book, and use scrap car calculators to try and understand how much your vehicle is worth. It’ll be difficult to get an exact price without contacting any junk car buyers, but it’ll ensure you’re primed with some helpful info before you start asking around.

Sell parts privately

Salvage companies care about what’s under the hood. If the car is new or rare, it could have some valuable parts under there.

But the salvage yard isn’t the end user. They’re not the ones adding those parts to their fixer-uppers. They need to sell them, which means they need to create a margin that allows for a profit and accounts for the hassle, storage, and risk.

By removing the parts and selling them directly, you’ll make more money.

In such cases, be sure to let any future junk car buyer know what parts have been removed. It will likely reduce the value of the car but should secure you a higher return in the long run.

Get multiple quotes

The next step is to start contacting buyers of scrap cars. There are a couple of options here.

You can go through national dealers like Peddle and Wheelzy, both of which are available nationwide and buy most types of cars. Alternatively, you can contact local junkyards directly and see what they’ll offer you.

Check Cash For Your Junk Car for a full list of junk car buyers in your area.

All quotes are free and you’re under no obligation to accept. Reputable dealers shouldn’t pressure you into selling, and if they do, you can just hang up.

Search a company’s reviews to check its legitimacy and make sure there are no additional towing costs or other hidden fees.


How much is my junk car worth?

As discussed above, it depends on many factors, but most cars are worth at least a few hundred dollars.

Can I sell an old car that doesn’t run?

Yes. Even if it doesn’t have any salvageable parts, it still has a lot of steel and aluminum that can be scrapped and sold.

Who buys junk cars in the United States?

Many companies buy junk cars, including Peddle and Wheelzy. It doesn’t matter how remote you are, there are always junk car buyers willing to take your vehicle away.

How can I get a junk car to the scrapyard?

Junk car buyers will arrange for a tow truck to collect your car, so you don’t need to worry about the logistics. You might get a better price from some companies if you’re able to tow the car there yourself or even drive it into the yard. But it’s not necessary.

Conclusion: Getting More Money for Your Junk Car

Scrap car prices vary considerably and much of the value of your vehicle can’t be controlled. It comes down to the make, model, condition, weight, and current scrap metal prices. But by checking the latest market values, selling parts directly, and getting quotes from multiple junk car buyers, you’ll increase your chances of getting top dollar for your vehicle.

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