The average age of light vehicles in operation in the US has once again risen in 2020, to reach a whopping 11.9 years. This represents an increase of about one month from the year before.
At the same time, experts say that scrappage will also be on the rise this year. The scrappage rate for vehicles that reached their end-of-life (EOL) in 2019 was 5.1%. Experts forecast that this will jump to 5.2% this 2020.
With that said, if your car has reached it EOL, it may be time to bring it to a junkyard. In doing so, you make some extra cash and also do the environment some good.
To that end, we’ve come up with this guide on how to scrap a car and the best ways to make the most profits out of your clunker.
1. Understand the Difference Between Scrap and Salvage Cars
The first thing you’d want to do before you scrap a car is to determine if it’s still salvageable. Salvage vehicles are repairable, which means that you can make them roadworthy again. Scrap cars are completely non-roadworthy, as they have become too dilapidated.
That also means that salvage vehicles often have more parts that fetch higher prices. One example is a “newish” car deemed to be a “total loss” due to having been in a road accident. While you may no longer be able to drive it, many of its parts may still be functional, and thus, sellable.
One more thing: not all vehicles that end up in a junkyard are scrap. Some of these businesses also buy salvage cars and even old ones that still run. Some car owners choose to work with these companies as they offer straight-up cash for cars.
2. Determine the Value of Your Vehicle
In July 2020, the average listing price of used vehicles was $21,588. That represents an increase of $708 from the previous month.
Just as both used (and new) cars are getting pricier, the same may be true for the price of scrap cars and their parts. In many cases, the year, make, and model of a scrap or salvage vehicle also influences its value. So, the “later” the model of your ride, the more money you may be able to squeeze out of it.
This is especially true if you’ve made upgrades to your ride that you can still sell as used parts. Aftermarket wheels, for instance, may sell for more than factory-installed ones.
If your car is just really old, but it still runs, you can use online vehicle valuing tools to get an estimate of its worth. If it’s completely non-roadworthy, research the current scrap value of a car in your area. This can give you an idea of how much you can sell your clunker for.
3. Confirm the Demand for the Car Parts You Want to Sell
In the US, the wholesaling sector of used car parts is a $6 billion industry. This proves that there’s a market for used auto parts, but keep in mind that they are for wholesale and not retail.
As such, before you start parting out your car, confirm that there’s a market for the parts you want to sell first. See if any local or nearby buyers are in the market for the items you have to offer. In doing so, you can figure out if parting out your scrap vehicle is worth the time and effort.
4. Find Out What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Used Car Part Sector
Search online communities to see what used vehicle components folks are looking for. Look up information that gives you an idea of the most in-demand secondhand car parts. Make a list of these so that you can then check them out later on as you inspect your ride.
To give you an idea, many used vehicle part buyers look for electronics, such as radios and speakers. Navigation systems and cameras are also hot items in the used vehicle part market.
5. Sell the Individual Parts That Still Work
Conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle and make a list of all functional parts. In most cases, even cars that are up for scrapping still contain working stereo or GPS systems. Selling individual non-deployed airbags may also make you more cash than if you sold it with the car.
This is also the time to use the list of in-demand parts you wrote previously. See if your ride has these, and be sure that they’re still functional.
6. Consider Selling Upgrades Separately
Aside from the wheels, you may have also upgraded your car’s infotainment system at some point. If it’s still working, you may want to consider dismantling it and selling it to a private buyer.
You may also be able to sell extra lights, such as add-on driving lights and strip bars, as used parts. So long as it still has many hours of life left on it, then you may be able to find a buyer who’d take it off your hands. This is especially true for LED lights, which can last up to 10 times longer than fluorescent bulbs.
7. Consider Partnering up With a Local Junkyard
One of the fastest ways to make money scrapping cars (and their parts) is to sell them straight to junkyards. If you only want to sell used parts and not entire junk cars, though, be sure to ask the yard about their buying process.
Junkyards, of course, will still buy what’s “left-over” from your car once you part it out. However, they’re sure to offer much less if it’s only a skeleton.
Still, don’t forget to ask them how much they can give if you were to sell only the frame of your ride. Make sure that you also request quotes for the value of the entire scrap or junk vehicle.
Next, calculate how much money you can make from selling individual car parts. Then, add this amount to the junkyard’s offer for your car’s frame or skeleton. You can then see if this is more profitable than if you sold the entire vehicle as-is.
8. Stay up to Date of Scrap Metal Prices
Around 75% of a vehicle’s body, no matter its size, consists of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Of this, ferrous metals, like steel and iron, make up a considerable portion. Steel, in particular, is 100% recyclable, which means that you can always make some money if you scrap it.
As for the non-ferrous metals in your car, these include aluminum, copper, and lead, to name a few. They are also recyclable, but since they make up less of your car, they tend to have higher prices.
The high recyclability of these metals makes them a must for new material production. However, it’s also for the same reason that their demand fluctuates. As a result, their prices also either dip or rise, depending on their supply and demand.
With that said, it’s best that you stay on top of recycling news so that you can monitor these changes. If you time your scrapping activities right, you’re likely to make much more when you do junk your car.
9. Try to Sell Your Car as “Whole” as Possible
Every year, some 200 million tires get discarded all over the world. They pack landfills to the brim, placing humans at risk of health hazards. These discarded rubber items also harm the environment by releasing chemicals over time.
Tires are very recyclable, though, so many of them get turned into value-added products. Crumb rubber, for instance, has various uses, such as paving material. Many synthetic turfs also feature these recycled components.
If you have a lot of scrap tires around your home, you might be able to sell them to crumb rubber makers. They may offer you a higher price, so long as you have multiple tires to sell.
What if the only tires you have are those in your junk car? Then you may be better off selling it together with the vehicle. That’s because the more “complete” the scrap car is, the higher the price it usually gets.
10. Look for a Junkyard That Offers Free Towing
To make as much cash out of your scrap car, work with a junk car buyer that offers free towing. Not all junkyards do since towing still costs a lot of money, with the average rate being $75 to $125.
By contrast, specialty cash for junk car buyers will pick up and haul your scrap car for free. Just be sure to schedule the removal with the company first.
Get Quick Cash by Scrapping Your Clunker Now
A specialty junkyard may be your best bet when it comes to scrapping your clunker. They not only buy entire scrap cars but also parted out vehicles. Best of all, the most reliable ones can haul your junker for free, while also paying you hard cash for that heap of metal.
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