How Much Do Junkyards Pay for Running Cars? (ANSWERED)

How much do junkyards pay for cars
Photo courtesy Rene Schwietzke via flickr. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Years ago I sold an old auto for scrap metal, so I though I’d look into this question. How much do junkyards pay for junk cars?

My car was a Saturn and I got $250 for it from a salvage yard. It had been in an accident and was not driveable; it was considered totaled by the insurance company.

Granted, selling a car for scrap won’t yield you a lot of money, but about 98% of your car can be recycled.

That means you don’t have an eyesore in the driveway, can get the metal reused, and can scrap your car for cash.

If the junkyard in your neighborhood offers to salvage it at a token price, don’t let him haul it just yet.

Shop around other junkyards because every junkyard will offer a different price. Naturally, pick the one that gives your heap of a scrap the best price.

How much do junkyards pay for running cars?

Junkyards buy cars — running or not. Your car can be sold from $75 and up; the difference depends on how well you go about selling it and the condition of your car.

Initially, if your car is not yet purely a pile of rusty metal, refer to the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) for your car’s worth. The valuation will be based on:

  • The car’s make, year and model
  • mileage
  • Its condition – Is it operating? What parts are damaged? How damaged are they?
  • Size and Weight

Use this price as the benchmark for selling your car to junkyards. Then check out auto junkyards how much they are willing to pay for the entire car.

If you’re not satisfied with the junkyards’ price, parts can be sold or priced separately. That does require work but scrapping your car for cash this way may return a higher price.

You can take out the parts – such as the engine, catalytic converter, battery, car seats, tires, stereo or CD player, steering wheel and column, and every part and accessory that won’t go to the metal crusher but are worth recycling.

There are buyers for these parts. Look up online for the buying price for similar parts. You can dispose them wholesale or per individual part. Try advertising them on eBay and Craiglist, too.

There are parts that will give you better revenue if sold as scrap than as car part.

When the car is bare, you can sell the metal per its weight. Find a junkyard that will go to your address and tow your vehicle for free. Other junkyards will charge you for the hauling.

Note: If you don’t have tools like sockets, air hammers, floor jacks, and ratchets, to dismantle a vehicle, it’s probably not worth doing.

‘Scrap my car for cash at junk yard or salvage yard’

1. Read about DMV requirements and your state’s regulations governing salvaging of automobiles and proper disposal of license plates, title and registration certificates.

2. Decide whether you will scrap your car in its entirety to one junkyard, or you would like to take it apart yourself and sell the different parts to different junkyards.

3. Call several junkyards. Ask about their requirements. What are the parts they buy? What about the non-metal materials and interior car accessories? If they buy those, too, how much will they pay for each item? Will they pick up the vehicle for free?

4. Have information and your car’s documents on hand when making calls. You may need to give descriptions of the car for them to make an offer fairly. Get a price quotation on the items the junkyard will buy. Make a record of what transpired during your calls. You will need those when you finally decide to sell.

5. Do the paperwork required for junking a vehicle, which is also referred to as Damage Disclosure Statement. Your local DMV will know about this. When you call or contact DMV, ask about how the license plates will be relinquished, too.

6. Check the car before you release it. Personal items and money are often stashed under the seat or inside compartments. Remove good spare tires, tools, windshield wiper, car antenna, speakers, and jumper cables which you may reuse or sell separately.

7. Drain the car of all fluids. Remove the wiring system.

8. Call in the junkyard operator with the highest quote or best package. They will try to look disappointed when they see your car and say that it’s not what was described or what they were looking for. If you feel that they are unfairly lowering the price from what you initially agreed upon, don’t sell. Get another offer or look for other junkyards; try the others you previously called.

9. Always refer to the cars’ valuation from the National Automobile Dealers Association or the Kelley Blue Book.

10. Consider donating the car to a charity. You may get a tax donation, which may be better than the cash payout depending on your circumstances.

When you decide to sell your old car to junkyards, make sure that you get the best price for it. If you don’t, the salvage yards most definitely will.

I hope this answers the question. How much do junkyards pay for cars?