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To best understand the reasoning behind scrap car pricing, you need to understand the international scrap metal market and its impact on local economies. Understanding these factors can help you make an informed decision on when to junk your car.
The Unpredictable Nature of the Scrap Metal Market
When you sell your car to a junk car dealer, such as Junk Car Medics, you are selling the metal so it can be recycled. The scrap value of a junk car is based on the current market value of the metals it’s made of. Steel, aluminum, and other valuable metals are sold to manufacturers for recycling to produce goods such as building materials, technology products (laptops, cellphones, appliances, household electronics, etc.), and even new vehicles.
When the production of those goods is low, so is the overall value of scrap metal and junk cars. While certain times of the year experience a slight increase in production, the market is mostly unpredictable thanks to an ever-changing global economy. For instance, recently imposed US tariffs on steel and aluminum have an impact on the value of scrap cars. Since metals like steel are traded internationally for use in a variety of industries (including manufacturing and construction), the price reflects the global economy.
Tax Time: Refunds Lead to an Increase in Part Sales
Many people rely on their tax refunds to make major purchases and repairs that are needed throughout the year. Considering this fact, it’s common to see scrap yards pay more cash for junk cars in the early spring. Junkyards nearby and scrap yards often experience an influx of buyers that use their tax money to purchase salvaged car parts for repairs.
Consider selling your junk car in late March or early April for the chance of a higher price. (Somewhat related: make sure you know what your tax liabilities are when selling your car.)
Fall Months May Express an Inflated Market
When people buy new cars, they are likely to junk their old ones. This saturates the junk car market and drives down what junk car dealers are willing to pay for the scrap metal.
With newer models being released in the late winter and spring months, more car owners are likely to be junking their old cars during the fall – leading to an inflated scrap market during this period. This means that if you are wondering, “should I junk my car” during the fall months, you can expect to see some decrease in the value of the scrap metals, lowering the overall value of your car.
You can also expect to witness this trend after big sales in the car industry such as Black Friday, as well as popular holiday sales such as Presidents Day Sales and Memorial Day.
Spring and Summer: The Economy Rises as Construction & Development Increase
When construction increases, so do the need for scrap metal. Since construction and development are standard in the warmer months, the price of junk cars is likely to increase during this time. Your local economy determines a portion of the overall value of scrap metal. So, if you live in a state with cold winters, construction is likely to cease and pick up during either the Spring or Summer months.
The Hidden Cost of Winter: Why You May Get Less in the Cold Months
Cold and snowy winters can add to the running cost of businesses, and you can expect to see these changes reflected in the price of junk cars. It’s more challenging and expensive to tow vehicles in the snow, and auto salvage yards must pay to heat their offices. When a business’s running costs increase, the money they pay per car decreases. So, consider selling your clunker during the warmer months.
Why You Shouldn't Wait Too Long to Sell Your Junk Car
The economy of scrap metal is complicated and unpredictable. While there are a few factors that may increase the value of your junk car, nothing is guaranteed. The best you can do to get the most for your junk car is to sell it as soon as possible. Waiting can decrease its value. Not to mention, the longer a car sits around, the more its parts deteriorate. Cars are made to be used, so as it sits in your yard (especially through inclement weather), its condition only worsens.
Know All Your Options and Make an Informed Decision
Again, there is no guarantee when you will get the best price for your junk car. However, knowing how the scrapping industry works and the general patterns in scrap metal sales can help you decide. Metal prices fluctuate yearly, monthly, and sometimes even daily. That said, your best bet is to reach out to a reputable junk car buyer, such as Junk Car Medics, to receive the best deal for your junk car.
A reputable buyer can break down the worth of your junk car and help you understand if the junk car is worth $500. The buyer should also be able to inform you of any changes that can be expected in the worth of your vehicle. So, don’t wait. It’s best to act as soon as you’ve decided, “Yeah, I want to junk my car,” because the longer you wait, the more likely it is you’ll receive a lower offer for the scrap metal.