How Much Money Do You Get for a Junk Car?

What's the average payout you can get for a junk car? Find out on this post
Do you have a junk car that has become a permanent fixture on your property? Do you have a vehicle that continues to need repairs, fail inspections, and break down? Have you found yourself asking, “How much money do you get for a junk car?”

Getting cash for junk cars is a simple, hassle-free process. Yet, the amount of money auto salvage yards will pay for junk vehicles can vary. Maybe you still have lingering fond memories of your car and you’re concerned that others won’t see its value like you do. You must face the hard truth: the worth of a junk car is not based on how much fun you had in it, but on how much its parts will bring in.

By exploring the factors that will influence how much money you get for a junk car, you can make an informed decision about the sale of your vehicle.

If you have limited options, Junk Car Medics can put cash (in the form of a check) in your hands for your old clunker, regardless of its condition.

Why You Should Get Cash for Junk Cars

It can be challenging to get rid of an old car, especially if it’s one you’ve had for a long time. Yet what happens when a vehicle sustains too much damage to repair economically or has become dangerous to drive? Getting money for a junk car may be your best option.

Your old clunker may be worth more than you think. Once sold, your car would go on to be recycled. Recycled materials from vehicles make up over 25 million tons of recyclables each year. Vehicles that are recycled in the United States and Canada help build around 14 million new cars annually.

7 Factors That Determine How Much Money You Get for a Junk Car

If you are wondering, “How much money do you get for a junk car?” then it is important to understand the seven most significant factors that will impact your payout.

1. Your Car’s Make, Model, and Year

A car’s make, model, and year will all impact how much money you get for a junk car. If your car has some salvageable components, certain types of cars –- popular and high-end vehicles -- might bring in more.  If there’s a demand for specific parts that your car can fill, your estimate might go up because they can still sell on the market as replacement parts. Simply put, a totaled Ferrari does not have the same value as a totaled Impala.

2. Your Vehicle’s Condition

In many cases, junkers are end-of-life vehicles, meaning they are good only for recycling materials. Individual components are too damaged or deteriorated to be worth re-selling. Therefore, your old friend will get crushed and sold for scrap. (Stay strong.)

That said, your vehicle’s overall condition can still impact the amount you can receive. This includes exterior, interior, and mechanical conditions. If you can drive your car to the business instead of having it towed, you’ll typically make a bit more.

And whether your car is drivable or not, used parts in good shape are often sought after as replacements for expensive new components. Damage to more valuable components such as the catalytic converter or engine will have a more significant impact.

Sometimes salvaged cars are sold at auction to people who’ll fix them up and resell them. If this is likely, the vehicle’s owner will often get a higher quote from the salvager.  However, unless a car is in very good condition (and then it probably wouldn’t be a junker!), it’ll be included in an auction lot. Because these cars are typically in worse shape than individually sold vehicles, lots tend to be valued less.

3. The Current Market Demand for a Vehicle’s Parts

Salvage yards that pay cash for junk cars sell high-demand car parts that are still in good condition. This is where your vehicle’s make, model, year, and condition come into play. If a car is still in high demand, its parts may be worth more. If a vehicle has several components that are still in good condition, the salvage yard may offer more to the owner as there will be more parts that the salvage yard can sell.

If they’re in good shape, easily salvageable components include alternators, starter motors, high-end GPS systems, and relatively new tires. Salvage yards pull these before scrapping the car, so you reap additional benefits. However, since you’re not doing the work to tear down the car and store and sell parts, you won’t receive the full potential sale price.

On the other hand, older vehicles might not be worth much for parts, because few drivers are looking for replacement components.  Demand is also linked to geographic location, because needs vary from place to place.

4. Your Car’s Weight

Your car’s weight significantly impacts how much money you get for a junk car. Once a salvage yard purchases a vehicle, they strip it for parts before selling the scrap metal to a recycling yard. The recycling yard can then sell the recycled scrap to other businesses, including car manufacturers, where new cars are built from the material. The more your vehicle weighs, the more a salvage yard and companies, including Junk Car Medics, will be able to offer you.

If your poor junker is good only for scrap, the quote is based on its weight. Steel accounts for most of that and it’s priced per ton.

5. The Current Value of Scrap Metal

This is a major factor in your quote, since most junkers are sold for metal recycling. An average car contains around 2,400 pounds of steel and about 300 pounds of aluminum. The price of scrap metal varies from day to day based upon demand. An industry-wide high price will raise your estimate. However, if the overall industry price plummets, your appraisal suffers, too.

Unfortunately, scrap value of these metals is currently low and has been losing value since 2014. In 2015, the price of metal was about $480 per ton. By early 2016, that figure had been dramatically reduced, and a ton of metal was only worth about $50.

Domestic demand has remained about the same, but exports are lower, so supply for recycled metals is high. This, combined with a strong US dollar and overall slow international economic growth, is bad for scrap dealers. If they don’t get much, they can’t pay much.

6. Location

If you can’t drive your vehicle in, it’ll have to be towed. That involves gas and labor, so transporting your car is usually taken into account when a salvage company gives you a quote.

7. Mileage

Old car plus high mileage equals lower estimate, because individual parts won’t be worth much. After all, if the mileage were lower and the components were more trustworthy, you probably wouldn’t be getting rid of the vehicle.

BONUS: 8. NOT the Kelley Blue Book, NADA Guide or Edmunds

These texts are useful for valuing used cars in (at least) decent shape. But your junker has serious damage and/or mechanical problems. It’s probably never going to be on the road again, so these guides are not appropriate resources for appraisal.

However, if it’s just a matter of fixing up your car, these guides might be useful to you for knowing if an estimate is fair. Take the book value and subtract whatever it’ll cost to fix it up enough to sell it. That’s what a business might make if it buys your car at auction. However, the amount you receive will be less, because you’re not doing the work yourself.


Each of these factors plays a role in determining the estimate for your junk car. As attached as you are to it (or to the money you hope to get from it), the value of any product is ultimately based on what someone is willing to pay for it.

Average Cash for Junk Cars Payout

Wondering, “How much money do you get for a junk car?”

The average payout for a junk car is between $100 and $400. Through 2019, Junk Car Medics paid an average amount of $299 for cars. Payout amounts vary significantly based on the amount of scrap metal a junkyard can sell and whether or not any parts from the vehicle can be resold.

Can You Get Money for a Junk Car Without a Title?

If you need cash for junk cars but are lacking the vehicle’s title, Junk Car Medics may still be able to purchase your vehicle. Whether or not a vehicle can be purchased without a title will primarily depend on your state. However, Junk Car Medics will still need to verify your ownership of the car.

Can You Get Money for a Junk Car That You Owe Money On?

Unfortunately, you cannot get money for a junk car that still has a lien on it. The balance on a vehicle must be paid off in full before it can be sold. Your lender must also provide you with your car’s title so that you can transfer the title into your name.

Junk Car Medics Provides Cash for Junk Cars

Why waste any more time or money on that old clunker?

You can get money for a junk car, regardless of its condition. Junk Car Medics will pick up and buyer  of any make, model, or year and provide you with a check for your car on the spot. We offer the best prices and free towing, too!