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When you see old junk cars, you may think they hold no intrigue value.
But think again – automotive recycling is the 16th largest industry in the U.S., contributing about $25 billion to the national GDP each year.
These statistics show that auto junkyards make ridiculous profits from scrap cars every year – and so should you.
That junk car that’s rusting away in your backyard could be worth hundreds of dollars.
But without the right information, junk car buyers can easily lowball you, and you may end up selling for about $50 - $200 dollars.
If you want to sell your junk car but have never sold one before or find the thought overwhelming, this guide can help you sell fast and get the most money out of it, just maybe not $500. You can also check out our complete guide about how to junk a car that has way more information than you could need.
How to Sell Your Junk Car for the Best Price
Selling your junk car and don’t know where to start? Want to sell it for the most value?
Before you transact with the first dealer you come across, check out these practical tips of selling a junk car.
1. Monitor the Metal Markets
Some of the factors include:
Supply and Demand
This comes in the form of market demand and international trading rates of a particular metal. For example, when the demand for steel is high and the supply is low, you can expect to make good money from your junk car.
From shredding to purification, the metal recycling process requires a lot of energy in the form of oil, gas, and electricity.
Therefore, if the energy costs of metal recycling go up, the price of scrap metal may drop.
Prices of Virgin Metals
These metals are newly mined and haven’t been used, processed, or recycled.
When the prices of new metals rise (due to energy costs, production costs, or supply and demand), scrap metal becomes more valuable since it’s a cheaper alternative.
On the other hand, when the prices of virgin metals drop, scrap metal becomes less essential and its value drops.
Time of Year
Weather patterns can affect scrap metal prices.
For example, when scrap metal activity during winter slows down, there’s a high demand for metal. So, you can expect a higher price for your junk car.
If you’re in an area where your junk car will need to be transported over long distances for processing and recycling or in a city with a high cost of doing business, expect to get a lower price for your junk car.
Monitor these factors and do some research to see whether the prices of scrap metal are trending upward or downward. This will give you a good idea of when you can sell your junk car for the most value.
2. Call Around for Offers
Give a thought about the type of car you have and the condition it’s in. Then, call different junk car dealers and compare current junk car prices that they are offering.
You can also contact dealers outside your locality to know what they can offer. From this little research, you can know which offers are reasonable, which are scams, and which you should consider.
When calling dealers for quotes, you’ll want to ask a few questions about their services, especially whether they offer junk car removal services.
You’ll do well to prioritize yards offering free towing for the cars they buy. Towing fees significantly reduce the amount of money you’ll earn from selling your scrap car.
As much as there are many honest junk car dealers out there, some just want to rip you off.
So, be sure to check for licenses, references, accreditations, and online reviews. This will help you figure out which junk car dealer you can trust to give you the best value for your car.
3. Consider Finding a Private Buyer
You may be able to get a better price by selling your junk car to a private buyer. You can sell independently in several ways, including:
Post an Ad Online
Online platforms such as Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook are great places to sell your junk car. However, selling online comes with its fair share of struggles.
For instance, most interested buyers will want to see the car in person before buying it, meaning it may take longer to get paid. Additionally, some of the platforms charge regular fees to keep your online ad active.
When selling your junk car online, take clear photos or videos and be honest about the condition of the car. This will save your time and that of the potential buyer.
Parking Your Car in a High Traffic Area
This might just land you an interested buyer.
This tactic, however, is more practical in small rural environments than in urban centers where parking fines are common.
Don’t forget to put up a “For Sale” sign and your contact information.
Fix It Up for Resale
If you enjoy working on cars, you may consider fixing your junk car and putting it up for sale.
However, this will depend on:
- The type of car (some cars have higher resale value – for example, classic cars)
- The condition of the car (is it repairable?)
- The cost of repair and replacement of parts
- Your mechanical skills
Note that, most times, fixing up the car may lead to losses or come with a tiny profit margin when you eventually sell since a junk car is an end-of-life vehicle.
It can also cause you a ton of headaches to take this route. Beware.
4. Siphon the Gas
Before you put your junk car on the market, siphon the gas out of the tank and deposit in approved gasoline containers.
You could transfer this gas to your commute car or sell for some extra bucks. Ensure the gas is safe to use, though, and hasn’t been contaminated with other liquids or impurities.
Don’t use your mouth to siphon the gas – gasoline is toxic and may lead to death when swallowed. Instead, use a manually operated siphon pump to safely draw out the gas from the tank into a container.
Additionally, gas spills and sparks near the gas tanks can create serious fire hazards. Therefore, have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire emergency.
5. Drive the Car to the Junkyard
If you can’t find a car junkyard near you that offers free towing services, consider driving the car to the junkyard yourself, if possible.
This will eliminate the extra cost that the junkyard would have charged you, and you may end up with a way better offer for your scrap car.
Depending on the junk car’s condition and available resources, you can tow it using tow straps, a towing dolly, or loading it on a trailer.
Check the local and state ordinances, though, to be sure you’re not violating any local laws.
If you’re using a towing rope or chain, make sure it's clearly visible to other road users. You could also take other precautions like tying a reflective fabric around the middle of the chain/rope.
6. Confirm that the Junkyard is Using a Certified Scale
Scales can be reprogrammed to read whatever your scrap dealer wants them to. This is possibly the oldest trick in the book.
Unfortunately, a lot of junk car sellers are still falling for it.
Here are some useful tips to ensure you’re never a victim of this:
Confirm the Scales are Working Properly
If your junk car dealer is using a floor scale (usually weighs loads of up to 5,000lbs), you can confirm it’s working correctly by weighing yourself.
If the scale displays your weight (+/- 2lbs), then it's working properly.
If the junkyard is using a truck scale (designed to weigh up to 100,000lbs), ask for the inspection sticker from the state’s Department of Agriculture Weights and Measures. (You see, when a legal-for-trade scale is installed, it’s usually inspected by the state to certify its accuracy and approve it for commercial activities.)
You can also weigh yourself on the scale. It should return with your approximate weight, give or take 20lbs.
If a dealer doesn’t want to involve you in the weighing process, that’s a red flag – don’t do business with them.
Deal in Pounds (lbs.)
Most junkyards like to deal in “gross tons” (GT) (which is roughly 2,240lbs) because it’s easier to round down to the nearest ton.
If the scrap metal from your car weighs 6,300lbs, your junkyard dealer will divide it by 2,240lbs to get 2.80GT, then round this down to 2GT.
This shaves off more than a third of what you should otherwise earn from the sale.
Pounds are more straightforward, and you get what you deserve. Find out how much your car weighs ahead of time.
7. Remove the Plates
When you register a vehicle in most U.S. states, you'll receive a unique license plate, and your title information is stored in the state’s system.
The plate is proof you own the vehicle, meaning that the car is legally associated with you.
You don’t want to sell your junk car with the plates still on. If the car were to be involved in an accident or used in illegal activity, for example, the plates tie you to it.
The last thing you want is battling a legal case and paying huge fines for something you didn’t do.
To avoid this, remove the plates before selling the car. Then turn them into the DMV informing them you’ve sold the car as scrap.
They’ll cancel your registration, and the car will no longer be associated with you.
8. Cash the Check for Free When Selling a Junk Car
To save up to $10, consider using a free check cashing service when selling your car.
Your best bet is using a bank or credit union where you have an account. Most of these institutions don’t charge account holders for cashing checks.
Some retail stores don’t charge their loyal customers for cashing checks as well. So, be sure to ask around.
Sell Your Junk Car Hassle-Free to CarScrappers.Com
We understand that selling an old rusty car for the most cash is no walk in the park.
And that’s why we strive to make the process as stress-free and simple as possible.
At CarScrappers.Com, we buy junk cars in any condition at fair prices and in some cases, complement it with free removal.
You’ll receive your money – and not a penny less – when we come to pick up the vehicle (provided it matches the condition you described to us).
Want to sell your junk car at the best price? Look no further than Junk Car Medics for a quick and fair deal. Get an instant quote now.