Valuable metals in cars

5 Most Valuable Scrap Metals in Junk Cars

You're right if you think you can make much money on scrap metal! There's plenty of money in scrap metal; it depends on what metal you collect and sell.

Before looking for the highest paying scrap metal near me, it's best to take the time to learn more about the most valuable scrap metals in junk cars, aka scrap cars, because their value is mainly made up of metals.

This list of scrap metal items to sell can help you maximize your earnings when trading scrap metal. You'll learn more about where to find valuable scrap metals and what scrap metal is worth the most money.  It'll also help you understand how the scrap metal market impacts scrap car prices.

5 Scrap Metals of Value in Junk Cars
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    The first one on our list of scrap metal items is brass. Brass is one of the most surprisingly valuable scrap metals out there. Here's everything you need to know about leveraging the value of brass as a scrap metal.

    Car Parts That Contain Brass

    Cars made in 1915 or earlier contain large, heavy, valuable brass components. For example, many vehicles from the Brass Era have brass radiators, which are heavy and subsequently quite valuable.

    Of course, if you find an abandoned vehicle from 1915 or earlier that is intact, it would be more sensible to restore the vehicle and sell it whole. On the other hand, if the vehicle is practically totaled, go ahead and tear that brass radiator out and sell it!

    How Much Brass Is in an Average Car?

    While there isn't much brass in modern vehicles anymore, it was previously used much more frequently in the automotive manufacturing process.

    Average Prices per Pound of Brass

    The average price per pound for brass is $3.24. That means you can make over $1,000 for 350 pounds of scrap. The best strategy is to find large pieces of equipment constructed from brass to sell rather than many small pieces.

    While you can get a fair amount of money by scrapping an enormous trove of brass candlesticks, scraping brass bed frames instead would be far more profitable because they are so much heavier.

    Why Is Brass Valuable/in Demand?

    Brass is valuable because it's an excellent conductor of heat and resists corrosion.


    Steel is another excellent scrap metal to sell. It's also relatively common and easy to find in certain areas, making it a smart choice for people who intend to sell a lot of scrap over time.

    Car Parts That Contain the Steel

    Car parts containing steel include body frames, roof beams, exhaust pipes, and dozens of other parts. Steel is popular in automotive manufacturing because of its incredible strength and reliability.

    For example, steel is commonly used to construct the chassis of an automobile and the area that houses the engine because steel can withstand the considerable weight of an automotive engine.

    How Much of Steel Is in an Average Car?

    The average salvageable steel scrap metal in most vehicles is 2,400 pounds. Remember that this is only the average figure for average vehicles. If you sell the steel from an SUV for scrap, you'll get closer to 4,000 pounds out of the deal.

    Average Prices per Pound of Steel

    Steel is worth 0.21 cents per pound, which makes it a reasonably valuable scrap metal to sell. As the average car has 2,400 pounds of steel, you can expect to make at least $500 on every car you scrap for steel.

    Why Is Steel Valuable/in Demand?

    Steel is valuable and in demand because it is used to construct many things. It's used in everything from the construction industry to shipping and manufacturing.


    You'll want to go after copper if you are serious about making much money on scrap metal. Copper is extremely valuable compared to other scrap metals and is relatively easy to find.

    Car Parts That Contain Copper

    The automotive industry uses a lot of copper! Due to its conductive properties, copper is used to conduct power and energy throughout your vehicle, making it very valuable. Copper is also used in producing semiconductors and computer components, making it all the more valuable.

    How Much of Copper Is in an Average Car?

    The average vehicle contains at least 55 pounds of copper. Of course, you will find more copper in SUVs, making such vehicles particularly profitable in scrap metal.

    Average Prices per Pound of Copper

    The average price of copper per pound is $4.68. With such a generous price, copper is arguably one of the most profitable scrap metals to sell.

    Why Is Copper Valuable/in Demand?

    Copper is in demand for many reasons. It is vital for plumbing, electrical applications, vehicles, and dozens of other things as a material.


    If you want to make a fortune selling scrap, platinum is here! As one of the priciest metals you can scrap, platinum is highly sought after.

    Car Parts That Contain Platinum

    A catalytic converter is one of the most valuable car parts containing platinum. Automotive manufacturers have been using platinum in catalytic converters since the 1970s. This means that vehicles from the 1970s and onwards contain platinum.

    There's a lot of platinum out there that can be sold as scrap. You have to get out there and find it!

    How Much Platinum Is in an Average Car?

    Since platinum is primarily featured in catalytic converters, you won't find much in other car parts. Although platinum is mainly found in catalytic converters, these parts are valuable.

    Average Platinum Prices

    Platinum is worth hundreds of dollars per ounce. This makes it very valuable to sell as scrap metal. When asking what scrap metal is worth the most money, platinum ranks at the top of the list.

    Why Is Platinum Valuable/in Demand?

    The demand for platinum is very strong because of its rarity. It is also denser than silver and gold. Platinum is so valuable you can sell a catalytic converter for between $300 to $1,500.


    Palladium is also considered one of the most valuable scrap metals to sell. If you can get a sizeable quantity of palladium, you can get a lot of money for the scrap.

    Car Parts That Contain Palladium

    Like platinum, palladium is also commonly found in catalytic converters. There aren't many other car parts that contain palladium.

    How Much Palladium Is in an Average Car?

    Since palladium is primarily used in catalytic converters, the average vehicle doesn't have much palladium.

    Average Palladium Prices

    Palladium costs a lot per ounce. With a few hundred pounds of palladium, you can scrap it for a small fortune!

    Why Is Palladium Valuable/in Demand?

    Palladium is valuable and in demand, because it belongs to the same family of metals as platinum. 80% of palladium is used to produce automobiles, while a small percentage is used to make expensive jewelry.

    Wrapping Up

    Now that you know more about the most valuable scrap metals and where to find them, it's time to get out there and start looking for the highest-paying scrap metal near me.

    There's always valuable scrap metal to be found somewhere. People throw things away, and plenty of abandoned vehicles are out there for the taking.

    Selling scrap metal can be a profitable hobby or a viable business if you take it seriously enough. The world needs more people willing to hunt after scrap and clean it up; be one of them!

    Impact of Metal Content on Scrap Car Value

    Light vehicles built between 2007 and 2017 in the USA typically contain just under 3,000 pounds of metal, according to Statista. The composition has shifted over the years, with steel content decreasing and aluminum content increasing due to advancements in vehicle construction. For instance, a 2007 model might have 1,600 pounds of steel and 314 pounds of aluminum, while a 2017 model could feature 1,222 pounds of steel and 416 pounds of aluminum. This shift significantly impacts the calculation of a car's scrap value.

    To illustrate the impact of these changing metal compositions on scrap car values, let's consider the current prices for steel, aluminum, and other metals commonly found in vehicles.

    Metal Type & Usage in Cars Price Per Pound Metal Content (lbs) - 2007 Model Metal Content (lbs) - 2017 Model Value (2007 Model) Value (2017 Model)
    Steel (body, frame) $0.11* 1,600 1,222 $176 $134.42
    Aluminum (engine, rims) $0.43 314 416 $135.02 $178.88
    Copper (wiring, electronics) $2.93 50* 50* $146.50 $146.50

    Values are calculated based on the metal prices and estimated average metal content. Prices are subject to market fluctuations.

    Note: Steel price calculated per pound from average ton price. The estimated copper content is an illustrative figure.

    The table demonstrates how changes in metal content can influence the scrap value of a vehicle. While the overall metal content remains relatively constant, shifting from steel to aluminum (with a higher price per pound) can increase the overall scrap value, especially for newer models. This example highlights the importance of considering the type and quantity of metal in a vehicle when calculating its scrap value.

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