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Junkyards make pretty bold claims about the prices that they pay for salvage vehicles, with some claiming to offer as much as $20,000.

But are these quotes accurate, how much do junk cars really sell for, and when does it start making sense to look into other options?

What is the Average Payment for a Junk Yard?

Surprisingly, the $10,000 to $20,000 figures quoted by junk car buyers are not complete fabrications, but it’s highly unlikely that you will get this amount.

The majority of junk vehicles are sold for between $100 and $1,000, and the average is probably around $300.

Of course, the amount that you get will depend on several key factors.

What Determines the Value of Your Car?

A salvage yard will check the following to judge the value of your car and the subsequent quote:

  1. The make, model, and year of the vehicle
  2. The condition of the vehicle
  3. The going rate of scrap metal

If your car is relatively new and in a good condition, the salvage value will be much higher as there are more useful parts that can be removed and sold.

If the car is big, the scrap value will be higher, as it contains more metal.

The location of the junk vehicle will also be considered. Junk car buyers offer free pick up, with the tow truck driver taking the vehicle away, collecting the necessary documents, and leaving a cash payment with the customer.

The longer they have to travel, the greater their expenses will be, and these will be passed onto the customer.

Can You Sell a Damaged Junk Car?

If your car is damaged, it can still be sold for scrap. This is true whether it’s been in an accident or even if it has suffered from flood damage.

You will get a lot less than if it was in perfect condition, but even with flood damage or accident damage, that vehicle still retains some of its inherent value.

Is it Better to Sell Privately?

It’s nearly always better to sell your car privately, assuming you have the time and energy to do so and its condition warrants a private sale.

The retail value will be much higher than the scrap value and the additional cash is well worth the effort, but many of the vehicles that go to junkyards are in no fit state to be sold in this manner.

If you can sell your car to a dealer or private party, go for it.

But if the car doesn’t run, has suffered extensive flood damage or accident damage, or has failed safety inspections, a salvage yard is best.