We've lost count of how many times we're written phrases like, "The amount you get for your scrap car will depend on current scrap metal prices". It begs the question: What is the current price of scrap metal, how much is it expected to change, and are there any major variations?
Current Scrap Metal Prices
At the time of writing, scrap steel is selling for around $220 a ton, which is a fraction over $0.01 per pound.
If you're reading this article because you've found a few pounds of scrap steel in your shed and you want to make a quick buck, this is the point that you dejectedly close the website and toss the metal into a dumpster.
It's a little more exciting for car owners, though, as the average compact car weighs a ton and a half while large cars and SUVs are closer to 2 tons.
And there's more to your vehicle than a couple of tons of steel. A car's scrap value also includes aluminum, which sells for around $0.40 per pound and copper wire, which has a scrap price of $0.50.
As with all metals and all commodities in general, these scrap metal prices are subject to change. But we're talking about cheap metals here, not oil or gold, so those changes are usually small.
It's not really worth waiting a few weeks and fervently watching the scrap metal prices in the hope that it'll increase and you can sell when it's high. That might work for gold or silver coin collections, but it'll probably only get you a few more bucks when you sell your car.
Current Scrap Car Prices
The weight of your car generally matters more than current scrap car prices. The bigger and heavier that your vehicle is, the more scrap value you will get.
It's as simple as that!
It's not just about scrap value, either. The value of your vehicle is also dependent on how much can be salvaged. If there are working parts, you'll get much more money. If it's still running and is in good condition, it can even be sold as an operating vehicle.
How to Get More for Your Junk Car
If you sell your scrap car to a reputable dealer, they should give you a price that is in line with the current scrap metal prices outlined above.
To make sure you're getting the best price, contact a few different junkyards, get several quotes, and sell your car to the highest bigger. Unless there is an unscrupulous scrap dealer in the mix, you should find that the quotes are very similar.
Can You Negotiate with a Salvage Yard?
Scrapping a car is a pretty straightforward process and it's designed to be that way to make life easier for the salvage yard and the customer. They are not interested in customers who keep them on the phone for half an hour and push them for every single cent.
You can try to negotiate a little, but there's rarely any room to maneuver here. They're giving you a quote based on current scrap prices and market trends. They know how much they can get for it and they'll always try to eke out a profit.
They also have to factor the tow truck costs, as most junkyards will arrange to pick up your car for free. Generally speaking, the best way to get a better price is to speak with a few different junkyards. The only exception is for vehicles with a high salvage value, in which case they have a little more to play with it comes to the salvage and scrap price.