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There are a lot of misconceptions about scrap cars, including their worth. First, let’s define scrap cars. A scrap car is a car that is damaged, old, or near the end of its life. These cars will be processed by a licensed metal recycler.

Understanding Scrap Car Value

In general, scrap cars have been used for at least 15 years and have high mileage and damages, such as mechanical and body damage. As a rule of thumb, scrap metal cars are worth the material it’s made from and calculated by weight.

The average value for a mid-size scrap vehicle ranges between $150 and $300. Smaller vehicles can have an average worth of $100, sometimes less.

Factors That Affect a Scrap Car’s Value

There are different factors that affect a scrap car’s value, such as the make and model of the vehicle. Other factors can include the car’s age, location, and condition.

Type of Metal

The type of metal the car is made from is a determining factor of a scrap car’s value. Vehicles are made from different materials, such as aluminum, steel, and copper, to name a few. The price of such metals can fluctuate based on global demand and market conditions.

Condition of the Car

Another factor that determines the value of a scrap car is its condition. Scrap cars that are in good condition, meaning with little to no rust or extensive body damage, will be worth more than the same vehicle that is in poor condition.

Why? Good question! It’s more cost-effective and easier for scrap yards to process a scrap car that’s in good condition because it takes less effort to prepare the metal from the car for recycling.

Make and Model of the Car

The scrap car’s make and model can also be a factor that determines its value. Keep in mind that some makes and models are more in demand because of their metal content. The more in demand a specific type of metal is, the more expensive it becomes, making its value increase. Also, newer model vehicles are often manufactured with more advanced materials and different manufacturing techniques, which makes the car more valuable as scrap.

Why Is It Important to Know Your Car’s Worth?

Knowing your car’s worth is essential for different reasons. First, you need to know your scrap car’s worth because you want to get a fair price on your car when you sell it. Knowing this information also helps you avoid being scammed.

You can also save time and obtain peace of mind. Knowing what your scrap car is worth also helps you if you want to purchase a car because some dealerships may allow you to use the vehicle as collateral.

Current Scrap Car Prices in 2023

Here’s more helpful information for you! Below, you will find information regarding pricing for the current scrap car and scrap metal prices in 2023 according to the most common monthly rate.

2023 Scrap Car Prices

MonthMost Common Rate
January$ 527.62
February$ 625.97
March$ 664.26
April$ 638.33
May$ 579.83
June$ 594.08
July$ 551.44
August$ 529.00
September$ 502.53
Yearly Average$ 579.17

Scrap Metal Prices Per Pound

MetalPrice Per Pound
Aluminum Alloy$0.61
Steel Scrap$0.15
Steel Rebar$0.23

As you’ll notice, the price of scrap cars and scrap metal fluctuates. Let’s talk about why. The price of scrap metal varies based on the current market trends. What’s a market trend? A market trend is a perceived tendency of financial markets to move in a certain direction over time.

As you know, the pricing for scrap metal is affected by different variables. Like most people, you want to get the most from your scrap car. Calculating the cause of price fluctuation can be difficult. We’ve discussed how the value of a scrap car is determined. Now, let’s talk about the factors that affect scrap price fluctuation.

What Factors Affect Scrap Value Fluctuation?

There are different factors that affect the fluctuation of the value of scrap metal. Here are the factors that determine the fluctuation in pricing.

Supply and Demand

You may be somewhat familiar with supply and demand. However, in this sense, in the scrap metal industry, when the demand for such metals, including steel, copper, and aluminum, increases, the price of these metals will increase. In retrospect, when the price for different metals is lower, you can expect the price for metals to be lower.

Metals that are more common are readily available in large supply. When scarcity isn’t an issue, prices are usually lower. For example, aluminum is a metal that is easier to find and has a lower value than a metal that is difficult to find, such as copper.

Transportation and Fuel Costs

Did you know that fuel prices can significantly influence the price of scrap metal? An increase in fuel prices can raise the price of scrap metal. Transportation and fuel costs can affect the prices of scrap metal because the recycling process requires fuel to operate.

The recycling process requires heat, fuel, and oxygen to metal down metals so they can be reused. Other fuel sources for this scrap car process can include electricity and natural gas. As far as transportation costs are concerned, higher transportation costs cause metal prices to increase.

Currency Exchange Rates

Common base metals, such as lead, nickel, zinc, aluminum, and others, can experience an increase in value depending on global market exchanges. When the exchange rates shift, so will the price of metal because the value of imported raw materials and other goods adjust with the currency exchange rates.

Local Factors

It’s common for scrap yards that are in close proximity to compete with one another by increasing or decreasing scrap metal prices. The way your local recycling center processes metal can determine the value of scrap metal.

If you live in an area where long-distance transportation is required to transport metals, the price for such metals may be lower than in areas where the cost of doing business is higher. The process that is used to recycle metal, such as smelting or the electrometallurgical process, can play a part in the total and final price of metal.

Taxes and Tariffs

As you may have guessed, your neighborhood scrap yard is a part of the worldwide metal industry, which means that the price of metal is also affected by importation and exportation costs. When importation costs are high, lead manufacturers will look for local metal sources, which causes a rise in the price of scrap metal.

When importation costs are low, the price of scrap metal can decrease. Scrap metal prices can vary by country, which can further complicate matters. Metal tariffs can be a big deal because this, too, can impact scrap metal prices.

Calculating Your Scrap Car’s Worth

There are different ways you can calculate your scrap car’s worth. You can do one of the following to determine your scrap car’s worth:

  • Multiply your vehicle’s weight by the price of scrap metal per pound
  • Add the total COE (Certificate of Entities) rebate as the total PARF (Preferential Additional Registration Fee)  rebate (use this method if you intend to scrap your car before the COE expires)
  • Use a junk car value calculator

Online Scrap Car Value Calculators

A junk car vehicle calculator can help you determine the worth of your scrap car. You will need the following information to use a junk car vehicle calculator:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Condition
  • Title
  • Damage your vehicle sustained

Local Scrap Metal Prices

Local scrap metal prices can vary significantly. Each state has its determining factors for pricing scrap metal, so expect the prices to vary.

Type of Metal/ItemPrice
Copper$ 4.12 – $5.07
Aluminum$ 0.19 – $1.01
Clean Brass$ 2.47 – $3.30
Lead$ 0.57 – $0.91
Stainless Steel$ 0.82 – $1.24
Steel Radiators$1.24 – $2.88

Assessing Valuable Components

Although your car is a scrap car, it may still have valuable parts. Let’s take a look at some of your car’s parts that are salvageable and can be turned into cash!

Under the Hood

Some of your car’s parts can earn you a decent amount of cash. Other car parts under the hood can be reused or recycled. These parts can include the following:

  • Engine and transmission
  • Radiator
  • Air conditioning system
  • Alternator and starter

Underneath the Car

There can also be valuable items suspended under your car or attached to the chassis. You’ll need to put your car on a lift to safely raise it off the ground. These valuable parts can include the catalytic converter and the wheels and tires.

Inside Your Car

You may also have valuable items on the inside of your car that can put a substantial amount of money in your wallet. The items inside your car can include the following:

  • GPS navigation system
  • Audio system
  • Airbags
  • Seats
  • Interior electric motors and mechanisms

Outside Your Car

The outside of your car has many valuable parts that can be a decent payday for you. These items can include the following:

  • Fender
  • Doors
  • Bumper
  • Hood
  • Trunk lid, tailgate, rear hatch
  • Headlights and taillights
  • Windshield and other glass

Maximizing Your Scrap Car’s Value

You want the most for your scrap car, and we don’t blame you! Here are some tips to help you maximize the funds you receive from your scrap car.

Find Local Dealers

Finding local dealers is your best bet if you want to get the most bang for your buck. Out-of-town dealers will come with a hefty transportation fee. Instead, find local scrap yards and review their criteria, including prices for scrapping a car.

Get a Guarantee

Getting a guarantee is one of the most essential things you can have when it comes to getting the most for your scrap vehicle. Make sure you have a guaranteed price with your local scrap dealer. A guaranteed price ensures that the price that was quoted to you is at least the amount of money you agreed to.

Get a Refund on Your Road Tax

You’ll need to file a claim to receive a refund on overpaid use tax at your local DMV branch or the equivalent. To claim this refund, you need to do the following:

  • Verify the correct tax rate for the address where your vehicle is registered
  • Compare the current rate to the rate you were charged at the time you registered your vehicle
  • If you were overcharged for road tax, you need to download and submit a complete the required form(s) and all supporting documentation to the proper department to request your refund.

Selling Your Car Parts Individually

Selling your car’s parts separately is known as “parting out” your car. When you sell the car’s parts separately, you must identify the salvageable and valuable parts of the car. The parts that are in high demand could possibly make you the most money. If you’re not sure which of your car’s parts are valuable, a mechanic can help you for a fee.

Choosing the Right Buyer

Scrap cars are like an acquired taste. You’ll need to find someone who’s looking for a “fixer-upper” or someone who has a way to use the metal from the car. You may also have the type of buyer you want in mind, which is referred to as your “ideal buyer”, which is fine. Keep in mind that you may be waiting a while to find the perfect buyer.

Comparing Junkyards and Online Buyers

When it comes to selling your scrap car, you can sell it online or sell it to a junkyard. Let’s discuss your options in both scenarios.


If you’re thinking of selling your scrap car to a junkyard, here’s what you need to know. Selling your scrap car to a junkyard is the ideal situation if you want cash quickly without the hassle of completing and submitting different forms to your local DMV, signatures, possible fees, and more.

Online Buyers

You can also sell your scrap car online to another person, which would be considered a private sale. Selling your scrap car online is a good option if you don’t mind possibly waiting a while to sell your car. Selling online isn’t like selling to a junkyard.

Instead of getting your cash on the spot, you’ll be waiting for someone to be interested in your car and then purchase it. As the car’s seller, you will also be responsible for submitting the required paperwork to your DMV branch.

Whether you’re selling your scrap car to a junkyard or person, you are legally required to provide the proper paperwork. Make sure you have the following:

  • Visit your local DMV or the equivalent agency, and make sure you bring the following documents:
    • Vehicle’s certificate of title
    • License plates
    • Proof of a valid auto insurance policy
  • Obtain a junk receipt from the DMV and pay all applicable fees (if you’re junking your vehicle)
  • Provide your car’s make, model, year, and condition (if you are junking your vehicle)
  • Make arrangements for your scrap vehicle to be picked up
  • Bill of sale or other proof of sale (required if your vehicle is NOT currently registered)

Transferring Your Car’s Title

You’ll also be required to transfer your car title. You need to have the car title with you and make sure it has been properly signed by the buyer, seller, and lienholder (if applicable). If there is more than one car owner, all owners must sign the car title.

If you have misplaced your car title, you must complete an application for a duplicate car title and have the following with you:

  • Your driver’s license number
  • Vehicle license plate number
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Name and address of the legal owner or lienholder
  • Vehicle make, year, and model
  • Purchase price and date

The car buyer is responsible for paying the necessary transfer fees. The title transfer process can take at least 30 days to complete. Be advised that individuals, co-owners, trusts, or businesses can be established as the owner.

Proof of Ownership

You will need the following for proof of ownership of your vehicle:

  • The vehicle’s title
  • A certificate of origin (a bill of sale will also work)
  • A copy of the lease agreement (if you are leasing the vehicle)
  • A valid smog certificate
  • Proof of your identity and auto insurance policy
  • A completed application for a duplicate car title

Now that you have insight into the scrap car world, you know the steps you need to take to scrap your car and how to determine how much your scrap car is worth. Happy scrapping!