Junk a Car For Cash – How to Get The Max Value
It’s time to junk a car for cash and you’re wondering how much can I get for my car or truck. You’ve probably called around for quotes from a few salvage yards and gotten some quotes online. How do you know if you are getting a good deal? How do you know if they are short changing you? How do you get the most cash out of the deal?
It’s not like junking a car for cash is your everyday hustle, so you don’t have experience in determining a fair price. You can’t just go look at the Kelly Blue Book value for your old Toyota that is undrivable and rusting in your yard.
Today I am going to share my best advice for getting the maximum amount when you junk a car for cash. It’s about knowing your options for selling based on your vehicles condition, who buys junk cars that offers the best deal, what makes a car have value, and how to estimate the vehicles value.
To get the maximum cash value from your junker consider all of the following:
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Now that you have an overview of what to get the max value when you junk a car for cash, lets discuss each of these in more detail.
1. An Auto Salvage Will Offer More Money Then a Scrap Yard
Auto salvages are your best bet for max value on a junked car. Your vehicles condition will determine though if this is an option for you.
Here is why:
Salvage yards look to sell off your vehicle in pieces. They make a profit on the individual parts and then sell the metal at the end to a scrap yard. Since they can make the most money from buying your junked vehicle, you can get the best cash offer. Scrap yards on the other hand don’t take into account any valuable components in the vehicle. They just pay you out for the going rate on scrap metal based on your vehicles curb weight.
If your junker has re-usable parts like a starter motor, a GPS system, an alternator, new tires, or anything that can be removed and resold, you should be able to get better than scrap steel prices for it. An Auto salvage will not pay you the full value of the used parts, because they need room for profit. Salvages have labor and administrative overhead on their operations they need to account for. If your vehicle has any valuable parts left that may have value you may be able to negotiate for up to half the value of the easily re-sold components.
2. The Longer You Wait The Less Your Vehicle Is Worth to a Salvage Yard
As stated above, salvages generally offer a better opportunity to get the most cash from your junked vehicles sale. That is if you act now…
Here is What Most People Do Though:
Market price often causes junk car sellers to hesitate on their sale. They call around and get some offers and think “not what I was looking to get, maybe I’ll wait”. They look at the metal commodity market conditions and then think “maybe prices will go up next year”. Some other folks hold off thinking “l’ll have time to fix it and get it running, then sell it independently. Lastly, some folks consider stripping the vehicle themselves and selling it off as parts and then selling the individual scrap metal pieces. Technically, the later is how you can get the most cash out of your vehicle, but for most people isn’t practical.
Regardless of the reason…the longer it sits the less it is worth to a salvage yard!
The parts that salvage yards want are the parts that deteriorate the fastest. These are the parts with the most value and they start to corrode and rust quickly when a vehicle is stagnant. Rubber gets brittle, fluids settle at the bottom, and gasoline absorbs water in the tank. Old seats fade and crack, when left outside in an uncovered vehicle. If critters make homes in the vehicle or chew the wires, you can pretty much kiss your cash goodbye. Overtime, corrosion will develop on the alternator and starter, which will make them worthless to a salvo. At this stage, it’s probably only worth the scrap metal price.
If the Junked Vehicle Has Only Recently Been Taken Off The Road…
If your vehicle has recently been taken off the road, make sure to tell them. It will help negotiate a cash offer higher then the scrap metal value. If you are considering salvage yard options for junking your car, don’t wait.
Now of course if your vehicle runs, you got a better bargaining chip…
3. If The Vehicle Runs Negotiate a Higher Price
A car that runs is worth more than a car that doesn’t. A running vehicle means a tow truck is not required. Salvage yards tow cars all the time, but any saving of trouble and time adds value. This should be factored into the negotiation for the car, even if the car is worth just scrap metal.
One of the reasons a salvage is will to pay above scrap for a running vehicle is they can sell it auction. Contrary to popular belief, not all cars end up getting pulled for parts. A vehicle that runs is attractive to a buyer at auction because it may be able to get repaired and flipped. Unless your vehicle is exceptional shape, it will likely be sold as part of a group if vehicles at auction. Junkers that run get sold in groups because it spreads the risk for both the buyer and the seller. So just because you think your vehicle is auctionable, don;t assume you will get a lot of money for it. It’s fair to assume that you can more then the scrap metal price for it though.
4. Use The Blue Book as a Reference For Estimating Your Vehicles Value
The Kelly Blue Book is an easy way to determine the value of your vehicle if it is in running condition. The truth is though, no salvage yard is going to pay you close to the KBB value. The KBB value makes the assumption that the vehicle is in good condition. If your vehicle was in good condition, you wouldn’t be junking it in the first place.
It’s easy and free to look up the resale value of your car if it was still running. But if you’re thinking of junking your car, don’t assume the salvage yard will pay anywhere near.
So why use the KBB value, then?
Use the KBB value as a reference to determine if the value to determine if the salvage yard is making you a high enough offer. Take the KBB value and subtract the cost of repairs to get the vehicle sellable and you have a rough estimate of what the car is worth at auction or if the salvage flips it themselves.
Kelly Blue Book Value – Cost of Repairs = Estimated Price at Auction
Knowing this should help you negotiate your best offer on the vehicle.
5. Use Curb Weight as a Last Resort of Value Estimation
If your car isn’t running, the KBB value isn’t going to do you much good. In this scenario you can find your vehicles curb weight and estimate it’s scrap metal value. Since more then 60% of the car is likely made of steel you can look up the market value of stale from your local scrap metal plant. You can expect your car to probably yeild you about $100 – $150 for 2 tons (4000 lbs of steel). You can find your vehicles curb weight here.
Knowing the scrap value of your car, puts you in a position to understand what the lowest offer of your vehicle should be. If you are being offered the scrap value price and your car has valuable components that can be resold, you should negotiate harder. Alternatively if you don’t get a better offer, continue looking for a more competitive offer from other salvage yards.
6. Don’t Agree to Any Offers That Have Conditions
Set a realistic value for your vehicle and stick to it. The best thing to do is make multiple phone calls to salvage yards and get a variety of offers. Be honest about the condition and ask them, “how much is the car worth”?
One junkyard scammy technique you should be aware of is the “Bait and switch”. In this scenario they will make a conditional offer based on your description and then they will ask to inspect your vehicle when they come with a tow truck. They will put the vehicle on the truck and then inspect it. At this point they will give you a really low ball offer, much less then what they said on the phone. Most people bow to the pressure and just agree to the low ball price since the car is already on the truck. Don’t do it! Don;t sign over the title to you get your price, don;t be afraid to take the car off the wreck and tell them to kick rocks!
I would be more willing to leave money on the table, then agree to a pre-inspection. Provide a detailed description, email them photos, and ask for a firm price. Get it in writing via email and hold them to it.
Junk a Car For Cash – Getting the Most Value
Knowing the basics of how to junk a car is only half of the battle. The other half is negotiating your best offer. Understanding how junkyards operate when buying wrecked vehicles will give you leverage in negotiations. Be smart, be reasonable with your expectations, and be honest and negotiate in good faith.
Always remember you are the one with the vehicle, you can always say no and walk away. Getting the maximum offer means getting the most cash possible for the real value of your vehicle.