Car Scrap Yard vs. Salvage Yard: Selling Your Car to Salvage or Scrap Yard

Car scrap yards and salvage yards are popular options for offloading old vehicles

Car Scrap Yard or Salvage? Which Better for Selling your Car?

Is your old car sitting around gathering dust?

Is it unreliable and difficult to sell?

Is it no longer in drivable condition?

When selling a Junker car there are three options you can explore:

  1. Sell if privately (provided it is drivable of course)
  2. Sell your car to a salvage yard
  3. Take it to car scrap yard to pieced and sold off

Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between both. Let’s take a look.

What is an Automotive Salvage Yard?

An automotive salvage yard or junkyard is essentially a business that purchases damaged, wrecked, unusable, or junk cars from owners who no longer have any use for them. For vehicles that no longer work, selling your car to a salvage yard can be a great option. But in certain cases, these places will buy your junk car even if it is in working condition. It is a common misconception that your car must not be running in order for an automotive salvage yard to purchase it, but that is assuredly not the case.

Once you are ready to get rid of the junk car, all you have to do is give a call to the salvage yard and provide them with details such as description, make, model, etc. Afterwards, the salvage yard presents you with an offer. If it is acceptable, they will send someone to tow away the vehicle. There is no fee for towing the car as it is generally included in the price of the offer. Alternatively, you can drop the car at the lot.

These junkyards are a great place to sell old cars as they normally present one of the highest and most lucrative offers, as compared to other businesses. This is because the salvage yard can break down the car into separate pieces. They either take the cars apart themselves and sell off the components to customers, or customers are asked to come to the lot and remove the parts they want (if they know how to). The better price for the vehicle is solely due to the fact that they are selling parts individually.

All of the fluids from the cars are drained before placing it on the lot, and all of the leftover pieces of the car are crushed. The scrap metal is then sold to other businesses, where the metal is then recycled. Fluids like oil, gas, antifreeze, and so on are recycled as well. They not only help to get rid of your car, but recycle each leftover part efficiently, thus helping the environment at the same time by reducing pollution and carbon emissions.

What is a Car Scrap Yard?

These places buy leftover scrap metal from practically anyone who sells it. They usually buy metal in large quantities such as by the pound or by the ton. You can sell scrap metal in small amounts as well, but the more you sell, the better your chances are of getting a decent amount of money. This means that selling your car to a scrap yard can be a good option depending on the materials.

The base price is paid depending upon the specific type of metal being recycled. The most popular forms of metal they purchase are copper, aluminum, or cast zinc. These can be found in appliances, heavy metal cars, copper electrical wire, or aluminum wires.  Copper and aluminum are often purchased in smaller quantities and then gathered and compressed in larger quantities when the yard is ready to sell it. The scrap yards buy the metals at cheaper rates and sell them at a higher price to businesses that recycle the metal. These lots play an integral role when it comes to reducing landfill waste, pollution, and carbon emissions.

Should You Sell Your Car to a Scrap Yard or Salvage Yard?

Now that you are clear about the difference between the two automotive yards, the question arises, where should you sell to?

It comes down to what you are selling. If you wish to sell off a junk car, it is best to opt for a salvage yard.

Salvage yards remove and sell just about every single part in the car, regardless of whether it is metal or not. Due to this system, they have more items to sell and can make more money off of the vehicle as compared to a scrap yard. In fact, that is why salvage yards offer you a better price as well.

As mentioned above, these junkyards give you a rough estimate over the phone itself, after you have provided a brief description and other details. There is absolutely no obligation – you can choose to either accept or reject the offer. It is advisable to shop around – get in touch with different automotive junkyards in your area to know which one is willing to pay the most for your junk car, and make up your mind accordingly.

In contrast, an automotive metal scrap yard is only able to purchase metal in the car from you. Since they aren’t in the business of selling car parts to customers, their only concern is getting the metal in bulk. To sum up – if you are looking to sell a large amount of metal and not the entire vehicle, such as the frame of the car, then a scrap yard works best for you. But if you want to get rid of a junk car instead, look for a salvage yard hands down!

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2001 or Older Vehicles

2002 or Newer Vehicles

Donate Your Vehicle!

What Are the Benefits of Selling Your Car to a Salvage Yard?

Get cash upfront

If you need a quick cash infusion for an emergency or any other reason, selling off your junk car here is the best option. Once you accept their estimate, they make arrangements to get the car towed, and you might get the cash within the same day. However, there are quite a few requirements to keep in mind for a junkyard to pay you solid cash for your car. For instance, if you don’t own the car free and clear, and are unable to present a clear title, you might not get the money you hoped for. But if everything works out, you get fast cash within a swift time frame.

No discrimination

Whether your car is a three-year old sedan with a missing engine or a van that has spent a dozen years on the road, chances are they will accept it. No additional repairs or fixes have to be made before purchase. Once they have it, they can pick it apart and get some great parts to either use, or resell.

Fast transaction

If they send a towing van to get the vehicle picked up, they will inspect it quickly, and if everything is fine, you get the cash then and there. Similarly, when you take the vehicle to the junkyard, they look the car over, and once there is a green light, you receive the pre-decided amount.

How Much Does a Car Scrap Yard Pay?

There are several factors that are taken into account such as your vehicle’s make, model, year, and condition – they collectively determine how much money you get from the junkyard. Few places also check drivability of the vehicle. You can talk to the junkyard and ask them directly about what they are looking for.

What to do if you don’t have title?

This is a common problem faced by many – they wish to sell off their car, but don’t have the vehicle title. It is recommended that you have the car title on you once you make up your mind about junking a vehicle. If you are able to get a duplicate car title, then you may want to get that. It can be a time consuming process and might even cost you a few dollars, but it is worth it in the long run.

For just about all junk car sales, proof of vehicle ownership is established by the vehicle owner having a vehicle title. All junkyards accept an owner’s title as proof of vehicle ownership. If you don’t have the title, you need to inform the junkyard of this. Ask if they accept other forms of documentation that establish proof of ownership. There are few places that might accept the following:

  • An auction sales receipt
  • A car registration
  • A storage lien
  • Mechanic’s lien
  • Repossession affidavit

To avoid problems later on, find out what the junkyard will accept as proof of ownership before selling your car. That way it will be a smooth sale sans any hassles.

Ready to Sell? Get a Free Instate Offer!

2001 or Older Vehicles

2002 or Newer Vehicles

Donate Your Vehicle!

How to Sell Your Car to a Salvage Yard?

Once you have settled on selling your car to a salvage yard, it is time to get the deal done and receive the money. Here are some pointers:

Create a checklist

Go online, search, and create a list of junkyards in and around the area you reside (preferable within a 15-20 mile radius from your home). Or call Cash for Clunkers to speed up this process, as they will match you to local buyers and get you top price plus a FREE tow.

Jot down the names, owners, and contact details of the junkyards. Verify the details for accuracy – you might find that certain junkyards have a phone number or an email listed online, but they don’t work. Maintain the list and update it accordingly.

Share specs of the vehicle

Now that you have a list of junkyards you want to call, take the time to write or type out the specs of your car. For instance, if the car is running or not, write that down, because it matters. Additionally, you have to inform the junkyard regarding the year, make and model of the car. Look on the side door of the car and copy the VIN or Vehicle Identification Number – please do this carefully and accurately. Those VIN numbers are very long so you might make a mistake while copying! Be sure to share if the car has any trim on it too. Write these details and ensure this list is easily accessible so you can read them off to each junkyard owner you talk to.

Evaluate your offers

Once you have spoken to Cash for Clunkers or at least five of the junkyards on your list, write down each offer made by the junkyard owner. For example, if “XYZ Junkyard” down the street is offering you $500, then jot that down. If “ABC Junkyard” is offering you $700, you have to write that down as well. Your list can easily become a chart of sorts, which makes it convenient to compare and weigh options. Keep your information detailed and accurate.

Start comparing

Now that you have spoken to some junkyards and gotten some offers, it is time to compare prices. This is all the more necessary if your vehicle isn’t running, as the towing costs are subtracted from the amount being offered. If you have a car you can drive, then you can deliver it to the owner and you will have no towing fees. If you have to rent a tow truck, you have to include that as an additional cost. In fact, it may even make sense to call some tow companies and get some prices on towing just as you are getting prices on your junk car!

Cash for Clunkers offers a FREE tow and pays cash for junk cars by matching you to the best local buyer. 

Prep the car

Many car owners don’t understand the importance of this step. It is imperative to remove any money, coins and other personal items as well as valuables from the car before you drive or tow it to the junkyard. It might be too late if you realize a couple of days after you have made a sale that a priceless CD or precious memento was in the vehicle you sold off to the junkyard. By the time you reach the lot to retrieve the item, the vehicle might have already changed hands, or dismantled, so the chances of recovery are almost none.

Finding a reliable salvage yard where you reside can be a frustrating process, but you have to conduct thorough research to ensure you aren’t ripped off. At times they offer an extremely low price for the car and convince you that this is the best deal possible. That is why, you should enquire at different places to obtain a better idea about a fair price for your vehicle. But successfully selling your car to a salvage yard can put some fast cash in your pocket and rid you of that heaping metal eyesore that you have been stuck with for such a long time.

Cash for Clunkers makes it super easy and takes away all the leg work. Give us a call today or fill out an anonymous form for an instant offer and Free tow! Get a free quote right now!





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