Here’s How to Scrap Your Old Car for Oodles of Cash


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Every car has a point of no return — a point where the car flips from a road-worthy drivable hooptie to a nuisance that needs to be extricated from your life. It’s at that point you have to make a decision about how you’d like to go forward, because unlike dogs, not all cars go to heaven.

For most, the next step would be calling the junkyard, but that’s not the only choice you have. It still might be the best route, but it’s important to know you always have options. The Drive’s scrappy editors are here to explain what those are and help you figure out if scrapping your car is the right move. 

Let’s figure out how to maximize your monetary return and send your car to its maybe final forever home.

How To Proceed With Your Junker Car

There are a few options when considering your next steps. Everybody has a different car and is in a different place in life, so choose according to your own goals and situation. Let’s dig into your options.

Option 1: Sell It For Parts or As a Parts Car

No matter a car’s condition, it almost certainly has a few parts that could be sold off individually. Somebody out there is looking for a specific part in your car but can’t afford to buy brand-new. It’s up to you to do the research to find out if parting the car out before scrapping it could actually net you a worthwhile amount of cash. It could be a lot of work, but it could also be quite rewarding. 

A second option is selling the car yourself as a whole parts car. You might be able to eke out some extra cash or you might not, so always compare cash offers from the wreckers before selling.

Option 2: Keep It As Your Own Parts Car

This is a long-shot, but there is a small percentage of people who will buy the exact same car for their next car. Before you get rid of the old one, check the new one for parts that need replacing and source them from your old car. Or, buy a project car, and use the parts for that!

Option 3: Donate It

Just as easily as you can scrap your car, you could also donate it. For more information, read The Drive’s guide, How To Donate Your Car.

Option 4: Scrap It For Cash

Even when your car is worth nothing on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, it’s worth at least a couple hundred dollars to a scrapyard. The scrapyard will pay you cash for your car, then part it out, throw it in a pick-n-pull, or scrap it for metal.

Better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Advantages of Scrapping Your Car

The process of scrapping your car is actually pretty simple. Here’s why. 

Avoid the Sales Headache

You already know your car is garbage, so you’ve accepted it’s low value. You might be able to negotiate a few bucks here and there, but you’re likely going to get $500 or less. Knowing that saves you the headache of selling the car and dealing with the public.

They Pick It Up

When you’ve decided to send your car to the ‘yard, most scrap companies will come to your house and pick the car up as part of the service, free of charge. Even better, some companies will actually pay you to bring the car to them, if that’s a possibility thanks to a friend with a truck and trailer.

Immediate Cash

When the wreckers do arrive to pick your car up, they will most likely pay you in cash right then and there.

You Don’t Necessarily Need Your Title

Some companies will accept your vehicles even without the title, but they will charge additional fees in the range of $50-150. 

How Much Money Should I Expect For My Scrap Car?

Every car will be different, depending on condition, completeness, and what the car is, but you can expect to get $200-500 out of your car from the scrapyard.

Know Your Deductions 

If your vehicle is missing certain parts or the title, the scrap company will take money off of its value. For example, Victory Auto Wreckers in Illinois takes off $10 for a missing radio, $20 for a missing battery, and $100 for a missing catalytic converter. Different parts carry different values, so it’s up to you to find out before you agree to terms.

How To Scrap Your Car

It’s really not a complicated process. It should look something like this:

  1. Contact various companies and determine eligibility.
  2. Compare pricing and agree to an offer.
  3. Schedule a pickup.
  4. Transfer paperwork.
  5. Accept cash in return for your car.
  6. Wave goodbye to your car as it drives into the horizon.

FAQs About Scrapping Your Car

You have the questions, The Drive has the answers.

Q. So Should I Sell or Scrap My Car?

A. If your car is still in somewhat decent driving condition, you should probably sell it. If it needs a small repair to make it drivable, you should probably fix it and sell it. If it needs repairs that cost more than the car is worth, or it is beyond repair, then it’s time to call the scrappers.

Q. Ok, Then What Should I Remove From My Car Before I Scrap It?

A. If you want to try to squeeze a few extra bucks out of your ride, you can remove items such as the wheels, tires, audio systems, head units, exhaust components, battery, or a variety of other items. The more effort you put in, the more money you’ll accumulate.

Q. Will a Junkyard Take a Car Without a Title?

A. Some will, but it will cost you money taken out of the car’s trade value.

Q. How Much Is a Non-Working Car Worth Then?

A. Depending on the company, your car will be valued at approximately $200-500.

Let’s Talk, Comment Below To Talk With The Drive’s Editors!

We’re here to be expert guides in everything How-To related. Use us, compliment us, yell at us. Comment below and let’s talk! You can also shout at us on Twitter or Instagram. Here are our profiles.

Jonathon Klein: Twitter (@jonathon.klein), Instagram (@jonathon_klein)

Tony Markovich: Twitter (@T_Marko), Instagram (@t_marko)

Chris Teague: Twitter (@TeagueDrives), Instagram (@TeagueDrives)

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