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Scrap Or Salvage: What You Need To Know About Junk Cars

Whether it’s your very first car or the one that you drove brand new off the lot after landing your dream job, everything has a shelf life. If you face the decision to either scrap or salvage, then you’re likely trying to find the value in an older, beat-up car taking space in your garage.

Vehicles are one of our most expensive possessions, and some even hold sentimental value. However, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to hold on to that large piece of metal for several reasons specific to your situation. Repair costs, trade-in value, insurance costs, among other factors, need a second thought.

Maybe you don’t have the space anymore, you’re relocating, or you don’t want to be bothered with cheap car insurance for salvage cars. Whatever the case might be, it’s beneficial to weigh your options and learn what makes the most sense for you and your family.

There are a few pros and cons to any decision regarding your junk car. Let’s take a look at the different options, and then you can decide. Will you hold on to that old clunker or get rid of it for a newer, cleaner model?

To Scrap Or Salvage: What Is The Best Decision?

Ask yourself these questions before moving forward with any decision:

  • What is the car worth?
  • What is the current damage to the car?
  • What is the repair cost to the vehicle?

Depending on your answers, this will determine how you should move forward. The most crucial question is: Does the repair cost exceed the vehicle’s worth? If the answer is yes, then moving forward with getting rid of your old car is strongly advised.

On the flip side, if the repair is less than the worth, further consideration should be your next step.

You have a few options when considering your clunker’s fate:

  • Scrapyard – You can scrap your old car for metal costs.
  • Junkyard – These businesses will sell desired parts to the public or dealerships.
  • Private sale or parting out – Selling your car on your own or parting it out will likely get you a more financial return but cost you more time.
  • Trade-in – In most cases, dealerships will pay for your junk car, giving you the option to apply that cash value to your next vehicle purchase.

Junkyard Or Scrapyard: The Best Option For Your Beater

If you choose to part your vehicle out, it will most likely put more money in your pocket but at the expense of your time. Scrapping for parts is time consuming, but no matter the make, model, or age, rest assured there are parts that someone wants to buy off of you.

Another option is selling the entire car as a parts vehicle to a private seller or junkyard. Both options will again put a bit more money in your pocket instead of scrapping it for metal. Keep in mind, though, that if parts are missing from the car, money is likely to be deducted from the final price.

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Also, you will still be required to have auto insurance on a car that doesn’t run unless it has a salvage title, so bear that in mind.

On average, you can expect to get $200 to $500 for metal from scrapyards. Do your research when choosing the right business. Always look for scrapyards with the “Authorized Treatment Facility” (ATF) accreditation. This certificate ensures that the company abides by all laws and can create all necessary paperwork needed.

Scrapyards and junkyards for parts or metal can offer local transfer, making the process much simpler. If not, consider how you’ll get your vehicle to a facility. Another item to think about is the car’s title. If you don’t have a title, call around and find a business that will take your car without a title. Keep in mind that all these details can affect your bottom dollar.

Finally, if you currently have a unique and one-of-a-kind license plate, be sure you’ve removed the car from that particular license plate. If a vehicle is totaled and scrapped, it’s near impossible to transfer that plate to another vehicle. However, it’s a reasonably straightforward process to remove the vehicle from the plate with a quick visit to the DVLA’s plate removal site.

What To Expect If You Salvage Your Junk Car

As mentioned above, you’ll need to make sure you know whether your car is totaled. If not, start asking yourself what the future holds for your vehicle. Do you want to trade in? Most people prefer to trade in their older car for a newer car to simplify the process and take advantage of the tax incentives. But before you visit the dealership, know your car’s worth.

Another option is to sell your vehicle privately on a social media site or a more traditional avenue. In most cases, independently sold vehicles come with a higher profit. Whether privately or through a reputable dealer, have all the necessary paperwork to give to your state’s DMV.

If you’d like to keep the car and make necessary repairs, ask around for reputable mechanics or repair shops. Many people assume that smaller mom-and-pop repair shops are cheaper, but beware that some come with a much higher price tag than a more prominent dealership with a repair shop.

What Will You Do With Your Junk Car?

Scrapping your car avoids the sales headaches associated with trading in your car or repairs, and you get cash on the spot should you need a quick payday. However, you’ll be giving up a vehicle that potentially can have added value with minor repairs or has sentimental value.

If you’ve read this entire article and still don’t feel warm and fuzzy, think about donating your vintage vehicle. There are so many organizations that would happily take your car and put the money or car to a good cause and give you a sizeable charitable contribution tax deduction.

Carla Hughes writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, She learned about junk cars from the family business.

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