Not just the scrap metal value
When a car is scrapped, the scrapyard can sell the metal in the car for its current value on the metal market. The amount that’s offered for a scrap car also reflects the value of the spare parts that can be stripped from it.
The heavier the car, the more it’s worth for its scrap metal value, but cars of equal weight can be worth different prices depending on the makes and models of the vehicles.
The metals in a car
The majority of a car is made of steel, while aluminium is used in the engine, doors and rims. Some cars have wheels made from aluminium too. The wiring in the car is made from copper, lead is found in the battery and catalytic converters contain platinum and palladium.
The price per ton for metal can range from a few hundred pounds to over four thousand pounds depending on the metal type. The market price for scrap metals varies from month to month. The price paid for your scrap car may be based on the current scrap metal value, but by the time the various metals have been extracted from the car, the market price for scrap metals can have risen or fallen.
The prices paid for metals are driven by demand. At times of high demand, prices are high and when demand eases off, prices fall. Prices can change daily, but it is more common for fluctuations to occur on a weekly basis. Most changes within a short period of time are small. This means that the scrap dealer will still make a profit even if the metal prices fall after the car has been bought.
Getting the best price for your scrap car
Even when metal prices have not changed, the prices offered by scrapyards can vary on any given day. This is because the price is not based purely on scrap metal values. For example, if a vehicle is being collected by a scrapyard, the company will usually knock money off the price they pay to account for the cost of collecting the car. Also, a scrapyard might offer a higher price to beat a competitor’s offer. They may settle for less profit per car in order to buy more vehicles. This means it can pay to get more than one quote for your car.
You could follow the market prices for scrap metals and wait for prices to rise in the hope of getting more for your car, but you may have to wait a long time for the price to rise significantly and, like the stock market, prices could go down. This is not recommended as a car left on your driveway for a long time could decrease in value because some parts in the vehicle deteriorate or become corroded when a car is not driven. It’s usually best to scrap a car as soon as possible once you’ve made the decision to get rid of it in this way.
A scrapyard may offer more money for a car that runs and still has an MOT because it won’t have to be loaded onto a car transporter.
If a scrap metal dealer offers to pay you only for the value of the scrap metal it contains, you’ll probably not receive as much as from a dealer that can sell any good condition spare parts from the vehicle. Don’t accept cash deals as this is illegal. You should be paid by cheque or bank transfer.