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How You Can Make Money From Recycling Cars and Parts in DC

recycling cars

America recycles 12 million cars each year. That adds up to more than 25 million tons worth of material and puts the US at the top of the global automobile recycling market.

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This is great news for the environment and puts your old vehicle to good use. And there are plenty of great places for recycling cars in DC.

But junking a car usually means that you need to replace it with a new one and this requires cash. So wouldn't it be great if you could make some money back when recycling your old car?

Well, you can! It's all about knowing the value of your junk car and its parts. Read on to find out how you can make money off of your recycled car parts.

recycling cars

Clean It Up for the Scrap Yard

Cleaning your car up for the scrap yard might seem like a pointless job but it could boost how much you can get for it.

There are over 8,000 junkyards in the US which will buy your used car. These make their money in one of two ways.

Either they will crush your car down and sell the materials on for recycling. Even when crushed your car's metal will hold its value. Or they will sell re-usable parts on individually before crushing what is left.

If a junkyard feels they can sell on parts, such as bumpers, bonnets or wheel rims, they might give you a better price for the car. So giving it a clean up before you bring it in could make you some extra cash.

However, selling your car as a whole might not get you the best price. Let's take a look at which car parts you could sell individually for a higher price.

Remove Any Platinum

Platinum is an extremely valuable precious metal. Last year, its market value was a whopping $28,960 per kilo!

This is because platinum is extremely versatile. It's great for making wires and doesn't corrode easily. And it can be melted down and reused over and over again so recycling companies are always on the lookout for it.

You can often find platinum in your car's catalytic converter. These were introduced in 1974, so provided your car was made after then it should have a converter. This is in charge of reducing your car's pollution so it's often attached behind the exhaust pipe.

Some converters use different precious metals, such as Rhodium or Palladium. These aren't as valuable as platinum but they'll still fetch a good price. This means that recycling your catalytic converter separately is a great way to make money off your old car.

junk car parts

Hold Onto Your Old Battery

When it comes to vehicle recycling you can use your battery over and over again, provide it has charge. And if it doesn't you can simply recharge it! This is why secondhand car stores all over DC will gladly take an old battery off your hands.

New car batteries can cost up to $120 but this will only get you a basic one. A premium battery can set you back up to $200. So if you have a premium battery you could be looking to make a fair chunk of money back on it.

If you have a larger battery, this will also sell for more. Different types of batteries can also fetch different prices. These include:

  • Deep cycle batteries
  • Ignition batteries
  • Valve-regulated lead-acid batteries
  • Wet cell batteries
  • Lithium-Ion batteries

To make sure you get a fair price, check the value of your specific type of battery.

You can remove a car's battery easily using standard hand tools. Then simply take it into a secondhand store or garage to sell it on. Or you can keep it as a back up to use in the future.

recycling cars

Know the Value of Your Car's Materials

When it comes to auto parts and recycling it's easy to feel out of your depth. But properly understanding the value of your car's materials means you can bargain a better price for them.

Only one steel manufacturer in DC is a member of the American Iron and Steel Institute. This means there's a big market for these metals in the state. And your car has them in abundance!

In fact, iron and steel are the main materials for any passenger car. These vehicles consist of 60% iron or steel. This means that, even though it has a fairly low market price, you can still get a fair chunk of cash by selling yours on.

Another metal you should look out for in your car is copper. You'll find this in your car's radiator and in the wiring and alternators. But you might also find some in your car's engine.

Copper holds its value over time. Even if your junk car is really past it, you won't struggle to sell this on.

Finally, make sure to strip your car of any aluminum before you sell it to a scrapyard. There are loads of different uses for this lightweight metal which means it's always in high demand. We use aluminum in everything from kitchenware through to window frames and airplane parts!

Manufacturers use aluminum in a car's engine, radiators, and cylinder heads. You can also find it in your car's pistons or wheel rims. If you're serious about making money by recycling your car, take the time to find as much aluminum as you can.

Sell On Any Gadgets

Almost every car now comes fitted with electrical devices. Just because your car is no longer road worthy, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with these gadgets.

Removing them means you can sell them on, either to private buyers or to secondhand shops. So what kind of gadgets are we talking about?

Stereos and radios are an obvious one. These are often extremely easy to remove. While they might not bring in the big bucks, it's very little effort to make money from them.

In contrast, smart devices could bring in some decent money. A lot of people think that hands-free dialing and Bluetooth speakers only come built into a car. But they're actually very easy to fit and remove.

Similarly, you can remove your built-in GPS system to sell on. Buyers can save a lot of money by buying their built-in GPS secondhand, so there's a big demand for these gadgets out there.

Most scrap yards won't bother to remove these from your vehicle before scrapping. These devices will simply go through the shredder with the other non-recyclables. By removing them yourself and selling them on you're actually being more eco-friendly.

They're also extremely lightweight, which is important if a scrap merchant pays for your car based on its weight. This means that removing them won't affect the price that a dealer offers you. So removing them to sell on is a win-win!

Six Important Tips for Selling Your Car Online! A Detailed Guide for Beginners 

Take a Look Online

Before you sell your car off for scrap, have a look at local online forums to see if anyone is looking for specific car parts. This might be a long shot, but if you have the right part a private buyer could pay a good price for them.

Things like car tires and bumpers are easy to replace but they often wear out over time. This means that people are often looking to replace them long before they plan on scrapping their entire car.

It's always worth getting in touch if someone is looking for a specific part that you have. You may be able to negotiate a better deal with them than with a merchant.

You might also think about placing an online ad for your car parts to shift some of them. When listing your car parts make sure to note the make and model of your car as well as its manufacturing year and the color of the car. People will often want to see parts before they buy them so have some photos ready to send to potential buyers.

Shop Around

When it comes to finding the best deal around you should take your time.

Get in touch with a couple of dealers to compare quotes for your car and its parts. Selling parts off to different dealers might take longer but it could make you more money in the long run.

Contacting a couple of dealers is also a great way to get an idea of the value of your car. If they're all offering a similar price then that's probably an accurate reflection of its market value. This will also make it clear if anyone is trying to undercut you on price.

cars for cash

Get Ready to Make Money While Recycling Cars!

Keep these tips in mind when getting rid of your old car and you're sure to make a tidy sum back. Then all you need to do is decide how to use it!

For more help making the most of your old car, check out our guide on recycling cars for cash. Or get in touch for a quote on your vehicle today!

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