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What Does a Salvage Yard Do With Junked Cars?

What Does a Salvage Yard Do With Junked Cars

You are finally ready to part with that dusty and inoperative vehicle that has been occupying your property for years. It is better off at the salvage yard since it is beyond repair and by doing so, it can bring you extra cash. You decide to sell that old vehicle of yours after some searching for reputable salvage yards in your area. But what does a salvage yard do with junked cars? Well, the salvage yard will separate various materials and depollute the junk vehicle. Read on to know more.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Junkyards or salvage yards buy junked cars for they can take spare parts out of them and earn money from the reusable parts. There are many buyers for these parts since they are a lot cheaper compared to their brand new counterparts. Depending on the damage, there is always something that most junkyards can salvage from a junk car. They also earn money from selling the scrap metal to metal recycling or refinery centers.

What does it mean when a car is junked?

A junked vehicle is a self-propelled vehicle that does not have lawfully attached to it a valid motor vehicle inspection certificate and an unexpired license plate. It is wrecked, discarded, dismantled, or partially dismantled; or out of service and has remained out of service for more than 72 consecutive hours if the vehicle is on public property; or 30 days consecutive days if the vehicle is on private property.


A junked vehicle is also defined as any vehicle which is inoperable on the highway, has no resale value besides as a source of scrap or parts, and has an eighty percent (80%) loss in fair market value.

Do salvage yards buy parts?

Old cars are a treasure trove to junk yards. They gather all the useful and usable parts, restore them and sell them. So yes, salvage yards do buy parts. 


Here are the most common used car parts that salvage yards buy. 


  1. Brakes – Used brakes have good resale value since they are typically in good condition and are a lot cheaper than new replacement brakes. Most salvage yards have rotors, brake pads, calipers, drums and fluid lines that they collect from cars or buy from people then put up for sale.


  1. Tires – Junkyards buy tires since most of the junk car tires have not been used so much. They can even get specialty tires such as all-terrain tires, aside from unused spare tires, and used sets in new condition. Around 80 percent of the tires discarded are typically reused and recycled since tires have a usual lifespan of 15,000 miles. 


  1. Interior components – Components such as replacement electronics, branded steering wheel and stock seats are bought and sold at junkyards. They buy cars also for their interior components.


  1. Car body parts – You can find used parts such as fenders, bumpers and doors in junkyards. They strip them from the frame of junk cars. Many people like to buy these external parts to replace damaged parts in their vehicle. 


  1. Mirrors – Side, rear view or towing mirrors are also bought and sold in junkyards as replacement to broken mirrors. Brand new ones, particularly those with special features, are costly to purchase which is one of the reasons junk yards buy cars. You can save a significant amount of money when buying from a salvage yard.


  1. Batteries – Junkyards buy and sell car batteries. You can usually find good and reusable batteries there. Even if your battery is still ok, you might want to buy one since it’s a lot cheaper and you never know when you may require one when your car breaks down. 


  1. Car stereo system – Junkyards are the go-to place when looking for affordable car radios to replace broken cars. They sell used parts such as car radios because many of the cars they get it from have reusable and working condition stereos. 

Why are cars scrapped? What’s the difference between scrap cars and salvage cars?


You might already be familiar with the terms “salvage cars” and “scrap cars”. It is not unusual for people to make a mistake of interchanging these terms that have two different meanings. While both terms are used to refer to non-roadworthy junk cars in extremely rough condition, there is a huge difference between the two. 


In this section, we’ll discuss what they and what to do with them. You will find out that you can make money from what you think as a worthless pile of junk.


Salvage cars could be made roadworthy. A salvage car refers to a vehicle that has been involved in an accident, damaged by flood, vandalism, fire or natural elements, or has been tagged as a total loss by the leasing or insurance company. This means that the insurance company deems that the repair would not have any financial sense, so the vehicle is written off and sent to a junkyard to be recycled or scraped.

However, in many cases, insurance companies have the tendency to quickly declare cars as a total loss even if they can still be repaired. In fact, salvage cars can be fixed again and other parts that are damaged can be replaced. 

There are even cases where newer car models with only moderate damage have been declared a total loss despite the fact that they could easily be worked on to make them fully operational with little labor and replacement of parts. This car will still have a salvage title to let future owners know that it was seriously damaged at a certain point in its life. 

Scrap cars are only good for scrap yards. On the other hand, scrap cars are practically only good for recycling as they are no longer usable. They are totally ruined cars due to various reasons such as negligence, damages beyond repair, because of their age, or a combination of these things. Unlike salvage cars, scrap cars lack most of their valuable components or parts. They are completely destroyed cars which can no longer be worthy enough to be back on the road no matter what effort and money you put into it or they are just body shells. 

Most of the time, scrap cars have no traceable owners, no title and no registration papers. They are just found abandoned by the side of the road, have no engine, door, interior, trim, etc. Usually, fires or similar devastating forces caused these cars to be totally unusable. Those cars are only for recycling plants or crashers. Or they can be harvested for some spare parts that can be used. 

Salvage cars can be valuable. Salvage cars can be returned to fully operational condition, registered, and sold, their worth are significantly higher than scrap cars. Basically, a salvage car can be taken as a used car. With some repair jobs and investment, it can be back to a fully working and presentable condition. The salvage market offers many interesting deals where you can purchase some expensive newer models at cheap prices. If you are a mechanic, you can save on labor and get a cool car for just a fraction of the price of the new one.

Scrap cars are inexpensive. They are cheap mainly because their worth is only its weight in steel. Prices of steel are not very high so scrap cars are only worth a couple of bucks. If you want to know how much money you can get from your scrap car, you just need to check the current prices of scrap steel and know the exact weight of your car. Note that the actual metal weight is around 65 to 70% of gross weight because all cars also have parts that are made of other materials like plastic and rubber. 

Salvage cars have many spare parts. Junkyards can get a lot of spare parts and components from salvage cars though they are non-functioning vehicles. If a salvage car is subjected to water or fires, you’ll likely find plenty of usable parts such as a whole engine or drivetrain, trim pieces, interior pieces, and details. 

Scrap cars are only for recycling. The only thing you can do with a scrap car is to recycle it. Oftentimes, scrap cars have no more valuable parts or components, or in such a bad shape that no parts can be used anymore. For instance, it’s an extensively burned vehicle or one that was submerged under water for a long period. In both cases, even if the car is complete, no parts are reusable. That is why scrap cars are only good for recycling, scrap yards  and feeding the crusher. Doing so you are helping the industry get the materials for new cars and help the environment at the same time.

Do scrap yards take cars?

Back in the day, selling a junk vehicle for $500 was easy. You could easily get enough cash for a weekend road trip. Nowadays, you will barely get enough to pay for a hotel room. Money for junked vehicle services did not suddenly start taking advantage of you. It’s just that we are facing a huge problem: the price of scrap metal has plunged in the past several years. 


Junk vehicles that have reached the end of their lifespan are bought by scrap yards. The vehicles are stripped of all fluids and materials and crushed, with the remainder sold to a local shredder. Scrap yards are now having a hard time getting as many cars as they previously could. It may be hard to believe but it involves a lot of work to tow a vehicle, strip it and crush it. Consequently, the price scrap yards are able to offer to buy vehicles has been significantly reduced. 


How much will a junkyard pay me for my car?


Selling your junk vehicle for cash should not be that of a hassle. First and foremost, you would want to know how much a scrap yard will pay for your junk vehicle. The prices vary, but you can expect scrap or junkyards to pay around $250 – $500 for your junk vehicle, depending on the vehicle’s weight. There are other factors that determine the value of your junk vehicle including year, damage, and completeness. It's important to know what does a salvage yard do with junked cars to understand their offers.


To learn more about how much your junk car is worth, click here


How Do Scrap Prices Affect the Value of my Junk Car?

According to research, the average vehicle is composed of 2,400 pounds of steel. The average truck has 3,000 pounds. That accounts for approximately 55 percent of the vehicle’s entire weight. In the average vehicle, there is also about 300 pounds of aluminum. 


What does a salvage yard do with junked cars? When a junkyard buys your vehicle, what they are really buying is the value of that scrap metal, in tons. Copper, aluminum, steel, and other metals can be sold for good cash to scrap metal dealers. Consequently, they sell the metal to manufacturers who recycle the metal and turn it into new building materials, new vehicles, smartphones, wires, and other items we use daily. 


The price for scrap metal changes based on demand. If auto makers aren’t producing many cars, the price of steel and aluminum drops. If there are no new homes and apartment buildings being built, the price of metal also drops. But even when the economy is doing fine, there are still international factors that influence scrap metal prices. And that’s the current situation.

These days the demand for scrap metal is low, but the supply is high. So the prices are low. In fact, the price of steel has fallen significantly over the past few years.

Conclusion on What Does a Salvage Yard Do With Junked Cars

Automotive salvage yards more known as junkyards buy wrecked or unusable cars from previous owners. They will separate all the different materials and depollute the junk car: rubber, copper wiring, plastics, lead batteries, steel and valuable metals like platinum. The materials can either be reused by the yard or sold to buyers. In simpler terms, salvage yards pull off reusable parts of the junk car and make them available for buyers. Once all usable parts are pulled. The scrap metal is crushed and sold to a metal recycling center or refinery. This is the best way to dispose of metal. It helps the environment by reducing pollution and carbon emissions.



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