Everything You Need To Know About Scrapping A Car


Has your car reached the end of its life with no prospect of being sold? I’ve been there. Luckily there are ways that you can still get money out of your vehicle even without selling it. 

So When Do You Know When It Is Time To Scrap Your Car 

About 15 million cars every year reach the end of their usable life, and 13 million of them are recycled or taken to junk yards. It is time to part ways with your vehicle when it is considered totalled. Totalled meaning that it is going to cost you more to fix your car than what it is worth. There are exceptions to this. If your car is old and worth under $1000, but needs some minor fixes to get more mileage out of it, the car may be worth repairing. Personally, I get every mile out of my vehicle’s that I can. I have an old car, when it breaks I fix it. Ultimately the decision to scrap or sell your car is up to you. 

When Should You Scrap Over Selling?

You should scrap your car over selling it if you think you’re going to get less than $500 for the car. If the airbags have deployed, or the car has frame damage you can pretty much count on scrapping the vehicle. If the car doesn’t run and needs major repairs to get it working, weigh whether or not you can get cash for the vehicle. This will be a good option if you have a specialty or luxury vehicle that someone may want to take on as a project car. 

What do I need to know when scrapping a car?

  • You can sell off the valuables before scrapping
  • You’ll need your title
  • Different dealers are going to offer you different sums of money for the car
  • Take your license plate
  • You want to make sure the dealer is licensed 

Some Things The Junkyard May Ask You To Do

  • Drain and remove the gas tank
  • Scrap the car down to the frame

How Much Will A Junkyard Pay You For Your Car

The junk yard will typically pay you pennies per pound of car. You can typically expect the average car to sell to a junkyard for $250-$500 though this will vary depending on where you live. Other factors that can affect the amount that you get for your car include the make, model, year and condition of the car.  

How Will A Junkyard Pay You For Your Car

Cold. Hard. Cash. Yep that’s right most of the junkyards are cash businesses who will pay you in dollar bills. Some may have electronic payment services set up but for the most part they pay their customers in paper money for their vehicles. 

Steps To Scrapping Your Car

1. Remove Your Personal Belongings

The first thing to do before you junk your car is to remove anything you can’t live without. Our cars are like little mobile pieces of ourselves and over time they can collect some personal belongings. Take the time to clean out your car before calling the junkyard. They’ll likely give you more for a cleaner vehicle they don’t have to remove things from

2. Remove Valuable Parts

See our section below on what to remove from your car before you put it up for sale. Things like electronics, tires and rims, bumpers and even the exhaust system of your vehicle can be sold for extra cash. When you call around for quotes on your vehicle, ask the junkyard how  much they will pay for a bare bones vehicle. Some won’t pay you as much for these types of cars, but you still may make more money selling the car piece by piece 

3. Get The Documentation Together

You’ll need the title and registration of the vehicle to prove you own the car for MOST junkyards. Some that are actually scrapping the car and melting it down won’t need it but these are the types of junkyards that are going to give you the least amount of cash for the car. You’re better off with these documents to give you more options.

4. Call Around For The Best Quote

Have the information on hand about the car like the make, model, weight, and condition of the vehicle. Know what is wrong with the car and be prepared to share that info with the junkyard so that they can give you an accurate quote. Different scrappers are going to offer you varying amounts for the vehicle though they usually won’t differ by a lot

5. Ensure the Dealer Is Licensed

Once you decide on a servicer, be sure to check their credentials. Some states require a special license so just make sure you’re going through a reputable organization.

6. Set Up An Appointment

Once you find the right junk service, book an appointment. Most will come and tow the car out and give you cash on the spot on the day of removal. Be prepared for the day by

7. Cancel The Insurance

If the car is still insured, be sure to cancel or amend your policy to save you some money

8. Remove The License Plates

In most states you are actually able to reuse your license plate on your next vehicle. This can save you a TON of money. I did this on my car that I scrapped in Florida last year and used the same license plate on my next vehicle. It saved me close to $300 at the DMV by having a license plate on hand. 

What Should I Remove From My Car Before I Scrap It

There are valuable pieces to remove from a vehicle before you scrap it. You’ll likely get the same amount of cash from the junkyard for the car as they piece out the doors and engine parts. You may as well get every dollar out of the car that you can and there are valuable items that you can sell if you want to take the time to do so. 

The GPS System

If your junk car has a GPS system in it then you could get a couple hundred dollars for it depending on the model. 

The Exhaust System

The car’s exhaust system is responsible for noise reduction as well as communicating with the car about how the mix of oxygen and fuel is being balanced. It is a very expensive part of a vehicle and can usually be pieced out for at least $500 to $1000. Cars need their exhaust systems to run efficiently so these parts are typically in high demand. 

Catalytic Converter

If you aren’t interested in doing the entire exhaust system then definitely do sell the catalytic converter. If your car is newer than 1975 it has a catalytic converter that you can sell. 


If your fenders are in good condition then you should try to sell them. The fenders are the part of the vehicle that protect the wheel well and they are expensive to replace making te demand for used parts high. 

Doors and Windows

When a vehicle is in an accident, doors and windows often need replacement without the car being totalled. This makes selling yours a great opportunity.

Electrical Components

Lock and unlock buttons, stereos, fuses and wiring are always in demand. 


Similarly to doors and windows, bumpers are frequently damaged in accidents, making them an item sought after by other car owners used. 


Your car’s battery is worth a good amount of money if its in decent condition. Have it tested to see how much juice is left in it and then price it accordingly for sale. 

Air Conditioning Components

The air conditioning units in a vehicle will frequently total used cars when they break. Replacing  a condenser with a new part can cost a car owner over $600 therefor a vehicle owner will pay handsomely for your used parts for the air conditioning system in your car, assuming they work well!

Air Bags

Yep you can have the airbags in the car removed before you scrap a car and they are worth a lot. In some cases you can get over $1000 for yours, but you’ll have to pay a professional to remove them. If you don’t know what you’re doing, be sure to have an expert do the job because airbags can injure and kill you by sheer force. 

Tires Rims and Wheels

Another few expensive components, you can get over $100 for the tires alone. Rims and wheels add up as well. See how much yours are worth if they are in usable condition. 

Truck Tailgate

Similar to selling your bumper, the tailgate of a  truck is also in high demand. 

How To Scrap A Car Without The Title

Most junk yards are not going to accept a car that doesn’t have a title, your best bet if you want to make as much money as possible and want the ability to shop around is to obtain a copy of the title at the local DMV before pursuing the scrapping process further. 

If you don’t want to go to the effort of dealing with the DMV or spending the money on a new copy of the title, you may be able to find a junkyard or scrapping service that will take just the vehicle registration as proof of ownership. Some scrap yards may accept a car without any of the documentation, but these can be sketchy organizations. Some may not even be licensed. 

What Happens If You Lost Your Title?

If you lose your title, all you need to do is contact your state motor vehicle agency in your county/ state to get a duplicate. You may be able to start the process online depending on what state you live in. In other cases you will likely have to go in person to a state or county office. If you can’t find information regarding the processes for this on the state’s website, give your local DMV or tax collectors office a call to get more info

How To Order The Title Online

The process of securing a title will vary widely from state to state. In most states you can get a copy of your electronic title either sent to you directly through the internet, or you can have it mailed to you. In some states however, you have to go into the DMV office by making an appointment and pay to have them print it on the spot. To find out exactly what the protocol is for your state, visit their local website or give them a call. 

What Comes After Scrapping A Car

  • Cancelling or changing your insurance policy
  • Transferring over your license plate

Want More Information?

Here is an awesome video where SpeedKar99 pieces out his old Lexus convertible for parts

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