Cashing in on Scrap and Junk Cars

Scrap Cars and profits

The world of Scrap and Junk cars varies drastically based on what you have invested or intend on getting paid.  Most people find themselves driving their vehicles until “the wheels fall off”.  For the serious scrappers out there,  we have  more of a financial interest in Scrap cars.  Just like anything, more effort will result in more money.  Today’s Scrap Metal Tips will help maximize your profits or returns at the scrap yard.

We Buy Junk Cars

For the casual car owner just looking to have their old Scrap Car removed there is a quick hands free option.  There is no shortage of companies and people that will pay for your Junk Cars and in most cases even pick them upMy suggestions if you fit this criteria are:
Call around– Not necessarily looking for a huge profit doesn’t mean that you    should be short-changed in any way.
Get Details–  Some companies have different requirements (Keys, fluids drained, title).  Find the best fit for your situation.
Deliver what was promised–  If you receive a quote for your Junk or Scrap Car in a certain condition, make sure that you leave it that way.  Do not agree on a price for a complete car, schedule a pick up then remove parts (Cat converter, rims, ect).

DIY for Maximum Profit

The following tips are for the scrappers that are able to deliver a  Scrap Car yourself.  As always call around to your local scrap yards and compare quotes.  Normally a complete car will bring 1-3 cents per pound more than normal shred steel.  After you decide on a yard to sell to make sure that you understand and fulfill their buying requirements (title, car prep).  In North Carolina a car more than 10 years old does not require a title.  If you are experimenting with buying and selling a Scrap Car always verify ownership.  When you sell to a scrap yard the VIN numbers will be ran through the Highway Department to verify it hasn’t been reported stolen.

 Simple upgrades

Remove the battery–  Required by most scrap yards.  Lead batteries bring 2-3 times the price of steel.  Generally you should be paid $10-$15 for a normal Scrap Car battery.

Scrap Car catalytic-converterCatalytic converter (NOT Cadillac convertible)  Converters come in a large variety of sizes and price ranges ($10-$300).  In most cases the converter can be removed with just a sawzall.  Keep in mind that there are often Pre Cats attached to the manifold.  Removing the pre’s can be more of a challenge but still worth the effort.


Scrap Car aluminum-wheels
Must be free of rubber and valve stem to receive full price.

Aluminum Rims– A Clean Aluminum Rim generally weighs in the 20 lb. range and sell in the ball park of .70/ lb.  Most yards that will take a Scrap Car will allow you to remove the tires on site.  Keep in mind that Aluminum rims and Chrome rims are paid differently.  Chrome rims can pay as much as .20/ lb less than Aluminum rims.  In some cases you might be better off selling Chrome After market rims on Craigslist.

Scrap Car Copper Auto RadsCopper Radiator– Also refereed to as Auto Rads.  Copper Radiators are a dying breed.  Found mostly in older Scrap Cars and trucks, a clean Auto Rad will sell in the $1.25-$1.75/ lb. area.  In order to sell Auto Rads as clean ALL steel MUST be removed.  Generally the steel fixtures are soldered on and can be removed with a propane torch and pair of vice grips.

Long term profits

There are still a few simple upgrades left.  These upgrades are better left for Scrappers that plan on selling multiple Scrap Cars over time.

Scrap Car Alternators Cores– Starters, Alternators and AC Compressors.   All priced differently but still 3 times the price of steel.  Cores are a nice item to pile up until your ready for one big payday.  Also contacting local your core buyers is an excellent way to maximize your profits.  Core buyers are normally a good way to sell your converters and even your batteries.

Scrap car wire harnessHarness Wire–  With only about 5-10 lbs. on each Scrap Car, it may not be worth your time to sell with  every trip to the scrap yard.  With Harness Wire selling close to $1.00/ lb. saving up 200-300 pounds could leave you a happy scrapper.

Even more profits

There are still different ways to make more profit from your Scrap Car.  Stay connected for future tips and methods by signing up to receive notices about future Blogs.  If you have more detailed questions or recommendations please leave a comment and I will address it ASAP.


Top 5 Scrap Metal Myths

Question Marks

Scrap Metal Myths and Misconceptions Explained

Explaining Myths and Misconceptions about Scrap Metal is a reoccurring theme for most scrap yard employees.  It’s human nature to want to believe, especially when things seem to good to be true.  Trust me I  know, every year I convince myself that the Buffalo Bills will make the playoffs.  Over the years I have tried to help educate my customer base the best I could.  For the most part it worked and the lessons seemed to be appreciated.  The Myths and Misconceptions below never seemed to fit into that category.  For whatever reason these topics normally caused arguments, mistrust, hurt feelings and worst of all broken professional relationships.  I hope this list clears the air and helps scrappers keep up a good relationship with their chosen recycler.

Scrap Metal Myth #5

Bigger isn’t always Better

Oversized Scrap metal mythFinding large over sized steel objects always feels like an instant win.  That concept is very understandable.  Conventional wisdom would say “this has to pay more than the refrigerator I sold here last week”.  The truth is you are right and wrong.  A large majority of Steel before it can be recycled must first be sent through a shredder before finally being passed on to a smelter.  In order for this to happen the Steel must be first be cut down to certain sizes allowing it to safely pass through the shredders.  Now it’s not all bad news, if you have the tools and are capable, scrappers can “prepare” the Steel before selling it.  Simply call your favorite Scrap Yard and ask them for their (standards change from place to place) dimensions for prepared steel.  Cutting the Steel yourself could bring on average an extra 3-5 cents per pound.  Now on the flip side if you can’t prepare the Steel, someone has to.  That is why most yards have an “un-prepared” or “torch steel” price that is normally lower than normal shred prices.

Scrap Metal Myth #4

Stainless Steel isn’t always Stainless Steel

Stainless steel Scrap metal mythStainless Steel in the appliance world is more about the look than the real material.  Remember scrappers the magnet is your most important tool.  Every spring Scrap Yards become flooded with back yard grills.  Out with the old and in with the new.  It is rare that a “Stainless” grill is what it seems.  The same could be said for most kitchen equipment.  If there are Stainless components attached most times it is for decoration and accounts for very little of the total weight.  The rule of thumb that I have always told customers, is unless you paid over $1000 it’s not very likely going to be all Stainless.

Scarp Metal Myth #3

Burning Copper Wire

Burning copper wire scrap metal mythI couldn’t possibly think of how many times I have tried to explain this misconception.  First lets start with the legal side of this.  I know in NC and probably every other state, burning copper wire is illegal.  I could be wrong, there might be a state or two where this isn’t a problem,  but I will speak for the state that I’ve worked in.  So on top of facing a huge fine, the math behind burning wire makes no sense.  Scrap Yard pricing is based on of copper recovery.  If the wire is 35% copper the pricing normally reflects that.  You are investing a lot of labor and legal risks for close to nothing in return.  There are cases where customers have been taken advantage of and not paid correctly but that’s a whole different story.  Here is the math based on the current market.  Keep in mind prices vary and so do categories.

35% #2 ICW (common recovery) 100lbs @ .60= $60.00 sold as wire.
#2 copper 35lbs @ $1.75= $61.25 sold as burnt copper.

Scrap Metal Myth #2

Recovering Gold from E-Scrap

Escrap gold scrap metal myth

I’m going to handle this Scrap Metal tip  in a classic true of false style.  This is a highly debated topic.  I am a huge believer in Risk Vs. Reward.

True in older computers and communication equipment there was a higher Gold content.  Naturally technology has changed drastically, making manufactures less dependent on gold.   What was once a $2,000 computer is now a $300 computer.  At $1,200 per ounce how much Gold do you really expect to extract from a $300 product?

False Gold can be extracted in a safe manner by an amateur from home.  According to this theory a Chemistry degree is a waste of time.  The phrase long-term health risk is just that.  Feeling healthy the next day does not translate to safe.  Remember when Doctors smoked in hospitals?  That changed once the long-term effects became obvious.

Please anyone reading this blog.  Take this serious, there is nothing safe or profitable about extracting Gold from computers.

Scrap Metal Myth #1

Pop can tabs and their value

Pull Tab Value scrap metal myth

The reason that I chose Pop Can Tabs as my #1 Scrap Metal misconception is simple.  Hope and heartbreak.  Many times customers have approached me with milk jugs or larger quantities of pull tabs.  In most cases it was obvious that they were saving up for that special moment to cash in huge.  The myths about the value of tabs has varied.  I have heard that the aluminum used is worth anywhere from $2.00 per pound all the way up to $100 per pound and even time on a dialysis machine.  The basis of this myth began when charities began using the tabs as fundraising tools.  Sponsors  would give X amount of money for X amount of tabs collected.  Over time the myth began to give the pull tabs a dollar value instead of the donation pledge.

That wraps up my 5 Scrap Metal myths and misconceptions.  I hope you found my list informative.  If you have any questions or future topics please contact me.  Check back next week for another Scrap Metal Guide.