How Much Do Junk Yards Pay For Cars? The Complete Breakdown

Are you thinking about junking your old car and wondering how much money you can get for it? Selling your used car to a junkyard or scrap yard can put some extra cash in your pocket. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how junkyards determine the value of your car and how much they’ll pay.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Most junkyards pay between $100 and $500 for unwanted vehicles, depending on the size, weight and condition. The average payout is around $250.

Read on as we dive deeper into what impacts scrap car values, tips for getting top dollar for your junker, and a full breakdown of payout rates by vehicle type.

What Factors Determine Junk Car Prices

When it comes to selling your old car to a junkyard, the price you receive will depend on several factors. Here are the key factors that determine how much a junkyard will pay for your car:

Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle you have plays a significant role in determining its value in the eyes of a junkyard. Generally, larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs tend to fetch higher prices compared to smaller cars.

This is because larger vehicles contain more metal, which can be recycled and sold at a higher price. Additionally, certain makes and models may be more desirable to junkyards, which can influence the price they are willing to pay.

Weight and Size

The weight and size of your car also impact its value. Junkyards typically pay based on the weight of the vehicle, as they are primarily interested in the amount of scrap metal they can extract. Heavier cars will generally command higher prices, as they contain more metal.

However, it’s important to note that the weight of your car alone is not the sole determinant of its value; other factors such as condition and demand also come into play.


The condition of your car can significantly affect the price you receive from a junkyard. If your car is in good working condition, with minimal damage or mechanical issues, it may be considered for resale rather than being scrapped for parts.

In such cases, you can expect a higher offer from the junkyard. On the other hand, if your car is heavily damaged, rusted, or missing essential components, its value will decrease as it will likely be sold for scrap metal.

Scrap Metal Prices

The prices of scrap metal in the market play a crucial role in determining how much a junkyard will pay for your car. Scrap metal prices can fluctuate due to various factors such as global demand, supply, and economic conditions.

It’s always a good idea to check the current scrap metal prices before selling your car to a junkyard. Websites like provide up-to-date information on scrap metal prices, allowing you to make an informed decision.

It’s important to note that the prices offered by different junkyards may vary based on their individual policies and operating costs. Therefore, it’s a wise idea to shop around and compare offers from multiple junkyards to get the best deal for your old car.

Tips for Maximizing Your Payout

When selling your car to a junkyard, you want to make sure you get the best possible payout. Here are some tips to help you maximize your earnings:

Compare Offers from Multiple Junkyards

Don’t settle for the first offer you receive. Take the time to shop around and compare offers from different junkyards. Prices can vary significantly, so getting multiple quotes will give you a better idea of what your car is worth.

Consider reaching out to both local and online junkyards to expand your options.

Remove Valuable Parts Beforehand

Before selling your car to a junkyard, it’s worth taking the time to remove any valuable parts that could be sold separately. This could include items like the battery, alternator, catalytic converter, or even certain electronic components.

These parts can often fetch a higher price when sold individually, so it’s worth the extra effort.

Have Clear Title and Proper Documentation

Having a clear title and proper documentation for your vehicle is essential when selling it to a junkyard. Make sure you have the necessary paperwork in order, including the title, registration, and any other relevant documents.

This will help streamline the selling process and ensure that you get the highest possible payout for your car.

Clean Out the Vehicle

While this may seem like an obvious step, it’s important to clean out your car before selling it to a junkyard. Remove any personal belongings, trash, or unnecessary items from the vehicle. Not only will this make the process easier for the junkyard, but it can also give the impression that you’ve taken good care of your car, potentially increasing its value.

Time Your Sale Strategically

Timing can play a role in how much a junkyard is willing to pay for your car. Keep an eye on market trends and try to sell your car when demand is high. For example, if there is a shortage of a particular car model or if the price of scrap metal is on the rise, you may be able to negotiate a higher payout.

Stay informed and be patient to ensure you get the best deal possible.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of getting a higher payout when selling your car to a junkyard. Remember to do your research, prepare your vehicle, and time your sale strategically to maximize your earnings.

Average Scrap Car Prices by Vehicle

Compact Cars: $150-$400

When it comes to compact cars, junk yards generally pay between $150 and $400. The exact price depends on factors such as the make, model, age, condition, and demand for parts. Some popular compact car models that may fetch a higher price include the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Ford Focus.

Remember, prices can vary between different junk yards, so it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best offer.

Midsize Cars: $200-$500

If you have a midsize car that you’re looking to sell to a junk yard, you can expect to receive between $200 and $500. Midsize cars, such as the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Chevrolet Malibu, are in demand for their parts and scrap metal.

However, keep in mind that the condition of your car will heavily influence the final price you receive.

Large Cars: $250-$600

Owners of larger cars, like sedans and full-size vehicles, can receive anywhere from $250 to $600 from junk yards. The price you’ll get for your large car will depend on factors such as the weight of the vehicle, the condition of the scrap metal, and the demand for parts.

It’s worth noting that some large car models, such as the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300, may command a higher price due to their popularity.

SUVs and Trucks: $250-$700

For those with SUVs and trucks, the payout from junk yards can range from $250 to $700. These larger vehicles often have valuable parts, such as engines, transmissions, and body panels, which can fetch a higher price.

Additionally, the weight of SUVs and trucks generally results in a higher scrap metal value. So, if you have an old Ford Explorer or Chevy Silverado lying around, you might be pleasantly surprised by the offer you receive.

Scrap Luxury Cars: $300-$1,000

If you’re the owner of a luxury car that has seen better days, you may be wondering what a junk yard would be willing to pay. Scrap luxury cars can fetch anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending on the make, model, and condition.

Luxury car parts are often sought after by enthusiasts, which can drive up the price. So, if you have a damaged BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Lexus, don’t rule out the possibility of getting a decent payout.

Remember, these prices are just averages, and the actual amount you receive may vary. It’s always a good idea to contact different junk yards and compare offers to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Additionally, keep in mind that some junk yards may offer additional services, such as free towing or same-day pickup, which can add value to your transaction.


Selling an old, unwanted car to a scrap yard can provide a nice cash payout and convenience of quick and easy removal. While payouts vary based on vehicle type, size, weight and condition, most junkyards pay out $100-$500 per car.

By shopping around, timing your sale right, removing parts ahead of time and thoroughly cleaning out your car, you can maximize your scrap car value. Use this guide to get top dollar when the time comes to junk your old vehicle.

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