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What Does "Salvage Value" Mean for My Car?

If you’re reading this, you might be wondering “what is salvage value?” or more specifically, “what is the salvage value of my totaled car?” When it comes to motor vehicles, salvage value can have several different meanings.  

Typically, the term"salvage car" refers to cars with a salvage title, which are vehicles that have been in a major accident and been written off or declared a total loss by insurers.

Oftentimes, these vehicles are repaired and re-sold. Other times, they’re handed off to a local junkyard to part out and then scrap.

Other times, the “salvage car” definition applies more loosely to vehicles with extremely high mileage or major mechanical issues that are beyond repair. Thus, salvage cars prices can vary widely based on the make, model, year and condition of your vehicle.

Let’s take a look at the salvage value formula and how you can use it to find the value of your car.

How to Calculate the Salvage Value of Your Car

balancing table with a calculator on which there is a toy car and coins The actual math for determining salvage car prices is pretty straightforward. For all vehicles, depreciation will proceed at a predictable rate for the lifetime of the car. That means a vehicle you purchased off the lot for $20,000 might be worth as little as $5,000 after five or seven years of regular use.

For salvage vehicles, however, you also have to factor in additional wear and tear, which can include everything from fender benders to major accidents. These incidents will drastically lower the value of your vehicle. A car’s salvage value is typically much lower than its used car value, especially if it’s no longer running.

Salvage title value, if a car has not been repaired after a major accident, will only be worth 10%-50% of an equivalent used car’s value. Even if you decide to pay out of pocket for major repairs (or insurance pays for them), you’re still only likely to receive about 70% of the value of a used car that was never damaged.

In any case, NADA my car value is rarely an effective measure of what your car will be worth, since dealers and junk car buyers will try to discount even the most pristine used cars just to cover their bases and increase their profit margins (most sellers are eager to get rid of their old junk cars anyway).

What's the Quickest Way to Find the Salvage Value of my Car?

To ensure you’re getting fair scrap value for your vehicle it’s essential to get a second opinion so that you have a basis for comparison.

The quickest way to do that is by using our online pricing tool here at CarBrain. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions about your vehicle, and we’ll give you a guaranteed, no-obligation offer in just 90 seconds. We buy salvage vehicles for top dollar all over the country. Calculate the value of your damaged car instantly!

You’re free to shop around, and there’s never any pressure to sell, so you’ll get peace of mind knowing you can always sell your vehicle & its parts to CarBrain, without the hassle of expensive repairs.

Did You Know?

Our team of experts has made over a million offers on less-than-perfect cars over the last seven years alone. Each of those offers was guaranteed, and every one of our offers comes with FREE towing and junk car removal—so it doesn’t matter whether your vehicle will even start or run. We buy junk cars, salvage cars, totaled cars, and cars with major mechanical/electrical issues. When you’re working with CarBrain, you’re working with the experts.

Having a salvage title on your vehicle can make it difficult to sell—usually reducing the Kelley Blue Book/NADA my car value by 50-70% when compared to a used car that hasn’t been in a major accident. That means any time, effort or money you sink into repairing your vehicle can potentially be at a loss, and you’re better off cutting your losses and moving on to a new vehicle.

How can I get a quote for my junk car instantly?

It's simple, and it takes less than 90 seconds... click the button below to get started and find out how much your junk vehicle is worth!

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What's The Salvage Value of A Totaled Car?

drawing of a red car with a floating couple from under the hood and a man calling in front of the car Dealers and wrecked car buyers typically won’t think twice about buying a salvage car—serious damage or totaled. If they do, they’ll insist on a serious discount that often means the sale won’t even be worth your time.

That leaves you with local junk yards, who are notorious for the lowball offers, various scams and intense pressure to sell on the spot… or you could sell to the experts here at CarBrain. We specialize in appraising, buying and selling less-than-perfect cars, which means we can often get you more for your old total loss vehicle than almost anyone else out there.

How Does Selling A Vehicle for Salvage Value Work?

The process is straightforward thanks to our online pricing tool, and we’ll never hassle you to sell if you’re not entirely comfortable with our offer. Once you do decide to sell, we can come to pick up your vehicle from your home or office and put the payment in your hand within 24-48 hours. That means you can handle the whole streamlined process with no fuss, and without even having to leave the comfort of your home or office.

Totaled car values are hovering near their all-time lows, and you shouldn’t have to settle for a penny less than what your car is worth. Contact CarBrain today and discover how we’ve earned thousands of five-star reviews and one of the best reputations in the industry. The whole process can be finished in as little as 24-48 hours, and you can stop worrying what to do about that salvage vehicle you’re stuck with. Just click HERE to get started with your free online offer today!

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How Do You Determine the Salvage Value of A Car?

Determining the salvage value of a vehicle is a dynamic process. Market values for cars of different conditions vary based upon factors such as local demand and scrap metal prices.

Why is Salvage Valued Lower?

Typically, whenever potential buyers notice there’s an accident history or past damages on a vehicle of interest, they will have reservations about the car.

Buyers anticipate that other buyers will value the vehicle lower because of its history, so they choose to do the same. It's not always clear why buyers prefer lower price points on salvage cars, but that is just the way that markets currently work.

How is Salvage Value Different from Scrap Value?

Salvage value refers to the value of the remaining parts in a vehicle. For instance, the engine, transmission and catalytic converter retain a lot of value because they’re complex tools that are crucial to a vehicle’s operation. Some cars are sold for their remaining parts — these are typically the vehicles referred to as salvage cars.

Scrap value, however, refers to when a vehicle no longer has those functioning parts and is only good for the metal that can be extracted from it. A functioning catalytic converter can be reused, but a yard can also extract the precious metals inside the catalytic converter and recycle or sell them instead.