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It may have a salvage car title, and we all know that those few words slash its value a whole bunch. Or, it could be aging poorly, getting rusty and broken down, and certainly not worth fixing up. The question is, do you sell car for scrap or sell car for salvage? I bet you didn’t even know they were different things!

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The first thing you need to know is the salvage car meaning. According to Wikipedia, salvage title is defined as a ‘vehicle that has been damaged and/or deemed a total loss by an insurance company that paid a claim on it’. Simply stated, a salvage car has been written off by the insurance company and given a salvage value and its title reflects it.

Now here’s the big thing about a salvage car: it can still be drivable, licensed, and insurable. A salvage car can be fixed up back to working order.

Bu when we’re talking about selling a salvage car, we’re talking about selling it as a car, not a lump of junk. It still has a make and model that are important, and its mileage and condition matter. It can be sold for parts to a recycler or it can be sold to someone who wants to fix it up and put it back on the road.

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It might seem like the same thing, but it’s not. The scrap car meaning is different because it directly refers to junk car recycling. Essentially, scrapping a car is determining that it no longer has worth as a motor vehicle. Its value is wrapped up in how much it weighs on the scale at the junkyard.

A scrap car is purchased by junk car recyclers with the intent of turning the vehicle back into raw materials. It doesn’t matter what badge or emblem is on the grille, how much horsepower you have, or if there are any leaks or rips in the upholstery. Its scrap car value is whatever the scale says when it’s weighed. This makes getting the best price for a scrap car a little more difficult than a salvage car.

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How Scrapping a Car Works

Ever wondered how to recycle cars for scrap? This is the process for scrapping a car:

  • You bring your vehicle to the junkyard. Most often, it has to be towed there because a scrap car is in pretty rough shape.

  • The junkyard weighs your car on their industrial-sized scale. You’re offered a take-it-or-leave-it price per pound, based on its actual weight on the scale.

  • You sell the junk car to the junkyard. Usually it involves signing over the title and writing a basic bill of sale.

  • They give you cash or a check, enough for a fried chicken meal for the family or a case of your favorite sudsy drink.


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Set a scrap car and a salvage car side by side, and you might not be able to tell the difference. What sets them apart is what you do with them.

Salvage cars are sold for parts or to be repaired. Scrap cars are crushed and sold as raw material. Scrap cars head to a refinery where they are melted down and used to make a new car, refrigerator, or bicycle (or something like that).

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Is It Worth Scrapping a Car

Is it even worth it to scrap a car for cash? How much can you plausibly get for a scrap car? And where would you even start?

You can start by Google searching ‘scrap my car near me’. Several junk car recycling locations will pop up on your phone or computer screen. Once you have a few places to try, you’ll need to call each one and find out how much they pay per ton for scrap cars. They won’t care what the make or model is, just how much it weighs.

Then, hire a tow truck. Pay the driver to haul the car to the junk yard. Find a competitive price for the tow or it could cost you more to haul it away than you’ll get paid for the car itself.

Make sure you bring your car title. It’s alright if you have a salvage car title for it – the recycler doesn’t really care about that.

How to Sell Your Car to

Whether you’re considering selling a salvage car or selling a car for scrap value, there could be a better option. Check out CarBrain first – you might be surprised at the offer you’ll get for your car with our instant online car value estimator.

All you have to do is fill out your car’s information into the CarBrain system. You’ll be provided a guaranteed offer for your car in as-is condition, where it is. If the price we offer looks good, all you have to do is accept it. We’ll pay you top cash value for your less-than-perfect car and we’ll pick it up from you at no cost to you. Does it get any better than that? See the offer for your car now to find out how much your vehicle is worth!

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