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The scrap metal market is an ever fluctuating one. Like your favorite roller coaster, it doesn’t only have its ups and downs, but also twists and turns too!

Based on JunkCarMasters.com discussion on the scrap value of a car, the average price per ton of a junk vehicle is $165 per ton. With the average car weighing two tons, sellers can expect to sell their junk care for a price tag in the ballpark of $300-$500.

Calculating Your Scrap Value

Fundamentally, junk cars’ scrap value is determined by their weight. Smaller, lighter cars will trend lower with the payout received, while larger vehicles will net a bigger payout.

calculating scrap metal offer

This method is so tried-and-true that essentially every scrap yard will use the same formula to calculate how much your vehicle is worth:

Scrap Metal Price/Ton x Car Weight (Tons)

This formula is commonplace across the industry when it comes time to calculate the value of particular scrap metal. However, it’s best used to determine a minimum value for your vehicle. The results can and will vary depending on several external factors.

7 Factors That Affect Scrap Metal Prices

1. Quality of Scrap Metal

Understandably, the quality of the scrap metal you bring in will affect the return you’ll receive. Corroded metals, metal covered in residue, or pieces that are a mixture will likely net you a lower price because the scrap yard has to spend more time cleaning your metal before it can be processed and recycled.

2. Amount of Scrap Metal

Selling a larger quantity of scrap metal at one time will get you a higher price from the scrap yard. Reason being, these scrap yards often sell your metal to a manufacturer or processor who recycles the metal. Save your metal up, bring it in all at once, save the scrap yard some transactions and costs on transportation, and maximize your profits!

3. Supply and Demand

Supply and demand dictate every facet of the American economy and scrap metal prices are no exception. If the supply of metal is high, but the demand is low then the price of scrap metal will be low. However, if the supply of metal is low and the demand is high, you can expect the prices to be high. Capitalizing on these fluctuations is the way for you to maximize how much profit you take home.

scrap metal yard

4. Time of Year

When you sell your scrap metal can also affect how much you take home as well. Unknown to most people, the construction and automobile industries are busier when it’s a bit warmer outside and they slow down when the temperature drops. Inclement weather also plays a part in the price of scrap metal: sourcing steel from steel mills; icy roads decreasing the amount of steel that can be transported slows down the amount of steel that can be acquired and sold.

5. Location

Your specific location can deeply impact the price you get for your scrap metal. Scrap metal isn’t usually processed at the scrap yard that purchases it and, therefore, has to be transported elsewhere. If that “elsewhere” happens to be quite a long distance away, the scrap yard will give you less money for your metal in order to offset the costs of increased transportation.

6. International Trade

We are not alone in the scrap metal industry. The ebb and flow of the foreign market has a significant effect on scrap metal prices here. Countries that import an abundance of scrap metal (India, China, etc.) influence global scrap metal prices whenever their demand shifts. The prices will rise when these countries want to buy more metal and the opposite is also true, where prices may fall when their demand is low. Changes in a foreign country’s policy will also impact scrap metal prices.

7. Market Prices of New Metals

Shifts in the price of new metal in the market impacts the price of scrap metal. When the price of new metals shoots up, buyers will shift to recycled copper in order to cut costs. However, this causes the price of scrap metal to rise in turn. The inverse is true as well; the price of new metal plummets and companies are much less inclined to purchase scrap metal, which drives the price of scrap metal down.

Scrap Prices for Common Models

Common Scrap Prices for Common Models
Honda Accord Between $450 & $577
Honda Civic Between $420 & $511
Toyota Corolla Between $435 & $520
Toyota Camry Between $495 & $595
Ford F-Series Between $600 & $825
RAM Pickup Between $675 & $858
Toyota RAV4 Between $495 & $602.25
Honda CR-V Between $495 & $585.75
Nissan Rogue Between $495 & $594

How To Capitalize On Scrap Prices

With scrap metal prices being subject to change depending on a myriad of factors, how can you ensure you get the greatest return on your junk car?

Knowledge: Having the most accurate information is 75% of the scrap metal battle and it’s imperative that you are armed with as much knowledge as possible.

Vehicle’s Weight v. Vehicle Accessories: Your vehicle’s tonnage is more important to determining its scrap price than your vehicle’s accessories. Taking the time to remove those items through an experienced mechanic will benefit you in the long run. Those parts can generate their own revenue when sold separate from the vehicle.

Current Market Prices: Steel, aluminum, copper, and other metals are the real prizes when scrap yards are eyeing your vehicle. They sell those parts to manufacturers who then recycle those materials into more cars, buildings, wires, etc. That said, it would be best for you to stay on top of what the prices for these metals are. There are plenty of resources that assist sellers in staying on top of the market prices for metals.

happy client on the computer

Scrap Metal And CarBrain

The scrap metal game can be summed up as “do whatever makes you the most money.” With profit as the focus, it is important to take into account the unanticipated costs associated with selling a junk car. These costs could be something as overlooked as towing and as unexpected as transportation costs because the manufacturer is difficult to get to.

To circumvent these sneaky costs, head to CarBrain.com. With a visit to CarBrain, you can receive a fair-market quote for your scrap car without going through the hassle of finding a scrap yard yourself. Once you accept the given quote, we schedule a tow with one of our service providers within the next 24-48 hours.

Our tow service is completely free of charge and the service provider will provide you with either cash or check at the moment of exchange. You don’t have to worry about transport from a scrap yard to a manufacturer biting into your profits either: We find the best quote for you, so you can guarantee you’re getting the best return on your scrap metal.

Check us out and get your less-than-perfect car off your hands now!


Get an Online Offer from a Junk Yard Near you

Do You Pick Up Scrap Vehicles Or Do I Have To Bring It?

CarBrain always includes free towing with our offers. You do not have to drop your vehicle off. Instead, we'll arrange to come pick it up from wherever it's located using one of our service providers.

What Affects Scrap Metal Price?

In short — supply and demand. When demand for scrap metal is high and supply is low, the price can soar. However, if demand is low and supply is high, the price will drop. Currently, prices are higher than usual due to general supply chain issues globally.

What Is The Most Valuable Scrap Metal?

Platinum is probably the most valuable scrap metal you can find in a vehicle. However, it's used in very small quantities. Copper is used more plentifully, and at $3.80 per pound it's still relatively profitable.