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What Determines a Junk Car's Value?

Around 74-78 million cars are sold around the world every year.

If you want to sell your car but it’s way past its prime, your only option might be to sell it as junk. While a junk car’s value will be a lot lower than one that’s in good condition, it can still be worth something. Multiple key factors can affect the value of a junk car.

For a rundown of some of these factors, we have created this article for you.

Make and Model

A brand-new car will typically have more value than an older one, but the make and model itself will also determine how much it’s worth. One of the main reasons for this is that old cars have old parts, and these are more susceptible to failure. Because of this, people will generally pay more for a car from a reliable manufacturer, as those parts tend to last longer.

Amongst junk cars, more recent models tend to be worth more because junk yards can generally fix and resell them more easily. Some manufacturers are preferred for car recycling and typically have a high junk value at recycling lots. This includes:

  • Toyota
  • Nissan
  • Ford
  • Honda

Some models, such as the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Honda Civic are known for their reliability. As such, they tend to hold their resale value well.

With that being said, some older models can still get a reasonable price. This is because even cars that are up to 20 years old may have salvageable parts.

Scrap Metal Prices

In many cases, junk cars are in such a bad state that they’re not worth repairing. You might still be able to sell yours, however, as the scrap metals from it can be quite valuable. It’s worth noting that the supply and demand of scrap metals are constantly changing, and this can affect how much your junk car is worth.

Two of the most common metals found in most cars are steel and aluminum. As such, the prices of these two will be the biggest factor when it comes to how much your junk car is worth. The value of each of these metals can change based on a range of factors, such as the global economy, energy costs, natural disasters, and more.

Geographical factors can also come into play here. If the US increases tariffs on imported aluminum and steel, it will become more expensive for manufacturers to purchase it from overseas.

They’ll then turn to local recyclers, which will allow these recyclers to charge more. In turn, they’ll be willing to pay more for junk cars. A global manufacturing downturn can also cause scrap metal prices to increase.

There are various apps that can track the prices of scrap metals. By using one of these, you can see when prices are high so that you can sell your car at the best time.


As you may expect, the condition of your car will affect its value. It may also determine what the buyer will do with it.

If your car is in a reasonable state (i.e., still drives ok) it will usually get a better price. The recycler will likely make some repairs and sell it for a profit.

If it’s in poor condition, however, it may not be worth the money for them to repair it. In this case, the best thing for them to do is to strip it down and salvage what parts they can.

If you have a junk car sitting in your garage, leaving it there untouched can cause the value to go down. It may start to deteriorate (often due to rust), so you’ll likely get a better sales price by selling it sooner rather than later.

Availability of All Parts

If you have a junk car for sale, it’s not just the condition of the parts that will affect the value, but also the availability of them. You might have sold certain parts already, but if crucial components are missing, a recycler will generally be far less interested.

Some high-value parts that people often sell include:

When parts like these are missing, it makes repair jobs much larger. Recyclers will therefore not want to pay as much, as they know they’ll need to replace various components. If they plan on scrapping the car, it’s still an option, but again, as they won’t be able to scrap whatever parts are missing, they’ll expect to pay less.

Demand for Parts

The value of specific parts varies depending on the car in question. Some cars are very common, in which case the parts won’t have the highest value. If your car is a rare model, however, the components will be in a much shorter supply, which typically makes them more valuable.

This can be especially true with older cars that are popular amongst collectors. If someone has an old car that’s very rare, they might be willing to pay a very high price for spare parts. Sometimes these parts don’t even need to be fully functional, as long as they can be repaired.

Your Junk Car’s Value

If you have a junk car, it’s not always easy to know how much it’s worth. As this article explains, various factors can affect how much you’ll get if you decide to sell.

All Car Buys purchases junk cars in the Orlando and Lakeland area. If you want to find out your junk car’s value, click here to tell us about it today.