You can sell your old car for a good price, but maybe not the best price. Not yet. The car salvage industry is still recovering from the steep plunge it took at the beginning of 2015, when the price for salvaged steel fell like a ton of bricks. For a while, back in 2016 and part of 2017, junk cars were going for two hundred dollars, if they were going at all. Quite a few junkyards and salvage operations went out of business during the past few years — victims of the crash in recycled auto parts and metals prices. Those who managed to stay in business did so by lowering their expectations, and payments, on old automobiles.

 

The days of getting an easy five hundred for a junker are not quite back yet, but most experts in the salvage auto industry see that price as a real possibility if the world market for recycled steel and other auto parts continues to come back as strong as it is right now. In China the demand for steel, any kind of steel, is so ravenous that buyers are willing to pay just about anything in order to fill orders that in some cases have remained unfulfilled for the past four months. What’s holding them back is their own government — which is not yet ready to let in an unlimited flood of US junkers and their loose parts.

 

The real monkey wrench in the works right now is the new tariff on steel and aluminum that Washington is determined to impose on friendly and unfriendly countries alike. Some pundits predict a full-blown trade war will be the result, and if that happens there’s no telling what will happen to the market for junkers. Prices may skyrocket — or they may just as easily bottom out. Anyone wanting to sell a junker right now should keep this imminent volatility in mind. The sooner it can be sold, the better chance the price will be a good one. In many communities junkers are going for around four hundred dollars. And that’s a nice chunk of change to help finance a vacation, pay off the credit card, or buy the latest technological marvel.

 

Here are the best tips I’ve found for getting the best price to junk my car:

 

Call around

Some of the bigger scrap dealers are the most aggressive with local advertising, but they may not necessarily give the best price for an old clunker. So shop around — find several junk dealers in your area and contact all of them to see who will give the best price.

 

Have your paperwork ready

A scrap dealer will not consider buying a vehicle without the title in hand. Or if they do, they will reduce their payment quite a bit for the bother and expense they must go to in order to locate the title themselves.

 

Drive it in yourself

If the junkyard doesn’t have to pay to have it towed in, they are often willing to pay an additional fifty to one hundred dollars to the owner.