Junk car weight for recyclable metal value

According to a recent study that was published by Experian, the average American household owns two or more vehicles (1). This figure would be considered unsustainable if it weren’t for the efforts of junk car and scrap metal dealers. In the United States, about 15 million cars reach their end of life each year (2). When a vehicle’s book value is lower than the costs for repairing it, it is considered to be at the end of its life.

The great news is that less than 14% of those junk cars end up in America’s landfills. Most of the rest are recycled. Recycling metal from junk cars is environmentally friendly, and it makes good economic sense. It requires less energy to recycle steel from used cars than it does to extract iron ore from a mine and process it into steel. Recycled steel also retains its strength indefinitely. However, the most popular reason for recycling junk cars for the average consumer is the money that they can receive for their scrap metal. Let’s explore how scrap metal from junk cars is valued and ways that you can get the most from your scrap metal treasure.

How weight of car determines a junk car’s scrap metal value

When you determine that it is more cost effective to haul your used car to the landfill instead of to your local mechanic, then it is time to consider selling it to a scrap metal dealer like Junk Car Traders for recycling. The condition of your car is one of the first things that junk car dealers consider. The appraisers at Junk Car Traders are trained to spot usable car parts that can be resold for more than the going rate for scrap metal. You could decide to commit hours of your time to selling the car parts separately for more money or you can sell your car to Junk Car Traders and we will pay you for the full value of the working parts and scrap material in your car. We also tow all over the country, including Oklahoma. 

The second and often the most important element of a junk car sale is your vehicle’s weight. For a junk car agency that deals purely in scrap metal, knowing how much a car weighs is all that matters. Over half of a quality car’s weight is comprised of steel (3). Buying and reselling steel from used cars is a core expertise of scrap metal dealers. The market rates for steel and other commodity metals change daily, and scrap metal dealers use these rates to determine how much they will give you based on the weight of your car. Most salvage yards pay between $200 and $400 per vehicle for the average junk car, but if you have a used car in decent condition Junk Car Traders will pay up to $12,000.

Tips for getting the best deals for your car’s scrap metal

When your car is delivered to a scrap metal dealer, it is placed on a scale, and its weight is used to calculate your payment after the dealer’s fees are subtracted. Here are some tips for getting the best deal:

Tip #1: Shop around for scrap dealers who have the lowest fees.

Tip #2: Check the published market price for metals the day of your deal (4).

Tip #3: Know the curb weight of your vehicle before negotiating a flat-rate price for your scrap metal. How much does a car weigh without driver, passengers and cargo? The answer is its curb weight.

Tip #4: Verify the accuracy of the scrap dealer’s scale (4). Stand on it yourself; if the scale is accurate within a couple of pounds, then the scrap dealer is likely honest. If you know that you’re 150 pounds but the junk car dealer’s scale says that you’re 97 pounds, then walk away because you’re likely on your way to getting scammed.

Tip #5: Make sure that you get price quotes in pounds and that you are paid for every pound of your vehicle (4). Some scrap metal dealers have been known to use other weight measures such as gross tons. When they round down to the nearest ton, you lose money.


  1. https://www.reference.com/world-view/many-cars-average-american-family-own-f0e6dffd882f2857
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20130217084026/http:/earth911.com/recycling/automotive/auto-bodies/benefits-of-recycling-car-bodies/
  3. http://www.rediff.com/money/2003/dec/08cars.htm

4. https://southernresources.com/top-10-things-your-scrap-metal-dealer-doesnt-want-you-to-know/

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