If you’ve got a rundown jalopy sitting in your driveway and want to be rid of it, you can consider selling the car for scrap rather than as a drivable vehicle. Although scrap car prices are much lower today than they have been in the past, at least you will get something for the car rather than sinking thousands of dollars into it to get it going again. Why is the price for steel so low these days? There’s a one-word answer: supply. The Chinese are producing steel at an ever-increasing rate, which is flooding the market with an abundant supply. Both the European Union and the United States have begun fighting this abundance with high import tariffs, and the price for steel and the accompanying scrap car prices have both hit bottom and begun a slight upturn.
It must be said, however, that the days of getting $400 or more for a junk car are long gone and not likely to return in less than a year’s time. Still, the chance of putting some money into your pocket is attractive compared to the price of fixing up a rusting clunker. Don’t give up hope regarding these prices, however. Even in a bear market, there are opportunities. It behooves anyone looking to unload a scrap car to check around to see the price junk dealers are willing to pay. It’s even worthwhile to check out dealers in other states.
Of course, if the prices you can find don’t appeal to you, you also have the option to keep your junk car until scrap car prices rise again. These things are usually cyclical, so sometimes patience is not only virtuous but also prosperous. In 2012, for example, raw scrap steel was selling for more than $500 per ton. In July 2013, that had fallen to roughly $100 per ton. By February of 2015, it was back up to $480 per ton. Today, it’s at $50 per ton. The long and short of it is this: If you need a little extra money right away, get rid of the junk car at $50 per ton. If you can afford to wait, wait.