Junkyards: What Are They?

What They Are and What They Do 

What Is A Junkyard? 

A junkyard is a large lot that is filled with a variety of old, unusable, damaged, and unwanted things. This can range from industrial supplies, building materials, old appliances, and most commonly, automobiles. Some junkyards specialize in specific things, such as cars and other terrestrial vehicles. These are called auto junkyards. Others will be even more specific focusing on car brands, and specific classifications of vehicles. A junkyard is often the final resting place for many things that do not end up in a landfill. 

Other Types of Junkyards 

There are a few different kinds of junkyards, each focusing on a different goal with the junk that they own. The majority of junkyards seek to profit by supplying used parts for customers who want replacement parts for their vehicles, or appliances. 

Auto Salvage Yards 

What is an auto salvage yard? These are junkyards that typically focus on salvage vehicles. These are vehicles that have been deemed a total loss by an insurance company. These attract car enthusiasts and businesses as it allows them to get cheap replacement parts for themselves or their customers. Usually, the salvage yard’s customers will shop around by looking through the various damaged vehicles that the salvage yard has in its inventory. The customer will then remove whatever parts they want and negotiate a price with the salvage yard employees. 

Car Scrap Yards 

A car scrap yard is a junkyard that focuses on the recycling value of cars. Usually, these cars are very old, very damaged, and beyond repair. These scrap yards will strip all pieces of their cars that are worth money to be sold to a recycler. Things like the catalytic converter are full of valuable elemental metals. These pay for an old car by themselves. 

Auto Wrecking Yards 

Wrecking yards are very similar to salvage yards and scrap yards. “Wrecking yard” is a term more commonly used in other parts of the English-speaking world. It is essentially the same thing as a scrap yard and salvage yard, just with a different name. 

Model-Specific Junkyards 

Like mentioned before, there are specific junkyards that focus on specific makes of vehicles. The makes that these junkyards focus on have been around for a long time, are still actively manufacturing vehicles, and have a high demand for parts. 

Honda Junkyard 

Honda has been around for decades and has built millions of cars, and thousands of different models over the years. Some of these one-off models have become classics over the last few years. This has caused some junkyards to focus specifically on Honda vehicles. The rarity of specific import vehicles can yield high-profit margins for junkyards. These junkyards are looking to capitalize on the recent Japanese domestic market import trend.

Mercedes-Benz Junkyard 

Mercedes-Benz has been manufacturing cars for over 100 years and does to this day! The biggest issue with Mercedes-Benz vehicles is how costly they are to repair because of labor and the cost of parts. This problem is where junkyards can make big bucks. By supplying used Mercedes-Benz parts, these junkyards can make a healthy profit by selling parts at a discount and cutting out Mercedes-Benz altogether. 

Toyota Junkyard 

Much like Honda, Toyota has been building cars for many years. Toyota has built many of the cars that are fueling the JDM craze. Junkyards want to capitalize on the newfound demand for these rare Toyota parts by buying salvage, damaged, or otherwise undriveable cars and parting them out. As the obsession with JDM cars grows, these junkyards will continue to make money. 

Vehicle Classification Junkyards 

A lesser known auto junkyard is junkyards that focus on specific classifications of cars. For example, classic car junkyards that buy old, beat-up classic cars and sell the parts to car enthusiasts who want to rebuild a classic car of their own. There are more examples of this beyond just classic cars as well. 

Boat Junk Yard 

There are specific junkyards that focus on old, damaged boats, motors, and other boat parts. Boats and maintenance on boats can be expensive. Imagine how much it could cost to rebuild one! This is where these junkyards can help by providing boating enthusiasts a cheap way to rebuild their boat motors or fix their old sailboat for much cheaper! 

Import Junkyard 

An import is a vehicle that is imported into the United States despite it never actually being sold by its manufacturer in the states. These vehicles could have been sold anywhere else in the world, which is why there is such a high demand from car enthusiasts for import car parts! Import junkyards can find and buy old, damaged, or salvage title vehicles from around the world and import them to the United States to be used for parts. This can be a great business for the right junkyard owner who knows their cars. 

How Do Junkyards Work: What They Do

One thing that you might be asking yourself is how do junkyards work and what do they do? Junkyards find value in things that many people think is valueless. This includes things that are old, worn, and sometimes damaged beyond recognition and consist mostly of metal. Junkyards are important because they allow consumers to participate in the recycling process. Old things can be reused, repurposed, or at the very least, recycled by being melted down and turned into something new and of value. 

Junkyards usually will do these things: 

  • Buy cars from consumers 
  • Sell junk/salvage cars to consumers or businesses
  • Both buy and sell cars to consumers and businesses 
  • Sell and buy car parts from customers

How to Sell Your Car to a Junkyard 

Get Quotes from Multiple Junkyards 

The best way to get started is to start calling around and see what kind of offer they will give you over the phone. Always expect this offer to lower once they see the vehicle. After getting the best quote, schedule a time for them to see the car and make a final offer. 

Determine Whether or Not You Have a Title and the Kind of Title

More than likely, if you are selling a car to a junkyard you either do not have the title or have a salvage title for the car. Owning the salvage title will make things much simpler for you. 

Get Your Car to the Junkyard

To sell your car to a junkyard, you first need to bring it to them. This will be difficult if the car cannot be driven because of its title or condition. That means you will have to get it towed to a junkyard increasing the cost to you that selling your car has. The junkyard may weigh the car to determine its scrap value or offer you cash on the spot. 

Make a Deal 

After meeting in person and the junkyard decides that they want to purchase your car, here starts the haggling process. The junkyard will talk you down however they can so they can make as much money as possible. Make sure to stand your ground and do not give in to any “take-it-or-leave-it” tactics. 

How Much Do Junkyards Pay for Cars? 

You can usually expect somewhere between $300 and $500 based on several different factors. These can include the junkyard’s interest in the car, the condition of the car, past experiences with reselling the car, or selling parts from it, and the list goes on. Junkyards will give you cash when you need it but if you want the most money for your car, a junkyard is not going to be the place. 

Selling Your Car Without a Title to a Junkyard

Junkyards that buy cars without a title are common. These junkyards must have a way to process or make money from scrap metal that comes from cars. Unfortunately, selling your car for scrap metal because you do not have the title will dramatically decrease the amount of money you could get for your car. 

How Do You Get Your Title? 

The alternative to selling your car for scrap without the title is to request a duplicate title from your state’s DMV. This can take weeks and will cost a small fee. Having the title will open up your options to other places that will buy your car and you can get much more money for your car as well. 

Junkyards have many functions and can be useful to consumers and businesses by saving them money on car parts, buying their old cars, or by selling full salvage title vehicles as parts cars. 

How to Buy Parts from a Junkyard 

One of the main things that many car builders and enthusiasts will do is go to a junkyard in search of a cheap replacement part for a vehicle that they are rebuilding. Junkyard can have hundreds, even thousands of cars in their yard at a time. These cars can be American classics, import oddities, or just your run-of-the-mill passenger car. This is what makes them so alluring to car enthusiasts and hobbyists. 

The customer can search throughout the yard looking for either exact model matches to their rebuild, or cars that were built using the same parts. This is common for some automakers to do. The customer can then strip the part from the car and then haggle with a junkyard employee on a price. These kinds of junkyards are commonly referred to as a pull-a-part junkyard. More than likely, the junkyard paid very little for the vehicle and that one piece could, in some cases, pay for the entire vehicle. The parts business is very profitable for junkyards. 

How to Buy a Car from a Junkyard 

Much like buying parts from a junkyard, the customer will shop around and see what interests them. They might be a business or just an enthusiast that is looking for a project. Businesses will typically be looking for cars they can restore or fix up enough to then sell for a profit to someone else. 

It is safe to assume that majority of cars that end up in a junkyard will be salvage titles. That is why finding a clean title is like finding a diamond in the rough. Clean titles do not mean pristine condition, but it does mean that the car has not been claimed as a total loss by an insurance company. That means no major accidents, and usually means most mechanical damage is repairable. These are what enthusiasts and businesses are looking for. 

After finding the car that interests them most, they will begin the haggling process with a junkyard employee, find a price they are both happy with, and sign over the title from the junkyard owner to the customer. 

Should You Sell Your Car to a Junkyard?

Many owners of junk cars think of junkyards first when trying to sell their car. There are so many better ways to sell your junk car than to a junkyard. Junkyards will not give you the best offer on your junk car and will give you way less than what your car is worth.

Junk Cars Are Worth More than You Might Think 

If you want to sell a vehicle to a junkyard, the first thing you should do is determine what its scrap value is. At the very least, you should get the car’s value in scrap when getting an offer from a junkyard. Many websites monitor the current price of scrap auto parts and the market value of each. If you’re missing parts on your junk car, then find the make and model and determine what the factory weight is to estimate how much your car is worth in just pure scrap metal. 

After reading why junkyards aren’t the best place to sell your car, no matter how much of a piece of junk your car is; why are junkyards still the first place that people resort to? If anything, junkyards should be a last resort! 

Junkyards as Part of Americana 

The American junkyard has attracted treasure hunters, car enthusiasts, and the generally adventurous for decades. There are movies, songs, characters, and many other parts of pop culture that are based on or inspired by junkyards. The thing about junkyards is that you’re never sure what you can find and exploring a big dirt lot filled with mountains of metal, discarded items, and miscellaneous junk is exciting! Junkyard finds are a common topic for TV shows about car restoration, and have elevated the mysterious aura of the junkyard. 

Junkyards in Pop Culture 

There are many TV shows that focus around finding rare vehicles in junkyards and restoring them to their former glory. There are also others that focus on engineers using scrap and junk to create machines and robots to complete tasks. 

Junkyard Wars 

The Junkyard Wars TV show ran from 1998 – 2009 before it was canceled due to growing production costs. This show helped inspire engineers all over the world and popularize science, as well as growing the public’s interest in junkyards. 

Junkyard Empire 

Junkyard Empire is about a father-son body shop that restores junk cars to their former glory. The show is thought to have been canceled but it showcased the potential that both junkyards and junk cars have with enough to determination and know-how. 

The Junkyard Dog 

While not a movie or TV show, Junkyard Dog was a WWF wrestler whose charisma and personality garnered him significant fame in the wrestling industry. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. His name was inspired by his job working in a junkyard, and by the “junkyard dog” that served to protect the junkyard. 

Are There Junkyards Near You? 

While you may think that junkyards are far and few between, the problem is that you’re probably not looking in the right place. There are industrial areas typically on the outskirts of large cities or towns that are home to many junkyards. If you decide to visit one of these functional junkyards, there are some things you need to keep in mind. 

Junkyard Etiquette 

It might sound funny, but there are certain guidelines you should be aware of when visiting local junk yards near you. 

Stay Out of the Way 

If you’re not there to look for parts for a car, look at old junk appliances, or shopping for something specific; it’s best to not bother anyone while you’re there. These places are businesses and are constantly moving large, heavy objects. The last thing you want to do is be the reason why they had to stop what they’re doing. 

Bring Your Own Tools 

Junkyards don’t usually let people borrow tools. This means that you’ll need to bring your own when visiting nearby junk yards. Be prepared to work when you’re there because junkyards take a do-it-yourself approach with helping customers. 

Don’t Waste Their Time 

Most of the time, you’ll be okay to just look around, but it is advised to not bother any employees unless you are sincerely interested in buying something. Junkyards focus on business-to-business transactions and $5 car bumper will be on the bottom of the list of priorities. 

What Junkyard Pays the Most for Cars? 

Junkyards will vary dramatically in their offers, but they will always be lower than what you might expect. They can also be intimidating because of the experience that junkyard owners have with negotiation. That’s why you shouldn’t settle for a junkyard and find a junk car buyer that will make your experience as smooth as possible.

The friendly junkyard doesn’t exist for the person trying to sell their car. That’s why instead of selling junk cars to junkyards, you should sell your junk car to CashForCars.com! We have thousands of happy customers and positive reviews, and almost 200 locations around the United States! We have made the car selling process as easy as possible. All it takes is 5 to 10 minutes on the phone with an offer specialist to receive your guaranteed quote and schedule your pickup. In 24 hours or less, your junk car is gone, and your check is in-hand. Sell your junk car to the best car buyers in the auto industry!

We buy junk cars, trucks, SUVs, Motorcycles and More!