What Parts of My Car Can I Sell as Scrap Metal?


Apr 22nd, 2022

What Parts of My Car Can I Sell as Scrap Metal?

Believe it or not, even a wrecked car still has value to offer. That’s because vehicles are mostly made up of metal parts that you can sell as scrap.

65% of your car consists of metal, and the best parts to sell as scrap metal include the catalytic converter, rims, panels, frames, and engines. They are made of metals like steel, copper, brass, platinum, and palladium, all of which you can sell to recyclers for money.

As you read this guide, you’ll understand just how much of your car is made of metal. You’ll even discover the types of metals used to make your car and which parts you should focus on to sell as scrap metal.

How Much Metal Is in A Car?

You can expect a typical passenger car to consist of at least 65% metal that you can sell for scrap for a handsome chunk of cash. That includes various metals from the car’s frame, under the hood, the exterior panels, and much more.

That 65% represents at least $485 worth of scrap metal in a car, but as you may know, prices fluctuate daily, so take that as a ballpark figure.

So, if a car is 65% metal, what’s in the remaining 35%? 

As you can imagine, manufacturers use various other materials besides metal to produce cars. That includes a lot of high-quality and durable plastic, which, by the way, is also recyclable.

How Many Types of Metals Are in a Car?

Here’s why automotive scrap metal recycling is full of potential: manufacturers use several different types of metals to produce one car. 

So, when you and other scrap metal recyclers take apart a vehicle, you can get your hands on metals like:

  • Steel: You might’ve already guessed correctly that your car has lots of steel. You’ll find this metal used in panels and the car’s frame.
  • Copper: You’ll also find plenty of copper in your car. It’s widely used in wiring and electronics as an electrical conductor and in the alternator, starter motor, radiator, and metal tubing.
  • Brass: Brass is known for being exceptionally heat-resistant, so you’ll find it used in tubes, radiator parts, and tanks.
  • Platinum and Palladium: These are precious metals that you’ll find particularly in your catalytic converter. Simply put: the higher the quality of your catalytic converter, the more of these precious metals you’ll find in them. That’s why cat cons are so in-demand for recycling, and it’s also what makes them such a tempting target for thieves

What Parts of My Car Can I Sell as Scrap Metal?

Your car consists of countless metal parts that come in all sorts of sizes. But when it comes to selling those parts as scrap metal, you’ll want to focus on the more significant parts that’ll be worth a decent amount of money.

Here are the 5 best car parts that you should focus on first to sell as scrap metal:

#1 Catalytic Converters

Criminals love stealing catalytic converters, and that should give you a hint as to how valuable it is. Cat-cons consist of precious metals (e.g., platinum, palladium, etc.) and can fetch you a few hundred bucks when you sell them as scrap.

#2 Rims

Your car’s rims are designed to sustain the vehicle’s weight, which is why they’re made of solid metal. Plus, you probably have four of them, which can earn you a pretty penny when sold for scrap.

#3 Car Panels and Frames

Next, don’t forget that your car also has plenty of recyclable metal panels and the frame that holds it all together. 

If your car is intact, that means you’ve got doors, a hood, and a roof that you can scrap for cash, at the very least.

Even if your car is a total wreck, you still have plenty of steel from the frame that you can sell as scrap.

#4 Car Engines

A typical car engine weighs more than 150 kilograms. So that should give you a hint as to how much solid metal is used to build an engine block that’s strong enough to contain the combustion process inside.

#5 Whole Cars

Let’s suppose you don’t feel like tearing your car apart piece by piece to pull out the parts you want to scrap. Don’t forget that you can scrap your car as a whole!

You can do that by calling an auto wrecker who will buy your car whole. They even do scrap metal pickups to tow the vehicle from your home. 

That way, the wrecker will pay you a flat price for the whole thing and dismantle the car themselves at their lot.

Why Do Scrap Metal Prices Change?

Scrap metal prices change every day. So, what you might get for your car parts won’t be the same tomorrow as it is today.

If you’re wondering why your car’s scrap metal price never stays the same, it’s because it boils down to these 3 factors:

  • Supply and demand (i.e., the market): First and foremost, the market sets the price for scrap metal based on supply and demand. Here’s a simple truth: prices go down when there’s more supply (e.g., people like you trying to sell scrap) than demand (e.g., people wanting to buy scrap metal). On the flip side, prices go up when there’s less supply but more demand in the market.
  • Quality and quantity (i.e., the metal you have): Next, consider the type and amount of scrap metal you’re selling. Naturally, you’ll fetch a better price if you have higher quality metals and lots of them. On the other hand, you’re not earning much if you only have a few small pieces to sell.
  • Overhead costs (i.e., the recyclers): The last factor is the recyclers you’re selling to. They’re not likely to be the end-user of your scrap metal. Instead, they’re just one stop along the supply chain that buys the metal before selling it to another party. Those recyclers also have overhead costs and a profit to make. That’s why some are willing to offer you better prices than others. 

When you understand these 3 factors and how they come together, you’ll be able to manage your expectations about how much money you can get for your scrap metal.

Where Do I Sell Scrap Metal in Australia?

There are plenty of options available for you to sell your car parts as scrap metal. For starters, you can find local recycling centres or scrap metal dealers who will be happy to buy from you.

However, auto wreckers are likely the better option. Because you’re trying to sell car parts, an auto wrecker will better understand how much the part is worth.

Skip the “scrap metal near me” searches online and go straight to CarpartAU’s Directory. There, you’ll be able to find the closest options available, whether you want to sell scrap metal in Brisbane or find the best Perth scrap metal buyers.

By Ray Hasbollah