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Scrapping Your Car

Posted in Buyer Advice

Scrapping Your Car

If your car has gotten to the point where it’s no longer practical to repair, you might think about sending it to the scrapyard to get some money out of it.

But how do you get the most money from your car?


If it will cost more than its potential resale value when fixed, it might be time to consider scrapping it. This could be anything from new panels to a new engine – anything to get it back to roadworthy – that need to be replaced before you can safely drive the car again.

It’s more obvious on cars that may be missing a part like a door, but if your car has started to blow smoke – you might think about sending it to the scrapyard.

Another thing is if you’re thinking about selling your car; you will have to take it to get a safety certificate, unless you’re selling it as is. And if you thought your car was running fine, but an approved inspection station says that you have to have to conduct so many repairs before your car can be certified as roadworthy – it might be worth more as scrap than if you were to repair it to roadworthiness.

For example, you research that your car’s year and model is worth $4000, which you revise down to $3500 because it has a few scrapes and dents. You have it assessed for a new safety certificate, and you’re quoted $2700 for parts and labour before it will pass as roadworthy. Plus the cost to register it for another 6 months, and any money you spend on advertising it, means that out of your initial figure of $3500, you’ll only end up a few hundred dollars in front.

If your car is a specialist model, or very rare, it may be worth trying to restore – or if you don’t have the resources, selling it ‘as is’ to someone who can appreciate the value. This is never a guarantee, though, and if you need the quick cash or just want the car gone – sending it for scrap is probably the answer.


Depending on the car, you can typically only expect a fraction of the price you could get by selling it yourself. This is because you’re trading selling it for more money, and costing more of your time, for the convenience of having a problem car removed.

Scrap dealers will tend to offer more money the larger your car is, but it’s never a guarantee. If you can drive it to the scrap yard under its own power, you may be able to negotiate a higher price (because they don’t have to tow your car back to their yard) but of course that means that it’s registered and roadworthy enough to drive – which you may be able to sell privately for less than if it was problem free, but for more than its scrap value.

If your car is a genuine wreck, there’s a good chance that you won’t get any money for it – because the cost of towing it away outweighs any value for the scrap metal.

Scrap yards tend to quote conservatively, and they will assume that your car is just a shell with few working parts. You can negotiate more money for your car, but scrap dealers drive a hard bargain; so you’ll never reach a price significantly more than what their initial offer is.


If you’ve got the time and skills, you can sell your car for parts – which will take longer than just sending it to the scrap heap, but may net you some more money.

This means dealing with separate transactions with people who may only want one specific part, but you can generally set a competitive price – leading to a little more money for your car. Once you’ve sold as many parts as useful, you can then scrap the shell of the car for free.

The better condition your car is in, the more money you’ll be able to negotiate for – and of course if it’s in good enough condition to run, you may be able to trade it in to a dealership as a deposit on another car.

At Motorama, our valuers can assess how much your car is worth in ten minutes while you browse one of our seven new car brands or over 800 used cars in three convenient locations in Moorooka, Browns Plains-Hillcrest and Springwood.

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