Topic: Getting the most for scrap metal

I'm such a noob.  I feel so emasculated just asking this question.

Hold my hand please and walk me through getting the most for scrap metal.  I've been stacking up radiators and mufflers and I'm about to have a couple of catalytic converters, and a couple of small car hulls that I need out of the shop, I want to keep the wheels and  suspension parts from the cars so ideally they wont be rolling chassis.

Recently I overheard that you get more if you separate dissimilar metals.  To what extent is this necessary?

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-Dave
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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

It really depends on the part of the country and the yard you go to.  In my experience, the typical answer to your question would be yes, separate your metals.

Just for an example, we have one yard in this area that is paying $12.50/100# for a complete car vs. $10.50/100# for an incomplete car or scrap, which is what all the other yards in the area pay, regardless if it is complete or not.

You said you do not have complete cars, so this example doesn't pertain to you, but just showing that not all scrap yards have the same rules.

I would suggest calling ahead to see what they expect.  You can even ask how much they are paying for each.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

We've scraped a couple of honda chassis in the recent past.  The trick is to avoid the mixed metal price.  Drive/drag a car across the scales and you'll get the mixed metal price, or close to it.  The best we tend to do is get mixed steel and clean aluminum prices.  Not worth the trouble to strip wires to get clean copper and I end up saving/using most of the wiring anyhow.  Still haven't figured out what to do with catalytic converters - none of our cars still had them by the time we got to them.
In our area, to sell metal without it being a whole car plus title, you have to get a permit from the local sheriffs office.  With that permit in hand, we cut the car up into manageable pieces, pull out any aluminum we can and take a run to the salvage yard.  On a good day we can convince the yard guy that our heads and blocks are clean aluminum.  On a bad day he will put a magnet on the seats and cylinder sleeves and we will get mixed metal price for those.  It balances out with the days that I get clean aluminum price for a block with 40% steel in it.

If they want to give mixed metal price for the whole load on the basis that it is a car, you haven't cut it into small enough pieces yet...

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

I got $50 for a stripped car shell with a muffler, tail pipe and some other metal thrown in.  The same yard gave me $45 for the catalytic converter.  It was worth asking about the cat!

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

Yes, if you have the time to separate components, the radiator, AC condensor, heater core, evaporator, alternator, battery, catalyst(s), alloy wheels... can be sold separately for more than the $250/ton that a car shell gets.  Also, you may get more money if, or may be required to prove that, you've drained oil, coolant, fuel and freon.

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6 (edited by zebrabeefj40 2014-04-01 02:48 PM)

Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

Further, if the radiators have plastic tanks on aluminum cores - remove the plastic tanks.  If it is a copper/brass radiator make sure there are no steel bits soldered to it.  If so get out your propane/MAP gas torch and melt them off.  If it is an aluminum casting (alternator case, intake manifold, trans case) make sure there are no steel bolts, balls or bits attached.  Wire depends on size - battery cables I either reuse or strip to get clean metal price.  Harness wire I cut the connectors and crap off to get insulated wire prices.

A price list from one of the yards I've sold scrap to:

http://iscrapapp.com/yards/us-ohio-clev … _pricing=1

The closer you can get the part to it's base metal the more money it is worth at the scrap yard...

<--- Has paid for several races by selling scrap metals/scrap cars.

Nick
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7 (edited by Spank 2014-04-01 11:02 PM)

Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

I brought a chassis with title, no engine no suspension no wheels no interior-- steel and front/rear glass. I got  $105.00 GT at Ecology.

I'm never, EVER doing that again. It was 1540lbs and untold hours of work and got me a whopping $72.19

I chopped up a VW rabbit shell into little bitty pieces and took it to a metal recycler without a title. I got  $19. That's Nineteen friggin dollars. It didn't even pay for the cutoff wheels I went through.

Any of you guys want my scrap, come get it.

8 (edited by the shaolin 2014-04-02 05:56 AM)

Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

There are a lot of online places that will pay top dollar for your cat.  I like this approach because it's a little more "fair market" than the greasy guy behind the counter at the local wrecking yard squinting at your cat and offering you half what it's worth.  Plus, you can do it without putting on pants!  Send em a picture, they send you a quote, you mail em the cat, they send you a check.  Boom.

http://www.sellyourcatsdirect.com/current-prices/#cat


The last scrap car I got rid of went on craigslist.  Shell only, guy paid me $50 and picked the car up.  (I had 3 offers in 24 hours at that price, and didn't require cutting the car into little pieces)

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9 (edited by tSoG 2014-04-02 07:20 AM)

Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

Bare copper is bank. Burn the shell to get rid of the interior and fluids, yank copper and scrap shell. Also, shooting the car repeatey adds lead weight and is fun. Best to let others shoot so you arent buying the ammo

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

I piled up about 1400lbs in iron/steel scrap over three or four years and finally took it in to Alco in Oakland. I was excited at first for the $132, but then I realized I'd been storing a huge heap of garbage in my back yard for three or four years and my only reward was $132.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

Omnilith wrote:

I piled up about 1400lbs in iron/steel scrap over three or four years and finally took it in to Alco in Oakland. I was excited at first for the $132, but then I realized I'd been storing a huge heap of garbage in my back yard for three or four years and my only reward was $132.

I did similar with a couple of used up blocks, crankshafts, pistons, transmissions, exhaust manifolds, smog stuff etc from multiple blown engines. The day I took it all in they were only paying non ferrous metals so I got something like $30 all up after climbing over crap in my garage for a year.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

Wow.  You guys are getting shafted, generally.  Twice now I've bought crash damaged Civics, pull suspension, engine and transmission parts that I needed and made money at the scrap yard.  I know I can get better than $300 out of a cut down Civic shell.  Civics are pretty light so I figured I'd be on the low end here.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

I got $45 for a 1993 Audi S4 with no suspension, picked up after falling off jackstands in a flooded gravel lot.

I would have got $50, but I didn't have change, and was feeling generous.

Probably could have gotten more, but didn't want my buddy to get evicted from his shop- timeliness > money in some cases.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

the shaolin wrote:

There are a lot of online places that will pay top dollar for your cat.  I like this approach because it's a little more "fair market" than the greasy guy behind the counter at the local wrecking yard squinting at your cat and offering you half what it's worth.  Plus, you can do it without putting on pants!  Send em a picture, they send you a quote, you mail em the cat, they send you a check.  Boom.

http://www.sellyourcatsdirect.com/current-prices/#cat

These guys are legit. I got $65 each for two leftover cats a couple of months ago.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

solman244 wrote:

Wow.  You guys are getting shafted, generally.  Twice now I've bought crash damaged Civics, pull suspension, engine and transmission parts that I needed and made money at the scrap yard.  I know I can get better than $300 out of a cut down Civic shell.  Civics are pretty light so I figured I'd be on the low end here.

I happen to have a guy across the street from my shop that crushed/scraps cars, and pays pretty well for junk cars. Of course, he has a crusher, and pulls the cores and copper out himself, so his margins are higher.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

Don't forget to yank your batteries, they get about 10 or 11 bucks each.  For awhile the core return at the auto parts store was only 5 bucks, so I'd keep all my old batteries.  When I amassed a dozen or so of them I brought them all down with a bunch of other stuff I had- a year's worth of aluminum cans, for example.

Wheels- on aluminum wheels, make sure the valve stems are cut off.  There's a price for "clean" wheels" and a lesser price if they have non-aluminum bits still on them. 

I have old rubbermaid containers in the shop to toss my bits of copper wire, brass fittings, aluminum, and other non-ferrous metal into.  I figure when I retire the bins might weigh 100 lbs each and be worth thousands!!!  I also try to keep one totally trashed car around until I can fill it to the brim with ferrous scraps, then haul it to the recyclers. 

One full load in a standard sized-pickup bed nets about 120 bucks at current prices, just for the ferrous stuff.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

widgetsltd wrote:
the shaolin wrote:

There are a lot of online places that will pay top dollar for your cat.  I like this approach because it's a little more "fair market" than the greasy guy behind the counter at the local wrecking yard squinting at your cat and offering you half what it's worth.  Plus, you can do it without putting on pants!  Send em a picture, they send you a quote, you mail em the cat, they send you a check.  Boom.

http://www.sellyourcatsdirect.com/current-prices/#cat

These guys are legit. I got $65 each for two leftover cats a couple of months ago.

Can confirm. Very friendly. I got $130 for the cat out of a Volvo 960.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

All of this depends from scrap dealer to scrap dealer. But it has generally been noticed that the more cleanly you separate your metal from all else, the better price you get for it. Because you’re just making all the work easier for your dealer and he might just pay you handsomely for it. As for getting the most for scrap metal, different metals have different rates. Remember that steel and aluminum count as commonly scrapped and lest lucrative metals. I always got a good deal at SIMS Metal Management in North Haven. You could give them a shot.

Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

Sometimes the "cleaning" of the plastic tanks off of a radiator aren't worth it for the labor involved. When you pull the tanks off it loses weight and even though they are paying more per pound for "clean" aluminum there usually isnt much of a difference when it is added up. Aluminum  wheels usually bring the best bang per buck unless they have a chrome plating or overlay on them. Here in SC we aren't allowed to load up the cars with extra parts from other cars to bring the weight up.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

I just took 68 lbs of aluminum to a scraper. I got  $0.60 a pound. They paid my $41.00
I removed 99% of the non aluminum metal from these trans cases.

I still have about 75 lb to go through.

Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

I got $55 just for the block and stripped aluminum head out of the Super K.

Some of you guys either have BUTT TURRIBLE scrapyards, or you're doing it wrong. My last trip, with a couple sets of old rotors and brake drums, some random scrap suspension bits, two radiators and an old condenser, netted over $100. That's good money to keep the garage AC running and the fridge full of beer...

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

ICAustinMiniMan wrote:
widgetsltd wrote:
the shaolin wrote:

There are a lot of online places that will pay top dollar for your cat.  I like this approach because it's a little more "fair market" than the greasy guy behind the counter at the local wrecking yard squinting at your cat and offering you half what it's worth.  Plus, you can do it without putting on pants!  Send em a picture, they send you a quote, you mail em the cat, they send you a check.  Boom.

http://www.sellyourcatsdirect.com/current-prices/#cat

These guys are legit. I got $65 each for two leftover cats a couple of months ago.

Can confirm. Very friendly. I got $130 for the cat out of a Volvo 960.

Now I know why someone jumped a 10 foot fence with razor wire to chop the cats off my 500SEL parts car!

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

Type44 wrote:
ICAustinMiniMan wrote:
widgetsltd wrote:

These guys are legit. I got $65 each for two leftover cats a couple of months ago.

Can confirm. Very friendly. I got $130 for the cat out of a Volvo 960.

Now I know why someone jumped a 10 foot fence with razor wire to chop the cats off my 500SEL parts car!

Yeah European cars seem to have the most Platinum in them and get higher prices. Around here it's the trucks because they can slide under them easy with out having to jack them up. Even had one taken while the people were at a restraunt having dinner.

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Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

If its not a ton of work to do, "cleaning" and separating metal is always worth it, at least here in NY.  In the spring and summer I get my weekly lunch money when I'm driving my truck on a weekend and pick up old appliances and stuff at peoples curbs and haul it over to the yard.

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25 (edited by Ratdoggy 2019-04-16 09:07 AM)

Re: Getting the most for scrap metal

I manage a scrapyard..
The cleaner you get your stuff the more you make. Of course it's your time and cutting wheels.
Cutting plastic tanks off a radiator almost doesn't pay. Taking the battery out and cutting the cat off does. We buy low grade wire so cutting out the harness makes sense.. Aluminum wheels with chrome bring half of what unchromed ones do

And don't burn your wire to get a better price...It's illegal and we can't buy it unless you can prove you didn't burn it off in a barrel be=hind your house at night

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