How Are Salvage Prices For Cars Determined?

There are many reasons people end up with non-functioning cars. Perhaps they were involved in a car accident and have bad memories of the car, are unable to identify or fix the damage, find the parts too costly to repair, or the car is considered a high-risk vehicle by the insurance company. The good news is that you can still sell cars you don’t find useful anymore to a salvage yard. This way, you can still earn a certain amount from your vehicle. The money you’ll be offered for your car depends on its salvage value.

The salvage value of a car is the amount a car is estimated to be worth after factoring in the depreciation. It’s simply the resale value of a car at the end of its useful life. If you’re planning on selling your car to a salvage buyer, you can easily get an accurate estimate for it. 

However, it’s also crucial for you to know how the salvage prices are determined to get a basic idea of your car’s salvage worth. Here are some of the factors used to determine the salvage prices for cars:

1. Condition Of The Car

The salvage price of a car will be determined by its overall current condition. A salvage buyer will assess if your car has a minor issue or substantial damaged parts before offering any amount for it. If you plan on reselling your car, try and perform proper maintenance so it’ll be in its best condition. This way, when you decide to sell it, you’re more likely to earn a premium amount. How reusable and resellable the parts of a car are will go a long way in determining its salvage price. 

This is why the average scrap car value is always less than its average salvage value. Scraping your car means all the metal in it will be melted, which may not fetch you much money since the parts that aren’t metal will be stripped off. Depending on its condition, salvaging your car might fetch you more money as every usable part like its engine, wires, body panels, and more will be assessed for its resale value.

2. Model And Year Information

The model and year of a car will also be used in estimating its current value. This is a common consideration when buying or selling a car model that’s still commonly driven.  Cars with a more recent date of production are more likely going to be valued at a higher price. The older your car’s year and model, the lesser the price you’ll be offered for it.  

Buyers will assess how old your car is to determine the price they’ll pay for it. The number of years a car has been used often reflects the functionality of its parts. Hence, as cars age, their parts are also getting more wear and tear. For this reason, you need to act fast and decide immediately if you want to salvage your car. The longer it stays parked in a spot, the more the parts depreciate in value.

3. Market Demand For Car Parts

The current market demand for car parts will influence its salvage price. The higher the demand, the higher the salvage value. A lot of factors influence the demand for a car’s part.  If people using your car model are often in need of parts replacement, the demand for these parts will also be high. On the other hand, if your car’s model isn’t popular, the demand for its parts will be less. 

Also, car brands are regarded differently from each other. Cars that are manufactured by reputable brands will have a higher salvage value. Such car parts are known to have been produced with high-quality material and are sturdy enough to withstand regular use. This means that even if the car is aging, most of its parts will still be intact. 

4. Location Of The Car Or The Salvage Yard

Your location also helps determine the salvage price of your car. The popularity of your car in your location or the area the salvage yard is in will determine its salvage value.

Do some research on the popularity of your car model in your location. For instance, places, where people use convertibles, will have a high demand for these car parts. You can also ask around if there’s a market for rebuilt salvage cars in your area.

Moreover, people often decide to have their cars salvaged when they aren’t drivable anymore. Hence, towing the car to the salvage yard will be required. The distance between your location and the salvage yard will impact the price you’ll be offered. The buyer will calculate the expenses incurred from towing your car to their location. This is why it’s preferable to salvage your car when it’s still in a drivable condition to attract a higher price for it.


The salvage prices of cars are determined based on the current market value of the car. The value is estimated after considering the car’s model and year of manufacturing, its overall condition, the demand for its parts, and its location. You can keep these factors in mind when salvaging your car to determine and maximize the price you can expect from your buyer. 

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