When you hear the term wrecker you probably think of one of two terms. Either the vehicle that transports a broken vehicle or the yard they transport it too, if it can’t be fixed.
The Tow Truck
Some companies can pick up cars or “wrecks” from outside your house or at the scene of an accident and transport it directly to the junk yard. In this case the is sometimes no upfront fee as the insurance company will settle up with them later.
Some places in the world charge differently for towing depending on the vehicle weight. Large trucks do require a larger specialized tow truck in order to hall them. Some vehicles can’t be towed via their back to wheels, so many tow trucks began using flat bed trucks that are able to lift the entire vehicle off the ground. This is a safer way to transport any vehicle and has since become the standard.
The Junk Yard
When a car has received damage such that the repairs are more costly than the value of the vehicle, then it is considered totaled. That’s not to say that it has no value at all. Your car will be essentially purchased by the insurance company and you’re given a check in exchange for the vehicle. What the insurance company will do with it is sell it to a wrecking yard.
Sometimes a car isn’t in an accident. It simply breaks down, but due to its age and condition it’s not worth repairing. In these cases, you can sell your vehicle to the wrecking yard.
According to various sources, a junk yard pays about $250-$500 for a car. They’re obviously getting a deal because they’re buying something no one else really wants—a transportation machine that can no longer safety transport anything. However, the remaining car body and mechanical parts have value so the wrecking yard can make money on it. When all the decent parts are sold, the picked-over carcass is sold for scrap metal, at which point the junk dealer is paid for the weight of the steel, minus the cost to remove the hazardous materials like oil, coolant, and transmission fluid.
In valuing a car the junk yard will look at the year, make and model. It is worth less if it is missing vital parts such as wheels or an engine. Their parts computer literally takes into account if the car was struck from front, back, or either side because this affects what parts are likely to be okay for resale.
Wrecking yards often sort, or even specialize in keep vehicles by category–vintage, classic cars or early models and late models, foreign or domestic.
When the vehicle is stored at a wrecking yard the computer registers what parts ought to be usable and lists it, as a group, online so it can be searched by other wrecking yards or auto parts stores. If the part must be shipped the wrecker pulls the part and ships it.
Some junk yards allow you to pull the part yourself for a lower price. When there is only a few parts left on a vehicle the wrecker pulls the rest of the good arts for storage in a warehouse and then sends the rest of the car to be crushed. Up to 75% of the vehicle can be recycled if it wasn’t reused as parts.
Turning in a Cart
You should hand in the documents and paperwork together-you need photo ID that it’s your vehicle (in the old days if you had the forms it was enough, now the authorities are more prudent.
In general, the car needs to be fully registered and insured, even if you’re not driving it into the junkyard yourself. Another document you need is the vehicle title. Sometimes you have lost the title, in which case you can apply to your state’s DMV for a replacement.
In Maryland for example you will also need to remove your license plate before the car is scrapped. But many states have different rules. Should you have no use for the plates (say that you are moving to a new state for instance) you may be able to get money back from it, for the time you won’t be driving that vehicle.
Some drivers take parts of the car before it is scrapped but remember if you do that you will get less money, depending on which parts you remove.
Make sure that the yard deals in cars and it’s worthwhile looking online for the best value junkyard. It’s not advisable to use unlicensed junk yards.
You need to let your DMV know that the car has been scrapped (this puts you in the clear if for some convoluted reason the car turns out not to be scrapped). You may need to visit them in person to fill in the forms. They’ll issue you some sort of certificate of scrappage (it has different names from state to state). All the paperwork and formality is created because of car theft and fraud.
Having scrapped the car, you can now invest the money you receive into a new and improved automobile.