How Current Scrap Metal Prices Impact The Value of Your Junk Car

Scrap metal prices often fluctuate drastically, making it hard to predict what its value will be from one day to the next. Unexpected changes can happen at any time so there’s rarely a consistent pricing pattern for days or weeks. As a buyer or seller, you need to be aware of the economic conditions that affect metal prices, not only locally but also at an international level.

According to research findings, the global scrap metal recycling market was worth around $55.20 million in 2021. The market is set to rise steadily, with a CAGR of 7.20%, and is projected to reach more than $83.77 million by 2028. 

If you’re looking to sell your junk car for the best price and wondering how current scrap metal prices can impact its value, continue reading below.

Metal type and price

To build cars and other vehicles nowadays, four distinct metals are utilized: steel, aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. Each metal has different characteristics and properties that define its market value so it is important to understand which type of metal your car is made of to calculate its worth accordingly.

It’s essential to bear in mind that the prices of recyclable metals can change daily. Depending on the region, they can cost as much as $1.00 per pound, which could potentially result in larger earnings for you. Be sure to stay up-to-date with current market prices so you can maximize your profits.

Metal demand

People are often unaware of the fluctuating prices of metal. As a result, they will usually sell their scrap metal without looking into the current market rate. Having the right info on hand can help you sell your junk car for top dollar, so it’s important to make sure you have this crucial piece of knowledge.

Recyclable metal is a valuable commodity that can usually be sold for a few cents per pound; however, when there is an increase in demand from the marketplace, the prices of scrap metal can dramatically skyrocket up to $2.00 or even higher. This makes it an attractive item to recycle and resell for profit, which explains why it is so commonly sought after by manufacturers and other businesses. Conversely, when demand is low, prices tend to drop, and with an increase in demand comes an equivalent rise in prices.

Time of year

The price of scrap metal varies based on the time of year. For instance, when the temperature rises, the construction and automobile industries are busier and require more metal. Consequently, during colder months when these industries slow down, so does the demand for scrap metal meaning lower prices. Knowing this can help you maximize your profits when selling scrap metal.

Unfavorable weather conditions can often drive up the price of scrap metal. Steel mills, which are the main source of scrap steel, are located far away from most recycling centers and inclement weather conditions such as snow or ice can cause delays in transporting it to buyers. This limited supply can affect pricing.

How are scrap metal prices determined?

Scrap metal prices aren’t determined by individual junkyards, but are instead based on broader market conditions such as supply and demand, stock market trends, and even interest rates. The employees at these yards simply abide by the values set by the industry. Economic recessions often result in decreased demand for expensive items like cars, causing the prices of recyclable scrap metals to rise. 

This is because the need for these materials is still present while people have less desire to purchase new items. Drivers hanging on to their old cars for longer can lead to a decrease in scrap metal supply on the market and subsequently, a price increase. The shortage of ready-made metal pushes up the cost and poses an additional burden on buyers.

Conversely, a decrease in demand leads to lower scrap metal prices. Mining production too can have an unfavorable effect on the value of metals. This often results in junk yards keeping cars for a longer time. It is often worth more to sell a junk car during peak periods in the market, rather than sell when the prices are low. As a result, you could end up making hundreds of dollars more if you get the timing right.


While it may not be the most exciting prospect to sell your car for very little money per pound, it still beats throwing it away and getting nothing in return. It’s always better to get something out of it than nothing at all. Metal is a major factor affecting the price of vehicles in junkyards. Knowing how much metal is involved can give you an indication of what kind of price you might expect.