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You could argue that any old vehicle that has come to its end of life is nothing more than a lump of metal with some plastic trim and glass thrown in. In some cases this could be the true reflection of the situation, but not in all cases. That is because some desirable vehicles get to an age where their value is less than the sum of the car parts that make up that vehicle.
Imagine you get a bill, say after its annual MOT test that adds to over 50% of its book value, there may be good reason, just to scrap it rather than splash out and repair it. Without an MOT certificate that vehicle loses its value dramatically, but suppose you could access the parts to repair for a fraction of the cost and repair yourself? Suddenly that vehicle becomes economical to repair and a desirable option.
So the demand for the right used parts can be very high for the right vehicle. Here lies the bottom line to whether you will get a good price for your scrap car, or just its scrap metal price.
So the next question is, what are the “in demand cars” that will demand a higher scrap price? With some brands it may seem more obvious than others. Cars that hold their value well as a good functional usable vehicle, tend also to gain a better scrap price than others. But there is also an age factor to consider. Take BMW as a brand for example. As a reasonably mew vehicle, the parts for a BMW can be very expensive and therefore a salvaged BMW could gain a good premium. But when BMWs get past a certain age, they become expensive to run and less desirable, at this point there are more vehicles hitting the breakers yards than owners asking for parts. At this point the metal value is the same as any other vehicle of the same weight.
Of course an easy way is to use an online service like www.scrap-car-co.uk, where you can ask several breaker yards for a price, then compare the quotes offered. It is also true that some breaker yards specialize in certain makes and models of cars. If a yard gets many phone calls for certain parts, it is easy to assume they will pay a premium for those cars that can deliver those parts. Of course that opposite is also true. If your vehicle does not have parts that are in demand, you are probably only going to get offered a standard quote price based on the current metal prices and cost to dispose the vehicle correctly and legally.