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Why It Is Hard To Predict UK Car Scrapping Prices

A common UK online search amongst those looking to dispose of the end of life vehicle is based around what typical prices scrap cars are selling for. However an accurate prediction may be not be that forthcoming let’s try to explain why.

car prices going high

There Are No Trade Books

Anyone who has sold their vehicle to a local garage or in part exchange for a newer one, would have noticed the sales person using a trade book such as “Glasses” to argue the true trade in value of their vehicle. Companies like Glasses study the trade in prices across the UK for most makes and models and publish their findings once a month. Unfortunately no trade books exist for vehicles over a certain age (there are guides for classic cars) and when the vehicles condition becomes uneconomical to repair. So that means each and every business will make its own prediction to what your vehicle is worth..

Crushed Or Dismantled For Parts?

Every normal vehicle will be crushed for its metal value, but the question is does this happen straight away or is there a period of time in between where the business, let’s call it a auto yard, strips the vehicle down, and re-sells the parts that still have some life in them, to be fitted to other cars, still running. Or is it a scrap merchant only relying on the scrap metal price only.

There is a difference here. An auto yard, has the potential to make extra profit selling its parts, which are worth more than the weight in metal itself. So a quote from a breaker yard should in theory be more valuable than just a scrap yard dealing in metal only.

Unfortunately even this realization can be too simplistic. Let’s say the auto yard you are dealing with has 4 models exactly the same already in stock. It is then that your vehicle stops being looked at as an asset, but more as overstock. And as these yards sometimes only purge their stock once a year (unlike larger scrap yards who do this regularly) , your vehicle could be seen as dead stock, where there is only a payback later in the year.

Operating Space

Breaker yards are business like everyone, else and picking and choosing what stock comes into the yard, in terms of allocating space can make a difference to their bottom line.

If there is only space for 100 cars, then it could make sense to try and have 100 different vehicles, to give more choice and options to their customers. Having many cars as just duplicates, can affect the money and profit they make. Again clearly if your vehicle is one they already have in stock, then the price may be adjusted to suit.

Operating Cash Flow

It goes without saying that small breaker yards may not have the same cash flow as the larger ones. There may come a time in the month where they are restricted to how much they can pay for vehicles. Like all businesses they need to make sure there is more money coming in than going out on stock. The time of the month can affect what a buyer will offer you, there are some smaller operations that will not buy Y until they have sold X, because they just don’t have the cash flow.

set car prices

Set Pricing

There are some breaker yards that have a single price to attain a vehicle. This does make their pricing predictable, but in many cases will have little relationship to what other beaker yards are prepared to offer overall. Businesses that apply set pricing tend to be those that have more supply than they need. Maybe they have a deal with the local police for un-taxed cars, or their location gives them an advantage to their competition.

So assuming that one breaker yard will offer the same as another really only applies to cars with a low demand and the breaker yard or scrap yard is not rally expecting to make much profit from it. There are regular cases where yards state they don’t want the car at all, or will only take it, if it driven too them and handed over for free.

Optimistic Price Advertising

We have all seen the “we buy your scrap car” adverts that may say something like; “we pay to up 10,000s for your vehicle”. The key phrase here is “up to”. It gives the impression they pay big money for all cars, which in the real world may just not materialize. It is true that a scrap Ferrari could still be worth 10,000s pounds.

Predicting Scrap Car Prices Summary

There is only one way to truly know how much your end of life vehicle is worth and that is to ask!! In fact ask as many businesses as you can. Use a service like ourselves, to get quotes, ring up the nearest yards, both scrap and auto.

If your vehicle has a “in demand engine” or wheels they can sell easily, then you may find a big variation in prices offered from auto yards and scrap yards.

The sales pitch you see on website's, may not reflect the actual demand of your vehicle and what price you will be offered.

So searching for “Scrap Car Prices UK”, may not deliver the answers you are looking for.