Do you have an old car you no longer need? Have you had work done to your car that’s left some disused parts lying around? Getting rid of a scrap car or auto parts can be easy, and net you a bit of cash to boot, if you take them to a professional recycling center like Encore Recyclers.

In addition to taking junk off your hands and getting you paid for it, recycling cars and car parts is also great for the environment. Many car parts contain rare metals, and these metals can often be recovered almost completely—which reduces the environmental impact of mining and keeps the overall supply of these metals higher.

However, getting the best value for your car scrap takes a little bit of time and expertise.

What Scrap Yards Pay For

Your car is made up of a wide variety of components that are themselves composed of a variety of metals and other scrap-friendly materials. The majority of your car’s weight comes from steel, and there is a large amount of other, lighter metals as well (such as tin). The rarer (and therefore more valuable) metals are often used in the moving or otherwise functional parts of your car.

If you scrap your entire car, the price at most scrapyards will be based on weight. A scrapyard feels safe betting on your steel, but doesn’t have the time and labor available to fully inspect your car for other metals. If you want the most value for your car, you’ll have to dismantle it.

This is generally true of all appliances and machines that can be scrapped. However, dismantling a car is much more difficult than taking apart a washer or dryer or even a computer.

How to Determine if Dismantling Your Car is Worth the Effort

Whether or not your car is worth dismantling before scrapping is determined by a wide variety of factors. The most important factors, though, are your skill with working on cars and the amount of time you have to invest in this project.

Unless you’re an experienced professional mechanic or technician, fully stripping down your car will probably not be worth the effort, because it will be extremely difficult and time-consuming. On top of this, you’ll need some specialized tools and a way to store and transport hundreds of pounds of scrap metal.

However, it’s usually worth it for the average person to put in at least a little bit of work dismantling a car. Instead of trying to fully dismantle a car or just drive it or have it towed into the scrap yard whole, you could take a middle-of-the-road approach.

The Middle-of-the-Road Approach to Dismantling Your Scrap Car

If you’re not a professional mechanic and/or you don’t have a lot of free time to invest in taking your car apart completely, you can increase the value of your car with less effort by focusing on the parts of highest value that are easy to remove.

For example, it’s fairly easy for almost any able-bodied person to remove the wheels and battery. These parts contain more valuable metals in most cases. GPS systems, stereos, and similar accessories can be sold on their own to other consumers, reused, or recycled as more valuable e-waste.

If you’re a little more experienced and adventurous, you could try removing the radiator. The radiator will fetch a higher price on its own than inside your car, because scrap yard employees can inspect it more easily and dismantle it at a lower labor cost. Similarly, you could try removing other more valuable parts, such as the alternator.

For help with taking these and other more valuable parts out of your car, look for online resources in web forums and on YouTube. If you’re not sure whether or not a particular component is worth the effort of taking out, do some research on scrap-related web forums or call a local Dallas scrap metal recycling center like Encore Recyclers.