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Notes From The Road

Donate, Scrap, or Sell
By Wayne Scraba/

Scrap Money
That’s a big dollar spread, and it all depends upon the vehicle. If it’s a low mileage wreck that was in good shape before an accident, and simultaneously popular, that translates into desirable. It’ll have a large number of salvageable pieces and as a result the wrecking yard can make money by parting it out. When the car is sold to the wrecking yard, it will be completely stripped. Everything salvageable will be removed and inventoried. The remnants are then crushed and sold for scrap metal. Ultimately the majority of the car is recycled.
Charity Donation
Not what you expected to hear? There’s another option. You’ve no doubt heard about cars that are donated to specific charities. The dilemma you’ll encounter here is the fact that few, if any, charities deal directly with donated cars. Typically, they work with organizations such as CarsHelpingAmerica or CharityCar or Donate-A-Car (there are plenty of similar organizations; check locally). These specialty organizations take the vehicles, repair them so that they’re fit for the road, sell them then pass the net proceeds on to whatever charity you choose. In return, you receive a tax deduction worth as much as $500 and, of course, the charity you’ve selected gets some much needed funds. Some of the donation organizations will even give you a larger deduction receipt if the car sells for more than $500.
There’s more here too: If you donate the car to charity, it’s removed for free, and the donation organization will look after the paperwork (title transfer, etc). If you don’t have a specific charity in mind, most of the donation companies will help you determine where your donation proceeds can go. In the end, it’s basically a painless way to be rid of a useless hulk. You might also consider donating an older vehicle to a school with an autoshop program.
The bottom line here is, spend some time to weigh exactly what you have. There’s no point crushing a desirable (and potentially valuable) car. The truth is, it will definitely pay to do your homework to see if your car has some inherent value. On the flip side, hanging onto a worn out undesirable junker makes little sense. In either case, allowing your cast-off driver to rust into oblivion isn’t the answer, especially if you’re still paying for insurance coverage. Put it to good use.
This Chevy Nova Appears a Candidate for the Local Scrap Heap
This looks like a sorry mess doesn’t it? At first glance, this old Chevy Nova seems like something with a one-way ticket to the local scrap heap.
The Chevy Nova is Actually Worth More than its Scrap Value
Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Once cleaned up, it tells a far different story. The car was actually a 9,317-original mile “peach.” It’s worth considerably more than the scrap value (actually, the hubcaps alone are probably worth close to $500 for the set). And it just goes to show how value is more than skin deep.
Research Your Car's Value in Hemmings Motor News
A good way to determine if your car is collectable or not is to spend some time perusing publications such as Hemmings Motor News. For the most part, Hemmings is considered to be the bible of the collector car hobby. If your car is desirable, there’s a good chance other folks will be buying, selling, repairing and restoring them. If that’s the case, it will have a following in Hemmings. There are other ways to determine collectability as detailed here.

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