How To Salvage Some Money Out Of Your Uninsured, Totaled Car

27 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If your car got totaled, and you didn't have collision insurance, then you might be tempted to simply dump it and forget about it. While that feeling is understandable, you can still salvage a bit of money out of the car as long as you are a bit handy with tools. You can strip the car of some valuable parts and then sell the body for scrap.

Even if your car is totaled there are still parts that will be salvageable. In order to get the price for these items you will need to contact a local junkyard in your area. Some places might maintain a website, but it's best to call them on the phone because the price of copper/aluminum/ and other items can change weekly and a website might not be updated.


The battery can be taken to a junkyard and you can redeem it for cash. You can remove the battery from your car using a simple socket set. Unhook the cables from the terminals and remove the bolts with the socket wrench. 

Windshield Wiper Arms (Not Blades)

These can be sold to a junkyard that specializes in parts. Many junkyards won't deal with small items, so it's important to find a yard that serves people who are looking to rebuild old cars. The windshield wiper arm can be removed with a screwdriver and pliers. You don't need to have the blades because these are often universal. The arms are going to be vehicle specific, which is why people seek out the original wiper arms.


The alternator is filled with copper. You can remove it and sell it to the junk yard. You won't get paid their weight in copper, because it is not completely copper, but it is worth more than simple scrap metal. You will need a socket wrench set. The alternator is connected to the battery by cables that need to be removed with the socket wrench. It is also bolted to the frame, and there is also a belt that needs to be slipped off the crank pulley. You can do this with pliers.

Tire Rims

If you have nice rims, definitely remove them and try and sell them on the secondary market. Even if they are basic, stock rims, you can get money for them from a scarp yard because of the aluminum or magnesium content. Jack up the car, loosen the lug nuts, and take the tire off the car.

Have A Professional Remove The Airbags For Recycling

Used airbags can fetch between $250 to $300 dollars. So, before you bring in the car and sell it for weight, have a professional come and remove the airbag. These are not items you can remove yourself. If you try and do it yourself you risk damaging the deployment sensors and rendering it broken. Because you are not removing the airbag yourself, you won't net the full market price, but you can negotiate for a small fee in order to allow the professional to access your car and take possession of the airbag. Contact a business that specializes in airbag recycling services for more information.