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Scrap Metal Recycling & Donating: Getting Rid of that Old Clunker

 by General Kinematics,

automobile-scrap-metal-recyclingSo you’ve finally convinced dad to let go of the first car he ever owned. It’s been sitting in the garage since 1979 and it’s too far gone to be fixed up. Of course dad doesn’t want to see something with so many memories just tossed away like trash; so what’s the best way to dispose dad’s old clunker?

There are a few options. One: you could wait until dad is sleeping and have it towed away (not recommended);two: you could donate the vehicle, or even three: you could sell the vehicle for scrap metal (perhaps a little cash will make this sting a little less for dad).

Let’s take a deeper look into the latter two options.

How to Sell a Vehicle for Scrap Metal

Some scrap metal buyers, like Carolina Salvage in SC or Sims Metal Management recyclers, which are all over the U.S., will purchase any make or model, in any condition—wrecked, salvaged, junk, idle—and even send a tow truck to pick it up. To give you an idea, Wisconsin-based All Metals Recycling will pick up your vehicle and pay you up to $500 cash. Gershow Recycling in the East, SA Recycling in the West, and Denver Scrap Metal in the Mountain Region are just a few other facilities that may help you jumpstart your search.

For on-the-ground sales, call the local salvage and scrap metal locations in your area to ask what the going prices are for donated vehicles, and compare their quotes, as well as local junkyards to request an estimate. Prior to making calls though, get an idea of your vehicle’s value by looking it up on Kelly Blue Book and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) value. (Side note: if you’re interested in looking up an already salvaged vehicle, check out Car Fax.)

When you’re prepped with a basic estimate of your vehicle’s worth, create a list of questions to ask. Consider asking:

    • What condition does the vehicle need to be in?
    • Should anything be removed from the vehicle beforehand?
    • Will the engine need to be drained?

Another option is to sell or donate your automobile parts to A&P Auto Parts. Try searching the A&P Auto Parts database—which is a nationwide e-commerce auto parts dealer—to see what your old clunker may be comparatively worth in their wheelhouse.

Depending on the type of projects that you’re interested in, here’s a more DIY angle: The DMV Salvaged Vehicles database will help to connect you with state-by-state salvage auto regulations regarding details like the title, registration and license plate requirements. This is the scrap info that you’ll need if you feel like tinkering with a salvaged car and rebuilding it to its’ original glory! You could also dismantle your vehicle (carefully) and sell the parts yourself on eBay or Craigslist. With so many options, there’s no reason why your dad’s clunker should sit standby.

How to Donate a Vehicle

Several organizations accept vehicle donations, like Make A Wish Foundation’s Wheels for Wishes program in Colorado. You can even approach an organization, in your state or another, that you believe does meaningful work and find a way to donate your vehicle. When donating a vehicle, make sure to ask yourself a few questions:  

  • Is the organization qualified for tax exemption?

You’ll also want to confirm that the charity to which you’re donating your vehicle is qualified for a tax exemption. (If those two pieces don’t match up, the vehicle donation may not be tax deductible.) The most common type of organization that’ qualifies for tax exemption is a 501(c)(3) organization. To verify organizations, simply use the EO Select Check tool on the IRS website.

With that said, the list doesn’t include all exempt organizations. Why? Some entities are not required to apply to the IRS for recognition of exemption in order to receive it including churches, synagogues, temples and mosques.

A second option is to simply call and ask: IRS Customer Account Services division for Tax Exempt and Government Entities, 877-829-5500.

  • Do I Want to Claim a Tax Deduction?

For any contribution of property that’s worth $250 or more, you need to obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment (a.k.a. a receipt) from the qualified organization to which you’re donating. The receipt needs to include a description of the donated property and its worth. It should also note if the organization has provided any goods or services in the exchange and if so, the estimated value of those goods or services.

More resources for charitable vehicle donations include the Topic 506 – Charitable Contributions and Publication 536 – Charitable Contributions.

For more information on the importance of recycling scrap metal and to learn about recycling systems and equipment, contact General Kinematics today.

General Kinematics Corporation, incorporated in 1960, was established to market, design, and custom fabricate innovative vibratory equipment for the foundry, recycling, mining, and processing industries. Today the company continues as one of the world’s largest suppliers of vibratory processing equipment and has evolved into an industry-leading EPC firm. Headquartered in Crystal Lake, IL, General Kinematics has seven global locations providing engineering and support to a world-wide customer base. GK is a third generation, family-owned company and is ISO 9001 certified.