An auto wrecker usually means a junkyard that disassembles old cars and resells the useable parts, and then they may also recycle the metal and other pieces from parts that are not resalable. Taking your car to an auto wrecker or having one of their tow trucks come out to get an old car is a good way to keep its parts out of landfills and also earn a bit of money for a junked car. Note a few commonly asked questions about auto wreckers and be sure you go over these with a junkyard so you know what to expect.
1. What happens to the fluids in the parts?
Always ask how a junkyard disposes of fluids as you want to ensure that these are properly recycled or disposed of in a way that doesn't harm the environment. If they seem evasive with their answers, this can mean that they simply put them in a dumpster or otherwise dispose of them in an unsafe way. A reputable junkyard should openly note how fluids are disposed of when they receive wrecked autos.
2. What factors determine the price paid for a wrecked car?
Remember that a junkyard isn't reselling a running car on its own, so having a car that doesn't run doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a rock-bottom price. Usually the extent of damage after an accident, the miles on a car, and its overall wear and tear are important. This is because these factors tell a junkyard about the expected condition of the parts under the hood and the number of parts they can resell.
As an example, if the car's body is virtually undamaged, a junkyard may be able to sell all the panels for a profit even if the engine isn't running. However, if the car has been in a severe accident, the panels, hood, trunk lid and other parts may not be sellable. This is why these factors may affect the price you're paid for a wrecked car more so than the condition of the engine itself.
3. Will unbolting parts mean more money for them?
This isn't always the case as you need to consider that customers buying used car parts may need them to be bolted to their frame or housing unit in order to make certain repairs. A junkyard may then pay less money overall for unbolted parts, but this will depend on their policies and the parts themselves. You would do well to call and ask before you start taking apart your wrecked car.