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Junk cars are generally defined at cars whose value is so low, and needed repairs are so great, that an owner decides the best thing to do is to junk the car.
When you're an upper middle class family with no ability to repair cars yourself, your idea of a junk car may be a great deal different from a poor family with some mechanical skill. If you don't “know a guy” who can fix cars on the cheap, and have been to the dealer for repairs your whole life, a blown transmission on a seven year old car might make you want to junk a car.
Long story short, we all have a slightly different idea about when to junk a car. Added to this is the fact that the economy has taken a nose dive, and that people are driving older cars longer. This has meant that the used parts market is experiencing greater demand. You should also consider this before you junk a car.
Finally, car dealers struggling with half as many new car sales in 2009 vs. 2008 are increasingly looking to sell less expensive used cars. Before you junk a car, you should talk to a handful of junk car buyers. The price of salvage steel has collapsed as building in India and China have collapsed, and junk car removal companies are increasingly looking for cars that they can fix up and sell to used car dealers and at auto auctions.
The market is changing as a result of the economy, and a few phone calls or e-mails before you simply decide to junk a car can make you an extra $100 to $250.