Scrapping a car offline
The good old method of calling your local scrap merchant is a tried and tested way of getting rid of a scrap vehicle. Just give them a call and if they are interested they will pop round to take a look.
The catch is that you often just pay the scrap metal prices, rather than recycling parts. Also you may need to subtract a call out fee from the final payment.
Payment is usually cash in hand but you will be able to get a receipt off most. If your car is still running you can probably get a better deal if you visit a scrap yard. Some yards may have demand for parts from your vehicle, so shopping around is worth it.
How to scrap a car online
The alternative to the above is to use a scrap car service online. These guys will still be using the same scrap merchants, but they will have connections across the country.
The benefit of this is that they can then sell the cars onto the highest bidder. A merchant 200 miles away may be in need of certain parts from your car. So it stands to reason that he will pay more than someone who will just pay scrap metal value.
The great thing about the online options is that some offer free collection of your vehicle too. So there is no need to deal with the often rather brash types at your local yard. You just fill in your details, wait for an offer to be made (some make an offer instantly), then wait for collection and payment.
For US car owners we recommend Sell The Car USA which is an expansion of the UK company (see next paragraph). The guys behind this service are very experienced and have made the right connections in The States to be able to buy used cars online. They favor damaged, broken cars which they can fix and sell on. This means they will pay more than a scrap dealer who can't make repairs.
For UK car owners I recommend Sell The Car UK who have been going for many many years. They have great connections in the industry and specialize in damaged and non running vehicles. They don't really want cars which are ready for the scrap yard, unless they are luxury cars where the parts can be recycled.
Which option is best?
That all depends on demand and supply. If someone wants your car for more than just the scrap metal, you will get more. Selling online gives you a better chance of finding a higher price, but there is a middle man.
Your best bet is to call your local scrap merchants and ask them for a rough idea on the phone. Then visit one of the online sites which offer to scrap a car and see what they offer. Then go with the best price as long as includes collection within a reasonable timescale.
The two websites mentioned above are going to give you the best value if your used car isn't in great condition, but is repairable. If your car runs then a private sale is best. If the car is fit for the scrap yard only, then stick with your local scrap merchants.