How to Get Rid of Your Non-Running Car

How to Get Rid of Your Non-Running Car

For some people, getting rid of a junk car is like cleaning out the attic – it’s a hassle that invites procrastination. What they may not realize, however, is that they could get money for their old car, and it wouldn’t even have to be that hard. Depending on the state of the vehicle (as well as who bought it), it could get between a few hundred and a few thousand bucks. Whether you’re talking about a rust-bucket ranch truck or a commuter car that just isn’t worth repairing anymore, there’s a buyer for almost every junk car. 

Of course, most people’s first question is “how much could I get for my junk car?”. If you just wanted a quick estimate, you could visit to get a quote in a minute or less. Another option is to use a site like Carfax to see what they tell you about your car’s value. Whatever you decide to do, it’s recommended to consider your options before committing to anything. There are plenty of variables that could influence what you get paid for your junk car, and it only makes sense to do a little research beforehand.

What to do before selling your junk car

How to Get Rid of Your Non-Running Car

Knowing what you’re dealing with could result in less hassle and more money. Here’s where you can start:

Establish how much the vehicle is worth

The make and model will influence this, as well as the condition of the car. Could it run with a couple of repairs, or has it gone to that great junkyard in the sky? If you can sell it to an individual who wants something they could potentially drive, that’ll get you a lot more money than if you were selling it for scrap metal.

Make sure the paperwork is in order

You’ll need the car title, and it should be in your name (as in, it shouldn’t have anyone else’s name on it). If the vehicle comes with a rebuilt or salvage title, make sure the buyer is aware of that. The title should be transferred (each state will have their own regulations for this process), and you’ll need to remove the plates from the vehicle.

Decide what kind of buyer would get you the most money

Has your car been sitting on the back 40 for the last decade? A junkyard would be your best bet. Did you recently decide to stop pouring money into stop-gap repairs for your car? Someone looking for a fixer-upper online could give you a pretty could price. Is it perhaps a classic model that could be someone’s passion project? There are always online buyers looking for that type of vehicle. The term “junk car” describes vehicles in all kinds of conditions, so it would pay – literally! – to figure out the right type of buyer for your junk car. 

Who buys junk cars?

How to Get Rid of Your Non-Running Car

Again, this will depend on what the vehicle could be used for. Here are your main options:

Use an online car-buying service

The advantage of selling a junk car this way is that they usually make the process as easy as possible for you. You’ll get a fast estimate, they’ll tow the vehicle for you, and they’ll make the title transfer as seamless as possible. Provided you pick a reputable company, it’ll also give you more peace of mind that they won’t try to scam you.

Take the vehicle to the junkyard

They’ll accept cars in almost any condition, but the tradeoff is that you’ll get less money. You’ll also have to bring the car to the junkyard yourself, so you should account for potential transport costs (like a tow truck or a rented trailer) when considering what you’d get paid.

Find an online buyer

If your junk car has a few years of use left in it with the right repairs, you’d probably get the best price from an online buyer. Start with places like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, but beware of scams. Just like with the previous option, make sure you include the cost of transportation in your estimates. You might even get the buyer to cover it. 

Donate the car to charity

This may not result in cash-in-hand, but you could still benefit financially through a tax write-off. A CPA could tell you the pros and cons of donating your car, and some charities would even take care of the towing for you.

What should you do once you have a buyer lined up?

Take your time to ensure that everything is how it should be. 

Confirm that you took out all your personal items 

You don’t want to watch the buyer drive off with the car, and remember hours later that you forgot to remove your precious road-trip CD collection. 

Don’t give away the title or the keys until you’ve been paid in full

If a buyer is pressuring you to finalize the deal before they’ve given you the entire payment, they’re probably trying to scam you. Watch out for the payment plan scam, the fake escrow company scam, and of course the good old “don’t cash the check until Monday” scam. Even if you aren’t getting totally ripped off, shady companies might try to ambush you with a lowered price or extra fees. Don’t go for it; it’s a seller’s market right now, and there are any number of buyers who would be happy to take that junk car off your hands.

Consider holding onto valuable customizations

If you’ve put in an expensive stereo system or alloyed wheels, you might want to keep those. They wouldn’t necessarily add to the value of the car, especially if you’re selling to a junkyard. If you removed them and sold them online, though, that could net you some extra profit. 

The takeaway

Selling a junk car is actually pretty easy; probably the hardest part is determining what kind of buyer would give you the best price. Once that’s done, all that’s left is to collect the money, transfer the title, and wave goodbye to your former vehicle as it disappears into the sunset. 

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