There are many ways you can find yourself in possession of an older car that you do not want. It may have belonged to a relative who left it to you. Maybe you bought it with the intention to fix it up, but it turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. Or, it could be an old car you’ve had since college that finally decided to quit running. Regardless of why you have such a vehicle, you’re probably wondering how to junk the car for cash.
Is My Car a Junk Car?
There are cars that are old or don’t run well (or at all), but are they really junk? How can you tell if your car can still be sold to someone who could fix it up and use it? Deciding your car is junk can feel harsh, like you’re completely devaluing it. But that’s not necessarily true! The car will always have some value and junking your car for cash is one way to squeeze the last bit of life out of it.
Generally, a junk car is one that is damaged or inoperable, and the cost to repair it is higher than the car’s value. You may find yourself unwilling or unable to pay to get the vehicle fixed. Also, there’s often little sense repairing major damage or replacing expensive parts on an old car that is likely to have something else go wrong soon enough. If your car is older, think 1990s or prior, it may not even be safe to drive.
Getting rid of a car on your own can be a hassle. If you decide to sell it privately, you’ll find yourself having to meet and negotiate with strangers, which can be dangerous. You’ll also likely run into scam artists who will try to take advantage of you. Unless you’re a car expert, do you even know what your car is worth and how much to sell it for?
Car dealerships usually don’t want to accept old, damaged cars as trade-ins because they won’t be able to sell them. And if you know that there is something wrong with it, it may not be ethical to sell it to someone who intends to drive it.
A junk car doesn’t mean it has no value at all. It simply means it doesn’t have enough value to make keeping it or selling it privately worth the effort.
How Should I Junk My Car for Cash?
Once you’ve made the decision to junk your car, there are a few steps you should take to get ready. First, be sure to go through the car and remove all your personal belongings. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people think there’s nothing of value stashed in their cars! Check the glove box, the trunk, under the seats, and all the other nooks and crannies. Also be on the lookout for old papers or receipts that may contain personal information you’d rather shred than risk someone getting their hands on.
This is also a good time to realistically assess the car to set your expectations. The make and model, overall condition, mileage, and other factors all determine what a junk car buyer might be willing to pay. When you start to do your homework to select a buyer for your car, this is information you’ll need to have handy anyway, so it’s helpful to gather it all now.
Have a good look at your car and take a note of any problem areas. If it’s not running, you’ll need to make that clear when you’re trying to junk it. If you know there are some parts malfunctioning, it’s been damaged in an accident or has excessive wear and rust, you’ll want to make any potential buyer aware of these defects. Anyone buying the car, whether to junk it or otherwise, will need this information to negotiate a fair price. And, if you’re not upfront about the true condition of the vehicle, the problems will eventually come to light and lower any estimated amount the buyer may have considered.
Next, remove any parts that are valuable. If your car has any add-on stereo components, a GPS, or other accessories, you can try to sell them separately from the vehicle. Other parts of your car can fetch quite a bit of cash as well. Your exhaust system, catalytic converter, bumpers, fenders, doors, windows, batteries, tires and rims are all parts that can be sold separately and are often in high demand. If these parts are still on the vehicle when you junk it, you could be leaving money on the table.
Before you say goodbye to your vehicle, you’ll also need to get your paperwork in order, which includes locating the title. The title is basically a certificate of ownership that indicates the year, make and model of the car, the vehicle identification number (VIN), and other information. The title will be necessary to transfer ownership to someone else, even a junk car buyer. If you’re unable to find the title, your state department of motor vehicles should be able to help.
Your title will also indicate if there is a lien on the car, meaning you owe a lender or bank for it. Keep in mind that if your car is not paid in full and owned outright by you, you may be required to give any money you make from selling it to the lienholder. While it’s not always possible, it is best to be sure the car is fully paid off before you attempt to junk or sell it.
Finally, you’ll need to remove your license plates and cancel your car insurance, however, don’t do these things until your car is ready to be taken away. In most states, it is illegal to have an uninsured car, even on private property. Additionally, you generally must have your car registered with current tags to avoid potential fines. Even if you’re planning to junk it within a few days, you’ll find yourself in hot water if you aren’t following all the laws.
Find the Best Deal for Your Car
When you decide you’re ready to junk the car, you still want to do your homework and find the best deal you can. You may wish to start with a traditional used car dealer, just to confirm whether or not this is a viable option. Keep in mind that the amount of money a dealer will offer for your car depends not only on your actual car, but on the dealer’s inventory and need. Whenever possible, get estimates from multiple dealers as they can vary considerably.
Just as you’d do with a dealer, you’ll want to shop around for the best price with junk car buyers. Besides getting the most money you can in the transaction, you need to make sure the dealer you’re working with is reliable, reputable, and licensed appropriately for the transaction. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to take advantage of someone who is looking to unload a vehicle. In other cases, you may find you have to pay a towing fee just to sell your car! This is why it’s so important to check references and reviews to avoid being lowballed or scammed out of your car.
Go with Someone You Can Trust
For many people, selling a car or junking one for cash is a new experience. Without having done it before, it’s hard to know how to do it right. Finding someone you can trust to help you through the process can be invaluable, both financially and when it comes to your time and sanity!
If you do a simple internet search for junk car buyers, you’re bound to find many listings. It can take considerable time to call them all and see what your options are. At Cash Cars Buyer, we offer top dollar for your car right off the bat. No hassles, no dead-end calls that lead nowhere, and no lowball offers. With decades in the business, we have the experience to make the process as simple as possible. A phone call or filling out our quick online form is all it takes you to get a no-obligation offer.
If the offer feels right to you, we’ll send out one of our junk car removal specialists. They’ll look your car over to confirm the information you provided. Once that’s done, they’ll pay cash on the spot when they remove your car with our free towing service. We’re bonded, licensed and insured, so selling your car is safe and convenient. We can also help with the paperwork to complete the transfer of ownership. It doesn’t get any simpler than that!
You’ve probably been wondering for some time, “How do I junk my car for cash?” Skip all the hassle and aggravation of trying to sell your car on your own and give us a call or visit us online. We have junk car buyers all over the country, ready to help you junk your car fast for the most cash possible.
Americans love driving their cars anywhere and everywhere. From the new Subaru Forester your neighbor just bought to the Toyota Camry that has been passed down through generations, you’ll see various makes and models of cars on the road – and some well past their usable limit.
One trend that is increasingly popular to make some extra money is to junk your car for cash. Paying money for cars is a cog in the recycling process that involves taking apart old vehicles and using the materials for parts or scrap metal. The process of gaining money for cars has become a staple in the automotive world, as an effort to increase recycling processes and enhance environmental practices, as well as giving some money back to the car owners who need an immediate economic gain.
Okay, I understand. Does this apply to my car?
That time has unfortunately arrived for you and your beloved ol’-reliable. Your gas guzzler has been transporting you around the town for years, and time has come for you to trade her in for some cash. After inspecting the car, you come to the sad realization that this car is on its last leg – erm, tire.
You can’t sell it to a car dealer or an individual, as this would be unethical and could cause some legal issues in the future. The best choice for your beloved sidekick is to sell it for scrap value, allowing you to get some cash, and ensuring your car will not be the subject of any liability problems in the future.
Now that you’ve decided it’s time to part ways, you need to determine the next steps. Here is where we come in handy – we have compiled a list to get you started on how to scrap a car, and the best methods for your situation. Here’s to hoping you’ll get some quick cash you can put towards your next vehicle.
- Remove Your Personal Items From The Car
We understand. Your car is like your second home. Sometimes you’re wearing a bracelet and then take it off, and stash it in the glove compartment. Other times you wore a nice jacket and then got too warm, stowing the layer underneath the seat as the day warms up. Now is the time to go search for all of your coveted items.
Even though you might not think it’s an important step, you may be surprised with how many small, personal items are still in your car. Be sure to check in the side-door compartments, glove box, arm rest compartment, cup holders, under the seats, in the trunk, sun visors, glasses compartment, and in between the seats and the seat belts. Gathering all of your items ensures you didn't’ leave anything of importance in the car that is about to be destroyed.
- Remove Valuable Parts From The Car
You’re junking this car to make money, right? So before you do that, you need to make sure that you can get as much cash from this wrecked auto as possible. Focus on taking away the parts that can get you some extra money when you sell them separately.
We recommend checking out the starter motors, entertainment systems, and alternators. Keep an eye out for any potential high-value parts that can be sold to retailers who have similar car models in their lineup.
GPS systems are found in many newer cars, and can be sold separately to earn a substantial chunk of change. You can try to get a few hundred from the system, or a small amount from a portable GPS you’ve had on your dashboard.
The exhaust system usually costs upwards of $1,000 to replace, including the catalytic converter. Due to the metal contents and the importance of this part in how the car runs, you could sell your exhaust system for a few hundred dollars, since they’re always in need on the market.
In edition, fenders are the key parts which protect the wheel wells and the undercarriage from external trauma. Buying replacement fenders can be expensive, causing numerous car owners to purchase old ones to tighten their wallet. If your fender is in good condition, you can try and sell this as a part for a profit.
An additional option is to take off the tires and replace them with older ones. Tires can be sold separately, and some dealers might even refuse to buy your junk car if it’s not in a towable state.
Lastly, siphon out any gas that is still left in your gas tank. This might seem a bit over the top, but you can use this gas for any other vehicle you own, or save it in a safe space for when you purchase your next car. Every dollar counts.
- Get Your Title Ready and Ensure You Have The Rights To Your Car
Nobody likes paperwork and bureaucracy. However, this important administrative step is crucial to ensuring you can legally junk your car. You need to have a valid title in order to transfer the ownership of your vehicle to the place that is salvaging it.
Now, don’t worry too much if you can’t find your title. Call or head over to your state’s DMV to get the title replaced, and figure out what paperwork you need to obtain that piece of paper. In some states, it’s not even necessary to have a title for very old vehicles, so you might be in luck. Check with your DMV about what laws apply to you, especially if your car is 15+ years old.
After you have ironed out the title paperwork, you need to make sure you have it in your name to prove it is your own car that you’re selling. The registration of the car is usually required as well, along with your driver’s license.
What if you owe money on the car you’re selling?
Well, it's about to get a little more complicated. If you owe a bank, credit union, or any other company some money for the car, you need to go back and look at the title. There will be a financial entity listed, as well as a lien on the car. A lienholder is whoever you owe money to – and you must pay that balance before moving forward with the selling process.
The easiest way to do this is to pay off the loan before scrapping the car. If you don’t have the money for the loan, you can usually negotiate a deal where the lienholder will receive some or all of the money from the sale of the car.
- Make Sure You Have All Of The Information About Your Car
When you start looking around for the best price for your car, it’s imperative to know all of the important information about your vehicle. Not only will you need the make and model, but a lot of the details can influence the final asking price.
Look in the inside of your car to find the Vehicle Identification Number. This number is typically located on your registration or the bottom of the windshield in your car. This is basically your car’s fingerprint – no two cars have the same number. This acts as an identifier for the vehicle, and provides information like the trim level and serial number.
You should also make a detailed note of your car’s current condition, including areas that you think might be a problem. Giving an accurate and honest report to yourself and the buyer ensures you will receive a fair offer. Make sure to check the interior, exterior, and all of the mechanical parts.
Write down your car’s mileage. Take note if your car is in running condition, or towable condition. If you have removed the tires, make sure you have replaced the tires with usable and non-flat options. If you haven’t driven the car in a long time, check all of your pockets for the car’s keys. After you have compiled the necessary information, you will have a better idea of how much your car will be able to sell for.
- Remove Your License Plates
Removing the license plates may seem like an obsolete step, but this is actually a legal requirement in numerous states. Your DMV will most likely ask you for the plates when you are in the process of cancelling the title to your car, since the plates don’t stop being useful when a car is no longer in service.
- Cancel Your Car Insurance
Cancelling your insurance safeguards that you won't have to make any recurring payments before the policy is no longer valid. If you have paid in advance, you can obtain a refund. If you’re in the other boat, and your coverage is almost up, it is still an important step to let your carrier know about the change of ownership. If you let the company know, they will most likely be thankful of the open communication, and could offer a better client relationship in the future and potential special offers.
- Now It’s Time To Find The Best Deal
Regardless if your car is in a heap of parts or if it is mostly salvageable, you can still obtain a fair quote from a dealer. However, it is important that you realize this is a business deal – and different dealers will offer fluctuating figures.
Just like you are trying to sell your car for the best deal, the dealers themselves are trying to get the most bang for their buck as well. You need to be ready to negotiate, and look further than the first offer you get.
In order to know how much to ask for and negotiate towards, you need to gain as much information about your car as possible. You should be knowledgeable about a potential rough estimate of your car’s value – if you don’t feel comfortable guesstimating this, you can oftentimes ask your mechanic for some advice.
- Verify That Your Buyer Is Licensed
Depending on where you live, salvage yards and junk car buyers may be required to have obtained a special license to carry out their business. You need to be sure to check your state’s regulations for the sale of scrap metal. In states where a special license is not required, your dealer will just need to have a legitimate business license to move forward with the process.
If you choose to move forward without taking all of the legal precautions, you could find yourself in some trouble. You could be setting yourself up for legal liability if the buyer is not licensed, with even a possibility of fines or jail time.
- In Some Situations, You Will Need To Remove The Non-Metal Components
Even though some dealers will buy your car in the ‘normal’ state, other dealers would like for you to strip it down to just metal. If the majority of dealers in your area prefer it this way, you will have the best chance at a good deal if you strip it down before you try and sell it.
Taking off the plastics, removing the seats, and draining the fluids are important steps, and may require some help from a friend or mechanic, due to the knowledge and special equipment needed. The fastest and most efficient way is to call your mechanic, and the best option for your budget is to get your buddies to help out on a sunny afternoon.
- Make Sure The Weight Scale Is Certified
An important part of scrapping your car is knowing that scrap cars are usually sold by the ton – this means that the more your vehicle weighs, the more money you can gain. The issue with this method is that dealers oftentimes use varying weight scales.
Some dealers are not the most reputable businesses, utilizing weight scales that have been altered or tampered with, in order to ensure they don’t have to pay an accurate amount for your scrap car. To ensure that you’re getting a fair deal, verify that your dealer is using a certified scale.
You have followed all the steps and now you’re at the dealer’s getting ready to junk your car for cash – well done!
There you have it. Our “how-to” guide on the necessary steps of junking your car for cash. We hope that you use our advice to get the best possible deal for you and your vehicle.