Have you been in a wreck that left you with a totaled car? Or perhaps your daily driver called it quits recently, and you’re unsure what to do. If you’re stuck with a vehicle that’s no longer meeting its end of the bargain, maybe it’s time to get rid of it. The good news is that no matter how bad of shape it’s in, you can at least sell it for some cash. Who buys junk cars? Lots of places, but some are better than others. The most common place to sell a junk car includes dealers, scrapyards, and private buyers. Let’s look at each in detail to learn where will benefit you the most.
But first, we’d like to introduce ourselves.
A Quick Introduction
We’re Cash Cars Buyers. A nationwide network of junk car buyers with one goal in mind. To pay you a decent amount of cash for your junker, as fast as possible. You read that right – our entire business model revolves around taking the hassle out of selling a junk car.
How does it work? It's simple, we'll explain:
Step 1. Head to our site here and choose “Get Instant Offer.”
Step 2. Enter some basic info to help us identify your vehicle.
Step 3. In less than 1-minute, you’ll receive an estimate on its value.
Step 4. Once you accept the offer, our experts will schedule a quick at-home inspection.
Step 5. If everything matches up, we’ll pay you cash on the spot and tow it away for FREE.
Sounds a little too easy, right? That’s the thing – it truly is as simple as we say. We get it though; most hope to get as much as possible for their car, whether it’s junk or not. If you’re gung-ho about selling it via standard methods, we’d still like to give some advice on doing so.
Who Buys Junk Cars Near Me?
Now that we’ve shown you the easy way to sell a junker. Let’s review the other places and people who buy junk cars near you.
- Private Party
If you want to attempt selling your car to a private buyer, know that some effort is often required. People who buy junk cars are usually cautious due to the added risk. To help ease their minds, be honest about what you’re selling when you market it. Sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are handy. And if you're up-front in your listing, finding traction should be easy.
Getting Top Dollar with Private Buyers
People buy privately for many reasons. Maybe they’re looking for a clean first car for a child that’s recently got their license. Perhaps their car just called it quits, and they need something cheap until they find a long-term option. Regardless of the reason, one thing stays consistent – private buyers tend to look for reliable cars without any issues. They also find value in things like service records, a low number of owners, and tires that are in decent shape. Why? Because without having the backing of a dealer to ensure safety standards are met, they have to take things at face value.
- Bonus Tip #1 When Selling to a Private Party – Take good photos. Shoppers respect being able to see various angles of a car when browsing. Junk car buyers aren’t often too picky. But letting them know what they’re getting themselves into can go a long way towards selling a junk car.
- Bonus Tip #2 When Selling to a Private Party – Make your car as attractive as possible. Clean it inside and out, add an air-freshener, and remove any bumper stickers. If your car smells like smoke, try leaving a cup of coffee beans inside for a few days before showing it.
If your ride is truly a junker, your best bet on getting paid might be at a scrapyard. How come? Because scrapyards don’t often make their money by reselling cars. Instead, they profit the most by parting them out and melting them down. Be sure and stay up-to-date on the current price of scrap metal to ensure you’re getting a fair price. With this in mind, it should make sense that large models are worth more than small ones.
Getting Top Dollar with Scrapyards
If you decide to scrap a car, you’re acknowledging that it’s worth more when sold piece by piece, with no intention of remaining on the road. If this sounds like your car, then yes, a scrapyard is a good option as a last resort. When should you not sell to a scrapyard? When your vehicle still has some life left in it. Even then, if you’re still on the fence about whether it’s worth anything. Consider having it inspected by a mechanic to verify if repairing it is worth the effort.
- Bonus Tip #1 When Selling to a Scrapyard – Make sure they’re licensed. Sadly, the scrapyard industry has built a shady name for itself. They're not all bad, but to ensure you don’t get scammed, try to stick with a well-known yard.
- Bonus Tip #2 When Selling to a Scrapyard – Ask whether they have a certified scale. Part of getting top dollar for a junk car at a scrapyard is ensuring you’re not missing out on extra money. Certified scales are calibrated correctly according to state compliance laws.
A dealer is likely the first place most think of when selling a car. But what about a “junk” car? Remember, dealers make their money by buying, fixing, and then reselling vehicles. So, if the ride they’re buying needs a lot of work to fix, then reselling it for a profit makes less sense. The other thing to watch out for is if the car has a salvaged title-of-ownership. A big part of dealer profit margins involves selling extended warranties. If the title is invalid, it's no longer an option for them.
Getting Top Dollar with Dealers
As mentioned above, having a clean title is key for getting top dollar at a dealer. If you’re dead-set on selling to a dealer, and the vehicle is marked as salvaged. Do yourself a favor and try to stick with places that specialize in selling “as is” vehicles. These types of dealers often only claim to sell cars that pass their safety checks. Meaning that the lights are operational, the brakes are up to par, and the emissions will pass local state laws. Part of getting top dollar at a dealer is not wasting your time getting told “no” due to things you can't control.
- Bonus Tip #1 When Selling to a Dealer – Call before showing up. The last thing you want to do is limp, or tow your junk car to a dealer only to have them turn you down right away. Be sure and let them know its exact condition.
- Bonus Tip #2 When Selling to a Dealer – Don’t be afraid to haggle. Dealers are masters of negotiating, and they expect a certain amount of push-back. Try to do as much research as you can ahead of time using sites like KBB or NADA (which we’ll go into later in this article).
How to Tell if Your Car is Junk
Regardless of how great (or not so great) your experience has been with your vehicle. At some point, the cost to keep it on the road will outweigh its worth. How do you know when your car reaches junk status? It all comes down to its value VS the price of keeping it road-worthy. If your vehicle is getting up there in age (think seven or more years old). Has a good number of miles, and is no longer in perfect shape, a costly repair may be just the thing to label it as junk.
Let’s review a few of the most common repairs that tend to push a vehicle into junk status:
- Blown Engine
Prices can vary by a substantial amount. But on average, the cost to replace a blown engine (including labor) is about $4,250. Less costly routes include finding a used, rebuilt, or salvaged replacement. Your car needs its engine to operate, it’s that simple, and if you need a new one, it may be time to retire it.
- Transmission Failure
Just like an engine, without a working transmission, your car is out of luck. The average cost of a new one ranges between $1,800 to $3,400, including labor. How can you keep it on the low end? By locating a rebuilt one yourself and having a shop install it for you. Regardless, replacement is costly – there’s no other way to explain it.
- Hybrid Battery
Like the battery in your phone or laptop, car batteries eventually need to be replaced. Most hybrids need a new one as early as their tenth birthday. Costs range as low as $1,000 and as high as $6,000, including labor. Without a working battery, a hybrid car is useless, the very definition of junk.
Other high-priced repairs include:
- AC compressor
- Catalytic Converter
- Mass Air Flow Sensor
- Brake Line Repair
How to Get Top Dollar for a Junk Car
Now that we’ve gone over who buys junk cars. Let’s look at how to get the most for one.
- NADA and KBB
Kelly Blue Book and NADA Guides are the two most popular online pricing tools available. Not only does every dealer in the country use them, but most private buyers and sellers do as well. The thing to note is that if your car has a salvaged title, the amount you can expect is closer to only a third of what’s shown. Other things that can lessen the value is high mileage, or if it's more than 10-years old.
- Be Realistic
No matter how much of a history you have with your car, if it’s junk, don’t expect to retire from selling it. A great way to hone in on the actual value of a vehicle. Is to take it to a mechanic for an estimate on getting it back to working order. If the price to repair it is more than its value, don’t be too surprised if offers are less than expected.
- Don’t Forget the Tow Bill
In a perfect world, you’d list your car for sale, and someone would show up to take it away. Or, you’d take it to a dealer, and they’d pay you cash on the spot. But what if it’s not running, what then? You may need to hire a tow truck, which is pricey. For a short distance, the average cost is around $100. For longer hauls, this can reach $200, $300, or even more.
How to Sell a Truck for Top Dollar
Americans love their trucks – there’s no doubt about it. One of the best things about selling a pickup is that everyone can use one, even if they don’t know it yet. What does this mean to you? It means that there’s a large market for trucks, so selling one shouldn't be too hard. There are several highly sought-after features such as 4X4 and a tow package that make it even easier. If yours is missing either of these, don’t be surprised if you find some hesitance.
If you’re selling a truck private party and have never used it as it’s intended (for work), be sure and let potential buyers know. The less it's been used, the more reliable people view it as. For detailed information on selling a truck, check out our previous article here.
How to Sell an SUV/Crossover for Top Dollar
The great thing about selling an SUV or crossover is that they’re some of the most popular vehicles in the nation. Small or large, if yours is in decent shape, you should have no issue finding interested buyers. Depending on where in the country you live, AWD often is favored due to the added traction on wet/icy surfaces, be sure and mention it in your listing if it is. Another option that many people look for is 3rd-row seating, don’t forget to let buyers know in case they have a family they intend to haul around.
If your SUV or crossover has never been in an accident, know that buyers find this very attractive. People shopping for these models typically care a lot about safety, and knowing that things are in working order is valuable to them.
How to Sell a Sedan/Wagon for Top Dollar
Although sedans and wagons are less popular in recent years compared to small crossovers. There’s always someone looking for a clean, reliable car. Not only that, but these models tend to be more affordable than others. And when someone's after an inexpensive junk car, these top the list. Regardless of what model you’re selling. If priced right, and it runs well and has some life left on the tires, you’ll find interested buyers.
Cost is essential when it comes to sedans and wagons, including the cost of maintaining them. For this reason, American made models get seen as more reliable than foreign ones. Why? Because parts and labor are more affordable. Even something as simple as an oil change can cost 2-3 times as much if it’s from overseas.
How to Prepare a Junk Car
Now that you know the places and people who buy junk cars, and how to get the most for one. Let’s review how to prepare it to ensure things go smoothly.
- Give it a Wash
Washing your car before you sell it is one of those things that almost goes without saying. A simple wash and wax can go a long way towards making your car more appealing to a buyer. The same goes for detailing the interior. Is washing it always relevant? Not necessarily, not if you’re selling it to a scrapyard. Why? Because its parts and weight are more valuable than appearance.
- Have Your Paperwork Ready
The last thing you want is to get to the point where you’ve found a buyer, but don’t have your paperwork in order. Before you begin the process, make sure you have a valid title, and that it’s in your name. If you don’t, or it’s not, you’ll want to head to your local DMV office and get things squared away. Is a title always required? The law varies depending on the state you're in, and unless the vehicle is much older, yes, it’s needed.
- Remove Any Valuables
Imagine you’ve found someone to buy your junk car, and you now have a wad of cash in your pocket. But then, you remember you left something priceless in the glove-box. Jewelry, electronics, paperwork, these are all easy to forget. Do yourself a favor and give your car a final sweep before finalizing the sale. To truly get the most when selling a junk car. Check out our previous article on parts and accessories you may be able to sell separately.
Donating a Junk Car
If you’re looking to give back a little to society. Rather than sell your junker, maybe you should consider donating it. One of the great things about donating a car, besides the “feel good” factor, is the tax write-off. As well as the free removal often provided. Here are a few tips to ensure things go as planned.
- Make Sure They’re Legit
The first thing to check when donating a car is if they’re legit. How can you tell? Real charities register as non-profits, known as a 501(c)(3) groups. Anything other than this and you risk losing any tax benefits.
- Get a Receipt
To claim the tax benefits linked with donating a junk car. You want to make sure you get a receipt, also known as a Donation Bill of Sale. For more info on donating, check out our previous article here.
Reputable Charities That Accept Junk Cars
Kars4Kids provides positive-educational programs for our future generation. Mentoring services, day trips, and overall uplifting experiences are their bread and butter. So far, they’ve raised more than $100 million from more than 450,000 cars through donations. Any sort of vehicle is welcome, including RVs, boats, motorcycles, and of course – junk cars. Interested in getting started? Head to their site and fill out a quick form, it's as easy as that.
- Focus: Child Developmental Services
- Contact Info: 877-527-7454
- Is Write-off Eligible? – Yes
- Is Removal Included? – Yes
While some thrive in life, others haven’t been so lucky – this is where Goodwill comes in. Donations help support services like job training, community support, and employment. They believe that everyone deserves an equal shot at making something of themselves and building a decent quality of life. All vehicles are accepted, including RVs, boats, motorcycles, regardless of their condition. Fill out a simple form online, and they handle the rest.
- Focus: Community Enrichment
- Contact Info: 855-980-0171
- Is Write-off Eligible? – Yes
- Is Removal Included? – Yes
Partnered with Wheels for Wishes, the Make-A-Wish-Foundations strives to help children who are critically ill, by fulfilling their wishes. Examples include trips to Disneyland, meeting a child’s hero, or helping them decorate their hospital room to their liking to make it more comfortable. Car donations so far have helped raised nearly $65-million, and if you’re looking to donate one yourself, you can be a part of this growing amount. Interested in getting started? Head to the website, fill out some info about your vehicle, and they handle the rest.
- Focus: Critically Ill Children
- Contact Info: 877-371-9474
- Is Write-off Eligible? – Yes
- Is Removal Included? – Yes
Who Buys Junk Cars? We Buy Junk Cars
You should now have all the information needed to sell a junk car. You should have a better idea of who buys junk cars in your area, how to price one, and how to prepare it.
But, if you’re running short on time and need to sell a junk car fast, consider Cash Cars Buyers. Our professional staff is standing by ready to assist 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Head to our site here to get the process started, or contact us directly at (844)-663-7286.