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Which is Better, Selling or Storing Your Car When You Know It is Non-Operational?

Which is Better, Selling or Storing Your Car When You Know It is Non-Operational?

When your vehicle becomes non-operational, you may start to wonder if it is better to sell or store it. Having this kind of dilemma is understandable, especially if you are the kind of person who prefers to keep an old vehicle than spending money to buy a new one. When you come to a point where you start asking yourself, “Which is Better, Selling or Storing Your Car When You Know It is Non-Operational?”, this article will guide you in making the right decision by laying out the ups and downs of selling or storing your non-op vehicle.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

Factors You Should Consider Before Making A Decision To Sell Or Store Your Non-operational Car:

Determine the Costs involved and How Long will the vehicle be stored

One of the first things to consider is how long the vehicle will not be driven. Although it is always better for a vehicle to be driven at least on a weekly basis, feel free to store it if you are considering taking the vehicle off the road for several months. It should not be really that difficult for a vehicle to recover from not being driven for several months. Oftentimes, it just requires a jumpstart if the battery’s power has been lowered or depleted, just be sure to check all fluids.


If you will not be driving the vehicle for more than two months, there are many more things to consider in order to resolve the “sell or store” dilemma. One common scenario here is the people in the military who are being deployed overseas. The average length of overseas military deployment is three years. Storing the vehicle for a long time is a bad idea, not only for the vehicle itself but also for your bank account or wallet. 


Storage fees vary from place to place, however, a storage unit big enough for a vehicle is going to cost you around $150 – $450 per month, which will cost anywhere from $1,800 – $5,400 annuallydo not even think of leaving the vehicle outdoors for that long. If the vehicle is paid off or close to being paid off, it’s probably much better financially to sell the vehicle and put the funds into an interest-bearing savings account of some sort. After all, it does not really make sense spending thousands of dollars for a vehicle you are not even driving for an extended period of time.


If you are still paying for the vehicle, you should still look at whether or not you can sell the vehicle for sufficient money to pay off the remaining balance and still put some money in your bank account. If you do not, then you are going to still be making vehicle payments and adding those storage unit fees on top of that. However, even selling the vehicle at a loss may make more sense, financially, compared to the storage fees you will pay in the long run.


Remember that storing a vehicle for a year or so practically means there are going to be significant repair costs to fix everything that deteriorated over time. In this situation, it could end up being hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 


What Kind of Vehicle and How Old is it

The kind of vehicle and what it means to you are also factors that you want to consider when trying to decide whether to sell or store. Any vehicle that is less than five years old is going to keep depreciating in value. This is why you have to consider how much value is being lost through depreciation, not to mention the physical deterioration that happens when a vehicle sits undriven for an extended period of time. 


On the other hand, this does not apply if the vehicle in question is an antique, collectible vintage, or a classic vehicle. These sorts of vehicles are actually the ones that are expected to increase in value over time, which might make the cost of storage worth it.

What it Means to You

Sometimes you just do not want to let go of your vehicle because it has such sentimental value. In this situation, you will just have to weigh your sentimental attachment to it over the costs involved in storing it, so you can decide whether to sell or store it.


It would be sensible to consider shipping it to where you will be if you are going to be traveling overseas for a long-term work or business assignment and you will need one while away. Expect that shipping, insuring, and registering the vehicle in your destination country will be expensive, but storing it could also become expensive. According to experts, it’s smart to do a real cost comparison of both options, especially if you will need a vehicle where you are going.


Vehicles are Meant to be Driven Regularly

Vehicles tend to develop all kinds of issues if not driven regularly. Moisture and condensation can build up, which causes all sorts of problems when a vehicle is not driven for a long period of time. Corrosion sets in throughout the engine since the moisture never gets burned off like it does when the vehicle is driven. 


All the rubber and plastic components can suffer from drying out and cracking when a vehicle sits unused. The different fluids that keep a vehicle running smoothly deteriorate over time. Tires develop flat spots, and the worst part is, sometimes they will not straighten themselves out. Gas goes bad. Leaks occur on hoses. Seals crack. Batteries lose their charge. All these things are not really an issue if a vehicle is driven regularly. 


Storing your vehicle for a long period of time will not only mean paying a lot in storage fees. It also means you will end up spending a lot of your hard-earned money to fix all the things that are wrong with the vehicle when you finally take it out of storage. This is something many vehicle owners have found out the hard way.


Ideally, a vehicle should be driven for at least 20 minutes a week, or every two weeks at a minimum, including some speeds above 50 mph. By doing so, it allows the engine to heat up enough to evaporate any condensation and moisture from the engine and exhaust. It also activates or wakes up every other system of the vehicle to keep it in good working condition.


Loan it out of Family or Friends

If you are just worried about the storage fees or the fees that you might incur for keeping a non-op vehicle but do not want to sell it, then your next option is to loan out the vehicle to your family or friends. By doing this, you are saving yourself from paying a significant amount of storage fees and repairs. In addition, you are also ensured that your vehicle will be driven regularly, and you will avoid all those issues that occur when a vehicle sits unused for too long. 


Another benefit of loaning out your vehicle to another person is that you can ask the person to pay a monthly fee for being able to use your vehicle. It would help offset some of your monthly car payment if it is not paid off. 


Note: This kind of arrangement can go wrong in many ways. The person who uses your vehicle may not take care of it the way you would. Maybe they are not safe drivers as you thought they would be and they get into an accident while driving it. It could be a sensible choice to let someone else drive your vehicle to keep it in use. Just remember that this arrangement opens up a lot of potential issues that could cause even more headaches than what you expected from your other options.


As you can see from everything mentioned above, making the decision to sell or store your vehicle is far more complicated than you might have thought. After weighing all the factors, if you come to a decision to sell your vehicle, then your journey is just beginning. This time you have to figure out how to sell your non-op vehicle. One of the easiest ways to get it done is to sell it outright to a dealership, but you can’t expect to take home a substantial amount out of this deal. Another option is to sell it yourself privately, but that is going to involve a lot of work and potential stress to do it right, and still without any guarantee of getting what you want. Regardless of the condition of your vehicle, you can sell it for cash.

What happens when you non op a car?

To save money on insurance and registration, you can file a “Planned Non-Operation” or PNO, especially if you have a vehicle in California and plan to take it off the road for a while.


Planned Non-Operation (PNO), also referred to as “non-op,” is one of the options you’ll be given every time your annual California vehicle registration renewal notice comes around. 


Why Put Your Car On Planned Non-Operation

You can take advantage of the PNO status in situations where you want to store your vehicle for a long time, but do not want to get tormented by piled-up late fees. If you decide to stop paying your registration while your vehicle’s not used, you will accumulate penalties and you or a new buyer will not be able to register the vehicle again until the fees or penalties are paid.


Let’s just say you own a vehicle that has a major engine problem but you are still saving money to have it repaired. You do not really want to sell it, but want to stop paying recurring costs on it while it is just sitting. With PNO, you can legally take insurance off your vehicle while taking advantage of that exceptionally-low registration fee.


Downsides Of Planned Non-Operation

A PNO vehicle cannot be street parked or legally driven. It is also not supposed to be towed while on non-op except if there is a special moving permit.


When your vehicle is ready to be driven, you need to physically go to the AAA or DMV to put the paperwork through. 


Note: Non-op status is only ideal if you are sure that the vehicle is going to be off the road for at least a year. If you put it on PNO status and then decided to return it to the road-legal status before your first year is up, you will be required to pay a full year’s worth of registration.

How do I report a non operational vehicle in California?

PNO filings will be accepted 60 days before registration expires or up to 90 days after registration expires, according to the DMV. There will be a clear instruction on how to file a PNO request. It will be clearly laid out in the document you will get in the mail when registration renewal comes due and you want to take the car off the road. If you do not have the paperwork handy, you can also file online.


Take note that once the PNO status is placed on a vehicle record, it will stay on the record until the registered owner wishes to register the vehicle. The owner will receive a Non-Operated Vehicle Notice every year and the registration expiration date will remain the same.

How much does it cost to put a car on non op in California?

The PNO vehicle registration fee is much less than the regular registration fees. In California, it costs approximately $5 annually to get a non-op vehicle registered and can be done at a point in time by just paying the applicable registration fees. California decides the registration cost by vehicle and value.

Can you sell a car with a non op?

If for some reason you suddenly decided to sell your vehicle after putting it on PNO, you might ask yourself if it is okay to sell a vehicle that is listed as PNO. The answer is yes, technically. You can sell it, but it can’t be test driven or be parked on a public street. In this case, you will need to take the PNO off. This means you will have to smog test, register, and insure the vehicle so that it is back on the road legally. Only then, you can have the potential buyer test drive the vehicle.


Deciding whether to sell or store your vehicle can be really challenging, but after much consideration and weighing every factor, it will not be difficult anymore. Just keep in mind that selling or storing a vehicle have their own benefits depending on your situation