When it comes to selling a junk car, it does not matter if it is old or damaged. You just want to know how to make the most you can off of getting rid of it. However, this is often more difficult than saying goodbye to a functional car that you can take to your local used car lot or trade-in.

Fortunately, you have options to choose from for disposing of your old or non-functional vehicle. From online classifieds to junkyards or salvage lots, there are ways to clear that old clunker off your driveway and earn some money from it at the same time.

Whether your vehicle has suffered an accident or severe mechanical failure or is just at the end of its life, it is time to start considering junking your old car. In this article, we will take a look at the steps you can take to ensure you get the most money from your junk car and where you can sell it.

Image Credit: dave_7  / flickr

Determine the Value of Your Junk Car

You might feel that your “junk” car really isn’t worth anything, but the fact is that no matter how old or damaged, your vehicle is definitely worth something, and you may just be surprised how much. Before attempting to sell your junk car, it is important to determine what it is worth, and this comes down to several factors, most importantly, its condition, type, and manufacturing year. Here is a closer look at each of these.

  • Condition: In many cases, junk cars are not a pretty sight. After all, if they were in good condition, you probably wouldn’t be looking to sell them. However, a car may look like junk on the outside and yet have a pretty good condition internally. When a junkyard or other buyer judges the value of a vehicle, much of what they will be looking for are parts that are worth selling. So, consider your vehicle’s condition when judging its value.
  • Type: Often more than any other factor, make, and model will determine its worth. This is for several reasons, including, first of all, the demand for its parts on the market. The next is its weight. More metal weight means more scrap to be sold at current metal market prices.
  • Year: Most vehicles will lose a lot of value as parts wear out and fewer people are looking for parts. Of course, some junk vehicles could have more value for a collector, but in general, an older car will be worth less.

Now you may be wondering how to use these factors to judge your vehicle, and there are a number of resources available for you to use. Kelley Blue Book can easily be referenced online and provide you a way to determine fair market value based on similar vehicles, and when considered in terms of the condition of your vehicle can provide a good idea of what your vehicle is worth.

Prepare the Car for Sale

A better car will get you a better deal, so putting your car’s best face forward is important. When it’s time to get your car ready and in top condition for sale, start by assessing any and all issues you can fix. Are old bumper stickers peeling off the back? Scrape them off. Minor dents or paint damage? Utilize an exterior touchup kit. Tears or cracks in the upholstery? Get an automotive upholstery repair kit.

Once any minor fixes have been done, you can now start making your car sparkling clean (a dirty car doesn’t fetch top dollar). It’s a good idea to give your vehicle an all-around clean with the appropriate auto cleaning products, but focus your efforts on the most high-traffic and high-wear areas. Find an upholstery shampoo designed for your leather or fabric seats, and scrub away! A multi-purpose cleaner should be able to tackle the dashboard, doors, steering wheel, and other commonly touched areas. Finally, if your car has modern touchscreens or other electronic screens, only use a cleaner that’s safe for glass & touchscreen components to avoid scratches & fog.

You may also take the opportunity to consider if there are any components you may want to keep, including customizations or parts such as an aftermarket radio or alloy wheels. These may be able to be sold for more separately than with the rest of the vehicle.

Once your vehicle has corrected any minor issues, looks sparklingly clean, and has that new-car scent again, you’re ready to assess its final condition. Make a list of the reasons why your car is as good as new. Highlight its clean state and refreshed appearance. However, also note any remaining issues you couldn’t fix–hiding these things will only hurt a potential buyer’s trust.

Find Potential Buyers

There are a few options for selling your junk car. One of the easiest ways to sell it would be to contact a local or national salvage yard. They may want to buy your junk car to sell the parts. You can call them and give them the details about your car and ask for a quote. You will probably need to know the make, model, and year of your car, along with any details of its condition. They will also likely ask whether or not you have a title. If you want to sell your car to a salvage yard, make sure you get a few quotes before making a final decision. Also, when deciding on a price, don’t accept too low of a price just because the salvage yard is willing to tow your car. You might want to check online at a website that estimates car values to see what your car should be worth.


Another way you might be able to find a buyer for your junk car is to place a classified ad. You could place the ad online or in a local publication. You might be able to find someone interested in buying the car to fix it up or for parts. If you decide to sell your car this way, you should still get an idea of its value ahead of time to help you when negotiating a price.


You could also sell your car to a junkyard for scrap metal. This would probably not be your best option if your car has usable parts or is drivable. However, you can always ask for a quote and compare this to a quote from a salvage yard.

Transfer Ownership and Complete the Sale

With buyers found and all of the negotiations complete, it is time to actually complete the sale, and the most important part of this is giving over ownership of the vehicle by signing over the title. The title is the proof of ownership of the vehicle, and in order to transfer ownership, any owners of the vehicle must sign the existing title, which will allow the buyer to acquire a new title in their own name.


In some states, additional information may need to be filled out on the title, such as the name of the buyer, odometer reading, and sale price, among other possible details. Depending on local requirements, a notary may also need to be present when the title is signed, so it is important to check your local requirements before planning to sign over the vehicle.

In addition to signing over the tile, you should also plan on filling out a bill of sale, which is a document stating the terms of the agreement between the seller and buyer of the vehicle. This is required in some cases and often has the benefit of providing proof that the vehicle was sold and the specific terms of the sale. This does not need to be a complex document and is often handwritten at the time of the sale; however, you may also be able to find an easy template to print out from your local vehicle regulatory agency to use.

Make sure both parties have a copy of the agreement that they can use as a receipt and proof of any conditions of the sale. Finally, check with your local regulatory agency to make sure that there are no other requirements or fees that you should be aware of to ensure everything goes smoothly when your buyer goes to acquire a new title.


When it comes time to sell your junk car, the right preparation can pay off big in guaranteeing a fast sale for the most cash. By determining the value of your car, you can be ready to negotiate for a fair price, and with just a little preparation, you can ensure that your vehicle looks its best for any potential buyers.

Once you are ready, choosing the right buyer can make all the difference in determining what offers you get. Make sure to consider all of your options instead of just choosing the first quote you receive to guarantee you get the best offer. Performing these steps does not need to be difficult or time-consuming, but just a little due diligence can be the difference between receiving the cost of a tow and a significant amount of cash. So do yourself a favor and ensure that you get the deal you deserve!