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How to Junk Your Car for Money: A Guide

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How to Junk Your Car for Money

For months now your old car’s been taking up space in your driveway, getting rustier and rustier. You want this eyesore out of your life pronto, but selling the car through traditional means could prolong the experience.

Thankfully, there’s a way to expedite the process: junking your car. But leaping into this head-first without knowing the best strategy could leave you without the best value possible. So what can you do?

Well, we’re glad you asked. It’s time to take a look at our guide on how to junk your car for the money!

But enough talk, right? Let’s dive right into this thing!

Junk Your Car

Determining Value

One of the first steps you should take when the thought “I want to junk my car” pops into your head is to figure out how much value your car has. Certain parts like the battery or bumper are popular second-hand purchases, and so dealers will tend to take those parts (in good condition) for more money. Electronics within the car (think touchscreens or GPS devices) are also big-ticket items.

In some cases, the doors and windows will also get extracted off your car to act as replacements for damaged cars of the same model. In some cases, tires and windshield wipers get repurposed too. Junk companies will even take your un-used airbags for a few hundred bucks.

This is where the model of your car comes into play. If you’re junking a popular model of car, you’re more likely to fetch a high price for the car than you would with an out-of-date or obsolete car.

Going around and getting estimates from various buyers is another way to estimate out a value for your car. This way, you can find the deal that works best for you without getting lowballed.

Bonus Cost Factors

That said, there are a few other things that will take away from whatever cash you get from selling the car. Some companies will charge you to pick up and tow your car to their junkyard site. Others will do it for free but cut how much they pay you for the car to compensate.

Others will also need to see the car first-hand. This requires you to drop extra money to get the car to their yard for an appraisal.

Some people also like to give their car a small spruce-up before they shop it around in hopes of getting more money. This can work, but stay aware of the time and money you invest into making it look more desirable against the price increase.

Research Who to Use to Junk Your Car for Money

Now that you’ve figured out your car’s value, it’s time to find a buyer. Shop around for different junk car buyers in the area and do some research to look up online reviews for the buyer. Check social media sites, or search customer reviews from feedback sites and forums.

This will help give you red flags for any shady business practices the buyer’s hiding. If you know friends or co-workers who’ve scrapped their car, asking them for advice is another great resource to use.

You should also verify that the buyer you choose is licensed. Non-licensed buyers are less regulated and will pull tricks on you like tampering with the scale to say your car weighs less than it does (and thus give you less cash for it).

You also miss out on certain legal protections when you go with an unlicensed buyer. Hell, you can even be the one in legal jeopardy if you’re not careful.

Prepping the Car 

After finding a buyer, it’s time to prep the car for salvaging. Give the car a solid wash to remove any gunk or filth that’s come up over the years.

Pop inside the car and make sure anything of yours not related to the car (be it personal belongings, trash, etc.) gets removed and put away. After all, once the car gets stripped and smashed flat, you’re not recovering anything intact. Anything not made of metal should also come out if you plan for the car to become scrap metal.

This is also the time to extract any parts you’d like to sell if you know-how. Keep in mind, however, that removing parts can lower the value your buyer will give you on the car.

Check the gas tank too. Any remaining gas should get used up or taken out before the car gets towed. Otherwise, the residual gasoline poses a safety hazard to the technicians working on breaking down the car.

Legal Papers and Follow-Up

As you prepare your car for getting junked, you should also make sure all the legal footwork is done on your end. To scrap a car, you’ll want to get a salvage title for your car. It’s not always required, but it speeds up the buying process and shows reliability to buyers (who will give you more money than if you lacked a salvage title).

The exact restrictions vary by state, but this lets someone purchase your car with the legal understanding it is little more than scrap. You’ll also need to turn any license plates the car has back into the DMV. If you still have any car insurance revolving around the scrap vehicle, make sure to cancel that too.

Once the car’s gone, keep checking in to make sure the title transfers. Don’t stop until you both have confirmation of the transfer and the money in your hands. Otherwise, any crashes or other incidents involving the car will fall on you (since the lease is still under your name).

Junk Car Gone? Easy Cash In

And that’s all there is to it! Now that you have this guide on how to junk your car for the money, you’re ready to go out and kick that clunker out of your driveway for good! And if you want to find more articles on car maintenance and purchasing, make sure to check out the rest of the posts on our blog!

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