How to Junk Your Car: A Step-by-Step Guide


junk yard cars

You might be wondering where cars go after they’ve driven their final mile. Sitting in your garage with repairs that cost more than the vehicle, it seems this isn’t your car’s final destination.

If you’re having these thoughts, it might be time to junk your car.

Junking your car is a great option for you and many others. When you junk your car, you’re allowing others to use any good parts left of your vehicle. Plus, you can make money from selling to junk car buyers.

If you want to junk your car but don’t know we’re to start, keep reading for everything you’ll ever need to know about getting rid of your old car for good.

How to Junk Your Car the Right Way

How to junk a car properly requires a bit of time and effort, but the payoff is worth the work put into it.

There are many steps to junking a car, and each one is important.

If you’re thinking about how to junk a vehicle, you’re in the right place. Here is your complete guide to junking your old car from start to finish.

Clean Up and Collect

Before anything else, you’ll want to make sure all valuable items – both practical and sentimental – are out of the vehicle. Be sure to do a thorough sweep of your car, and know what should stay behind when you take your car to the junk yard.

Remove Personal Belongings

Over time, cars become our portable storage units. Anything you could need at work or home, you can count on being in your car at some point. That’s why it’s important to be sure everything is out before you junk your car.

It can be surprising what you find under the driver’s seat, or just how many CDs you’ve crammed into your console. Check everywhere just to be sure you’re not forgetting anything.

Some good places to check are the glove compartment, any consoles, the trunk, between and under seats, under floor mats, and all the seat or door pockets.

Removing your personal belongings isn’t only about what those items mean to you. You should clean everything out including trash. While you may not care about what gets left inside, the condition of your car’s interior could impact your sale.

Remove Valuable Parts

Ultimately, you should want to make your car worth the effort as you see it out. You can do just that by removing any valuable parts you could sell elsewhere before junking a car.

Valuable parts include alternators, batteries, stereo systems, and all other parts that would have value on their own.

When you get rid of junk car parts, there are two great benefits: You make extra money from your junk car, and you can help someone else find the parts they need for their own vehicle.

Even if your car knowledge is limited, it is better to pull parts that aren’t valuable than to give away good pieces to the junk yard.

Remove Any Leftover Gasoline

Anyone who pays for their own gas knows how expensive it gets. If your vehicle has any gasoline left in the tank, siphon it out and use it for another vehicle. It may not be much, but every drop counts.

Preparing to Sell

After you’ve removed all valuable items, it’s time to hone in on your own junking knowledge. Before you start searching “Junk car buyers near me,” there are a few things you need to know.

Bear in mind, your greatest fantasies of junking a car may not live up to your expectations. Knowing what’s coming next will keep you from getting sidetracked when the deal is happening.

Learn About Scrapping

Examine your vehicle and honestly assess its current state. Can it be driven? Are there any non-working parts that diminish value? What are the vehicle’s selling points?

Having a rough outline of your car’s highs and lows will come in handy when discussing sales with junk car buyers. For the time being, be an expert on the vehicle you’re trying to sell. “Sell car for scrap” buyers want to know why they should care – so convince them.

Be Realistic

Cars lose value over time, and when they get to the point of becoming junk cars, they’re not at on-the-lot value anymore.

Be realistic with what you hope to achieve. Start at a rational price based on its estimated worth. Websites such as Kelley Blue Book offer free estimates for used cars.

It doesn’t hurt to get multiple quotes beforehand. Get estimates from a trustworthy mechanic or a friend who knows a lot about cars. The more quotes you get, the better chance you have of solidifying a reasonable price.

Selling and Junking

You’re all set up and ready to sell your car. There are a few final steps before you make a deal, and they are the most important tasks in the whole process.

Have Title in Order

Having a title and transferring it to the salvage yard is extremely important before selling your car. The title ensures the car is yours, thus giving you the right to sell it. If the title is in someone else’s name, such as a parent or spouse, you must have them transfer the title to you.

While cars can be bought without a title, it is more difficult and not worth the liability. In general, it’s best to have a valid title. If the junk car buyer does not ask for a title, you should insist it is transferred to them.

Make Sure Your Buyer’s Qualified

Selling to an unlicensed dealer is not only shady, but it can land you in serious legal trouble. Always ask to see your buyer’s dealer license before selling your car.

If your dealer is not licensed, or will not show you their license, be wary of selling to them. It’s better to prolong the selling process than to risk getting scammed out of some or all of your payout.

Beware of Scams

There are many verified and trusted buyers out there who want to buy your car ethically. However, knowing the signs of a shady buyer can save you from the few untrustworthy ones you might come across.

As listed above, your buyer should always ask for and transfer the title to their name. They should also provide an active license which they have no reservations of showing to you.

Make sure their math adds up, and work out paid-in-full deals; delayed or partial payments should seem suspicious to you.

Another common scam is stating your car has little to no value. You should know this is not true, especially if you’ve received multiple estimates.

Always trust your instincts when it comes to selling your junk car. If something feels off, ask questions and demand proof of licensure.

Final Tasks

You’re almost there: the sale has been made, and it’s nearly time to bid your junk car adieu. There are just a few finishing touches left before it’s a finished deal.

Cancel Insurance

If you haven’t already, cancel insurance for your vehicle. Canceling your policy prevents future payments to be made on that vehicle. If you’ve paid for full coverage ahead of time, don’t worry – you’re able to get refunded.

Remove Plates

Your license plates are just as important for a junked vehicle as they are for an active one. Some states require you to turn the plates in when transferring the title. Other states allow those plates to be used on another vehicle.

If you are unsure of your state’s laws, it’s best to grab the plates off of the vehicle just in case.

Get Vehicle to The Junkyard

Finally, get your junked car out of your garage for good. Operating vehicles can be driven to the lot – otherwise, you should consider getting it towed.

Buyers will often provide free towing, but those expenses may come out of your final payment. In general, towing fees shouldn’t be very expensive and they are worth the cost of finally getting that old car to the junkyard.

Junk Your Old Car Today

By now, you should have a pretty good idea about how to junk your car. The process is well worth the outcome, so don’t be afraid to get rid of your old car once and for all. Take the first step toward junking your car today!


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