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How To Sell A Junk Car For Cash [With And Without Title]

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Your once prized car is now a rust bucket, an eyesore, a piece of junk. It’s taking up prime real estate in your driveway, and all you want to do is get rid of it and make some extra money in the process. You might be wondering how to sell a junk car for cash.

Offering your junk car to an auto salvage yard, junkyard, or an online junk car buying business is often the easiest and fastest way to get rid of an unwanted car for cash.

Another option is to sell it privately or sell parts of the car separately, maximizing the overall revenue potential.

Junking a car for cash is often the fastest way to eliminate the hunk of metal decorating your yard, and make a little cash in the process.

Unfortunately, the fastest way isn’t always the most lucrative, however, if your junk car is worth less than $500, this route makes sense.

That said, if there’s still some value to be found in the car, selling it privately or for spare parts may be more profitable.

graphic of a junk car at a scrap yard how to sell a junk car for cash

Places That Buy Junk Cars

Once you’ve decided to sell your junk car for cash, you’ll need to decide who to sell it to.

Many places and people buy junk cars for cash, and it’s up to you to find the one that offers you the best price for your clunker.

Places that buy junk cars:

  • Local junkyards (aka scrap yards)
  • Auto salvage yards
  • Junk car buyers (private)

You can also sell your old car online.

Here are some of the most reputable online junk car buyers:

When contacting a junk or auto salvage yard or completing online application forms, it’s recommended that you have your junk car’s relevant information ready.

The more of your vehicle’s information you can provide at the time of the inquiry, the more complete the offered quote will be:

  • Car make
  • Car model
  • Model year
  • Car title (VIN Number)
  • Damage details

When using one of the above platforms (except for eBay), the companies typically take care of the transfer of ownership and all administration details.

Most will give you an instant quote, which makes it easy to compare offers.

Many dealers will even offer free towing up to 48 hours after a quote has been accepted.

You get paid when the junk car is picked up.

graphic of pile of junk cars in a junkyard how to sell a junk car for cash

How Much Do Junk Cars Sell For?

You shouldn’t expect to become an instant millionaire selling a scrap car, however, you can still walk away from the deal with some extra pocket money for your troubles.

Typically, the heavier your car, the higher the selling amount as you will be selling scrap metal.

According to Pull-A-Part, a national auto salvage company, you can realistically expect to get between $250-$500 for a junk car, largely depending on the following factors:

  • The car is missing major parts like the engine, catalytic converter, transmission, or wheels
  • The location of the junk car
  • Major damage such as flood, fire, or accident
  • Year, make, and model of junk car

Junk cars can be bought for as little as $50 or as much as $2,000, but on average, expect somewhere between $100-$500.

While older cars (> ten years) will usually net you $200 max, a newer model in good condition can potentially earn you close to $1,000.

The demand for parts that can be salvaged from your junk car can also play a part in the overall price offered.

Why Wait? Earn Extra Money Today!

How Can I Get The Most Money For My Junk Car?

To get top dollar for your junk car, you can sell some of your junk car’s parts separately before selling the remaining shell for scrap metal.

Typically, parts sell quickly and can easily double your revenue.

Related: Scrap Yard Near Me (Current Metal Prices)

Part-out the car then sell for scrap

Selling items like the car’s engine, transmission, stereo, doors, mirrors, and windshield wipers can result in more money in your wallet than an offer from a junk or salvage yard.

To give you an idea of how much you can make, a built-in GPS can sell for close to $100, a catalytic converter for a couple of hundred dollars, and a car engine, depending on the type, can easily be sold for $500+.

Doors, windows, and windshield wipers are always in demand, and you can expect to get a couple of hundred dollars for these items.

This method of selling your junk car for cash involves a little more effort from your side and may require the expertise of a mechanic (which will also cost money) to help strip the car.

Additionally, the burden of finding buyers for the parts will be on you.

Repair shops, mechanics, car part recyclers, collectors, individual buyers, and scrap yards are potential clients.

Sell a junk car privately

Another option is to try and sell it privately to a car enthusiast or hobbyist.

It may just be that your junk car is in demand with auto enthusiasts who are looking for a car restoration project or that your junk car has certain parts that are in high demand.

Privately selling your junk car can be time-consuming as you have to wait for an interested buyer to appear on the horizon.

The sale process is also more involved.

Depending on your state, the selling process may require you to transfer the registration, complete a bill of sale, have certain inspections done, and cover other compliance costs.

Don’t sell an operable, perfectly functioning vehicle to an auto salvage company or junkyard, as you won’t come close to getting what it’s worth from these places.

The upside of private selling is more money in your pocket.

how to sell a junk car for cash graphic of used car with dollar bills

Steps To Selling A Junk Car

Selling a junk car doesn’t have to be a painful process. Follow these easy steps to prepare yourself to get rid of the piece of junk you used to call “old faithful.”

Before The Sale

Here are some necessary steps to complete before selling your junk car.

Step 1: Get ahold of the car’s title

Selling a car to any willing buyer requires possessing the vehicle’s title (or a salvage title).

If you can’t find your title, contact your state’s DMV or BMV offices and get them to issue it to you via mail.

The following information should be ready before you move on to the next step:

  • Car title
  • VIN number
  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Mileage
  • Body condition
  • Engine condition
  • Exterior damage
  • Interior damage

The vehicle title will show proof of ownership to a prospective buyer, which will make it easier for you to legally transfer that ownership to them.

Step 2: Find a buyer

Time to find the business that will offer you the most money for your junk.

Research the auto salvage and junk yards in your area and verify they are licensed and insured establishments.

Typically, when a company is reputable and above board, you tend to get better customer service and fair offers.

Use the online platforms listed earlier in this article, as they are some of the best available platforms for selling junk cars. Get as many quotes as possible.

Step 3: Compare the quotes

Now that, you have done your part by contacting all the potential buyers. It’s time to make a decision based on which offer pockets you the most money.

Step 4: Sort out the paperwork

Most companies who buy junk cars will deal with the preparation of the sale’s paperwork.

Be sure to confirm that the buying institution will complete the paperwork and that nothing is required from your side administratively, as legal requirements may differ from state to state.

Step 5: Confirm the sale and schedule a pickup time

Inform the chosen business that you are taking up their offer and conclude the sale agreement.

If your car is drivable, some auto salvage or junk yards will expect you to deliver the car.

If your car is insured, check with your insurance company to see if towing is covered.

Others will come to pick the car up, but be sure that the pickup or delivery details are clear before you sign anything.

Once you are satisfied with the agreed terms, set up an appointment date and time for pickup.

Step 6: Prepare the car for pickup

Remove all personal belongings from the car.

If you are only selling the car’s shell, make sure that all valuable parts (engine, alternators, wheels, starters, etc.) are removed before the scheduled pickup.

Ensure to remove the number plates of your car, as you might have to take it to the DMV once the car is crushed if you aren’t going to re-register the plates to a new vehicle. In most states, these old number plates can be used to register another vehicle.

Step 7: Sign the relevant documents

When the salvage yard comes to pick up your car, sign the relevant documents to legally transfer the car to the buyer and make sure to request a copy.

Most junk car buying companies will pay you on the spot before they take possession of the vehicle.

Related: Best Ways To Earn An Extra $1,000 Fast

After The Sale

After signing the relevant documentation, receiving your money, and waving goodbye to your junk car, the sale is concluded, but your work is not over yet.

The following steps must be completed after the conclusion of the sale:

Step 8: Contact the DMV

You must inform the DMV of any vehicle sale, trade, or donation.

Notifications can be done online or by phoning customer service or visiting their offices in person.

In some states, there’s a deadline for this notification, so to be on the safe side, give yourself 48 hours to do this.

Step 9: Inform your insurance

Inform your car insurance company of the sale immediately. You don’t want to pay for a car on its way to the scrapyard!

Step 10: Follow up with the buyer

To avoid any legal issues from cropping up in the future, follow up with the buyer after the transfer of ownership has been done.

You can also confirm the transfer of ownership with the DMV.

Related: The Best Things to Sell at Pawn Shops for Quick Cash

Sell My Junk Car Near Me

Use our zip code locator below to find places nearby that will give you cash for your junker.

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FAQ Selling A Junk Car For Cash

Selling a junk car shouldn’t be a daunting experience. Here are answers to some important questions when selling a junk car for cash.

When should you scrap a car?

It may be the perfect time to scrap your car if any of the following rings true:

  • Your car doesn’t run (blown engine), it’s not safe to drive, and it costs more to fix than what it’s worth.
  • It’s old, unreliable, missing parts, and spends more time in the mechanic’s shop than on the road.
  • The car has been neglected, was involved in a major accident, or has a low value (less than $500.)
  • No buyer is interested in buying your car.
  • You don’t feel safe sitting in it, never mind driving it.
  • The car has come to the end of its lifecycle.

Can I sell my junk car without a title?

Selling your junk car without a title is allowed in some states but not in others.

For example, the State of California requires you to apply for a new title if you want to sell your junk car. While, in some Texas counties, a power of attorney is acceptable with proof of registration.

Some auto salvage yards will buy junk vehicles without needing a title, however, this is also guided by state law.

At the very least, you’ll be required to show proof of registration (even if it’s expired), a driver’s license, and a bill of sale before scrapping your car.

The good news is, that it’s easy to get a new title for your vehicle. Just contact your local DMV, fill out some paperwork, and wait for your new title to arrive in the mail before you scrap your car.

You can also hire a service like Dirt Legal to recover your title for a small fee.

Can I scrap a car that’s not in my name?

It’s up to the laws of the state you live in that will determine whether or not you can sell a car that isn’t in your name.

Suppose, for example, you inherited a car from a deceased relative. The DMV can request a transfer form and a death certificate, while a power of attorney will work in other states.

Some scrap yards will purchase a vehicle with an ‘open’ title (when the previous owner has signed the title but no buyer was specified).

Check with your local scrap yard for more information.

Do You Need To Notify DMV If You Junk Your Car?

You must inform the DMV when you sell, trade, or donate a car, including selling your car to a junkyard.

The DMV will advise the process going forward.

Will CarMax Buy A Non-Running Car?

CarMax will purchase almost any automobile, running or not.

They buy cars that have gearbox problems, engine problems, blown head gaskets, broken clutches, and other issues.

However, they factor the car’s damages in when formulating a price.


Selling a junk car for cash is easy!

If you do your homework and get the best possible quote online or from physical salvage yards in your area, you can make an easy $500 fast.

Having the car’s title and VIN number ready before you start the selling process will ensure that the process is as smooth and painless as possible.

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