Don't trade in your junk car at the dealership.

Do Dealerships Buy Junk Cars as Trade in? Yes But BEWARE

We all know car dealerships for what they do—deal with cars. Dealerships sell new or gently used vehicles, but they are also in the business of buying them. You might think you'll be hitting two birds with one stone by selling your junk car to the dealer for a new one but don't. We're here to tell you why you shouldn't sell your junk car to the dealership and use a junk car service instead.

Not All Dealerships Buy Junk Cars

So, first of all, can you even sell your clunker to a dealership? While dealerships buy used cars, not all of them buy junk vehicles. Most people don't know that dealerships earn more profit from used car sales than new car sales. When buying cars, they mainly look for those they can resell.

If you're trying to sell your junk car to a dealership, you may find that they may not make an offer on a car that does not run, as they cannot make much profit or gain much from it in some way.

Every dealership, however, is different. You need to contact a nearby dealership to find out the specifics.

They'll Buy Your Junk Car with Strings Attached

Since buying junkers isn't profitable for dealerships, they may only make an offer if you agree to trade in your junk car for a newer vehicle. Otherwise, they are unlikely to offer you anything for your junk car.

A common tactic a dealership may use is convincing you that your junk car has a higher trade-in value, so you think you’re getting a better deal on a newer car. They may offer you a certain amount off of a new car if you agree to trade in your junk car. They do it to get you to purchase a new car from their dealership.

Don't trade in your junk car at the dealership.

In short, they may not offer to buy your junk car without strings attached. You should be wary of selling to dealerships, as they may have ulterior motives—if you are not looking to purchase a new vehicle, do not agree to a trade-in promotion.

Their Offers Will Be Low

If you are getting an offer on a junk car, it is most likely coming with strings attached, such as a trade-in. You should not expect top dollar if you’re given an offer without any other stipulations. A dealership generally pays wholesale prices for used vehicles so that you can expect even lower offers for a junk car.

You can expect a little more if you have a drivable and still usable vehicle. Many factors go into how much you may receive from a dealership, including your car's condition and whether there are stipulations from the dealership.

You should never rely on one single estimate, either. Consider getting a second opinion if a dealership may be purposefully lowballing you to make some money. This way, you can ensure you are getting the best price for your vehicle and aren’t being taken advantage of.

They Won't Pay What Your Vehicle is Worth

In an ideal scenario, car dealerships will refurbish your used or junk car, if possible, and resell it. That way, they can profit from the car you gave them. This scenario works in the dealership's favor—they most likely received your car for little to no money on their part and are now able to sell it for much more.

In most cases, your car is junk for a reason and, therefore, cannot be salvaged. In that case, car dealers sell junk car trade-ins at auctions. Since they may be able to make only a small profit on a junk car trade-in, they'll try to lowball you. They can make a profit at the auction by pricing your junk car lower than what it may sell for.

They may only agree to purchase your junk car if you also agree to enter into a contract with them.

Is It Worth Selling Your Car to a Dealership?

In the end, it is not worth it to sell your car to a dealership. You are more likely to get a better deal by going elsewhere. Selling your car to a car dealership may be more work than it's worth.

Moreover, a car dealership is unlikely to offer to pick up your car. So, you will need to arrange a towing service to come and get your car moved to the dealership if it’s undrivable. This adds another expense to your plate. If you’re lucky enough to find a dealership that does buy junk cars, you will most likely be making very little profit, if any.

Cons of Selling Your Junk Car to a Dealership

To sum up, here are the reasons you shouldn't sell your junk car to the dealership:

  • Very little profit comes from selling junk cars to dealerships.
  • They may try to lowball you and give you a lower price.
  • When you trade in, you may get roped into buying a newer car from the dealership.
  • Many dealerships may not even offer to buy junk cars.
  • If they do buy, dealerships are not likely to offer junk car removal as part of the deal.

Better Options

Now, you must wonder, "Where can I sell my car that doesn't run?" If you have a junk car and don’t know what to do with it, other options exist besides selling to a dealership.

Many sellers have found that using alternatives to car dealerships is the best option, both price and time-wise. Doing that extra research and finding options outside of car dealerships can help you earn a little more money for your used or junk car.

Private Buyers

Selling to a private buyer means selling to an individual, not a large corporation. This can be beneficial, as it means that the individual most likely has less stake in the game and won’t go out of their way to manipulate you. It is also more personal, and you can discuss your expectations with the seller.

Selling privately also means you have more opportunity to find someone looking for what you have to offer. While a dealership is never necessarily looking for a junk car for any reason, private junk car buyers may be looking for parts of old cars, etc. Selling privately can lean in your favor if you play your cards correctly. Although, it can also go the opposite way if you don't pick the right buyer.

Auto Salvage Yards

An auto salvage yard is an excellent alternative for selling a junk car. Salvage yards can sell individual parts and scrap metal from old vehicles, so they will likely offer better prices for salvageable cars. You can be sure to get a fair price when selling to an auto junkyard, compared to a dealership that may not have as much to gain from a junk car.

Junk Car Medics

Junk Car Medics is an excellent option for those looking to sell a junk car quickly and efficiently. All you need to do is fill out a small questionnaire about your vehicle, and we will give you a free quote.

You will receive an estimate almost instantly, and from there, you can schedule a pick-up where we will come and get your junk car. The process is quick and hassle-free, guaranteed to leave you satisfied.