Maybe you thought there was no point in renewing the registration of your junker. Since it doesn’t run, it’s not going out on the street. No harm, no foul, right? Well, very likely, WRONG. If your junk car has an expired registration, you might be breaking a local law. You might just get a warning first, but that could lead to fines. Some are really steep. We’re talking $100 each day. And that would definitely lead to unhappiness…and less money in your pocket.

Might be best to get rid of that old car ASAP. Junk Car Medics® can cure your junk car woes with cash. Here’s a rundown on what you need to know if you’ve got an unregistered jalopy just waiting to get a ticket…

Check Local Laws Around Titles and Registrations

Simply put, local ordinances vary. However, they typically have certain elements in common. These laws were established, in part, to prevent unsightly car bodies from cluttering up property and ruining landscapes. It’s not all about creating pretty neighborhoods, though. Some reasons have more to do with safety than esthetics. For example, a junk car parked on the street can be a distraction for drivers.

If the junker is in an open space, field, or wooded area, it could encourage illegal dumping of additional trash. Animals can take up residence. Perhaps an even greater hazard is leaking fluids, such as gasoline, oil, coolant, or brake fluid, polluting the environment. The owner of an unregistered vehicle might not notice if it’s losing goop, because the car is never moved. Potentially dangerous chemicals could, therefore, seep into ground and get into the water supply. Yuck.

Businesses that deal in junk cars and hobbyists who restore vehicles (check out these Hollywood cars you can restore!) are often exempt from registration laws for junkers, but these folks generally need to obtain local permits. In some areas, an unregistered vehicle is also allowed if it’s in an enclosed permanent structure. Out of sight, out of mind.

A side note: even if cars are registered, some municipalities will still consider it a junk car if it’s falling apart, dismantled, or looks like it doesn’t run. So be warned: a registration sticker is not always a magic ticket. You can still be fined.

Repair or Part the Unregistered Car

If your junk car is unregistered and no one has complained, you’re lucky. However, it could be just a matter of time before it’s brought to the attention of the authorities. Then, best-case scenario, you’re in for a hassle, because they’ll want you to take care of it fast. Worst case, it’ll end up costing you fines or fees into the hundreds of dollars.

Why not avoid all the bother and take care of the car before anyone’s the wiser with some auto repair hacks? If the vehicle is in decent shape, you may consider parting the car yourself. But that’s going to take some time, and you’re still stuck with the unregistered body. You might impress the authorities because you’re handling the situation…but maybe they’re hard to impress. They might just want the problem handled now.

Sell Your Car to a Reputable Salvage Yard

In many places, the quickest way to deal with an unregistered junker is to call a salvage yard. Not all salvage yards will be willing to buy your car without registration, especially if you’re missing other important documents. However, many salvage yards will. It’s just a matter of speaking to a few local salvage yards to see what they say. Make sure that you’re only going to reputable salvage yards and avoiding scams.

Once you tell the salvage yard about your missing documents, they’ll tell you how to proceed so that you can still transfer the car to them. Follow the instructions carefully to avoid any issues.

How to Sell an Unregistered Car to a Salvage Yard

When you sell your junk car to salvagers, you’ll need to provide proof of ownership. This is typically the title. In certain areas, salvage yards may ask for a registration. If you don’t have the title, check out this blog post for some ideas on getting your hands on one. You can visit your local DMV to apply for a duplicate or check with your bank. In any case, a reputable business will be able to guide you through the process if your car lacks that piece of paper. Don’t worry, you can’t surprise them…they’ve seen it all before.

What If I’m Missing the Title and Registration?

If you’re unlucky enough to be missing both crucial documents and you still want to sell your junk car, you may still be able to do it. If you have an old tag and card, without a current registration, that may be enough. You’ll simply need to find a salvage yard that can cooperate with you and let them know about your missing paperwork.

What If I Don’t Have the Old Registration Either?

Seriously? Are you sure you own this car?

Kidding aside, you could consider visiting the ol’ DMV to get a duplicate. In some cases, an insurance card and your license might do the trick. (We’ll talk later about a better organizational system for your documents. Seriously, everything is gone?) If you don’t have any of those forms and can’t get your hands on them, you might very well be doomed. Or at least the car sale is.

A salvage yard will tell you what you’re going to need to make the exchange, so be ready for the question. That means knowing if you have the title and realizing if you’re missing your registration. If there’s an issue when the tow truck comes to pick up your car, the whole deal may be delayed. And I’m sure you had plans for that cash…so when you’re making arrangements with the salvage yard, let them know if paperwork is going to be an issue.

Some states give you other options. For instance, in some states, if your car is without a title, it must be:

  • X years old or older, and
  • worth less than $X

…for a Licensed Vehicle Remover to then be permitted to recycle it. Your salvagers can tell you if your state offers any extra special bonuses.

What If the Unregistered Junk Car on My Property Isn’t Mine?

Some unfortunate folks have property littered with an unregistered vehicle or two that don’t belong to them. Persons known or unknown have dumped the cars, and the landowners have no idea when and if the junkers will be collected. (We’re guessing never, but who knows?)

If this is your plight, you probably can’t sell it to a salvage yard, unfortunately. The vehicle is considered abandoned and your best bet is to contact your local police station. They can explain what to do if you have an abandoned vehicle. Take care of it by the book, and that book can’t be thrown at you later.

What Happens After Selling to the Salvage Yard?

Typically, they’ll tow your car to their lot, so you won’t have to take the chance of driving an unregistered vehicle, if, indeed, it even moves. Then they’ll pull any sellable parts and remove any hazardous substances.

The remainder of the car will be crushed and shredded. Valuable metals are extracted and go to a refinery. There they are melted down and recycled into new products. This process saves a lot of time, money, and energy resources, so it’s good for the economy and for the environment. Double the fun.

Oh, forgot to mention…it’s good for you, too. Not only will you get the unregistered junker off your property, but you’ll get cash on the spot when you hand over your vehicle. Unless it’s something special (and they why would you be junking it?), it won’t be a fortune, but it’ll be a chunk of change you didn’t have before. You only had an ugly clunker sitting there, waiting to get you into trouble.

The Bottom Line

If you have a nice vehicle that’s unregistered, what are you waiting for? Get that paperwork done already! But if your junk car has an expired registration, Junk Car Medics® will take it off your hands — and your property –- with a fair price for your junk car. No more worries about the law. Your only concern then would be what to do with the extra money. Now that’s a nice problem.

Resources:

https://lincoln.ne.gov/city/urban/comdev/pdf/neighassoc/junkcarweb.pdf

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