Junk Car Ownership: What Does It Cost To Own An End-Of-Life Vehicle?

Though loved by many car owners, junk cars are not the helpful stalwarts they once were.

Even though your old car has served you faithfully for decades, a junk car is not a good servant to have around - especially when you're behind on your service and maintenance schedule.

Junk cars are vehicles that have reached the end of their useable lifetime, are no longer roadworthy, and are not worth the cost of maintaining or keeping on the road.

These vehicles are in poor condition, are unreliable, and can be a great source of frustration and expense.

If you do not want to sell your scrap car, consider how much it will cost to repair, maintain, and store it.

While you may be saving on registration and insurance costs - compared to the registration and insurance premiums of a newer, flashier model car - the amount of money a junk car siphons off you can be enormous.

What Does it Cost to Own an End-of-Life Vehicle?

Let's look at the maintenance, repairs, and storage costs you'll have to fork out to continue driving your junk car.

The costs can compound and, in the long run, cost you a lot of money.

1. Maintenance costs:

Much like a new car, you also need to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of your junk car.

Because of its age and overall wear and tear, a junk car requires regular checkups of its tire pressure and tread, oil, and worn-out brake pads.

Now, considering that many other parts of the vehicle could also be failing, it will likely feel like you're tossing your hard-earned cash into a bottomless pit as you continually have to stay ahead with the maintenance requirements and costs.

Scrap cars often have leakages (brake fluid and fuel), which can eat a significant hole into your pocket and reduce your car's safety and overall efficiency.

Once you have replenished the vehicle's brake fluid, another issue will likely need your attention and cash. Over time, this will add a few hundred dollars to your vehicle expenses.

2. Repair costs:

Scrap cars are prone to breakdowns. Every time this happens, you'll have to fork out more cash to have it fixed.

Even after your trip to the mechanic, another part will probably fail. This will cause you to go back to your mechanic (or panel beater) to have something else fixed. This continuous cycle of fixing and repairing your junk vehicle adds up and can become very expensive.

It is more affordable to buy and maintain a newer car.

3. Storage costs:

Junk cars can be an unsightly eye-sore if standing on your driveway.

And, many a time, to save your neighbors (and yourself) the irritation of looking at your dilapidated vehicle, you'll have to store it.

Arranging storage for your junk will cost you money. The costs increase over time, especially if you store your vehicle for long periods.

What Are The Problems With Owning A Junk Car?

A junk car with mechanical problems is prone to stalling or breaking down.

Not only is this an inconvenience, but it can also be very unsafe. Imagine getting stranded on a busy highway or a deserted back road late at night because your junk car's engine decided to seize up.

Not only that but having a rusting hunk of junk in the driveway is just an accident waiting to happen if someone walks too close and gets cut on a sharp edge.

With these unreliable cars, it's challenging to plan your day-to-day activities. You never know when your vehicle's engine will call it a day.

Junk cars have many shortcomings that make the vehicles unsafe, including:

  • Faulty, unsafe braking system
  • Past-due car maintenance
  • Bad tires
  • Unreliable engine
  • Faulty fuel system
  • Legal and regulatory issues
  • Lack of safety features

These vehicles often experience mechanical failures that can cause unplanned breakdowns and accidents. Because they lack the safety features seen in newer cars, junk cars do not offer their occupants sufficient levels of safety.

These safety concerns, if present all at once, can affect your driving and steering capabilities and the on-road safety of these older cars.

Lastly, and as mentioned above, they are expensive to maintain. Junk cars require more frequent repairs that add to your vehicle expenses compared to newer cars.

Spare parts for junk cars can also often be expensive and difficult to obtain, increasing frustration and maintenance bills.

Does It Cost Anything To Sell My Junk Car?

No, selling your junk car is free.

Most junkyards will gladly take your old, unroadworthy vehicle and pay cash for it.

These junk car buyers usually salvage old motor vehicles and remove the useable car parts to sell them for cash. The car's metal frame is sold as scrap metal.

Free towing services are also a perk when selling your car to a junkyard, meaning you won't have to spend money to remove the vehicle.


How do junk car buyers determine the value of junk cars?

A junk car buyer will look at the following when deciding on the value of your junk car:

  • Year make and model
  • The car's condition
  • Condition of vehicle parts
  • Vehicle weight
  • Local scrap prices
  • Title status
  • Location of the vehicle

What documents do I need when selling my junk car?

Before selling your car, you need your vehicle title to prove ownership. This car title is used to transfer ownership of the car and shows the car is no longer under your name. It is the most essential item needed to junk a car.

When the new owner receives the car, remove your belongings, including your wallet and driver's license. Also, remember to remove your vehicle's license plates before handing over the vehicle to its new owner.

What is a salvage title?

Your insurance company will issue you a salvage title to indicate that your car is written off after an accident and is now considered a totaled car.

What is a bill of sale, and why do I need one?

A bill of sale is the document you sign when you sell a junk car to a private buyer. The bill of sale is your sales contract and protects you and the buyer in a dispute.

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