Cash for Junk Cars: How to Get Cash for Cars From an Auto Junk Yard

This is the ultimate guide to selling your junk car for cash to an auto junk yard near you.

Newbies will learn everything they need to know about dealing with an end of life vehicle, and seasoned vets will learn a thing or two as well.

Without further ado, let's dive right in...

Cash for Junk cars, the basics.
How much cash can I get for my junk car?
How to estimate the price of a junk car.
Who pays cash for junk cars near me?
How to screen local junk car buyers and junk yards.
Can i sell my junk car with no title?
Can i sell my junk car with no registration?
Where to donate junk cars to.
Can I sell my junk car that is a lemon?
Junk car removal - is it really free?
Getting a junk car quote.

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Cash for Junk Cars - The Basics

The definition of a junk car is really quite simple: it’s an unwanted car that has no use any longer. If you can’t imagine anyone really wanting to buy your car, it’s probably reached the end of its life and can be considered a junk car. However, some municipalities have their own definitions of junk cars with more specific criteria. These may include:

  • Age: In some places, the car must be at least three years old to be considered a junk car. Older cars are even more likely candidates.
  • Damage: If the car is missing parts or certain parts are broken, misshapen or deteriorated, then that’s a telltale sign. Wrecked cars are usually junkers.
  • Stationary: This criteria is simple--has the car been parked on the street or on someone’s property for a while? Has it been parked without permission?
  • Seems to be inoperable: Cars that don’t seem to be driveable are almost always considered junk cars.
  • Low value: If the car’s only value is for scrap metal or parts, then it’s absolutely considered a junk car!
  • Missing paperwork: Junk car owners often don’t have the essential paperwork to go with the car, like a license or registration.

If your car meets any of these criteria, it’s probably a junk vehicle. If it meets two of the above, you’ve definitely got a clunker on your hands and it's time to trade in that junk car for cash.

Wondering what to do with a junk car to get it out of your yard? If you’re thinking, “I want to sell my junk car once and for all” -- don’t fret! Figuring out how to get rid of a junk car is simpler than it may seem.

Of course, selling a junk car isn’t quite like selling a regular working vehicle. You have fewer options for what to do with an old, dysfunctional car, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it forever.

You can sell your car to a junkyard, sell your car via Craigslist or eBay, or donate your car. If you want to get the most bang for your buck with the least hassle, selling to a junkyard that pays cash for junk cars is likely your best bet.

How Much Cash Can I Get For My Junk Car?

So -- how much money do you get for a junk car? Everyone's offering cash for junk cars but how much is your car really worth to a junkyard? These are important questions! A common mistake is assuming that, because your junk car no longer runs or has broken parts, it must not be worth anything. However, that’s just not true. Even the shabbiest junk car contains raw materials, like steel, that can be recycled into new products.

On the other hand, can you really expect a big check from a salvage yard? Knowing how to sell a junk car is key to getting a fair offer for your vehicle. There are a couple key factors to determining the worth of a junk car, and these can help you decide the best course of action.

So how much can you get for a junk car? There are two key factors that determine the price:

  • Demand of Parts: If your car’s parts can be sold easily and for a good price, a junk yard will be happy to pay a higher price for the car. If there’s not a high demand for parts, you’ll get a lower offer. Typically, older vehicles or cars that are frequently scrapped do not have a high demand for parts.
  • Weight: Many junk cars are simply scrapped; the metals are then sold to be recycled into new products. The weight of the car determines how valuable it is for scrapping. The price of each metal also varies, however, and the price of scrap metal changes from year to year and from city to city. Right now, for example, the price of scrap metal has been incredibly low over the last two years. Unfortunately, that means junk cars aren’t worth as much as they used to be.

Although these two factors ultimately decide how much cash you’ll get for your car, there are certain steps that you can take to get the best price for your junk car. To get top dollar for a junk car, you should:

  • Sell off the parts individually first. Not only does this make the junk yard’s job easier, but it also allows you to recoup more of the car’s value.
  • Drain the fluids. This is another task that a junk yard may otherwise charge you for.
  • Drive it in to the junk yard if possible, rather than having it towed away.
  • Be honest when describing the car. Broken parts, rust and corrosion need to be mentioned. The condition of your junk car plays a part in the price.

How to Estimate the Price of a Junk Car

As you’d expect, the more deteriorated the vehicle, the less it will be worth to junk car buyers. It’s tough to figure out a hard number without consulting with a couple junk yards about your specific vehicle.

However, you can start with a rough estimate by looking at the Kelly Blue Book value of your car. These numbers are for operable, used cars, which are quite different from the typical junk car. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to sell your car for the entire Kelly Blue Book value. Still, it’s a good place to start.

You can use that number as a starting point, and then use the following factors to get a more precise figure:

  • Condition of Vehicle: If your car would require a lot of repairs to be road-safe, you can go ahead and subtract the cost of those repairs from the Kelly Blue Book value right away. If your car is so deteriorated that it’s not worth fixing up for the road, it’ll be worth even less.
  • Location of the Car: Is your car near a junk yard, or will it have to be towed a long distance? The further your car must be towed, the less money you can sell it for.
  • Demand of Parts: In addition to being scrapped for metal, junk yards can also resell valuable car parts. The demand of parts depends on how often similar cars are brought in for repairs.
  • Year/Make/Model: If your junk car is still common on the road, you can usually ask for a bit more money. If it’s a rare but valuable car, there may also be a higher demand for parts.
  • Price of Scrap Metal: Many junk cars are simply turned over to salvage yards to be scrapped. The metal in the car is extracted and recycled for new products. The current market price of scrap metal in your area will determine how much your car is worth.
  • Vehicle Weight: A junk car’s weight depends on how much metal and other materials are in the car. The more metal, the more it’ll be worth to a salvage yard.

Depending on the state of your car and the other factors listed above, you can come up with a reasonable ballpark figure for the price of your junk car. Then call a few junk yards for a professional estimate and compare.

Who Pays Cash for Junk Cars Near Me?

So you’re ready to junk your car. Finally, that thing will be out of your way for good--and you’ll make some money out of it, to boot! If you’re looking to make some cash for junk cars, there are multiple options that you can choose from. Who buys junk cars for cash, and how do you choose the right one?

Making money from your junk car isn’t like selling a regular car. Yes, you can go the independent route and sell your car to someone using eBay or Craigslist. However, depending on the state of your car, that person may simply junk the car themselves, so they may not offer you a good price for your car. It’s best to sell your car directly to a junk yard. By going right to the source, you can get the most bang for your buck.

Junk yards want to take your junk cars off your hands, and they want to pay cash for them. That’s how they make their money! They may sell your car’s parts, sell or recycle the scrap metal, or even fix up a car for a resale. It all depends on the condition of the car.

Anyone who’s been through this process knows that finding junk yards that buy cars near me is just the first step. Many places that buy junk cars for cash will try to nickel and dime you, preventing you from getting a fair price for your junk car. They’re counting on the fact that you, as a seller, don’t know much about junk cars -- but you’re here reading this, so you can protect yourself from people like this!

Unfortunately, finding places that buy junk cars for top dollar is quite difficult. Make sure to keep your wits about you and buy from a reputable dealer. A five-star rating is a must.

How to Screen Local Junk Car Buyers and Junk Yards

The process of selling a junk car can seem a little confusing, which makes it easy for salvage yards to take advantage of people. For this reason, places that pay cash for junk cars have a pretty iffy reputation. They’re often thought to be scammers and cheapskates.

However, contrary to some people’s ideas, not all places that pay cash for cars are out to scam you out of your hard-earned money. Many junk yards are owned by people who simply want to make an honest living.

Junk yards are quite an important business, because without them, these valuable metals and car parts could never be recycled and reused. Tons and tons of raw material comes out of these yards every year, going into products from phones to new cars, thanks to the people who work at junk yards.

In fact, the majority of companies that pay cash for cars are run by reasonable, honest people -- but you have to know how to sort the bad eggs out from the rest

The most important thing is to do your research first and be aware. If you can’t even fathom the answer to how do junk car buyers make money, then you definitely need to educate yourself more -- and you’re in the right place..

Looking at junk car buyers reviews is just a first step. Once you’ve found junk car buyers nearby and given them a call, being able to immediately recognize scams will allow you to avoid a bad experience in getting cash for your junk car.

Use these tips to avoid getting screwed over.

  1. Be especially wary in the spring, which is a popular time for scams to pop up.
  2. Don’t let someone offer to take your car “as a favor to you,” without paying you anything. Car removal services exist, but every junk car is worth something, even if it’ll just be scrapped for metal. Otherwise, why would anyone want to take it?
  3. Don’t fall for bait and switch tactics. If a junk yard promises one price, don’t let them lower the price once they show up to tow your car or once your car is already at the lot. Demand to be paid the amount that you agreed to.
  4. If an auto salvage yard offers a vague price or ballpark estimate, be wary. You need a firm price before you can go forward. Coupons and prizes don’t count--cash or check only.
  5. Similarly, you should never allow your car to be towed or sign over any paperwork until you have been paid!
  6. If a junk yard offers to take your car without transferring the title or says they’ll handle the paperwork themselves, be suspicious. Some auto junk yards will send you a bill for storing your car at their lot.
  7. Don’t let junk yards charge you extra for the cost of towing. That amount should be factored into the original offer for the car.
  8. If the junk yard is operating without a license, you should also be very cautious. There are plenty of dishonest junk yard owners out there, and they’re happy to trick you into selling your car for near-nothing and then turn around and resell the car for profit.

A good rule of thumb: if you feel at all confused during the process, then proceed with caution. Scammers are very good at creating smoke and mirrors. They like to intentionally be unclear so that you’ll agree with whatever they say. It never hurts to contact multiple places for a quote -- our experts here at Junk Car Medics are happy to provide one for free.

Can I Sell My Junk Car for Cash With No Title?

Worried about missing paperwork? Here’s some good news: some salvage yards will indeed pay cash for cars without a title. Selling a junk car with no title is possible, but it does add some extra complications.

If you’re looking to sell your junk car for cash and you can’t find the title anywhere, keep these things in mind.

You Can Sell Your Car To a Junk Yard Without a Title

In most states, you need a title to sell your junk car to a private party or licensed dealer. When you sell a used vehicle, you need to prove that you own the vehicle and that you have the right to sell it. However, selling junk cars for cash is a different story. You may not need a title at all if you can prove in another way that you own the vehicle.

How to Sell a Car Without a Car Title

First, check with your bank to see if they have the car title. That may be the reason you don’t have it at home. If your car still has debt on it, it’s technically still owned by the bank, so they’ll have the title there. If that’s the case, find out the process for transferring the title to the person purchasing your car.

Second, remember that all states also have a process for declaring your title lost and applying for a duplicate title, which you can ask about at your local DMV office.

If you can’t get your hands on a title, you may still be in luck. Selling your car without a title usually involves providing some extra documentation to prove that you own the car.

If you’d like to simply get cash for junk cars, you may not need a title at all. The best way to find out is simply to ask junk yards who buy cars for cash nearby. You’ll usually need a valid registration and driver’s license.

  • First, speak with a reputable junk yard nearby. Ask whether they ever pay cash for cars without a title, and if so, what their process is.
  • If they tell you they are unable to buy your car without a title, simply move onto the next company and do the same thing. Junk yards that buy cars without a title do exist--we sometimes buy cars without titles ourselves!
  • When you find someone who’s willing, follow their process to the T.

Can I Sell My Junk Car With No Registration?

Is your junk car unregistered? You may think it’s no big deal, but getting rid of a junk car with no registration can be a bit of a hassle. In fact, as you’ll see below, even owning a junk car with no registration is a bad idea a lot of the time. That doesn’t mean you don’t have any options, though.

You should first check your local ordinance to find out the local regulations on unregistered cars. In some places, any car on your property must be registered--otherwise you can incur some hefty fines. That’s one good reason to get rid of an unregistered car if at all possible. Instead of losing money to fines, you’ll gain some.

To sell an unregistered car to an auto salvage yard, you’ll need -- you guessed it -- more paperwork. If you have the title, that’s usually sufficient because it’s proof of ownership. If you don’t have the title, check out the section above 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.

If you don’t have the title or a current registration, but you have an old tag and card, that may also do the trick.

What if the junk car is on your property, but it’s not yours? In that case, you should call your local police station and let them know that a vehicle was abandoned on your property.

No matter what, you should:

  • Check the local laws around titles and registrations to see if you’re violating any ordinances.
  • Check with a local junk yard or salvage yard to figure out the exact documents that you need to junk your car. Tell them upfront which documents you’re missing, so they can let you know how to proceed.

Rather Donate It? Where to Donate Junk Cars To

If figuring out how to sell a junk car seems too complicated to you, if current junk car prices aren’t worth pursuing, or if you’d simply like to take a more generous route, donating your unused vehicle is also an option worth considering. This is one relatively simple way to dispose of your junk car.

Places That Take Junk Cars As Donations

But are there really places that would want a junk car as a donation? Of course! As we’ve explained above, junk cars are worth money even if they’ll never run on the road again. Local charities take junk cars so that they can sell them to salvage yards or auction houses and use the money for a good cause.

Look for qualified charities to ensure that you’re working with a reputable business. Usually, this means either a religious organization or a 501(c)(3) organization focusing on educational or assistance programs. There are also plenty of government junk car programs, which you can discover through your local DMV.

You might also want to do some extra research on the charity of your choice to make sure that the organization is actually using donations for good works. That way, you can rest easy knowing that the proceeds from your junk car are being put to good use.

Claiming a Deduction

One benefit to donating your junk car? You can claim the donation on your tax return as a deduction. However, you’ll need to make sure to follow all of the IRS’s rules for claiming deductions. Most importantly, make sure that you’re donating to a qualified charity and that you’ll be able to itemize your donation based on the fair market value of your car.

How to Donate a Junk Car

Chances are that there are plenty of charities near you that take junk car donations. In general, the process usually involves:

  • Make sure the charity is reputable and will qualify for a tax deduction. It should be either a religious organization, a 501(c)(3) entity, or another organization that falls under the IRS’s qualifying criteria.
  • Transfer the title to the charity and update the vehicle’s registration.
  • Allowing the charity to tow your junk car away. Be wary of charities that ask you to pay them to tow your car--it should be free!
  • Keep an itemized record of your donation, including the fair market value of the car, so that you can use it for tax purposes later.

Can I Sell My Junk Car That Is a Lemon?

The “Lemon Laws” are a set of laws that are designed to prevent car salesmen from selling defected cars to consumers. As you can imagine, many junk cars could fall into the “lemon” category. Luckily, most of the lemon laws don’t apply in a junk car situation, but there are certain restrictions that you should be aware of.

What Is A Lemon?

A lemon is a car that has significant defects, whether from manufacturing or from age. If a car has several issues that are severe enough to impact how well it runs, it’s a lemon.

In the case of the lemon laws, though, there are specific descriptions of what qualifies as a lemon.

How to Sell a Car That is a Lemon

There are a few steps to take to make sure that you stay within the law while also being able to sell your junk car for cash.

  • Research your state’s lemon laws. Every state is different, so there’s no use worrying about laws that don’t apply to you -- and on the other hand, you may be in trouble if you don’t find out about laws that do!
  • Find out if there is a maximum price at which those lemon laws are enforced. In many states, that’s $700. By estimating the resale value of your car, you can figure out whether your car’s junk value is likely to be over this figure.
  • Determine whether you’re considered a private seller or a dealer in your state. This is important because private sellers and dealers operate under a different set of laws, and the answer may not be as simple as you think. In some states, selling just 5 vehicles a year qualifies you as a dealer.
  • Read up on some common lemon laws below to get a basic idea of what to avoid.

Common Lemon Laws

  • Selling a Car in “As Is” Condition

In some states, the lemon laws make it illegal to sell a vehicle in “as is” condition. Fixer uppers won’t fly. However, you may be able to get around this restriction by using a salvaged car title, since salvaged titles are under a different set of laws. You can legally sell a salvaged car “as is” in many states.

  • Mileage Tampering

A second lemon law makes it illegal to change the mileage on your car before selling it. Don’t try to roll back the odometer to make it look like the car hasn’t been through as much as it has. In many places, that’s an illegal offense -- and it’s not worth it!

Junk Car Removal - Is It Really Free?

When you’re trying to get rid of the unsightly junk car in your driveway, there’s one major obstacle that you need to overcome: getting the thing to the junk yard! Since many junk cars don’t run -- or don’t run safely -- that means towing the car to the yard. Depending on the distance, that might be as easy as pie or rather more expensive.

This is just one more benefit of selling your junk car to a salvage yard. Junk yards will usually tow your car away for you. The inexperienced seller might be intrigued by the many places that promise to remove your car for free. After all, free things are always better, right?

Sure, but don’t be fooled! There are two reasons why this is a rather misleading way to advertise.

Junk Car Removal Is Included In The Selling Price

If you’re junking your car for cash, the junk yard may claim that they’ll even remove your car for free. But the truth is, when you go to a junk yard and ask for an estimate for your vehicle, the cost of towing it away is already included in the figure that they give you. It’s baked into the price, so it’s not exactly “free.”

Of course, you should never go with a junk yard that charges you extra for towing your car away. But that doesn’t mean that removal is truly free.

Junk Car Removal for Donations Should Always Be Free

On the other hand, if you decide to donate your junk car to a local charity, removal should never cost extra. Think about it -- you’re already donating a valuable item to the organization. Paying someone more money for the privilege of donating to them doesn’t make much sense. If they can’t pick up your junk car for free, find somewhere else to donate.

In short, “free” removal isn’t exactly a selling point. Still, avoiding places that charge you extra for removal is a good rule of thumb.

Get A Cash Quote for You Junk Car

We pay cash for junk cars and make getting a junk car quote simple and fast. You can go the old-fashioned route and talk to someone on the phone or you can get a junk car quote online or via text. Getting an accurate online quote for junk cars is the same as any other method, and it can be much more convenient.

Let’s go over the process one more time.

    • Gather necessary documents. This includes the title and registration, if you have them.
    • Determine a price you would like to get for your car. Come up with a rough estimate so that you have something to negotiate with.
    • Find a junk yard to sell your car to. Look for reputable junk yards near me that have good reviews to back them up.
    • Have all your vehicle information handy. This includes all the details about your car’s condition.
    • Get your junk car quote. Get an online quote for junk cars, send a text or call on the phone. Remember that you don’t have to stick with the first place you call.
    • Once you agree, set up a pickup time. Settled on a fair price? Great! Schedule your pickup.
    • Complete the sale and sign over the paperwork. Sign on the dotted line.
    • Receive your cash / check. Hooray! This is the part you’ve been waiting for.
    • Notify DMV / insurance company and turn in your plates. Last but not least, it’s time to finalize the sale by turning in your plates. At last, that junk car is no longer your concern.

Our experts at Junk Car Medics will give you a free, unbiased quote for your junk car so that you know what you expect:

Call (866) 437-9728 or get your online quote now.

Get Your FREE Offer Right Now: 1-855-437-9728

Pulling It All Together

We’ve gone over all the steps for getting cash for junk cars now, so you should have a basic idea of how the junk car industry works. Junk yards and salvage yards make their living off of shabby-looking clunkers like yours, so don’t sell yourself short. Take your time, do your research, and follow all of the necessary steps to get the most value for your car.

With the current price of scrap metal, selling your junk car for cash may not be paying for a five-star vacation anytime soon, but it’s still a nice little bonus.

Now it’s time to use your knowledge and get started. Start calling different auto junkyards for a quote or get a cash for junk cars quote online. Then you can proceed from there.