What is an Incomplete Car?

The guide explains what an incomplete car is, all the synonyms of an incomplete car, and takes an in-depth look at what they are, common characteristics, values, and what to do with incomplete cars.

what is an incomplete car?

Whats is The Definition of an Incomplete car?

The definition of an incomplete car is one that is missing the mechanical parts to operate, or the body parts necessary to operate a vehicle safely on the roads. Incomplete cars have been partially dismantled, usually in the pursuit of used parts for significant car repairs and restorations. They are a common type of junk car. Incomplete cars need to be recycled and disposed of properly when they are no longer of use. Many people think that incomplete cars have no value at all, but with the average car containing 65% steel incomplete cars always have some value as scrap metal recycling.

Incomplete cars can be of any year, make, or model. However, most incomplete cars are over 20 years old. This is because incomplete cars are the byproduct of restorations and salvaging used auto parts, and this is typically done on older vehicles. Incomplete cars can have any number of miles on them, but according to Recycle Today most recycled vehicles have over 155,000 miles on the engine. It can also be difficult to determine the mileage on an incomplete car because it could be missing the odometer or not have the original engine, if it has an engine at all. Incomplete cars are not functional and cannot be driven under their own power.

Synonyms of Incomplete Cars

There are 4 common names for incomplete cars, including scrap car, parts car, derelict car, decrepit car, and inoperable car. Depending on the circumstances leading to the car being an incomplete car, incomplete cars could also be called damaged cars, salvage cars, beater cars, old cars, totaled cars, wrecked cars, and lemon cars.

An In-Depth Look at Incomplete Cars

An incomplete car is a vehicle that is missing mechanical components necessary for operation, is missing part of its body or frame, or both. Most incomplete cars have been used as parts cars in the repair or restoration of a similar vehicle. Typically, incomplete cars have already been stripped of their reusable parts and have value only as scrap.

The general definition of an incomplete car is a vehicle that is missing some of the parts necessary for operation. This can include cars that are missing major mechanical systems like the engine, transmission, drive train, or exhaust. Incomplete cars also include vehicles with body damage or missing body panels, either as a result of a vehicle accident or because they were harvested for a repair or restoration.

Incomplete cars are not in running condition, and most of them will never be in running condition again. For this reason all incomplete cars are also end-of-life vehicles. Incomplete cars can also be rusted cars or abandoned vehicles. Incomplete cars are also unregistered cars because registration is reserved for vehicles that can be driven on the roads.

Incomplete cars make up a large portion of the auto recycling industry, which is worth $67 billion in 2023 according to imarc, a market research firm. Incomplete cars of specific makes and models are in demand for restorations, resto-mods, and rebuilt salvage cars. The auto repair industry is worth $78 billion in 2023 per International Business Information Systems (IBIS).  The classic car market as a whole, which also uses incomplete cars, is worth $16.59 billion per Statista. The used auto parts industry, which is responsible for many incomplete cars recycled each year, is worth $6.5 billion according to IBIS.

What are some common characteristics of incomplete cars?

common characteristics of incomplete cars

There are 6 common characteristics typically found on incomplete cars.

  1. Incomplete cars are missing at least one major mechanical component.
  2. Incomplete cars have some type of body damage or missing body panels.
  3. Incomplete cars have few if any reusable parts and may be missing the most valuable car parts.
  4. Incomplete cars have rust and are often stored or found in barns, garages, and other old outbuildings.
  5. Incomplete cars are always unregistered cars.
  6. Incomplete cars are typically missing wheels or tires.

For all of these reasons, incomplete cars have a decreased value from similar vehicles with all of their parts, even if they are unworking.

Are incomplete cars junk cars?

Yes, all incomplete cars are junk cars that need to be recycled. Most incomplete cars do not have reusable parts and will never again operate on the roads. This makes incomplete cars junk cars in every sense of the term.

What is an incomplete car worth?

How much an incomplete car is worth depends on the vehicle year, make, model, condition, and current scrap metal prices in your area. The vehicle year, make, and model determine how much recyclable metal is in the vehicle when it is complete. The condition of the incomplete car, which parts are missing, and the value of the remaining parts are also an important factor. Because incomplete cars are only good for recycling, local scrap metal prices also play an important role in determining the value of incomplete cars.

What are the price ranges for an incomplete car?

The price range for an incomplete car depends largely on the year, make, and model. This is because each vehicle is made with different amounts of various metals. Here are the average price ranges for incomplete cars by year.

What are the most value car parts on incomplete cars?

Most incomplete cars are missing the transmission, engine, and catalytic converter, which are the three car parts with the most value as scrap. The most valuable car parts on incomplete cars that are likely to be remaining are the body, frame, and drive train. The drive train itself is about 25% of the steel in the vehicle, and is therefore one of the most valuable car parts left on most incomplete cars.

What are the most valuable scrap metals on incomplete cars?

The most valuable scrap metal in incomplete cars is steel. Most cars are made up of at least 65% steel, much of which is in the body, frame, and drivetrain. These are the parts that are most likely to remain on incomplete cars. Engines are also a source of steel but are often missing on incomplete cars. Transmissions are a rich source of aluminum, but are also frequently missing on incomplete cars. Incomplete cars are almost always missing the most valuable metals because the catalytic converter containing platinum, rhodium, and palladium are also missing.

How much is an incomplete car hulk worth?

Incomplete cars are often car hulks or car shells that are left over after harvesting reusable parts. These incomplete cars vary in worth depending on which parts are still remaining. The biggest factor in determining the value of an incomplete car hulk is current prices being paid for recyclable steel.

What to do with an incomplete car?

what to do with an incomplete car
There are 4 things you can do with an incomplete car.

  1. Donate the incomplete car to a charity. Some charities accept incomplete cars as donations. The charity then sells the cars they receive at online auctions or to junkyards, salvage yards, and scrap yards in the area. Often charities get less than wholesale value for incomplete cars, and it is more beneficial to sell the incomplete car and donate the cash instead. In addition, not all charities accept car donations.
  2. Sell the incomplete car to a scrap yard. Scrap yards, auto dismantlers, and vehicle recyclers buy incomplete cars and recycle them for their scrap metal. Unfortunately, most vehicle recyclers do not buy incomplete cars from individuals. Junkyards and salvage yards do not typically take incomplete cars, especially when they are missing all of their valuable reusable parts.
  3. Sell the incomplete car to a junk car buyer. A junk car buyer is more readily available for most individuals to get rid of incomplete cars without having to pay for their removal. Junk car buyers act as middle-men between the individuals that own incomplete cars and the vehicle recycling industry that processes them.
  4. Sell the incomplete car to Junk Car Medics. Unlike other junk car buyers, Junk Car Medics doesn’t automatically sell incomplete cars to scrap metal recyclers. When incomplete cars are still in demand for restoration and resto-mod projects, the cars could have a higher value in a different market. Junk Car Medics is an experienced junk car buyer that makes sure incomplete cars get to the next logical stage, whether that be a recycling yard or a car restoration body shop harvesting panels and steel from incomplete cars.

Many people mistakenly believe that  they must pay for an incomplete car to be removed because it has no value. However, incomplete cars always have at least some worth to scrap metal recyclers. For this reason you should never pay for removal of incomplete cars, even if you only get a good price from a junk car buyer.

Can I sell an incomplete car with no title?

Yes, you can sell an incomplete car with no title in most states. Each state has their own title laws, and some require all vehicles to have a title even if they have a junk title brand like salvage or nonrepairable. Incomplete cars that were sold as parts cars may have no title and only have been sold on a bill of sale. Proof of ownership and bill of sale are required to sell incomplete cars with no title. Additional paperwork may be necessary depending on state, and it is best to check with your local DMV for title and transfer requirements.

Can I sell an incomplete car with no registration?

Yes, you can sell an incomplete car with no registration. It is very unlikely that an incomplete car is registered. Registration is reserved for vehicles that are deemed safe to drive on public roads and highways. However, a previous registration can be used as proof of ownership when there is no title for incomplete cars in most states.

Who buys incomplete cars?

There are not very many places that buy incomplete cars. Junkyards and auto salvage yards do not want incomplete cars because they have already been stripped of all of their valuable parts. Scrap metal recyclers and vehicle recycling processers are most likely to accept incomplete cars and they do not often buy incomplete cars directly from the public. The most reliable way to sell incomplete cars in most states is via a junk car buyer like Junk Car Medics.

How to choose a buyer for incomplete cars

Here are 4 things to look for in junk car buyers when selling incomplete cars.

  1. Experience dealing in incomplete cars. As of 2023, the junk car industry has grown by an astounding $42 billion since 2019 according to imarc research data. This spike in demand for junk car buyers has brought many new players on the field that are not experienced in dealing with special circumstances like incomplete cars. The right experience is necessary for getting the best prices for incomplete cars. Junk Car Medics has been buying, selling, and processing incomplete cars since 2016.
  2. Free removal of incomplete cars. As such, you should never pay for incomplete cars to be removed from your property. Even if you are given a very low cash offer for your incomplete car, the towing costs should be covered and calculated in the junk car quote.
  3. Assistance with paperwork to sell incomplete cars. Because incomplete cars are often missing the title, it is important to choose a junk car buyer that is familiar with local title laws and the paperwork necessary to sell incomplete cars with no title. Junk Car Medics has experts in all 50 states and provides the necessary forms as well as instructions for their completion.
  4. Locally licensed and environmentally responsible. All jurisdictions have licensing requirements for junk car buyers, and the EPA has strict guidelines for how junk cars are processed. You can check the licensure and reputation of junk car buyers online and through consumer sites like the Better Business Bureau. The EPA also has a database where you can check the grade of junk car recyclers. Junk Car Medics is a licensed junk car buyer in all 50 states, as well as many cities and counties across the country.

Choosing the right junk car buyer to sell an incomplete car is important for ensuring that you have a positive experience and are rewarded fairly for the vehicle. It is important to research junk car buyers carefully and compare junk car quotes to get the best value. Junk Car Medics meets all of the points above and stands out with a quick, easy, painless, and rewarding process to get rid of incomplete cars.