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5 tips for hitting up a junkyard and coming out a winner

(© Thomas Reimer –

If your car has reached the end of its drivability, whether that’s due to old age or an accident, you’ll have to make a decision about what to do with it next. Having it disposed of, selling it to a used car dealership, or using it as a trade-in for a new vehicle are all options. But, did you know that recycling your car by selling it to a licensed junk yard is likely your most profitable option?

The auto manufacturing industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, and growing all the time. Finding the right price for your old or damaged car can be a major factor in moving onto your next vehicle.

Having a nice chunk of change to put toward your down payment or first monthly payments is a big deal! Learn how to make the most from your vehicle with our five tips for selling your car to a junkyard.

  1. Prepare Your Car

Your first and most basic step in selling your car for scrap will be preparing the car itself. Take time to remove any personal belongings, and be sure you’ve done a good job as you won’t be able to retrieve items from your car once it’s sold.

If you’re considering selling your junk car online, you’ll also want to do some cleaning up and preparation for your online listing. Any tidying you can do to make the car look more attractive (and therefore more valuable) is a good idea. Especially now, during a pandemic, cleanliness is a valuable asset!

If nothing else, do your best to sanitize high contact areas such as the steering wheel and gear shift if you know another person will have to get into your car to complete the sale. Take some good photos and record your VIN number to get the online sale process started.

  1. Prepare Your Documents

In addition to removing personal effects, you’ll also need to remove your car’s license plates. Returning the plates and registration for your vehicle is often necessary to cancel your insurance policy, so it’s very important! If you have a physical copy of your car’s title already, keep it handy. If not, you’ll need to order a copy from the DMV.

While it’s sometimes possible to sell a car without a title, it’s often difficult and risky. Without transferring the title properly, you can still be held liable for your vehicle after it has left your possession. Make sure to allow yourself time to request and receive your title before beginning the process of selling your vehicle.

If a mechanic has recently evaluated your car, having a copy of any documentation you received at that time is also helpful. This will allow you to give knowledgeable and third-party verified information regarding the extent of damage to your vehicle. The more you know, the more accurate your quotes will be.

  1. Know Your Car!

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to selling a machine as complicated as your car. You will, of course, need the basics such as the year, make, and model. You’ll be asked additional questions by the junkyard about your vehicle, such as the mileage, or about damage or recent repairs.

The more information you can provide about your car, the more accurate your quote will be. This will minimize the chance that the junkyard encounters an issue after quoting you that lowers the amount you get paid.

You can roughly calculate the value of your vehicle yourself by researching the market value for the type and year of your car and subtracting an estimate of any repairs it needs. If your car is no longer drivable, however, the amount a junkyard can give you will be lower than if the car still operates.

Having an inspection done by a mechanic before you sell your car can provide you with a solid knowledge base to sell your car. The value of recycled vehicles and the steel salvaged from them also varies regionally. Do your homework about what you can realistically hope for in your area and carry that with you when you start shopping for quotes.

  1. Know Where To Sell

Not all junkyards are created equal. Your most valuable asset when selling your car is your own research skills! Make yourself a list of the junkyards or car recycling facilities in your area. Looking up reviews is always a quick and easy way to get a first impression of a business.  There are also a number of questions you should be ready to ask when selling your car to a junkyard.

  • Can a quote be offered over the phone? – The answer to this question should always be yes. Junkyards that ask to see the car in person to make a quote will often charge additional fees for this inspection and/or the car’s transportation to their site.
  • Is the cost of towing included? – The answer to this question should also always be yes. Reputable junkyards will include this cost in their quote. Towing can be costly, so this is a big one.
  • How is payment given? – Only accept cash or a check for your vehicle. Digital money transfers, offers or vouchers, or other forms of payment may be scams.

It is also important to remember that reputable junkyards will always require a title when purchasing vehicles. The only exception to this rule is in states that don’t require a title for vehicles past a certain age, and even then your photo ID will still be required. With these considerations in mind, shop around for a quote that makes you happy.

If you choose to sell online, these rules still apply! Selling through a reputable site such as CarBrain will find your best quote while guaranteeing your sale is made safely.

  1. Sell Parts Yourself

When you sell your car to a junkyard or recycling facility, their next step is to break your car down into materials that can be recycled, resold, or disposed of. If you have a bit of know-how, you can start this process yourself and maximize your profit.

You’d be surprised how many parts of your car can be resold, some of which taking more effort than others to access. Parts you can salvage and sell include the battery, your side mirrors, the center console, stereo system, any GPS or other digital features, headlights and taillights, seats, tires, and wheels.

Though the average driver probably lacks the equipment and knowledge to remove some of these parts, many of them can be accessed and removed by almost anyone with a quick bit of time and research!

Removing parts and selling them yourself before selling the rest of the vehicle to a junkyard will ensure you make the most money for your car while still making a good decision for the environment. That’s a win for you and the planet!

augusta free press
augusta free press