What Are the Risks of Selling a Junk Car?

What is a junk car?

A junk car, also known as a scrap car, is a car that no longer runs. This may be because its damage is beyond repair or has no resale value because it is not worth fixing. The only available option is to sell it for parts or as scrap. Your car is a junk car if;

  • It is too old to function on the road
  • Its paperwork is missing
  • It’s abandoned
  • It is severely damaged or deteriorated
  • It barely moves, meaning it is inoperable
  • Its value is nonexistent – it is worthless
  • Your insurance company has rendered it totaled – meaning its repair cost is higher than its value

In a nutshell, a junk car is a car with no value unless you sell it for scraps. Though you can salvage parts such as the car stereo, expensive rims, tires, external GPS, or transmission, the vehicle cannot go back on the road. Trying to repair a junk car causes you to spend much more money than you can recover. 

When you sell your junk car to a yard, you get paid depending on the vehicle’s weight. In most cases, the price offered doesn’t consider the value of individual valuable parts. These you can remove and sell to third parties for a profit.

What could be the reasons for selling your junk car? 

  • The car becomes a safety hazard in your home with the potential to cause injuries. Operating your junk car on the road brings a higher risk of an accident due to mechanical failure.
  • The car occupies space usable for other functions like a children’s playfield.
  • The presence of a junk or trash car lowers the value of your home.
  • You need money
  • According to Ace Auto Parts, your car becomes an environmental hazard the longer it sits in your yard. The reason is, the fluid leaks (gas, brake fluids, oil, antifreeze, etc.) Rusty and old materials also release carbon IV oxide and other harmful gases due to the corrosion of car parts.

Things to Do Before Considering Selling Your Junk Car

When your car is nonfunctional, one of the best ways to dispose of it is to sell it for parts in a junkyard. Cash for cars considers the process confusing and time-consuming. When it is time to sell off your car, take the following steps to prepare it for selling:

  • Ensure that the removal service you select for junk is trustworthy to ensure you get the best return for your car.
  • Collect all necessary information and documents: this includes taking your insurance policy off the vehicle and transferring ownership of the car to the rescue company. You will also need to provide the junkyard with the following information: 
    • The vehicle’s year of manufacture
    • A valid identification (a picture)
    • The car’s operational status
    • Status of any damage in the car
    • The car’s service records
    • History report of the car
  • Remove all personal property from the vehicle (make sure there are no valuable items, confidential documents, or personal paperwork in the car)
  • If the vehicle is still running, make sure you use all its gas in the tank. If it isn’t running, use a container to pump out all the gas in the vehicle safely.

Getting the Best Value for Your Car

When selling your car to a junkyard, getting the most money out of the purchase is a plus for you. To maximize the money you receive from the sale, Car Direct advises you:

  • Contact all available junkyards in your area to reduce the costs of delivering the vehicle
  • Receive buying offers from the junkyards over the phone. Avoid those that request you to take the vehicle so that they can make an estimate. It increases your costs.
  • Compare all the offers received versus the costs of delivering the car to the junkyard.
  • Prepare the vehicle by removing all personal belongings
  • Transfer the title of the car through your state department of motor vehicles 

The value of your junk car depends on:

  • The value of its scrap metals
  • Whether your vehicle is complete, including the engine, headlights, and transmission
  • Your car’s make and model
  • The weight of the vehicle 

Risks of Selling a Junk Car

  1. High Probability of Falling Victim to Scammers

Sometimes, junkyard operators might take advantage of you by offering very little money for your car. Some also provide cash for the automobile but charge you extra for hauling.

  1. Inadequate Knowledge on the Process of Disposing Of Your Junk

In most cases, many people owning junk cars lack knowledge on the appraisal process, towing, and payment. Sometimes it is also a challenge to know whom to sell to and how to proceed. 

Selling to licensed dealers provides safety and assurance compared to selling to anyone. Many people think that selling junk cars to dealerships and private parties brings more money. However, selling to a junkyard is much better. 

Junkyards make money by selling car parts and recycling other parts to scrap metal. Meaning, they don’t care about the condition of your car, and they won’t lower their price because of minor issues.

  1. Difference between the Expected Value of Your Parts and the Market Value

Sometimes, when the price of metal falls, the value of parts also goes down. However, since many people lack this information, this leads to disappointments during valuation.

  1. Lack of Paperwork

Without the car’s title, insurance, or registration, it earns you less money when selling. Without these documents, buyers spend more money acquiring them, which automatically means the money you get after-sale reduces. 

  1. Transferring Ownership

One requirement for selling a junk car is transferring its ownership. The process is time-consuming and daunting, for example, in accidents. That process involves a lot of paperwork and documentation. 

According to Gaadi, transferring ownership releases you from liability for damages caused by the car.

  1. Less Return Cost

Once you sell your junk car, your selling price will be much lower than the exact price you bought the car.

  1. Selling Your Car Piece By Piece

Stripping your car of parts and separately selling them online to make easy cash is a risk you shouldn’t take. Selling the car to a junkyard as a whole gives you a better deal, and it reduces the struggle of trying to get buyers for the parts.

  1. Mode of Payment

To avoid scammers, always insist on payment in cash. It is fast, doesn’t need processing time, and is reliable. Wire transfers and personal cheques can be fraudulent, resulting in you losing money.

  1. Not Changing the Title of the Car

Unless in cases where the buyer gives precise details why he doesn’t want the title changed, you should always make the transfer. Buyers of these cars might want to use them for illicit activities, which makes you liable if anything illegal happens with the car.


When selling your junk car, ensure that;

  • You receive an assurance note that scrapping of the car will happen
  • You receive the chassis number after its cut from the vehicle so that you can cancel it with your RC

When selling your junk car, it is imperative to do extensive research on the process and the requirements. You should explore junkyard options to get the best value.