Four Things to Consider Before Selling Your Car to a Salvage Yard


Selling a car that is no longer road worthy can be a challenge. A smart way to get rid of an old car is to sell it to a salvage yard. The following are some tips to keep in mind before making the sale.


Prepare the Car for Sale

Get the Proper Paperwork Together

Selling a vehicle is a legal transaction. Make sure you have the paperwork for the sale. This includes proof that you own the vehicle.

You will need to give the buyer at the salvage yard the title for your car. If you don’t have the title, go through the proper steps to get a copy. Without this documentation, the buyer has no proof that the car is legally yours or that you have the right to sell it.

Clean Out Your Car

Next, search your vehicle for belongings. Look in the trunk, under the seats, and in other areas. Once your car gets sold, all the stuff in the car is sold as well.

Remove Any Aftermarket Parts

If you’ve made customizations to your vehicle, such as adding aftermarket parts, remove them from your vehicle. Most salvage yards will not pay you more for a vehicle just because it has aftermarket parts. You will get a better price trying to sell these parts on your own as opposed to leaving them in the vehicle.

Take Off Your License Plates

Remove the plates. Most states require you do this before you sell the vehicle to a salvage yard. A salvage yard has no need for your plates.

Empty the Fuel Tank

Drain the gas from your vehicle. If the gas is relatively new, you can store it or use it in another vehicle. If the car still runs, consider running the engine until the vehicle is out of gas.

Cancel Your Auto Insurance

Don’t forget to cancel your auto insurance. You don’t want to leave a scrapped vehicle on your insurance and continue to pay for it.

Find the Right Salvage Yard to Sell Your Vehicle to

Not all salvage yards are created equal. You need to take some time and do your due diligence before deciding what salvage yard to take your car. We recommend that you look for a reputable salvage yard that is properly licensed and boasts great customer reviews, like Tear-a-Part.

The local Yellow Pages is a good source of information on junkyards in your area. Contact several junkyards and give them the details about your vehicle. Answer their questions honestly to get the best offer for your vehicle.

Stay clear of junkyards that require you to bring your car in for an estimate. Many salvage yards will make offers on the phone if they are truly interested in your vehicle.

When comparing the quotes you get from different salvage yards, factor in the cost of delivering your vehicle to the salvage yard. There is no extra charge if you can drive your car in, but if you have to rent a tow truck it can be expensive and eat into the profits you get for selling your car.

If you were honest in your assessment of your vehicle over the phone, they should offer you the same estimate that was made on the phone. If there was a detail that you forgot to disclose, mention it when you arrive and negotiate a reasonable price.

Is It Better to Fix Your Car?

Fixing a junk car may seem like a waste of money, especially if the vehicle is not running. However, you may get your vehicle up and running for less money than you think. A running car will fetch more than a vehicle that needs to be towed into the salvage yard.

Compare the price of renting a tow truck to the price of fixing your vehicle. If fixing the vehicle is less expensive, this might be your best option. A junker car that runs might be the perfect option for a teenager who is learning how to drive. Even if comfort features like the air-conditioning and power windows don’t work your vehicle could still be a nice commuter car that fetches a better price.

Figure Out How Much Your Vehicle Is Worth

When determining the minimum you will accept for your junk car, there are several factors to consider. If the car drives, it might be worth more. If it has expensive salvageable parts, you may ask for a higher price.

A salvage yard will base its offering price on the make, model, age, and condition of your vehicle. In the worst-case scenario, your vehicle is worth its weight in scrap metal. The price offered for scrap metal doesn’t change much from one junkyard to the next. 

However, you may find a salvage yard that will tow your vehicle for free yet pay you a slightly reduced price. Their offer may be worth it as it can save you the hassle of trying to get your car to the salvage yard.

Decide On the Best Offer

Negotiating a good price for your junk car will require skill. Remember, salvage yards have some wiggle room in how much they can offer you, but not as much as you might think. A salvage yard will have a limit on the amount of money they can offer. It will be up to you to decide if it’s worth it or not.