How to Get the Best Price for a Car That Doesn't Run Anymore
Cars are a bad investment. New cars lose about 20 to 30 percent of their value in the first year, and keep losing value after that. Eventually, your car will hit a low point in terms of resale potential and stay there for a while before it takes its final shape: The junk car. Of course, a car's value isn't only measured in financial terms. There's also the utility you get out of it, and many people are perfectly content to drive an old car as long as it serves its purpose.
However, if you hold on to a car long enough, eventually it simply won't start - or it will run so poorly that you can't drive it anymore. When that happens, it's time to get a new vehicle and figure out what to do with the old car. The easiest option is to scrap it, because the salvage yard will send a tow truck and pay you (a small amount) in cash for your car. But there are other options that make more sense if you want to maximize the value of your inoperable junk car.
Believe it or not, sometimes you can trade in a rust bucket that's no longer roadworthy. When you buy a new car, your dealership is your best friend until the deal is done, and therefore willing to do you some favors. Even cars that no longer run have some value, so a car dealer looking to close the sale will gladly give you more for it than a junkyard would pay. Dealers may not be willing to pay to tow the vehicle, however, so this is only an option if your junk car can survive one last trip or if you have other options for getting it there.
If you're handy, you can take your classic car apart yourself and sell the parts. Even an old car that no longer runs is worth more as a collection of parts than as a whole vehicle - that's why salvage yards will pay for a car that no longer runs. This requires tools and time, non-monetary costs that you need to consider, and there's more to it than just removing and cleaning the parts. You'll also need to research how much you can charge for each part, and then find buyers for them. However, if your old crate has been sitting on the road for decades because you like working on cars, this could be a great way to turn an old car into cash.
Try a private sale
You'd be surprised how much interest an old car can generate. In today's crazy used car market, some people with handyman skills and experience may be looking for a cheap car they can fix themselves. Others are looking for parts they can use for their business or hobby. Whatever the reason, it might be worth posting your junk pile in the classifieds or an online forum to see if someone is willing to outbid the junkyards and pick up your junk.
Since even old wrecks contain valuable parts, charities are very happy to accept car donations, even if the car no longer runs. They usually pick up the car, but they don't pay you directly. Instead, you get the tax benefits of a charitable donation based on the paper value of the car, which is usually not very high. That's why it's so attractive to the charity - the actual value of the car is usually higher if you're willing and able to spend the time and effort to sell it elsewhere. But the tax break isn't free, and you also benefit emotionally from having helped a good cause. Just make sure you know what the charity actually does - some of the charities looking for car donations disguise their true purpose, so it pays to do a little research to make sure you're supporting a cause you want to support.
After all, even a car that has recently turned into an immobile car sculpture still has some value, and you owe it to yourself to make the most of it that you can.
Was this article helpful?19 Posted by: 👨 Adam N. Castillo