A person's arm extended holding a set of car keys.

How To Sell a Junk Car

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  • Scrap cars typically have values of between $100 and $500.
  • Online junk car buyers offer an easy process and will often pick vehicles up.
  • You can’t sell a junk car without a title, so either find yours or get a replacement.

A junk car is one that no longer has any resale value as a used vehicle. Whether it’s due to severe damage, mechanical issues, or old age, you can still get money for a scrap vehicle.

To help you find the best option, our research team investigated various ways to sell your car online or otherwise get rid of your junk car. We also outlined the steps to take in order to complete a successful sale and get as much value out of your vehicle as possible.

Who Buys Junk Cars?

There are several different types of buyers for junk cars. The kind of buyer that’s best for you depends on your car, financial situation, and personal preferences.

Private Buyers

Some people buy junk cars as projects, while others purchase them in the hopes of “flipping” them to get more than they originally paid. Whatever the case, selling to a private buyer can be the best way to get top dollar for a scrap car – if you can find an interested party.

While a private auto sale may bring in more money if it goes through, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a buyer. If you do, you’ll also have to deal with the additional paperwork, haggling, and other tasks that come with selling a car privately.

Local Scrap Yards

You can always sell unwanted vehicles using the classic method of hauling them to a nearby scrap yard. Junkyards pay cash for cars, stripping them for usable car parts and selling the rest of the vehicle for scrap metal.

While these transactions are usually straightforward, you’ll have to get your car to the junkyard to sell it. Some salvage yards offer free towing, but you’ll have to pay for towing if the scrap yard you’re working with doesn’t. This may cost a significant portion of what you’ll get paid for the car.


If you don’t need the extra money, you can also give the gift of a free junk car to a charity or a nonprofit. While you won’t get paid for the car up front, you may be able to deduct the value of the car from your taxes as a charitable contribution.

Your claim depends on the fair market value of the car and what the organization you donated it to does with it. Unless you’re familiar with using a donation to get a tax deduction, it’s a good idea to speak with an accountant to learn how the process works.

Online Junk Car Buyers

Online scrap car buyers like Peddle are likely to be a strong option for most owners. Using a similar model to online car dealers, they offer a simple process for selling junk vehicles.

To sell your car to an online junk car buyer, you’ll need to enter your vehicle’s information into an online form. Once you finish filling it out, you’ll get an instant quote on your car. In many cases, the company will arrange a pickup time and even send a tow truck driver to take your vehicle. In other words, a junk car removal service will take care of most of the hassle that comes with offloading scrap vehicles.

How To Junk Your Car

Selling a junk car tends to be simpler than selling a car in working condition since the buyer isn’t as discerning. Nevertheless, there are still a few steps you should take to ensure a smooth sale and to get as much money as you can.

1. Find Your Junk Car’s Value

Before you attempt to sell a junk car, you’ll want to see what it’s worth – or whether it’s a junk car at all. While vehicles that are seriously damaged, salvaged, and not in running condition are most likely to be scrap cars, it’s still worth checking.

Online car value calculators can help you determine how much your vehicle is actually worth. You may want to search for a calculator specifically made for scrap cars and check that estimate against more general estimates.

How Much Is a Junk Car Worth?

Generally speaking, junk cars tend to be worth between $100 and $500, though some can be worth more. The actual value of your scrap vehicle depends on factors that are almost the same as for anyone learning how to sell a car

Icons showing the factors that affect the value of used cars

Due to price-per-pound evaluations, the heavier your used car is, the higher its value will likely be. In other words, you’ll get far more money for a Toyota 4Runner than for a Honda Accord or a Nissan Sentra.

2. Remove All Personal Items

Once you junk a car, you’ll lose all access to it. That means anything left in the vehicle becomes the property of the new owner.

Take time to check the car thoroughly for personal items you may want to keep. Remove items that contain sensitive personal information, such as your vehicle registration and auto insurance card. You’ll also want to remove all license plates before scrapping your car, as you may need to turn them in afterward.

3. Remove Valuable Accessories

While your car may not be worth much anymore, some of the accessories inside it might be of some value. You could possibly sell parts like the stereo and speakers if they’re still in good condition. Look for anything that might be worth money on its own and remove it before sending the junk car off.

4. Choose How To Sell Your Junk Car

The best way to sell a junk car depends on several key factors about you and your vehicle. In the table below, you’ll find a few suggestions for which situations are likely to fit each method.

Method of Selling a Junk CarBest For:
Sell to an online junk car buyerMost scrap vehicle sellers
Private auto salePeople with repairable cars and owners of rare or exotic junk cars with working parts
Sell to a local scrap yardPeople who live close to their local junkyard
Donate to a charityPeople who can benefit from a tax deduction

Who Gives the Most Cash For Junk Cars?

Without knowing details about your specific vehicle, it’s hard to say which option offers the most cash for a junk car. A private auto sale may bring in the most cash, but only if you find a buyer. On the other hand, local and online junk car buyers may not pay as much, but they are almost guaranteed to buy your vehicle, no matter its condition.

Because they typically offer free quotes, it’s always a good idea to get instant offers from online car buyers. These quotes give you a point of comparison for any other options you consider.

5. Complete the Sale and Any Necessary Paperwork

Once you’ve decided on the best place to sell your car, it’s time to make the transaction final. Like selling any other type of car, this involves signing over your car title and handing over the keys. This may be the last step in the process for some people, but there could be additional steps depending on your situation.

Turn In Your License Plate

In many states, you’re required to turn in your license plates to the department of motor vehicles (DMV) or equivalent agency. Depending on where you live, you may be able to do this by mail, or you may need to show up to the DMV in person.

Cancel Your Car Insurance

If you still have an active auto insurance policy on the car you plan to junk, cancel it to avoid paying for unnecessary coverage. If you’re selling the car to a scrap yard, either online or locally, you can do this immediately.

If you’re selling a junk car to someone who plans to fix it, wait until the registration is officially transferred over to the buyer to avoid any potential liability. The same is true if you donate the vehicle to a charity that plans to repair the car rather than scrap it.

Pay Off Loans on a Junk Car

You need a title to sell any car, even if it’s to a scrap yard. If you still have an active loan on your car, you’ll need to pay that off before the lender will sign the title over to you. Most junk car buyers won’t agree to buy a car with an active loan, so you’ll need to pay it off before trying to sell your vehicle.

Cancel Your Extended Warranty

If you have an extended car warranty on your junk vehicle, you’ll want to cancel that as soon as possible. Similar to insurance, you don’t want to pay for a service you can no longer use.

Check State Records

After turning in your license plate and completing the title exchange, you should no longer be legally associated with the car. However, there’s always a small chance that the process won’t go through correctly. Looking up state records to confirm that the title transfer got transferred over successfully will give you peace of mind that the car recycling process is over.

In most cases, you can check online to see if your name is attached to state records for the vehicle. You can also call the DMV to have the agency check for you.

Junk Cars: Conclusion

There are several ways to sell a junk car if you have one that you need to get rid of. Based on our research, online junk car buyers like Peddle are the best overall option for most sellers. These companies bring the convenience of internet-based car dealers to scrap car transactions, with benefits such as an easy online experience and curbside pickups that come to your location.

While other options may be worth considering for some car owners, online scrap car buyers provide free cash offers. That means it’s always worth it to get a quote for comparison, even if you eventually choose a different way to sell your junk vehicle.

Recommended Junk Car Buyers

Companies that buy junk cars online offer fair prices and a quick process for selling scrap vehicles. However, not all providers offer identical values or customer experiences. Our experts have identified the top online junk car buyers, along with an option for drivable vehicles.

Great Choice for Older Vehicles

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Excellent customer reviews, free vehicle removal nationwide, and fast cash. Peddle is a good choice if you’re in a time crunch or have a car with lots of miles and in less than stellar shape.

Peddle: Best For Junk Cars

For those looking to sell a junk car, Peddle should be one of the first options on the list. With its well-designed user experience, the company can deliver an offer on your clunker in just a few minutes. Peddle takes good care of its customers, earning an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a 4.7-star rating out of 5.0 on Trustpilot.

Copart: Good Choice for Wrecked Cars

Copart has been in the junk car business for more than 40 years, making it a true veteran of the industry. The company recently added an online selling experience to its website, giving owners of scrap cars a new option. Copart’s convenient online tool and strong industry reputation make it an option worth checking out for most junk car sellers.

Carvana: Most Convenient

Before you hand over your vehicle to the scrap yard, it’s smart to check whether the model is actually a junk car. Carvana accepts drivable cars as long as they’re from 1992 or later and still have a working odometer in them. While your vehicle may not be accepted by Carvana, the company is worth a check to see if its easy process could fit your needs.

Read more: Carvana sell my car review

Junk Cars: FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about getting rid of a junk car.

What is a junk car?

A junk car is an old or damaged car that lacks useful value and isn’t worth the cost for needed repairs. This category includes vehicles that are severely wrecked, salvaged, flood damaged, or otherwise without any resale value.

Can I sell a junk car without a title?

You must have a title to sell a car, no matter what condition it’s in. Even if you take the car to a scrap yard or donate it to charity, you’ll likely still need to sign a title over to complete a legal transaction. It’s easy to get a replacement title from your DMV if you lost yours, though.

Where can I junk my car?

You can junk your car locally at either a scrap yard near you or by donating it to a charity. However, it may be easier to sell junk cars to online scrap vehicle buyers. These companies make quick offers on vehicles and have no problem with arranging at-home pickups.

Our Methodology

In order to help people make informed decisions about where and how to sell their cars, our expert review team is committed to providing precise, accurate, and objective information. For our research, we evaluated each company on criteria found across the following categories:

  • Cost: Our team conducted a secret shopper study to assess the offer prices given by each provider. We also considered any fees or additional costs charged by companies during the transactions.
  • Platform: We evaluated each provider’s online platform, rating them based on ease of use, speed, and the number of available options.
  • Transaction Support: Because there are many other steps involved in selling a car online beyond simply listing it and accepting an offer, our team evaluated companies based on their support for transactions. This includes if the company requires sellers to travel for in-person evaluations, whether it can manage loan payoffs, and more factors.
  • Customer Experience: We scoured online reviews on websites such as the BBB and Trustpilot in order to gauge the opinions and experiences of real customers. Our team used proprietary metrics to normalize ratings across the industry in order to assess customer sentiment in context.
  • Industry Reputation: To assess their standing within the auto sales industry, we considered each company’s online ratings along with their years in business. We evaluated these factors using specific metrics to get an accurate reflection of each reputation compared to industry norms.