11 Dangers of Driving a Junk Car

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Driving a junk car can cause serious hazards to road safety. As a driver, you need to take it upon yourself to make sure that your car does not present any potential hazard to its riders and the surrounding traffic.

In this guide, we are going to outline the 11 things that make your junk car a danger to road and passenger safety.

Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

One of the most pressing dangers of driving a junk car is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially when parked in enclosed spaces like a garage.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in anything that burns fuel, including cars. This danger can exponentially worsen if the car has been used for many years already because of a rusty exhaust and air conditioning system. 

Additionally, even if you are not inside your car, a compromised vehicle exhaustion system can still expose you and your family to carbon monoxide poisoning. This is because the gas can leak back to your house from your car and garage if your junk car is left running while parked inside.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. To prevent this from happening, we recommend that you replace your old car with a new one that has an updated exhaust and air conditioning system.

Getting Stranded on the Road

There are a lot of reasons that drivers get stuck in the middle of the road. Maybe they ran out of gas, their tires got blasted, their engine overheated, or anything else.

While it’s true that this can happen randomly to anyone, the risks are higher with junk cars. This can be very frustrating, and worse, you might even involve yourself in an accident if your car abruptly stops in the middle of the road and a car is driving behind you.

The dangers of driving a junk car can be very fatal to drivers. Maybe you are thinking about trying to resolve these issues through repair. However, with the outdated engine, the repair may wear out sooner and may even cause you to shell out more in the process.

Increased Rusting Issues

Older vehicles have the potential to develop rust, despite having rust protection technology back in the day. A rusty car may endanger you and your passengers because it will result in a number of rust-related issues such as carbon monoxide poisoning that we mentioned before.

This is especially true if you are living in a climate with four seasons a year. Your rust may expand to your car’s chassis and floor pans, damaging your car’s structural integrity. Because of this, your car is more susceptible to car crashes and other accidents which endanger you and your family.

Of course, you may not be too concerned about the aesthetics of your car, but if its structural integrity is compromised, then you may want to address this along with other dangers of driving a junk car.

You Could Be on Fire

The US Fire Department recorded 560 civilian deaths, 1,500 civilian injuries, and $1.9 billion in property damages in 2020 as a result of vehicle fires.

This is because old cars entail old wiring and old, deteriorating fuel lines and engine systems. Because of this, fuel leaks that may cause fire ignition is a real, potential hazard.

You may want to replace your wiring, electrical systems, fuel lines, and pumps, but the best recourse for this danger is to get rid of the junk car because of the fact that your car is already aging which may render your vehicle incompatible with these replacements and upgrades.

Harms the Environment

Your physical safety is not the only thing that you should be worried about when driving around with a junk car. One of the dangers of driving a junk car that is often overlooked by most people is that the increased gas emissions of an older car, especially a junk car, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions every year.

While you may escape accountability from mother nature, you also have to take into consideration emission regulation in your area. Most likely, you are going to fail emission tests because of the increased gas output of your junk car.

Junking your car and replacing it with something new is the best way to make use of your gas in the long run.

Higher Risk of Getting Into an Accident

Another one of the dangers of driving a junk car is the possibility of getting into an accident because of a poor braking mechanism.

Older cars have poor, deteriorated brakes which may result in weaker stopping power. This safety hazard is more pronounced if you are driving in winter because of poorer road visibility and less road friction.

While it is an option to maintain your braking system, it is undeniable that the mechanism of more modern vehicles such as Brake Assist Systems, four-wheel disc brakes, and ABS is far superior to what junk cars have.

Absence of Passive Safety

Passive safety such as airbags, seatbelts, and deformation zones, is one of the road safety marvels of the modern automobile industry. These components have made vehicles safer over the years.

Junk cars, however, are likely to lack these safety features, making road safety a hazard for you and your passengers. 

Modern cars have passive safety installed as a standard component, making them safer and more comfortable compared to junk cars.

Road accidents can happen to anyone, and it is better to have a contingency safety feature just in case you are involved in an accident.

Spending More on Fuel

Most modern vehicles are designed to maximize fuel efficiencies such as electric water pumps, heat batteries, and energy-efficient alternators. These technologies make your gas usage economical, translating to better overall mileage.

Junk cars simply don’t have these fuel-saving features and this may result in poor gas mileage, making you pay more for increased frequency in filling up your gas tank.

Poor fuel efficiency as one of the dangers of driving a junk car is exacerbated by poorly maintained and aging components. You are basically burning through your cash just to keep driving every day.

This can be resolved by getting rid of your junk car and buying a more energy and fuel-efficient car, which can save you money in the long run.

Poor Comfort

You may be wondering why comfort is such a crucial component for your safety. Imagine this: your car is too hot because of your poor air conditioning system, or your engine is too loud. Both these scenarios can result in road accidents because they can distract you from driving and being aware of the traffic around you.

Comfort, therefore, is necessary to keep you and your passengers safe. Besides, who doesn’t want to ride in a comfortable car?

Pests and Rodents

A junk car can become a home to many pests and stinging insects. Aside from the risk of getting bitten by them, you are also running the risk of being infected by diseases that are borne by these insects.

If you see hives, a nest, or a colony of ants and other insects building up, then it is probably best to get rid of your junk car.

Higher Maintenance Costs

Maybe the reason why you are not replacing your junk car yet is because of the price of newer cars on the market.

A compelling counterpoint would be that older vehicles are likely to break down and experience mechanical failures, which will lead you to shell out more cash in the long run for constant repairs and maintenance.

Even if you are experienced in repairing your car, you would still use valuable time and effort that you could have otherwise spent on meaningful things. Getting rid of your junk car and investing in a new one is a worthwhile investment.

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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