How Much Can I Sell My Car For: Your Ultimate Guide

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Post-COVID, we’ve learned the merits of working from home. So, multiple cars per family may not be necessary anymore. If you find yourself commuting far less than you did before, it might be time to sell your second car.

Have you ever asked yourself, “How much can I sell my car for?”

It’s time you found out.

The answer might just surprise you. Continue reading to get the goods.

Why Sell?

Collecting is out. Minimalism is in.

As budgets tighten, many people are learning to live better with less. The happy side effects to this are cleaner homes and bigger bank accounts. Clutter adds to stress, anyway.

So, start getting rid of the unnecessary things around your house to make room for peace of mind.


You know that project car in the garage? The one you’ve been meaning to work on for years?

It’s time to let it go.

But who is going to want it? It hasn’t started in years. You kept intending to get it running but things happened.

You could list it in the paper or online. And wait.

Then you could deal with potential buyers. And curious timewasters.

Let’s say you’re lucky enough to connect with genuine, interested parties. You then have to deal with haggling.

In fact, according to the Money Advice Service, 64 percent of private car buyers successfully negotiate a lower price.

Their savings is your loss.

Or you could go right to a reputable auto salvage. Ask them, “What is my car worth?”

They will appraise your vehicle based on a number of factors to give you a fair price.

Still unsure? Keep reading.

Kid’s Car

You bought a used car for your teenager. Nothing too fancy, something a kid could learn in.

But it broke down a few months later. And it’s not worth what it will cost to repair it.

Rather than letting it rot on the driveway, you could get some cash for it. This will help defray the cost of its replacement.

And you care about your kid’s future. So, you care about the environment.
Metal is 100 percent recyclable. So, send the car to be scrapped and recycled.

Partner’s Ride

COVID-inspired lockdowns have shown us that many jobs can be done from home. Your spouse or partner now works full time from your home office.

With their workday commute eliminated, it’s a good idea to sell the car.

They’ve brought up the issue already by asking, “What is my car worth?” You’re both unsure.

But the added benefit of reducing auto insurance bills is too attractive to ignore.

Your neighbor recommends going to an auto salvage even though the car is still running. Yet you always thought they only took junk cars for cash.

But you would be wrong.


Many people believe auto salvages only give cash for junk cars. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

An auto salvage will have an interest in cars in various states. While it’s true that they procure junk cars for scrap metal, there is more to it.

An older car that requires a lot of maintenance will be very difficult to sell on the private market. You are likely to get more money from an auto salvage than you would otherwise for this type of vehicle.

That’s because this type of vehicle is worth more to them. They can make a profit by selling the metal for scrap. Or they might break the car down and sell the parts to garages.

Either way, they have the knowledge and connections to get the most out of junk cars. You want to go with the pros and get the most money for your car.

Getting the Best Deal

Regardless of condition, different dealers will offer varying figures for the same car. So, shop around.

Start by asking, “What is my used car worth?” Reputable dealers often give quick quotes online to give you a general idea.

It’s best if you come armed with information on the car to help them appraise the car value.


Knowing the extent of the damage will help them give you a fair and accurate price.

Research ahead of time so you have a rough idea of your car’s value. It can’t hurt to negotiate with dealers, especially if you know you can get more elsewhere.


If your car doesn’t run, ask about towing. Does the dealer provide free towing with the transaction? Or must you pay extra?

Factor this into the price of your car.


Check the dealer’s scale. The weight of your car is a big determining factor in its scrap value.

But dealers use different scales. And some scales are inaccurate due to faults or tampering.

This could greatly affect the financial outcome of the transaction.

To ensure a fair price, deal only with licensed, reputable dealers. And make sure their scale is certified.


Check that your chosen dealer is licensed. Some states require it.

You can ask to see their license in person. Or you can check online to see if a business has required licensing.

Going with a licensed dealer protects you from any potential liability in the future.

How Much Can I Sell My Car For?

The magic question. What’s my car’s worth?

All cars have some value. There is no simple formula to determine the value of a car. However, there are factors that help auto salvage companies decide.


This may seem like common sense. Or it may seem a bit backward.

Why does the condition matter if the car is going to be scrapped?

Salvage dealers can pick a vehicle to pieces for parts. The better condition the car is in, the better chances they can salvage parts.

If the car is in poor condition, they’re likely to only get the metal for scrapping. In this case, the price you receive will be less.


You may be wondering how location affects the value of a junk car. There are a few points to consider.

First, your proximity to the salvage yard makes a difference. This is particularly true if the vehicle is not roadworthy and must be towed.

But also, scrap metal prices vary by location. As do preferences for certain vehicles due to their regional popularity.


Your car’s make, model, and year play a big part in determining its value.

While model may dictate size, thus weight, of a car, there is more to it.

The popularity of a certain model matters. And how many used cars are still in operation influence its scrap value.

As we turn toward being more eco-friendly, car designs change. To improve fuel economy, cars are made lighter. To be lighter, cars are constructed out of more plastic elements.

This turn leads to less metal to scrap and lower scrap value.

Scrap Metal Value

If you went to a jeweler to sell your jewelry, the price it fetches would vary. Depending on the current market value of gold or precious stones, the value rises or falls.

The same is true for the value of scrapped cars.

Asking “How much can I sell my car for?” can lead you down a rabbit hole. Make sure you do your research before starting on the journey.

Hidden Treasure

Before surrendering your car, remember to dig for buried treasure. You’ll want to get the most you can out of your car.

You are within your rights to take parts or components to sell separately, if so inclined.

Consider taking out the alternator and the starter motor. Maybe pull out the entertainment system or anything else of high value.

Don’t forget the tires. If they’re of good quality, they’re worth selling. Just remember to replace them with something functional.

The car still has to get to the auto salvage, after all. Whether by tow or its own power, it will need wheels.

Then, make sure you remove all your personal belongings from the car.

Check the CD player in the dash. Flip down the visors. Look under the seats and in all compartments and nooks.

Comb through the entire vehicle to make sure you miss nothing before releasing the car.

What Do I Need?

Selling your car to an auto salvage is a legal transaction. This means you still need a title to complete.

If you’ve lost yours, it’s not the end of the world. You can apply for a replacement at your state’s department of motor vehicles.

Like most laws, car title regulations vary by state. For example, in some states, very old cars don’t require titles. Check with your state’s laws to be sure you’re good.

To Do

There are a few things you need to do to complete the successful process of selling your car.

After surrendering your vehicle, cancel the insurance. Consider notifying your insurance provider before releasing the car. And before the next payment is due.

You may be entitled to a refund if you’ve paid in advance.

Remove the license plates. Once the car reaches its final destination, take off the plates.

They can be transferred to another vehicle in the future. And, removing them after a transfer of ownership is a legal requirement in some states.

Letting Go

Selling a car can be a difficult decision. But once decided, you want to make sure you get the best price for it (tip: click here to get an offer in just 90 seconds).

In asking, “How much can I sell my car for?” make sure you do your own research. Get a rough idea of your car’s value before shopping for an auto salvage company.

Doing your homework will make the difference between getting a good price and getting left in the dust.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please see our blog for more.

Share this!


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.

maximize cash offer on car

We'll buy your vehicle!

Wait! We REALLY Want Your Vehicle!

We pay up to $20,000 for cars, trucks, & SUV’s – no matter the condition. Get paid on the spot + free towing!

Or Call... 1-855-922-3095

There is no obligation to accept an offer.

Unable to verify mileage

Selecting “unable to verify” may decrease your offer and should only be selected if you cannot visually confirm the mileage of the vehicle upon inspection of the odometer.