10 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Junk Car Buyer

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

If you’re looking for a junk car buyer to take an old car off your hands, you need to know your options. You don’t want to sell your car and not get much in return, so you need to choose a junkyard that’s reputable and efficient. But how do you know where to start and what to do?

Read on to learn 10 factors you should consider when choosing a junk car buyer!

1. Know Your Car’s Condition

When it comes to selling junk cars, a good first step is to understand your car’s condition. Does it have a lot of usable parts? Or has it been chewing up your savings each time you take it to the mechanic?

A car that isn’t running without expensive and frequent repairs isn’t worth your time. When the cost of repairs is greater than the value of your car, it’s time to pursue a junk car buyer. Take the time to understand your car’s strengths, and look online to learn how problematic your car’s issues are.

Even with a junk car, you’ll find that the better the condition it’s in, the better the offer you’ll get. Many junkyards will be more likely to give you a good price if your car’s engine is working properly and able to be driven down the road. Check to see if your car has some of these qualities or parts.

Other places won’t care if your car is running or not. They’ll take your car, regardless of its condition. And even then, you’ll be assured of getting some money for the vehicle.

If you have a salvage title, that will indicate that your car has had significant damage. But your car may still be driveable, which means you could still get a good cash deal.

You want to be realistic about expectations. A car that has crested 300,000 miles and been in a few accidents might only be good for scrap metal.

2. Compare Junk Car Buyer Rates

One of the biggest advantages of selling to a junk car buyer is the promise of quick cash for your vehicle. But not all junkyards are the same. It is likely that some places will be more willing to give you a good price than others.

Make a point of shopping around. Don’t just take the first offer that comes your way since you might be able to get a better offer somewhere else. If you’re in an area with multiple junkyards nearby, take advantage of the opportunity to meet with different buyers and find the best deal.

You may be able to get a quote more quickly if you can provide the VIN number when you’re talking with a buyer or filling out a form on their website. Junk car buyers like to know they’re dealing with someone prepared and honest.

Shop around for a few options in your region, but don’t venture too far. If you start driving everywhere to find the best deal, you’ll lose some of the profit to mileage and time.

3. Know the Location of the Junk Car Buyers

It’s smart to choose a junk car buyer that is near where you are living. Otherwise, you may end up driving a lot to find the the best junkyard. Or you may end up needing to transport your car a long distance to make the deal.

You’re better off going with a place in your region or city. While many junk car buyers offer free towing, they might not if you live really far away. You’ll end up spending money to sell your car — and you might not get much in the long run.

So it’s better for your bottom line if you do your best to keep things close to home. Choose a car buyer located near you for the fastest and most efficient process. There’s a better chance you’ll be able to get your car towed by the buyer, and it will make the whole transaction process easier.

4. Understand How Long the Process Will Take

You may be thinking, “I need to sell my car fast.” If that’s the case, you want to know how long the process will take with a given buyer. Don’t assume that everything will happen right away in the timeline you envision.

Be sure to ask each place you visit for the timeline. When will they pick up your car? How quickly will you get the cash payment?

Some buyers may want to do a more thorough inspection than others. They may request more documents and ask you questions about the car’s repair records.

Other junkyards will be ready to hand you money within a day. In either case, you need to find the best blend of speed and value for your car. Do you need the money right away, or can you afford to wait a few days with the hope of getting a better deal?

When it comes to selling junk cars, you should expect that you can get your money quickly. By going with a junk car buyer, you avoid dealing with brokers or other secondary steps that can delay payment. You’ll save time and finally get that old junk car off your property!

5. Do Your Car Valuation Homework First

Before you head to the junkyard, you’ll want to spend time assessing the value of your car. That way if you have a dollar amount in mind, you can compare it to what you’re being offered — and know if you’re getting ripped off.

You may be able to negotiate a better price when you have some sense for what to expect. If you go into a meeting with a junk car buyer not knowing the value of your car, they could take advantage of you. And you might be more tempted to take that first offer simply because it sounds good.

Many buyers will offer cash for cars on the spot, so you want to be prepared to strike the best deal. When you’ve done your homework, you’ll be able to assess the junk buyer rates and determine if they match realistic expectations.

6. Check the Website of a Junk Car Buyer

While going straight to the buyer can be a good approach, you should spend some time looking at the websites of junk car buyers first. Not only will you get a sense for what the company offers, but you’ll also be able to see if you can move the process along more quickly — and if they seem legitimate.

A good website will feature information on the process and timeline for selling junk cars, testimonials, towing info, contact information, and other relevant content. Look for a site that looks professional and informative.

You may be able to schedule an appointment or even get a quote directly on the website. When your car is beyond repair and a dealership won’t give you the deal you want, it’s important to find a better option. If a junkyard website doesn’t fill you in on the details, it might not be worth your time.

Ask your friends, family members, and coworkers for input on where to go. Check online reviews to see what other customers are saying. By doing this, you’ll be able to make a better assessment and determine how reputable a company is.

7. Look for an Experienced Company

Another key piece of advice is to choose a buyer with experience. They’ll work with you to ensure a fair process, and they’ll make sure every box is checked along the way. A new or inexperienced junk car buyer may not have the knowledge or money to make a successful deal with you.

Most of the time, you can expect a cash payment. But some junk buyers may want to cut you a check. If that’s the case, you’ll want to be certain that the references and reviews for the company are strong.

It’s easy to fall victim to scams, particularly if you’re trying to sell a car in a hurry. If you’re feeling uneasy about the terms of a deal or the method of payment, it’s okay to walk away or at least ask questions.

Also check to see that the company is abiding by legal regulations. You want to do business with a company that is transparent and functional. You should also check to see what types of quotes or prices the junkyard lists for specific makes and models.

8. Learn What the Buyer Will Do With the Parts

It’s perfectly valid to ask the junkyard what will happen to your car. Some junkyards work to sell scrap metal, transmissions, engines, or other parts that might be useful for another person. And many will take old parts and rebuild them so that they are a used but functional option for someone in need of a new car part.

All of this amounts to good news from a recycling standpoint. Junkyards offer parts that can be reused, and they help to process things like metal and glass. By doing this, they help keep these car parts out of landfills.

This is a great help to the environment. And you can feel good about doing your part by taking your old car to a junkyard. A professional junkyard should be ready — and eager — to tell you about the processes they use.

9. Ask About Towing

Once you strike a deal, you’ll need to get your car from your home to the junkyard. Someone will have to take care of towing the car if it’s not driveable. Before you get to this point, make sure you’re clear about the buyer’s towing policy.

Ideally, you want the junk car buyer to do the towing for you — and for free. There’s nothing worse than finally selling your car only to be saddled with the responsibility of towing it at your expense. Many junkyards will offer free towing.

But not all places offer free towing, so it’s important to ask. Be clear on where you live, too, so they can give you an answer based on your distance.

Some junkyards may only offer towing up to a certain distance, or charge more if you live further away. And as the worst scenario, some places won’t even do business with you if you live too far away. Ask about towing early in the process so you don’t have a good offer nullified by a bad towing answer.

10. Prioritize Professionalism

When it comes to selling junk cars, you want the buyer on the other end to be pleasant and courteous during the process. This is especially true if you’re in a hurry to unload your car. Customer service matters, so make sure that you’re only working with a buyer who gives you their full attention.

The junk car buyer should inform you of all documents you’ll need to have. And they should be efficient in getting you a quote for your car. 

In urban areas, there might be a lot of demand for junk cars. As a result, the buyer might be busy. As professionals, they should be upfront with you about a timeline so you can make the right decision for your needs.

Choose the Right Buyer

Finding the right junk car buyer takes some time and research. You want to get a fair price for your car and understand all details of the deal. And most importantly, you want to work with a reputable buyer who will handle the process in a clear and efficient manner.

When you’re ready to get the offer you deserve for your used car, contact us and we can work with you!

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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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