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The Junk Car Checklist: 4 Things to Do Before Salvaging Your Vehicle

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Even if your car is not drivable or unsafe to operate, you shouldn’t lose hope on getting your money’s worth. Exchanging a junk car for cash is great idea for people in these types of situations. In some cases, the scrap prices for cars are actually higher than the value of the car as a whole. In fact, in North America, auto recycling provides 40% of the ferrous metal recovered by the scrap processing industry. So you really could walk away with much more than you bargained for, even if you have a clunker sitting in your yard.

When junking a car, however, there are some things to keep in mind. Here is a final checklist of things to do before you send ol’ faithful to a junk car buyer:

  • Collect the necessary documentation. It’s a requirement for most salvage yards that the seller presents their driver’s license or another form of photo identification, vehicle registration, and vehicle title when they drop of a junk vehicle. Without this, the junk yard will be unable to prove that the vehicle belongs to you or was obtained legally. If you cannot find a copy of your vehicle’s registration, one can be easily obtained by calling your state’s department of motor vehicles. In some places, a title is not necessary, but it’s best to stay on the safe side and bring it with you if you have it.
  • Ask the salvage yard if they have any additional requirements for requests before they take your vehicle off your hands. Do they require that you be with the vehicle during pickup or allow you to be off premises? Will they need your keys? Should you remove any fluids or gasoline first?
  • Make sure you remove any personal items from your vehicle before it is taken. When junking a car, it’s easy to write off the entire contents of the vehicle as junk, but in many cases people lose valuable items when they let their cars go. Check between the seats and in any compartments for jewelry, lost credit cards, cash, sunglasses, pay stubs, or other sensitive information. Anything with your name and address on it should definitely be removed from the vehicle.
  • Remove your license plates. Remember, your plates are still worth keeping. Plates can usually be transferred when you purchase a new vehicle. Instead of having new ones made, keep them for your new car. If you do not have a new car to transfer your plates to, it is required that you return the plates to the DMV to be reissued.

If you have any other questions regarding what to do before junking a car, contact Cash Auto Salvage. We provide money for disabled vehicles to sellers in all 50 states and will make sure that your car will be valued fairly.

We have an updated post: “10 Things to Do Before You Junk Your Car

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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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