10 Signs It’s Time to Junk Your Car

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

You look at your car, so full of memories and spills- lots and lots of spills. Will anybody appreciate your family vehicle enough for you to sell it?

Junking a car that played an integral role in your family life is never easy, but they don’t last forever. Here are 10 signs that it’s time to junk your car.

1. You’re Graduating

Congratulations on moving up in the world! Whether you find yourself graduating from high school, college, grad school, or to a better paying job, you probably see yourself driving something a little more sophisticated.

Scrap the past and ride out into your future in something new. You will make quick, easy cash and move forward.

2. Your Family Is Growing

A growing family often means needing a different vehicle.

If you’re getting married, your college beater that a record-breaking number of people puked in needs to go. With a wedding on the way, who has the time to clean it out and find a buyer? Just junk it and start new.

Having children also drives people to junk their cars. You need room for a car seat, and then two, and then friends and sporting equipment. If the car ran its course, you may need to junk it and focus your time and energy on buying a car that fits your growing needs.

Bringing it to a reputable business means that you can focus your time and energy on your growing family and use the extra cash to put towards your future together.

3. People Describe the Car as ‘Rusty’

A rusty car does not only look like junk, it can pose serious risks for anybody driving the vehicle. It will not even pass an emissions test if the rust is severe.

Serious rust causes issues including:

  • it may cause dangerous fumes to leak inside if rust eats through the body of the car
  • framework rust creates a problem for the integrity of the vehicle, causing parts to break off, and might signal rust on crucial inner workings
  • rusty brake lines and/or gas lines create a dangerous situation like failure to stop and gas leaks

Junk your car if it’s a rusty dusty old thing.

4. Your Mileage Hits 150,000

Most engines and transmissions start to peter out at this point. You can buy a new engine for somewhere between $2,200 and $4,000, and then another transmission for about $1,800 to $3,400, but you should probably junk a car and put that money towards a new one.

Think of all the potential expenses:

  • burst radiator hose
  • rusted gas lines
  • loud and/or rattling exhaust
  • old battery
  • worn out windshield wipers
  • coolant leaks

Not to mention, finding older car parts sometimes sends you out on a wild goose chase. Your car will only continue to fall apart, piece by piece after a run like this.

5. Your Safety Rating No Longer Suffices

If your once top of the line safety rating fell to the bottom of the barrel, then you need to junk it. Technology rapidly makes driving a new vehicle safer and safer.

Airbags and seatbelts change to better protect you on impact, cars now sport traction systems to help you make your way through any weather, and they now offer backup cams to avoid backing into things. Other newer safety features include:

  • lane assist
  • adaptive cruise control
  • adaptive headlights
  • collision warning system
  • drowsiness
  • park assist control

If it barely even has airbags, let alone anything close to these high tech features, junk your car.

6. It Didn’t Come with a Title

We’re not asking any questions, but if you try to sell the vehicle, people might start. Bottom line, no matter you obtained it without a title, whether you inherited it when your great grandma passed or you took a shady deal, you cannot legally sell the car to somebody else.

However, an auto junkyard will happily take it off your hands for some quick cash.

Just document the transaction through a Bill of Sale. This requires:

  • names of buyer and seller
  • transaction date
  • description of the car including, year, make, model, VIN
  • mileage at time of sale
  • price exchanged for

This covers you and the scrap yard legally.

7. It’s Sort of Junky

We understand that every spill, rip, and break comes with a store behind it, but we also know how the memories that make your car precious to you, devalue the car in the eyes of potential buyers.

You should scrap the car if:

  • the window’s don’t roll up normally
  • the automatic door locks stopped working
  • the interior is destroyed
  • the trunk will not open
  • the rearview mirror is missing
  • one or both side mirrors broke off
  • the smell of ____ will not go away
  • the gas tank door doesn’t open or isn’t there

If the cost of repairs starts to equal or exceed the trade in value, save yourself the headache of trying to sell. Plus, at some point soon, this baby probably will not pass an emissions inspection any longer, making it much more of a liability than an asset.

Clean up your memories; save a car key or small token from the car and let the rest go.

8. You Resorted to Using Duct Tape

Once you start breaking out the duct tape to hold together pieces of your car, it’s time to junk it. You may think it’s no big deal and that somebody will not notice something so little, but they do.

This holds especially true when you start duct-taping crucial pieces under the hood! Melting tape can get in places it shouldn’t and ruin something important under there, plus, doing so creates a fire hazard.

Save the duct tape for protecting the floor and ceiling edges the next time you paint and junk your car.

9. Driving It Feels Like an Episode of Fear Factor

If everytime you buckle up, you get knots in your tummy as if somebody’s strapping you into an unregulated roller coaster, then junking your car might save you from an accident, heart attack, or stroke.

We get it, the engine light came on three years ago, but the car drives just fine, except that shimming, an awful grinding noise. Plus, the wheels probably will not fall off all at once, right?

If it’s grinding, rattling, hesitating, or doing anything that makes you sweat while you drive, then junk your car. No more excuses! You need a safe and reliable vehicle that doesn’t threaten the safety of everybody within a mile radius. Bring it in for quick cash and peace of mind.

10. Nobody Wants It

Even if you cannot find anything majorly wrong with it, no engine problems, no missing parts, no serious body damage… some cars simply do not sell.

If you follow the rule of thumb used by car dealerships, then you do not want to try and sell for more than three months. Even one month is a long time when you consider:

  • insurance payments for a car you do not use
  • time, energy, and cost of placing ads
  • the number of no-shows you will deal with
  • all the people who waste your time looking at the car, pretending to want it

Regardless of how good of a vehicle you think it is, if people will not buy it, then you lose money on it. Your best bet is to junk it.

How Does Junking a Car Work?

To junk a car, follow this easy process!

  1. Provide all vehicle information including, year, make, model, and true condition. If you lie, they will see this upon inspection. So tell them if parts are missing and if stuff doesn’t work.
  2. Receive a cash offer, that you can accept or decline, but keep remembering why you’re junking it!
  3. Accept the offer and collect the paperwork you will need for the transaction, like title and registration.
  4. Choose a pickup date for them to retrieve the vehicle.
  5. Get paid cash!

As you can see, this process takes up much less of your time and energy than trying to sell an old car.

Cool Facts About Junking a Car

  • if your car is totally wrecked, you can still scrap it for parts
  • the US gets 14 million tons of steel from junk cars
  • junked tires may go to a recycling plant and end up making sandals, vehicle carpets, and playgrounds
  • they can recycle up to 86% of your vehicle to conserve iron ore, coal, and limestone
  • people recycle more car batteries than paper
  • the automotive recycling industry in North America conserves 85 million barrels of oil by recycling auto parts, every year
  • according to research, the number of hazardous fluids and oils reclaimed safely by auto recyclers is equal to 8 Exxon Valdez spills

As you can see, junking your car does not only help you, it helps the environment!

Junk Your Car Today!

Letting go often hurts momentarily, but it opens up opportunities for growth and new endeavors. That car brought you over 100,000 miles worth of memories, and now it’s time for it to get recycled into something that will benefit others.

If junking a car is right for you, then check us out!

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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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