Cash Auto Salvage

How to Sell a Broken Car

Whether it doesn't run anymore, or the damages are too expensive to fix, you have a broken car on your hands, and you need to cut your losses and get rid of it.

Except, the market for cars and car parts is so vast that you don't even know where to begin or how to get started in selling your car for the best possible price.

That's all right if you're lost and confused. That's why you're here in the first place, and we're here to help you on your journey.

We can tell you how you can get rid of your car, why you should, and some tips to help you once you've figured out the process.

The How

How does one get rid of their broken car?

Simple. You sell your car to anyone interested in buying it or sell the parts of your car that still function.

Dealerships won't want to buy your car because they want to be able to make a profit first and foremost. Having to repair the car after they pay for it is too expensive for them to consider and too big of a risk with a potential to fall through.

Individuals, on the other hand, may be interested in buying your broken car as a project to work on.

Hobbyists enjoy buying broken cars so that they can personally fix them up. These individuals invest the time, effort, and money into broken cars.

For them, a used or old car has tons of potential to become something new and customizable.

Then there is junkyards or auto salvage yards. Junkyards are also interested in your broken car, but not to fix it.

Salvage yards want your car mostly for its parts. As the name implies, anything that is salvageable and can be refurbished, they'll take.

Once they've stripped the car of anything valuable, they'll crush the rest of the car for scrap metal, and your car will have been completely recycled.

The Why

To figure out the best method for selling your car, you should first iron out why you want to sell your car. The why can be several different answers.

If you're looking to be more environmentally friendly, then that's one reason why you want to sell your older model car.

Car manufacturers have been making a push towards energy-efficient and cleaner cars, thanks in part to customer demand for them.

Newer models have better gas mileage, run on electricity, and have a smaller carbon footprint than an older model car that guzzles gas and has a high emissions output.

Or, your car is just broken beyond repair, and no amount of fixing it will get the old beast running again.

When your car gets to the broken beyond repair point, you could buy a brand-new car with the amount of money you would need to fix your old one.

Of course, your car may not be broken beyond repair, but it's so old that the parts needed to fix it are no longer available. Either way, it can't be fixed.

Another reason you may want to sell your broken car is because you've lost the title. In this case, selling your car can be tricky. In fact, it can also be outright impossible.

You can't sell your car to a dealership or private individual without the car's title because that's the primary document that proves ownership.

If you can't get a duplicate title or don't want to for some reason, then there's still hope. If you can prove ownership without the title, then some junkyards may still buy it off you.

Now that you know how you can sell your car and why you should sell your car, here are some tips that you might find helpful.

1. Check Online Buyers

When looking around for who to sell to, you'll also want to look online. While you always have local options, you don't want to narrow down your search to just local buyers.

You can sometimes get a better deal with online buyers and companies.

Online companies often have an automated process that enables their customers to sell their broken cars much easier than if the company was local.

The process for these companies rarely changes as well, which is always a plus.

2. Have the Proper Documentation

Remember when we said it's illegal to resell a car without the proper documents?

While the exact documents required to resell may vary from state to state, the bottom line is you do need to be able to establish ownership of the car you want to sell. Otherwise, you can't sell that car at all.

So, if you have lost your documents, you'll need to obtain new ones before attempting to sell your car.

The documents you need are typically your driver's license, most recent registration, and the vehicle title.

You can go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to replace these documents.

Also, sometimes your bank may have your vehicle title if you don't.

You should also have a record of your car's maintenance over the years too. Being able to show everything that's been done to your car increases your trustworthiness to potential buyers. You'll definitely want that.

3. Assess Your Broken Car

Before you try selling your car, you need to be aware of your car's condition and how that can affect the price.

You can determine the value of your car, if it is in working condition, from the Kelley Blue Book.

You may also want to determine your car's scrap value as well if you plan to sell it for parts. Remember, you're selling your car because you need to get rid of it and want the best possible value for it.

Also, determine the amount of damage to your broken car and how much it would cost to fix it. Once you've figured out the numbers, you need to subtract the cost of repairs from the value of your car you got from Kelley Blue Book. The final number is how much you should expect to sell your car for.

You can determine the cost of repairs yourself or take your broken car to a mechanic who can perform a used car inspection.

While looking for buyers, you'll likely be asked several questions regarding your car, which is why knowing all the information above will help determine its price.

However, if your broken car isn't roadworthy, you may want to consider fixing that first.

Cars that can be driven are worth more than cars that can't. However, this step isn't necessary, and you shouldn't undertake it if it's not financially possible.

Once you have assessed your car and know as much about it as possible, you can start looking around for quotes.

4. Get Quotes

If you can't find an individual, such as hobbyists, interested in buying your car, then you may want to think about selling to an auto salvage yard, locally or online.

We recommend calling the yards that are local to you first and see how much they would price your car at. Afterward, you can also call online companies to see how much they would offer in comparison.

You want the best price for your broken car and the only way to get that is to compare prices from as many buyers as possible.

Plus, knowing your car's condition will help the salvage yards, and online companies give you a fair and accurate quote.

5. Handing in Your Car

Once you've established a price your willing to accept and you know who you want to sell your broken car to, consider driving the car to the salvage yard or individual buyer yourself.

Some yards will offer more money if they don't have to tow or pick up the car themselves.

However, if the buyer you chose offers free towing and pick up, then this is a tip that won't do much to help you.

6. Lemon Laws

When selling your car, you should do your homework on any laws or regulations that may apply to you, such as lemon laws.

Your car is classified a lemon if the car has a major defect that is covered by the warranty and it occurred within a specific time frame, and your car can't be fixed after a certain number of attempts at repairing it.

Before you start worrying, the lemon laws vary from state to state and don't affect all cars equally.

For example, Florida's lemon laws only apply to the purchase of a new vehicle and don't affect used cars at all.

7. Salvaged Vehicle Regulations

Here are some more regulations you'll need to research first before selling your broken car.

Your state's DMV will have regulations surrounding the selling of junk cars. These regulations also differ from state to state like the lemon laws.

Now, these regulations typically require filling out forms and may only apply when selling your car for parts or if you've determined that your car is a complete financial loss when trying to repair it.

If your car fits the description of your state's salvaged vehicle regulations, but you're unsure your car qualifies then you'll want to play it safe and get a professional opinion too.

8. Sell Its Parts

If, after all the research and comparisons, you still aren't happy with the prices being offered to you from local buyers as well as online buyers then you may want to consider salvaging the car yourself and selling off the still working parts.

Working parts that can be sold can be just about anything from your broken car's engine to its windshield wipers.

Any fluids should be stored appropriately in containers and parts that no longer work should all be disposed of responsibly when selling your car for parts.

Depending on which you prefer, you can take the car apart yourself and sell the parts, or you can sell the car to a buyer who plans to scrap it and let them handle the labor.

Selling the parts to the buyer and letting them take the car apart lets them know for certain where the parts came from. The downside is you'll still have a stranger in your front yard.

If you do decide to take apart your car by yourself, then you can sell the parts locally or online instead of listing the entire car.

9. Remove Personal Belongings

When you're ready to sell your broken car, make sure to check it for any personal items thoroughly.

You don't want to forget an iPod or tablet inside your car when you hand it over to the buyer.

This also includes taking the license plates off your car. This is especially important if you're planning on transferring your license plate to a new car or taking it back to the DMV.

A helpful way to search your broken car for valuables is to clean your car out.

Cleaning up the interior of your car not only makes it presentable to the buyer but also makes it easier for you to find your personal belongings and store them away at home.

10. Car Insurance & the DMV

Once you've sold off your car, had it picked up, or taken it in yourself, make sure to notify your insurance company and the DMV.

If your car insurance provider doesn't know that you no longer own your car, they'll still make you pay for the car insurance on it. Inform your car insurance company that the car has either been sold or no longer on the road if it's been salvaged for parts.

Alongside your car insurance provider, let your local DMV know too. The DMV must be able to update their records on who owns what car and where it is. That's one of the reasons titles and driver's licenses exist.

Informing your DMV may be a hassle and involve waiting in the lobby, but at the end of the day, you'll be glad you filled out the proper forms.

Afterward, if anything happens with your car, the DMV and the state will know that you're no longer liable for it.

A Checklist Is Optional

If you want to make sure you're getting the most for your broken car, then try jotting down key things you should do before selling your car.

A checklist can help you ascertain what will make your car more desirable to potential buyers or what may make your car less desirable to them.

However, if you are looking to sell your car then look no further because we buy them too!

Contact us for a free quote on your broken car and see how we compare to the competition.

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About the Author

Marc

Marc

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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