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Your Old Car Is Your Ticket to Fast Money

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Do you need to make fast money to pay for unexpected expenses? If you have an old car sitting around, you can make extra cash by selling it for parts.

High demand for scrap car parts has seen even junk car prices soar in 2021, as junkyards have struggled to find enough cars.

Here’s what you need to know about selling your car to get the most money for it.

Get a Mechanical Assessment

Have a qualified mechanic inspect your car to find out which parts are still in working order. This will help you determine what the car is worth and whether you can make more money by repairing it or selling it as junk. A vehicle that still has working components will sell for more than one that is a total write-off.

Decide How to Sell the Car

Do your research before deciding who to sell to, so you can be sure you’re getting the best price. You have several options for where to take it.

Sell to a Salvage Yard

One of the fastest and easiest ways to make cash from your old car is to sell it to a salvage yard. There are more than 9,000 locations in the automotive recycling industry, according to the Automotive Recyclers Association. So you will likely find a junkyard near you.

The price a salvage yard will pay depends on the extent of the damage to the car and the value of the parts. By researching the value of the parts, you’ll have more negotiating power to ensure you get the best price.

Sell the Car Yourself

Once you have an assessment of the car’s value, you can advertise it for sale, either on an “as-is” basis or for parts.

Set the price based on the condition of the car and the price of other cars for sale in a similar condition. Set out the terms of the sale the payment methods you will accept.

If you sell the car “as-is”, make the condition of the car clear to buyers. Emphasize that there is no warranty other than anything left from the manufacturer’s coverage. You might find a buyer who fixes up cars or needs parts from your model to repair their own car.

Alternatively, you can strip out any useable parts to sell to auto wreckers or private buyers and then sell the rest of the car for scrap.

Sell to a Car Dealer

If you need to get a new car, you can sell off your old one by trading it in at a car dealership. They are unlikely to offer the highest price, but you can save on sales tax and free up some cash from the purchase of the new car.

Dealers save you time and hassle by handling the paperwork for the trade-in and transfer of the ownership title. But you should make sure you negotiate the trade-in value of the old car, the price of the new car, and the cost of financing to make sure they give you the best deal.

Compare Offers

Whichever option you choose for selling your car, get several quotes from different buyers and decide which one offers the best deal.

Private individuals tend to have less money to spend. A salvage yard may provide the best option for getting fast money. A salvage yard will likely offer you the best price because they are short on inventory. They also have lower overhead costs than car dealers.

Make sure to check customer reviews when choosing a car dealership or salvage yard to make sure you find a company with a good reputation for customer service. Ask friends, neighbors, and colleagues for recommendations. In that way, you can avoid getting scammed or cheated out of money.

Arrange Free Towing

If your old car is no longer driveable, you’ll need to arrange for a towing company to deliver it to the buyer. In some cases, this can cost hundreds of dollars. So, to get the most money from the sale, try to negotiate with the buyer to organize the transportation.

This is another advantage of selling your car to a salvage yard, as they often provide free towing in the deal. A private buyer or car dealership is more likely to expect you to deliver the vehicle to their location. With free towing, you save on paying costs out of the money you get from the sale.

Choose Your Form of Payment

If you need fast money, you most likely want to receive it as cash rather than waiting a few days for a check to clear. So, you should decide whether you will also accept a check or bank transfer for payment.

If you get an instant cash offer for a trade-in at a dealership, they can give you a check for the money rather than putting it towards the cost of the new car. If you have a loan on the car, the dealer can pay the lender and transfer the title.

Salvage yards tend to pay in cash on the spot when you sign over the car title to them. If you decide to sell your car to a private individual, negotiate the most convenient form of payment with them.

Sell Your Old Car for Fast Money

Selling your car is one of the easiest ways to get fast money, and solves the problem of having an old car taking up space in your driveway or garage.
Be sure to do your research to get the most money from a car dealership or salvage yard.

If you do want to sell your car to a salvage yard, Cash Auto Salvage can help. We offer junk vehicle buying and towing services nationwide, operating seven days per week in some areas. Contact us to find out how much cash you can get for 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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