Steps to sell a junk car
The first thing you need to sell a junk car is the vehicle's title. If you happen to lose your car title you can get another copy by contacting your state's department of motor vehicles (DMV). You will need the title before selling the vehicle to a junkyard. Once you have your title, make sure you can sell the vehicle. If it has a lien placed on it, you'll need to pay off the loan before you can sell your car.
The benefit of selling a car to a junkyard is that you don't have to worry about the vehicle passing any other tests. A junk vehicle doesn't require proper emissions testing, safety tests, or anything else that would be necessary when selling a car under normal circumstances. The downside is that you won't receive as high a price as you might otherwise.
Shop your car around
Just as you would when purchasing a vehicle, spend time looking for the best deal. When selling your car to a junkyard, call different junkyards to find out what they'd pay. There are likely multiple junkyards in your area. Once you have multiple offers, take the best one.
You'll need to provide information about your vehicle, like the car make and model, as well as any damage it may have suffered. A junkyard will offer a higher price for a vehicle with little to no damage than one where the car is totaled. You might be able to haggle the price up slightly, but a junkyard's initial offer will be near their final price.
A junkyard will offer a higher price for a vehicle with little to no damage than one that is nearly totaled.
Clean the vehicle
When a vehicle goes to the junkyard, they don't care what it looks like on the outside, even if it's a little dirty. However, you should remove any personal belongings from inside the vehicle. If you have custom rims or any aftermarket parts, remove those as well. Selling the aftermarket parts to a junkyard can increase the vehicle's sale value, but you might also be able to sell those privately and net a higher profit. Learn how aftermarket parts work with insurance.
You should also remove anything from the car you want to keep. Keychains, anything hanging from the rearview mirror, or even bumper magnets will be lost once you sell it.
Prepare the car for pickup
Junkyards will typically come and retrieve the vehicle from you, so you shouldn't pay to tow the car to the junkyard. Make sure pickup and delivery are outlined in the sale price. If the vehicle can still be driven (with proper insurance coverage, of course), the junkyard might ask you to deliver it. You can use this as a way to negotiate a higher sale price.
If the junkyard is sending a tow truck to retrieve the vehicle, make sure nothing is blocking access to the car and the tow truck driver can easily reach it and load it onto the truck.
Report the sale to your local authorities
Depending on where you live, you may be required to report the sale of the vehicle to the DMV or the state. This varies from state to state and often includes a deadline. Reporting the sale isn't just about legal compliance. It also protects you from liability if anything happens to the vehicle after selling it.
Selling a vehicle to a junkyard doesn't have to be a stressful process. In fact, it can be a relief. Just take the time to shop around and get the best price.