How to Get Top Dollar for Your Junk Car

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Do you have a car that has been sitting in your yard for awhile and you don't know what to do with it? Has it seen it's last days? You may be thinking that the car has so much wrong with it that it is not worth fixing or restoring. Maybe it's rusted out, with nothing much working. So, you finally decide to get it hauled away.


Well, before you do, here are a few things you should know. Many people do not realize that this old piece of junk metal brings a good price at a junk yard. If you do not know this, you may call someone who is in the towing business or junk car business and ask them to take it away. They will do just that, especially if you call and ask them how much they will charge to do it. "Oh, I'll give you a break today because it's my dog's birthday - I'll do it for $75." What a deal, you might think. No, not only is it not a deal, you are missing out on a nice bunch of cash.


The price of steel and other metals has been fluctuating on the stock market lately, but at no time in the last few years has it become worthless. The person who comes to pick up your car (for only $75!) will take the car to a place and break it down into parts that will be sold separately BEFORE he takes it to the junk yard and gets even more money. He might take out the battery, the catalytic converter (precious metals), take off the rims, the tires and any radios or CD players inside. There are other things not listed here, but those are the main things. If you are in a fairly populated area, being in the junk car business brings in a LOT of money.


People sometimes just "want it out of my yard" and in so doing are throwing money away. Conversely, people who are poor and have a junk car do not realize that they may have $300 sitting in their front yard. When people see signs that say, "Top dollar for junk cars," it means that people really do pay for junk cars. However, the price you will get varies, depending on who you talk to. You can get a $100 difference between the top payer and the bottom.


See below for some things to do to get as much money for your poor ol' friend as you can.

Things You'll Need

  • Local ads
  • Look in your local classified ads under the automotive section for "junk cars" or under "services" as it could be listed under both. Also look under "towing."

  • Remember where you've been seeing signs posted along the road advertising for junk cars. Get their number. Also, just because someone says they pay a certain amount doesn't mean they do. They may say "up to $300" or something similar, but when you talk with them they give you the soft-shoe shuffle and there you are standing with a guy in your yard who, after all that is only willing to pay you $150. Get another offer.

  • Look under "automotive" in the Yellow Page ads, and find "Towing" or "Junk Cars." You can find ads online also on automobile car sites, or private ads by just putting "junk cars" and your city into your search engine. You will find many listings for them, and you can call them for prices. You can also look on Craigslist.

  • Understand that there is a lot of false advertising in the junk car business. They make a lot of money on cars, and they depend on your ignorance to make a killing. And they do. But if you need money, know that you do have choices. They are counting on you to go ahead and give them the car if they are standing in your yard with cash in their hand, even though it is only half of what their ad says. Don't do it. Find someone who is willing to give you what their ad says. A lot of them will "explain" why your car isn't "worth" $300, because it doesn't have blah, blah and blah.

  • Run an honest ad in the newspaper if your car still runs but is in need of some repairs. You may get more that way. It is worth the cost of the ad to find out, if money is an issue for you. Many junk car people will pick up an otherwise good transportation car for $200, fix what's wrong if it's not too extensive, and resell it for a good profit. You can do that yourself. If it needs a new transmission, new tires and maybe a few other minor things, get prices on getting rebuilt parts and then look at the Blue Book value of the car. If you can sell it for less than that after repairs and still make a profit, you might want to go that route. Junk car people commonly turn a car like that over and walk away with $1,500 or more clear after expenses.

  • Inventory the trunk first if you are letting someone take the car, as you may have jumper cables, tools, additives or a good spare tire you can sell separately. Look under the seats for personal items or money. It is helpful but not always necessary (depending on your state) to have the title of the car. This is to avoid stolen vehicles being turned in. Find out from a junkyard if they require a title if it's going to the crusher. Find out also what the junkyard will pay you directly if you can drive it there. You may make out better financially that way.

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