How to Sell a Car to a Junkyard

If you can't get rid of your old or damaged car, selling it to a junkyard may still net you some money.

Car bodies stacked at the junkyardShutterstock

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If you have an old, beat-up car that's not running, you may wonder about your options for selling it. You might consider a dealer as your first choice, but if they don't think there's enough value to make a sale, you still have other options.

Your local junkyard may be one of them. Many junkyards will pay for a damaged car, even one that doesn't run. So, if you're wondering how to sell a car to a junkyard, here's what you need to know.

1. Gather Information About the Car

You need one vital piece of paperwork before selling a car to a junkyard—or to any buyer—and that's the vehicle's title. You'll also need to confirm there's no lien on the vehicle.

Once that's set, write down any other information about the car, including the make, model, and year. Also, note the car's condition, both inside and out, to help get a more accurate quote. Take some photos or videos of the car to send to the junkyard to help, too.

2. Search for Local Junkyards

Just as you'd contact a number of dealers while shopping for a car, you might want to cast a wide net searching for a reputable junkyard. Start in your local area, but also look at car-buying sites to see if these are options.

As you're looking for junkyards, check online reviews. Also, note if there are any fees, such as making you cover the cost of a tow, or if any junkyards require you to bring the car in for a quote first. Finding a transparent and well-reviewed junkyard can save you time and headaches.

3. Collect and Compare Quotes

Once you have a list of junk and salvage yards, the next step is to gather quotes. When you call, let them know you're looking to sell your vehicle and would like a quote, and ask if you can send over your photos. They'll typically want information about your car, including the make and model, a description of the damage, and how the damage happened.

As you're calling around, ask about any additional fees you may need to pay and expectations around car delivery. For example, if your car is too old to drive, find out if they'll tow it or if you need to bring it to the junkyard or a designated meeting spot.

Once you have a couple of different quotes, it's easier to compare the offer amount, the total expenses you may have to pay, and your net profit. Plus, consider the value of your time. For example, say a junkyard with the best quote won't cover the tow cost or requires you to rent a truck to deliver the vehicle a few hours' drive away. In that case, working with a junkyard that has a lower quote but saves you time and expense may be a better option for you.

4. Prepare and Deliver the Car

Now that you're ready, prep the car for delivery. Remove any personal belongings and double-check you have all the paperwork in order. Then, either deliver the vehicle to the junkyard or wait for the junkyard to pick it up at a scheduled date and time.

5. Finalize the Sale

To finish the process, the junkyard's mechanic will look at your vehicle to ensure the condition you represented to them during the quote process is still accurate.

If everything is as described, you likely have a deal. If the mechanic feels the damage is more extensive, they may try to lower the price, and you can negotiate with them on the spot. Once everything is agreed to, the mechanic and you will sign off on the sale, turning the title over to them.

Remember to remove your plates. You can use them on a new vehicle or return them to your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Finally, depending on your state, you may need to report the sale, so check those guidelines.

Pros and Cons of Selling to a Junkyard

If you're exploring how to sell a car to a junkyard, consider the pros and cons of the deal. That way, you can make the best choice for yourself.


  • The process is usually relatively quick and easy
  • Junkyards can take cars in any condition
  • Recycling car parts can be more environmentally friendly


  • You may only get a few hundred dollars, which could be less than you may get from a private buyer
  • The quote may change if the junkyard doesn't agree with the condition
  • There may not be many junkyards in your area

Before you sell any vehicle, whether it still runs or not, make sure you explore all of your options so you can get the best value.

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Liz Froment
I love learning about money — deals, financing, and what to avoid. All that came in handy after my own extensive car search, where I put everything I learned about the financial side of things to use. That's where I can help you too. I want to give you tools to help you find the best vehicle that will fit your practical and financial needs.