Junk Car Definition: How to Find Out If a Vehicle is a Junk Car

CarScrappers definition of a junk car, also known as a scrap car, is a vehicle that no longer runs, is damageable beyond repair, or is not worth fixing because it has no resale value and is best sold for parts or scrap.

Let's Go Into Detail on Junk Cars

Finding out whether your vehicle is a junk car early enough can save you a lot of money in repairs. Junk cars are inoperable, extremely damaged, or worthless. The best thing to do is to salvage your money by trying to sell it as a whole or for parts. But first, you have to know: is your vehicle a junk car?

Essentially, a junk car is an old or damaged vehicle that is not worth the price of fixes. The vehicle might have seen past its golden days and is now lying idle in the junkyard. It cannot run and, therefore, has no actual use. Insurance companies will not want to repair the car, as it's considered a loss to them. In addition, most junk cars have been involved in many accidents or suffered terrible damage and mold, making it difficult for them to get a salvage title. 

However, your vehicle does not have to be completely damaged to become a junk car. At times, the vehicle might fall under the local government road restrictions. According to the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC,) the presence of too many junk cars can threaten the safety of a neighborhood. They can lead to reduction of property values, create nuisances for children, and harbor rodents such as rats, and other pests. The government has come up with regulations to keep these vehicles away from open areas. 

They have is a list of criteria that they normally employ to identify junk cars and keep them off the streets. You can use these criteria to identify whether your vehicle is a junk car and avoid the government fees that are associated with these vehicles.

How to Find Out If a Vehicle is a Junk Car

Here are the criteria to help you find out whether your vehicle is a junk car:

  • Too old for the road: A junk car must be at least three years old. Most junk cars are too old, and nobody wants them because of their old makes or models. It's also very difficult to find parts such as seats and safety airbags for the old vehicle, since new seats are not built for old car models. Therefore, driving the car would risk on your safety. These vehicles are labeled as End-of-life Vehicle (ELV.)
  • Missing paperwork: A junk car has its vehicle title or registration missing. Without a vehicle title or registration, there's a risk that someone will claim the vehicle even though you might already own the vehicle. Therefore, the vehicle sits in the junkyard and deteriorates. 
  • Abandoned car: Someone has parked a car in the street or on another person's property without permission for too long. Some abandoned cars might be in a good condition, while others are completely damaged. Most jurisdictions will store an abandoned car for a while before they dispose of those with little or no value to them. 
  • Damage: A junk car is severely damaged or deteriorated. The vehicle might miss significant parts such as the engine, motor, transmission or tires because of theft or deterioration. The price of repairing this vehicle is too much compared to its value, therefore, it becomes a junker. 
  • Completely inoperable: Since the vehicle is masked with problems, it's barely moving anywhere, anytime soon. This means that it may continue to deteriorate and lose more value with time. 
  • A worthless vehicle: Your local dealership will buy your junk car for scraps. If they buy it, they'll just get a wrecker to come and dispose of it. This means that the amount the dealership trade-in will offer you is much less that what a junk car buyer will. 
  • Totaled car: If your insurance company titles your vehicle as a totaled vehicle, it means that the cost of repair is more than the vehicle's actual value. The company will not even offer a salvaged title for the car. A salvaged title is when an insurance company declares a vehicle as a total loss, but hands it to a rebuilder who tries to sell it with a new title. 

To Wrap It up

A junk car is a vehicle that does not have much value to you unless you sell it for scraps or parts. If your vehicle falls under most of the above categories, it’s definitely a junker. You can try to salvage some working parts such as stereo system, tires, and transmission. However, you cannot repair the car to take it back on the road. If you tried to repair a junk car, you'll end up spending more money than you can recover, and the vehicle might also get damaged again, spending more time in a repair shop. 

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