What to Do Before You Junk Your Car

What Do I Need to Trade My Junk Car for Cash?

CarScrappers would love to see the following:

  • Title
  • Keys
  • Registration
  • Valid ID

Having all of these in hand makes the sale clean, and it may even expedite the process. In addition, these documents have to be in your name. So if the car belonged to your grandfather and he passed away 10 years ago, you might need to visit a few county officials to get everything squared away.

However, if you don’t happen to have these things, you might still be able to junk your car.

What Are the Exceptions?

The thing is that while it’s nice to have everything if you’re going to junk your car, you don’t necessarily need all of it. The rules are a bit squishy on this one, depending on where you live and what you’re doing with the car, but the general thought process is that there’s more leeway if the car is just going to get crushed anyway.

A car that’s being sold for scrap may not require the same amount of paperwork. So if you don’t have the title or the registration, you may still be able to contact us to junk your car. We won’t make you any promises here, but we’ll do our best to help you out.

Proof of ownership of the car is a legal requirement in all states. If you’ve lost the title over the years, don’t worry. You can pick up a copy at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

You’ll need to bring proof of identity that includes a valid driver’s license or state ID card. You may also have to show your social security card or other documents verifying your identity.

Either way, you need the title for the transfer of ownership of the vehicle to the salvage yard. Without it, the car may be presumed stolen.

What to Do to Prepare to Junk Your Car

In addition to getting your title and keys in order here are 3 things you should do before you junk your car.

#1 Clean Out All Personal Belongings

Even if the vehicle hasn’t been driven in years, chances are you still have personal belongings inside.

It can be anything from high school report cards from twenty years ago, to a more recent bank statement. You don’t want to leave any identifiable information and important documents laying around even when you’re junking the vehicle. Personal belongings also include sentimental items. Some memories you don’t want to throw away.

Along with searching through the trunk and glove box, also check under the seats. It’s surprising what you can find under the driver and passenger seats. If you have floor mats, look under them for any smaller items you may miss later.

#2 Remove Valuable Add-Ons

You want to take the vehicle in the same condition you described to the auto salvage yard. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t keep some of the more valuable parts.

For example, car stereos and entertainment systems that are still in good working condition can be used in another vehicle. You can also resell the radio and speakers for a little extra cash. If the car battery is new, it can also be resold. Replacing it with an older battery won’t reduce the vehicle’s value at the junkyard.

Take a look at the tires and rims. You can resell high-quality wheels to drivers with similar vehicles. The junkyard doesn’t care if you drive the vehicle in on old, bald tires. Just be careful if you're driving there versus having a tow truck pick it up.

You do want to make sure the car is still legal to drive if you do replace the tires. You don’t want to get a traffic ticket on the way to junk your car. Any money you made from junking the vehicle the vehicle will go towards paying the fine.

#3 Cancel the Insurance and Remove the License Plates

Not everyone keeps current insurance on old vehicles. If you do, it’s time to cancel the policy.

The policy won’t end until the next billing date, which gives you some time to make it to the junkyard. You don’t want to drive your old beater even a few miles without valid insurance. Drivers without car insurance may want to consider having the vehicle towed to the salvage lot.

When you cancel the vehicle insurance policy, pay attention to the ending date. It lets you know how long you have to contact a junkyard and get the car there. Don’t forget to remove the license plates before leaving the junkyard. Several states require it when you transfer the title.

Some state DMVs may also ask for the plates when you file a request to cancel the car title out of your name. Most salvage lots remove the plates for you, but it’s a good idea to bring along a screwdriver if you need to do it yourself.

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