Here are our suggestions on how to get the best price possible when selling a junk car.
1. Find a Local or National Junk Car Buyer
While there are many junk car buyers in the market, it may be difficult finding someone who will treat you fairly during the process.
We recommend finding a professional who’s as transparent as they are reputable. Just keep in mind that they might not offer you the best price initially.
2. Verify that the Junk Car Buyer is Licensed
If you work with an unlicensed buyer, you could be dealing with a scam artist who'll try to put one over on you every chance they get. That means fewer dollars in your pocket.
On the other hand, a licensed junk car buyer conducts their business in accordance with state laws. They're less likely to engage in underhanded tactics, too. But if they do, you'll have legal recourse.
3. Check Their Reviews
By reading a junk car buyer's reviews, you can find out what other people's experience of the service was like and how the business has addressed customer issues in the past.
At CarScrappers, the most oft-repeated compliment is that the staff made the transaction exceptionally simple. People call, schedule an appointment, get the vehicle out, and pocket the cash.
4. Get Multiple Offers
Get quotes from several buyers to get a better idea of the going rate for your car. It'll help you land on the best offer as well as spot the suspicious ones.
For instance, you should be wary of a company offering $1000 more than the reputable places — it's likely too good to be true.
5. Ask for More Money
Negotiate for more money if you feel that your car is worth more than what you're being offered. Point it out if you've just put $600 worth of tires on a car being valued at $500. The worst the junk car buyer can do is say no.
6. Make Sure that Junk Car Removal is Free
Often, buyers' quotes already take the costs of junk car removal into account. So, while it's not technically "free," you should make sure you're not paying any additional fees for junk car removal.
Don't try to drive your junk car to the yard yourself. If the junk car were to break down on the side of the road, it can cost you far more than you anticipate.
7. Get Paid Cash for Your Junk Car
When buyers say that they’ll give you cash, what they usually mean is that they’ll give you a check. While not quite as convenient as cash, a check is a paper trail that you can use in case the transaction is disputed.
Again, anyone who says that they’ll pay you in straight cash could very well be trying to keep the transaction hidden — until they come back and claim that the car is still yours and you’re still responsible for its upkeep and legal fees (e.g., parking tickets, etc.).
8. Sell Valuable Parts on Your Car, If Possible
If they're in relatively good shape, the following parts can fetch a good price if you sell them individually: the engine, transmission, AC, starter, radiator, catalytic converter, and tires.
But if your car is on the junky side, these components might end up not being worth as much on their own. As cars get older, the resale value of the parts plummet. Even newer parts can wear down relatively quickly if the other parts of the car aren’t functioning.
What you can do then is sell these parts wholesale. You'll get an extra bump in price if they're recent replacements.
How much can I get for my junk car?
It depends on how old the car is, how well the parts work, and how much it weighs. The heavier the vehicle, the more metal there is to recycle, the more money you can get for the car.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- You can usually get between $100-$500 for a junk car, depending on the price of scrap metal and the condition of the vehicle.
- The vehicle’s location matters. The nearer your car is to the buyer, the less it will cost the buyer to tow it, which means they can afford to pay you more.
- The car's year, make, and model impact the final total. Kelley Blue Book says that a salvage car's price is about 20-30% of a make and model in good condition. Expect the buyer to pay you less than that, to account for their business costs.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Don't accept less than your original offer: This is a common bait-and-switch scam. The buyer is banking on the fact that you don’t want to go through the hassle of arranging another pickup time. Unless you drastically lied about the condition of the vehicle, don’t take less than what they promised.
- Don't wait for your payment: A dishonest buyer might try to delay paying you for any number of reasons. Don't fall for it. Make sure that they’re paying you at the time of the sale with a valid form of payment before you let them drive away with the vehicle.
- Don't forget to clear out your stuff: Make sure you’re getting everything out from under the seat, in the trunk, at the back of the glove compartment, etc.
- Don't just get one offer: Shop around to get the best price for your vehicle.
- Don't accept the first offer: If your car is in decent condition with usable, salvageable parts, don't accept scrap metal prices for it. It's worth more than that.