Is it possible to sell your junker?

July 14, 2015 01:12 PM

Your car was great - it held up for decades, through countless repairs, tune ups and trips to the mechanic. Every time that check engine light came on, you quickly fixed the problem. However, the time has finally come. Your great car has reached the end of its life, and it now no longer runs.

It's time to get rid of it and buy a newer one. But how can you get the most bang for your buck? It's hard enough selling a used car, but one that doesn't run? Fear not, because there are a number of ways you can sell a junker.

Here are four of the smartest that can still put cash back into your pocket:

"A charitable gift can save you money on taxes."

1. Donate it to charity
There are several major charities across the country that accept junkers. The best part is, they'll often come to you and tow your vehicle for free. There are the vehicle-specific charities, like Wheels for Wishes, Make-A-Wish Car Donation and Kars for Kids, as well as broader charities that will also take in your junker for free. What do you get out of the deal? For starters, you can write off the donation as a tax deduction, saving you money come April. Certain charities, like Kars for Kids, also offer other perks like a vacation voucher.

2. List the car yourself
The second option is to simply sell the junker like you would any other used car. Any listing service, like eBay or Craigslist, will have a small market for non-running vehicles. The most important part about selling a junker yourself is honesty and transparency. You can't pretend like the car runs at all, especially if you're looking to garner more interest in your listing. Sell it "as-is." This will ensure the buyer isn't deceived and protect you from any lemon laws or other consumer legislation on the books. Make sure buyers know the true condition, so they don't ask about vehicle maintenance or have it looked at by a mechanic. 

3. Sell it for parts
If selling the car whole to one buyer isn't working, you can always try step No. 3: Sell it for parts. Most junkers are more valuable as scrap metal or in pieces anyway, which is typically what a buyer or charity will do. You can cut right to the chase by selling for parts yourself. Advertise the vehicle as a parts car, or create separate listings for individual items. Big sellers include the engine, tires, electronics and seats. In fact, nearly every item on your car can be repurposed in another vehicle.

"Your junker is still valuable to the right buyer."

4. Sell it to a junkyard
The final option is to sell your car directly to a junkyard. This step could net you a couple hundred dollars, and some junkyards may even tow your vehicle as well. The important part here is to shop around. There are probably a number of junkyards in your area, so call each one and see how much they'll offer for your vehicle. Also see what they need specifically - if they are flexible, you can still sell parts in step No. 3 and then give the rest to a junkyard, increasing your profit. But make sure you check first, or else they may not want what you have left.

Above all else, give and take as much information as possible. Any potential buyer has to know exactly what you are selling, and you should also ask around to find the best option for your specific junker. While it can be sad to see a beloved vehicle go, it does mean it is time to buy a new one and start the process over again.

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