California Junk Cars: Understanding the Best Ways to Sell Them

Time Of Info By TOI Staff   October 25, 2023   Update on : October 25, 2023

junk cars
Photo by Francis Farago on Unsplash

Californians love their cars. Golden State residents are car obsessed; from ultra-expensive Lamborghinis to fully tricked-out lowriders and everything in between, car culture is highly prioritized. Unfortunately, not all drivers can afford to buy their dream vehicles, and those on a budget may hold onto their bombers until the wheels fall off. It’s far better to unload a hooptie before it leaves you stranded in a questionable neighborhood, but what are the best ways to sell a junk car, and is it even possible?

How To Know You Own a Junk Car

Chances are, if you’ve been having difficulty selling your used car, it’s probably a junk one. However, don’t get confused by this unkind term for your vehicle. Not all junk cars are visible to the naked eye. Some that are lumped into this category may not fit your definition of what a junk car may be. You own a junk car if it fits one or more of these descriptions:

  • It has over 100k miles
  • It was built over a decade ago
  • Has necessary repairs that cost equal to more than 50% of its resale value

To determine if yours fits the third factor, head over to an online car resale value calculator where you can learn what your car is worth. Just plug in your car’s VIN along with some other information as to its condition, and you get an estimate of how much you can expect to sell it for. Cars that require costly repairs to get roadworthy can easily be considered junk despite looking shiny and relatively new.

Best Ways to Sell Junk Cars

Once it’s been established that you do own a junk car, understanding the best ways to sell them can make the experience that much easier. Simply because your car is considered junk doesn’t mean that you should pay for a service to haul it away to a landfill. There are ways to sell them and put some cash in your pocket. Here’s a look at the most popular methods.

Sell It for Scrap

Difficult-to-sell cars that look like they came out of a war zone can be sold to scrap or junkyards for their weight in salvageable metals and still-working components. While not the best method for maximizing profit, it is a sustainable method to unload a junk car while still putting some money in your pocket. Rates for scrap metals can fluctuate, so it’s difficult to determine what your junk car will be worth on any given day. Some yards will come and tow your junk car, but not all of them will do so, and they’ll charge you for the service.

Junk It to a Specialized Dealer

The most convenient and profitable way to dispose of a junk car is to sell it to a specialized dealer who buys all cars regardless of excessive mileage or expensive repairs. The most profitable and easiest way to sell your junk car in California is to a specialized dealer. They purchase all kinds of cars in all kinds of conditions and will pay top dollar for yours.

Junk car buyers offer the highest prices for hard-to-sell cars and will come straight to you and tow it away as a part of the service. Most will haul your wreck away within 24 hours while leaving you with a cash payment. Title or no title, they’ll take care of all of the necessary paperwork.

Sell It the Old Fashioned Way

Perhaps the most difficult way to sell a junk car is by posting it for sale on any of the popular online car-selling platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay Motors, and Craigslist. Using this traditional method of car sales, you’ll set the price, but you’ll also be responsible for meeting with interested buyers. There are plenty of backyard mechanics and DIYers looking for a new toy to tinker with, so with a bit of luck, using this method to sell yours could prove to be profitable.

Donate It to a Charity

While using this method to unload your junk car won’t immediately put cash in your wallet, it could eventually. This feel-good way to unburden yourself could, in time, result in a tax deduction as a charitable donation. If the charity you’ve chosen sells the vehicle, they’ll supply you with a document to use as proof of your donation. Donating your junk car to a charity won’t land you big bucks, but it is certainly an option.

Before handing over the vehicle’s keys and title, ensure that the charity is legitimate and will provide you with the means to write off your donation. There are scores of bogus businesses that appear to be charities when, in fact, they’re not.

Best Ways to Sell Your California Junk Car: The Bottom Line

Selling your junk car to a specialized dealer is the most convenient and profitable way to dispose of your older, high-mileage, or unworking clunker. They’ll come to you, tow it away, and leave you with a pretty penny. A junk car dealer is by far your best choice. Used car dealerships typically won’t buy junk cars, but if they do, they’re definitely paying you pennies on the dollar. Selling a difficult-to-sell vehicle can be done, and just because it’s hit the unkind category of junk doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any value. Most junkyards will buy them, but don’t expect to make a mountain of money using this method. There is, however, a much better way to maximize your profit.

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