7 Tips for Selling to a Salvage Yard


Time to junk your vehicle for cash? If you want to get extra value out of a car that is damaged, selling it to a junk yard that buys cars that pays cash is a great option. These businesses, also called scrap yards or auto salvage yards, sell the used parts to auto mechanic shops and people for money.


Before you decide that selling your car to a junk yard that buys cars is the best option, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the most value out of it. In addition , there are some auto junk yards that will try to take advantage of you when you are selling your car for salvage or junk, I will help you identify those shady practices as well.

7 Tips for Selling to a Junk Yard That Buys Cars

1. Proving Ownership of the Vehicle is Required

You need to have the title of the vehicle before a junk yard that buys cars can take it. This is a requirement of Federal law so it applies in all states. If the title does not belong to you will need to get it transferred first. If you have lost your title, you can contact the DMV to get a new one. You can also check here for some junk yards that buy cars without title.


WATCH OUT FOR: Letting Them Do Your Paper Work

Cancel your registration on the vehicle immediately, you could be responsible for anything that happens to the car after it gets towed away. Some shady junkyards will cancel the registration for you and will send you an invoice for their labor handling the paperwork. If you refuse to pay, they will report you to a credit agency. Same goes for the plates. Take them off your car and turn them into the DMV yourself.

2. Know How Much the Car is Worth

Find the Kelly Blue Book value of the car and assess it with the damage. You will not get anywhere near the KBB price, but its just a number for reference. In addition to the KBB you should also estimate the scrap value of the vehicle, which is likely what they will offer your first.


The more you know about the value of the car and the damage to it the more prepared you will be to negotiate the price. When take your car to different junk sites to find your best sales price they will ask you a lot of information about it. They will ask questions such as does it run, what’s the extent of the damage, and what specifically is damaged.


WATCH OUT FOR: Vague Estimates

Some dishonest companies try to act very vague about the actual value of a car. Get a solid agreed upon fair price before it is scheduled for collection. Don’t let them waiver on the price and say well we need to inspect it. Get all of this locked down before scheduling a pick up and then make them stick to the agreed up price.


You can also consider fixing some of the damage yourself before shopping it around to junk yards that buy autos. This may help raise the value of the car. Simply put, a vehicle that is running is worth more to them than a vehicle that isn’t. Also if you can drive to them you may save yourself the effort of paying them to pick it up (some junk yards charge).

3. Keep Your Gas and Sell Your Oil

If the car has a full tank of gas, my best suggestion is to siphon it into a jug. There is no sense proving an auto salvage yard with a full tank. If the car runs and you need to drive it there, obviously then you need to leave yourself some gas. If the car doesn’t run you might as well drain every drop out of the tank.


Same goes for the motor oil, you can find a place that buys used or motor oil and make a few extra bucks.

4. Shop Around Different Junk Yards that Buy Cars for Your Best Offer

Don’t just call one auto salvage yard in your area. Refer to our homepage to locate all the auto junk yards and auto salvage yards near you that buy vehicles that you can speak with.


You may even want to consider some business outside of your local area. You may find that taking the vehicle outside of your city might yield a higher price worth the extra effort of transporting it. How much you get for your car is all dependent upon make, model, year, and type of damage the vehicle has sustained.


WATCH OUT FOR: Telling You Your Car is Worthless

Always get a minimum of 3 car quotes on the value. If they say your car is worth nothing, that is not true. They are simply trying to get you to think they are doing you a favor by taking the car for free. Even rusted out abandoned cars sitting in the woods have scrap metal value, your car should be worth something. If they say your vehicle is worth nothing, say thank you and call someone else.

Junkyards Who Buy Cars With No Title

5. Delivery of the Vehicle to a Junk Yard Who Buys Cars

If you are able to drive or tow the car to the auto junkyard yourself you can make more money. In most cases these business will pay more for a car they don’t have to pick up. In fact some junkyards that purchase vehicles won’t even pay you if they have to come get it. By bringing the automobile in yourself you are saving them both time and money. When you bring the car, DO NOT forget to bring your title with it. Junk yards that buy cars cannot take the automobile without it.


WATCH OUT FOR: Shady Towing Services

Not all junk yards that buy cars have their own towing services. Be mindful if the junk yard agreed to pay cash for the car and the tow truck driver inspects your car and says its worth less, he may be trying to keep the difference. When a tow driver shows up and says its worth less than you estimated, send him home and find another junk yard that buys cars to do business with.


If you have an agreement with the junk yard that the tow is covered don’t let the tow truck driver try to charge you for the trailer. If the tow driver tells you anything less than what you agreed on with the junk yard, don’t even let the tow driver put your car on the hook until you get what you want. Never sign over the title to your vehicle until you are holding a valid check or cash in the correct amount first. Never pay the tow driver any money.


Don’t let them take the car and agree to pay you later. Once your automobile is gone from your possession you will having nothing in writing as a binding contract. If you have a dispute about the amount for the sale, the salvage yard may try to charge you a storage fee. and if you have a dispute with the yard about the agreed amount, you can charge for towing and storage. Showing up with no payment on hand is another version of bait and switch.

6. Say No to Coupons or Incentives From a Junk Yard That Buys Cars

Some times a junk yard that buys cars operates more like an internet clearing center. They offer non-cash incentives instead of cash. Most common are offers for cruises and  vacations. If you do the math carefully for these offers you will find that what it will cost you more for the vacation because they got the car below market value.


Some offers feature so many restrictions they are nearly impossible to book. All in all don’t take coupons or incentives. Tell them you want cash or a check for your agreed upon amount. If you want a vacation, you will book it yourself!

7. Check Lemon Laws in Your State

When scraping a car to an auto salvage and selling it for junk there are certain laws in place that need to be adhered to; Lemon laws. These laws provide protection to consumers for unfair treatment. While they most likely will not be an issue, its best to be familiar with them before you scrap your auto.


Here are some Lemon Laws that may apply to you:

    • Statewide Lemon Laws: Lemon laws are specific to your state in which you plan to sell your automobile. Most lemon laws do not cover people buying used autos or autos being sold in “as is” condition. At a minimum double check your state laws. For the most part most states allow you to sell cars to auto junk yards as long as you own the title for car.
    • Mileage Tampering Laws: This is one of the most popular ways people will try to trick a car buyer. The trick is often referred to as “roll back” and is mentioned in most state Lemon Laws. If you do tamper at all with the vehicle mileage you are at risk of being punished by the law. If by chance the odometer has stopped working and it is not your doing, that is acceptable as long as you disclose that to the buyer and note it on the title.
    • Private Seller Laws: Lemon laws are enforced differently on owners and dealers. Some states define a dealer as someone who has sold 4 cars within a 12 month period. If you qualify as a dealer the lemon laws are much stricter. It is important to know how lemon laws define a dealer in your state.
    • Max Price: Lemon laws can be thwarted by keeping your sales prices below a certain threshold. Some states lemon laws will only issue refunds if the auto is sold for greater than $700. There are similar limitations around age of vehicle and mileage.

For more information on lemon laws here is a summary of lemon laws in all 50 states.

Selling to a Junk Yard that Buys Cars – Conclusion

Selling your vehicle to a junk yard that buys cars can be lucrative as long as you know how to play the game. Follow the tips and tricks to get the most value out of your vehicle. Not all junkyards do these kind of scammy business practices, but its good to be on the lookout. Most salvage yards do run on the up and up…remember its not always the salvo it’s sometimes the 3rd party towing company that’s shady.