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How to Know When to Junk Your Car and 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Some people treat their cars not just as a transportation method but also as a dependable partner. This unique link makes car owners experience trouble getting rid of their old cars, even when the indicators are obvious. However, keeping an outdated vehicle could result in unneeded stress and, in the worst case, danger and life-threatening risks.

If you’re unsure if junking your car is the right move, check the tell-tale signs you should watch out for. If you decide to junk the car, learn the 5 mistakes to avoid and the basics of transferring ownership.

Tell-Tale Signs That It's Time To Junk Your Car

It may be challenging to consider junking a car if you've had it for a while. However, there are several warning signs that indicate it’s time to part ways with your vehicle.

  • Costly maintenance and repairs. You might want to rethink whether you want your old car because you believe that accepting repairs cost you less. Every car needs routine maintenance, but frequent repairs on different parts could result in you paying more than the actual worth of the car. In addition, if you’ve been driving the car for more than ten years, the parts might start to show signs of wear and tear. To determine the best course of action, be sure to do in-depth research and compare the amount you’re spending each time you perform routine auto maintenance and what you could receive for junking a car.

  • The car’s resale value is continually dropping. It's far more complex than it seems to sell your car to a private buyer. This is especially true if your car is a very old model and has traveled more than 150,000 miles; you can expect to see its value decline continually. By the time you find a buyer, your vehicle’s value could be far less than you had hoped to get. However, you might still be able to get a good deal for junking it.

  • You’ve been involved in a car accident. Junking a car after a collision is a common occurrence. Some people choose to junk their cars following a collision because they no longer have faith in the car's dependability and would instead buy a new one with greater safety features. Others decide to junk the car if it has been totaled.

  • The car isn’t safe to drive. When you're driving, safety should always come first. If your car can't give you that, it's time to junk it. Some safety concerns are easier to see than others. For example, your car is unsafe to be on the road if it has significant body damage and missing pieces. However, there can be severe problems with the brakes, tires, or other unseen components. Take your vehicle to a mechanic if you're unsure whether it's safe to drive so you can make a wise decision.

  • You have no title for your car. It’s illegal to sell a car to someone else if you just got it and you still don’t have proper paperwork or you’ve inherited one that doesn't have a title. This is frequently a tedious, expensive, and time-consuming process that causes more hassle than the car is worth. However, selling your car to a salvage yard is legal even if you don’t have a title yet.

  • The car looks worn out. It's probably time to take your car to the scrap yard if it's beginning to look like a piece of trash. In other words, your car shouldn't be on the road if the only thing keeping it together is duct tape or if there are obvious signs of corrosion. Rust can be a serious threat to driver safety since it can compromise the structural integrity of the car, harm the brake or gas lines, and eat away at the body of the car, causing harmful fume escapes.

Can You Trade In a Salvage Title Car?

A salvage title car serves as an official document that the vehicle has been totaled. You should be able to trade in a salvage title vehicle but it ultimately depends on the car dealer you choose. To make the process as simple as possible for you, Orthodox Auto offers a very simple procedure. We will gladly remove the salvage title vehicle from your hands and pay a top price for it.

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5 Mistakes To Avoid When You Junk Car for Cash

Junking a car might seem easy, but there are many potential pitfalls. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when junking a car for cash.

Failing to Explore Your Options

When trying to get rid of your car, junking isn't always the best course of action. For instance, despite what a junk car buyer claims, you may lose money if you junk a working car or the newest model. In this case, you could trade in the driveable car rather than junking it.

Repairing It Before Junking

Some individuals think that a less damaged car will bring in a higher bid at the junkyard. However, even though the car’s worth might rise with minor fixes, you shouldn’t make repairs before junking. After all, salvage sellers will still pull apart all the reusable parts.

Paying Hefty Fees for Towing

Not every junked vehicle is entirely useless. Driving your car to the junkyard while still in working order is acceptable. However, if it won't start, you should request a free tow service. Paying a third-party company to tow the vehicle to the junkyard is substantially more expensive than having the junkyard do it themselves. So, always request a free tow when needed.

Settling for Less Money than the Quote

The buyer should pay you the price they offered as long as you were truthful about the state of your car when asking for a quote. You shouldn’t accept a lower payment just because you want to get the job done fast.

Leaving Personal Belongings In the Car

Once you have agreed to the terms of the arrangement and received payment, don’t leave personal items in your junk car. Everything in the car becomes the buyer's property after the sale is finalized. Make sure to look for items under the glove box, under the seat, and in other storage spaces.

How To Transfer Ownership When You Junk Cars For Cash

Reputable junk car buyers will streamline the process as much as possible, but there are a few steps you’ll need to follow to transfer ownership when junking a car.

Take Care of Your Vehicle License Plates

You'll need to move the license plate from the car you’re junking to another vehicle or turn them into the DMV. If you already have another vehicle, transferring existing ones is typically simpler and less expensive than purchasing new plates. You might wish to contact your local DMV to find out what documentation they require because each state has its unique procedures. Certain areas are less strict than others, especially if you only sell your automobile for scrap metal.

Cancel Your Auto Insurance

It makes no sense to insure a car that will soon be destroyed. So as soon as you get rid of the car, you should cancel your insurance policy. Although some could impose a cancellation fee, most insurance companies will prorate the payment depending on the days the policy was in effect. Your state's laws will have required you to turn over the title to us at this time, so the responsibility is no longer yours.

Photo by David Peinado on Pexels

The Bottom Line

Usually, people decide to sell their cars when looking to upgrade to a better one. However, you might struggle to find a buyer if your car is decades old, but it isn’t a classic model, has severe damage, or has hundreds of miles on the odometer. In these cases, junking a car is the right way to go. Look for the warning signs that show it’s time to contact a junk car buyer and be sure to avoid the common pitfalls we’ve mentioned above.


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