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What to Do with an Old Car That Won't Sell

Have you found yourself in a situation where you are unable to sell your old car? Some used cars have a reasonable number of miles and simply need minor aesthetic work before being sold, while others might not run at all or need expensive repairs.

So, what to do with an old car that doesn’t sell? There are several different ways to get rid of your used vehicle: you can donate old car parts, trade in old car parts, junk your old car, or consider parting out your car. Let’s take a look at these options in more detail.

Assess the Condition of the Car

The first step is to start by assessing your car’s condition and determining its value. Have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic who will be able to assess the value of your car's parts. You can also get quotations for the car from dealerships and online valuation services. From there, you can decide whether it's worth investing in reparations to get your car up and running again or if the cost of repairs is too high and you’d be better off selling the vehicle.

However, some old or non-running cars might not even be worth enough to sell. So what to do with your old car won’t sell?

What to Do with Old Car Parts: 4 Ways to Get Rid of an Old Car Besides Selling It

There are a few options you can consider, but it all comes down to what you want and how much money you want to get for your old vehicle.

  1. Donate your old car

There is a number of charitable organizations like Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society, and CARE that will gladly accept your vehicle. The benefit to donating your car is not just the pleasant feeling you will get but also the tax return or tax deduction. The charity will typically sell the car right away and use the revenues to supplement its operational funds.

When looking for a charity that will accept your car gift, you should do your research to ensure two things: first, that the organization is a valid 501(c)(3) charitable organization and that the IRS has acknowledged it as such; second, that it is prepared to accept your car contribution. To obtain this information, you can search the IRS Tax-Exempt Organization Database or call IRS's toll-free number is 877-829-5500.

Avoid donating to 501(c)(4) organizations with a political focus because your donations won't be tax deductible. You should also steer clear of for-profit organizations and companies that accept contributions of used cars as these sometimes operate independently of all charities, so if you donate your automobile to them you won't get any tax benefits. Finally, avoid organizations that promise you a certain dollar amount of deductibility or that charge any kind of fees in exchange for your car donation. First, check the IRS database and if the organization doesn’t have the required credentials, continue your search.

Once you've chosen an organization and are familiar with their car donation procedure, there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • You need to have the vehicle identification number (VIN), a title, and/or other adequate proof of ownership.

  • Take out all of your belongings and paperwork from the car.

  • Ask the charitable organizations for a receipt that you can include with your taxes.

  • Take the license plates off.

  • Take a photocopy with you when you sign the title over to the charity.

  • Take pictures of the vehicle and record the deal.

  • There is also an option to donate old car parts instead of the whole vehicle.

  1. Trade-in the car

The biggest benefit of trading in a car is that you can use the trade-in value of your old automobile to pay for a new one. The steps below will help you maximize the value of a vehicle trade-in:

Determine the value of your car. Knowing exactly how much your vehicle is worth will give you confidence during negotiations and may improve your chances of receiving a fair price. To find out how much your automobile is worth, have a mechanic inspect it or use a free online appraisal site like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book.

Freshen up your car. Spend some time cleaning your car's interior and exterior so that you can get more money when you trade it in. Moreover, be sure to take care of any minor issues you had planned to solve before the trade so the vehicle is given to the dealer precisely as you had specified and as they were expecting it. A well-kept automobile will fetch a significantly higher sales price but be sure not to spend more to fix the car than you want to get for it when you sell it.

Ask for offers from multiple auto dealers. You don't need to visit the dealer in order to begin the trade-in procedure. Many online value estimators, like TrueCar, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds are connected with dealers that will make offers based on the details you provide about your vehicle. As you already have a relationship and experience with that dealership, it could be a good idea to start there to see if you can get a better deal.

Negotiate a deal. Once you've received a few offers, you can take one of them or try to negotiate for a better sale price. If you're choosing between two dealerships that have comparable offers, you might want to err on the side of the dealership where you plan to purchase your new vehicle. As you give the dealership business on both the trade-in and the automobile purchase, this strategy gives you some leverage. If possible, wait until the month's end, when the dealer might be more inclined to make you an attractive offer. Moreover, keep an eye out for special offers, such as when a dealership provides extra money in exchange for your trade-in in order to increase the selection of used cars available.

  1. Junk the car

Another option if you don’t know what to do with old car parts that won’t sell is to contact a junkyard. Due to the high market for used cars today, junkyards buy them in large numbers regardless of their condition. Some junk car buyers offer free towing from your location if you choose to accept their offer and compensate you in cash at pick-up.

Make sure you have a clear title to the vehicle and the title document before you submit your car to the recycler to prove your ownership rights. If you've lost the car title, the DMV in your state might be able to help you get a new one.

  1. Part-out the car

If your old vehicle no longer runs, you might still have some car parts that are in good condition. If you have the time and are a decent mechanic, you might want to consider reselling car parts that are in high demand on the used market. If you do manage to part your car properly, you'll make a lot more money than the auto recyclers will give you for the whole vehicle. If you choose to have a mechanic disassemble it for you, it will save you some time and work but it will also cost you more. Some of the more sought-for parts are:

  • Wheels and tires

  • Engine

  • Glass parts like the windshield

  • Body panels like the trunk and hood

  • Transmission

  • Power door lock mechanisms

  • Power window motors

  • Radio

After successfully disassembling your car, store all of your pieces in a safe place before putting a price on everything. After that, you can put these products for sale on Craigslist or eBay. A potential buyer might ask you to sell them all the components at a discounted price but you will get more money if you sell each part separately. For instance, instead of getting $1000 for the entire vehicle, you may end up getting thousands of dollars ($2000 to $3000) for its parts. Once you've sold everything you can, you can take the remaining items to an auto recycler for one final payday.

The Bottom Line

If you're worrying about how to get rid of a car that doesn't run, know that you do have options: you can part your old car and sell or donate old car parts, trade in old car parts, or sell it to a junkyard like OrtodoxAuto for extra cash.

OrthodoxAuto provides competitive offers for old cars from private sellers, body shops, and insurance companies. Many Philadelphians choose our family-owned and operated company because of our 50+ years of experience and A+rated business standards. Contact us today to find out more about our services.


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