How to Make a Profit on Your Junk Car

Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 1:00 AM | Leave Comment

We’ve all had that old car that’s more like part of the family than a vehicle, and we’ve all been there on the day that Old Bessie just won’t start. When you have a junk car sitting in your driveway, it might look like you’re out both a car and the small fortune it will cost to have it towed away, but think again. You can actually make a decent profit from your junker that will help with a down payment for a new vehicle.

How to Make A Profit From Your Junk Car

  • Do the Labor Yourself

    If you have a junk yard or scrapping company collect your car, you may or may not get paid for it. Some companies will do you a favor and come pick it up, but they won’t give you any cash back. Others will pick up your car and pay you for it—if you don’t have a way to remove it yourself, this might be your best option.

    However, whether you haul it to the scrapping yard yourself or have it towed away for you, there are a few preliminary steps to take.

    • Drain all fluids: Salvage yards will accept cars with fluid still in them, but if you’re taking it to a junk yard the fluids will need to be drained first. Junk yards will not accept cars with fluids for safety purposes. Make sure you dispose of them safely.

    • Remove spare tire: Like with fluids, junk yards will only accept cars with four tires. Keep the spare for future use or dispose of it yourself.

    • Have the title in hand: Salvage and junk yards will not be able to buy a vehicle from you unless you have proof of ownership.

    • Call around: Don’t just settle for working with the nearest junk or salvage yard. Some companies might be farther away (less convenient if you’re taking it there yourself), but if they pay more it will make a longer drive worth it.

    Keep in mind that many salvage yards might pay you if they come get your car, but will pay more if you bring it to them.

    Remember too that scrap yards will pay more or less depending on the make, model, year, and what is wrong with your car.

  • Part It Out

    The second way to get cash for your junk car is to part it out. Parting out a car involves taking it apart and selling individual pieces of the engine and body instead of the car as a whole.

    If you know cars well, this is a great option for you. Posting engine parts, doors, hoods, and even tires on eBay or community listings usually gets good results. People would rather buy parts than a whole new vehicle; if your prices are reasonable and your junker is in (relatively) good condition, you’ll be able to make quite a profit.

    If you don’t know enough about cars to tear it apart yourself, you can try posting the make and model on listings anyway. People who do know cars might be willing to come out and remove the parts they need themselves for a reduced price. You probably won’t make as much, but it’s better than nothing.

  • Buy and Sell

    Some people make buying and selling junk cars a side business. For some people, it’s the same idea as “flipping” a house—they buy a car, fix it up, and sell it for more. Others just buy cars and part them out for profit.

    Many people consider older cars “junk” even when they’re still running, and will sell them cheaply just to get the vehicles off their hands. These are the perfect cars to scout for when you’re looking to buy and sell for profit.

    If you run across some real junkers, here are some parts to look for that will be worth buying the car for:

    • Catalytic converter

    • Battery

    • Alternator

    • Air conditioning compressors

    • Wheel rims

    • Radiator and condenser

    • Scrap metal

You might be able to find people who are willing to let you have their junk cars for free if you come pick them up. In that case, as long as you have the means to tow it away, you’ll make a profit off of whatever you can pull and sell.

There is never an optimum time for your car to give up the ghost, but take advantage of it when that day comes. Don’t think that the junker in your driveway represents a loss—instead, see it is an opportunity to make a little cash and finally have an excuse to buy that new car you’ve been eyeing.

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