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How to Sell?

7 Places That Buy Junk Cars for Cash [2024 Guide]

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Quick Answer

Over the span of my 15-year experience in the automotive industry, I’ve encountered and sold numerous junk vehicles. Recently, I successfully sold three such cars: a 1998 Nissan Maxima, a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta, and a 2002 Subaru Impreza. Each of these vehicles had significant damage and did not pass safety inspections.

For example, at 145,000 miles, the Subaru Impreza was kept outside all year round for quite a few years, the undercarriage was completely rusted, and the Jetta at 110,000 miles, had serious brake issues, ignition problems and body damage on the right side.

Aiming to get cash quickly, I chose to sell them through Peddle. The efficiency of their process was impressive – acquiring a quote for each car took merely a few minutes, and their representative arranged for the pickup of these vehicles directly from my house the next day.

Best for Older & Damaged Cars

Peddle logo

Buys used, damaged or junk cars

Free tow and no hidden fees

Pays by ACH trasfer or check

Top Pick for Junk Cars

Wheelzy logo

Free, no-obligation cash offers

Offers free paperwork service

Pays on the spot upon pick up

Highly Rated by Customers

CarBrain logo

Excellent customer service ratings

Honors guaranteed offer for 7 days

Can pick up a car within 48 hours

Great for Low-Mileage Cars

Carvana logo

Gives a real offer in 2 minutes

100% hassle-free online process

Free car’s Value Tracker available

Best Ways to Sell Junk Cars

1. Peddle

Peddle Summary

  • Sell used, damaged or junk car nationwide
  • Free towing within 48 hours after offer
  • Receive payment upon car collection
  • Get free online quote – offer valid 7 days
  • Instant quote available on (855) 925 4302
  • No obligation to accept the offer

Peddle is one of the best car-buying companies nationwide that offers cash for junk cars.

To get a cash offer for your junk car, fill out an online form, provide your car details, such as the car’s make, model, year, and mileage, and answer questions to describe its condition. The whole process will take you no more than five minutes, and Peddle’s offer will be valid for 7 days.

After you accept the quote, Peddle will arrange the car’s pickup within 48 hours, free of charge, and you will be paid right on the spot by check.

Types of junk cars you can sell to Peddle:

  • Non-running accident-damaged cars
  • Old vehicles with rust or body damage
  • Cars with water or fire damage
  • Cars with extensively high mileage
  • Cars with missing parts (engine, transmission or battery)

2. Wheelzy

Wheelzy Summary

  • Wheelzy stores are open 7 days a week
  • Get offer in minutes – (855) 510-1108
  • Free towing of your car from your location
  • Instant payment via cash or check

Wheelzy is another place you can sell junk cars for top dollar. Similarly to Peddle, Wheelzy also provides an instant quote free of charge. The offer will be valid for 7 days and the car will be towed away within 48 hours.

Wheelzy offer two payment options: either cash or check at the time of the car’s pickup.

Types of junk cars you can sell to Wheelzy:

  • Running and non-running vehicles
  • Car’s with missing parts
  • Car’s with body damage
  • Accident-damaged, wrecked cars
  • Car with fire or flood damage

3. CarBrain

CarBrain Summary

  • Call for a free quote – (844) 407-2200
  • Get cash for your car in under 48 hours
  • CarBrain buys cars in over 7 conditions
  • Up to 7 days to accept CarBrain’s offer
carbrain points

CarBrain also buys vehicles with any damage, including non-running and complete junk cars. The biggest advantage of CarBrain is that you can sell a car without a title.

Requesting a quote from CarBrain is as easy as submitting an online application. The CarBrain representative will contact you with the deal within a few minutes, which you can accept or reject within 7 days.

If you accept the offer, the CarBrain contractor will arrive to tow away the car free of charge, and you will be paid by check.

Types of junk cars you can sell to CarBrain:

  • Broken cars
  • Parts cars
  • Non-running, junk or scrap cars
  • Cars with mechanical problems
  • Cars with falling objects

Other Ways to Sell Junk Cars

In addition to selling your junk car online to companies like Peddle, you have the option to sell the car to a dealership, salvage yard, or private buyer or dismantle and sell car parts.

In most cases, these methods will take much longer and do not guarantee more cash for your junk car.

4. Sell Junk Car to Dealerships

Dealerships typically do not offer as much money as online car-buying companies. This is because dealerships are typically looking for cars they can resell and are not interested in junk cars.

If you are considering selling your junk car to a dealership, you should be prepared to get a lower offer; moreover, you should also be prepared to pay for the car’s tow to the dealership, as most dealerships do not offer free towing.

5. Sell Junk Car to Salvage Yard

Salvage yards specialize in buying vehicles mainly for their scrap metal and component parts. They offer a swift way to dispose of a junk car by offering cash upfront, taking care of dismantling the vehicle, and selling off valuable parts while recycling the residual metal.

This can be a quick solution for getting rid of a non-running vehicle; however, the price they offer is usually based on the fluctuating market value of scrap metal, which could be considerably less than what you might receive through other avenues.

Moreover, if you decide to sell a junk car to a salvage yard, you will need to go through multiple locations to find out the one that offers the best deal for you, which will require additional time and effort.

6. Sell Junk Car Privately

Selling privately, you can expect to get the best cash offer but it can be more time-consuming and more complex than selling a car online or at a salvage yard.

It is estimated that the average time to sell a car privately is 52 days, and people spend up to 18 additional hours to advertise the vehicle, find a buyer, negotiate a price and take care of all the paperwork.

If, after all, you decide to sell a junk car privately, you should find out the market value estimates via Kelley Blue Book, clean your car’s exterior and interior, take good photos and list your car on multiple car buying sites.

Most popular websites for selling cars privately:

  • eBay Motors
  • Autotrader
  • Craigslist

eBay Motors Summary

  • Sell 20+ types of vehicle and car parts
  • Low listing fees starting from just $19
  • List a car for sale in under 10 minutes
  • 2 selling options – fixed price or auction

Autotrader Summary

  • Sell or buy a wide variety of vehicles
  • More than 14 million buyers per month
  • Get fair deals for your second-hand car
  • Efficient customer service

7. Sell Junk Car Parts

If you have experience and in-depth mechanical knowledge, you could also consider dismantling and selling the car for parts. This method can be profitable if your vehicle has high-value components that are in good condition.

This process can take a significant amount of time and effort. You must disassemble the car, clean and inspect the parts, and then list them for sale online or sell them in person to a salvage yard.

How long it can take:

  • Disassembling the car: 20-40 hours
  • Cleaning and inspecting the parts: 10-20 hours
  • Listing the parts for sale: 5-10 hours

Who Gives the Most Cash for Junk Cars?

The value of the final offer depends on your car’s make, model and condition, but if your goal is to sell it fast, Peddle and Wheelzy are known to be offering the most cash for junk cars.

Generally, selling a car privately or dismantling it and selling individual parts might seem a more profitable option; it requires a significant amount of time, effort and experience.

Signs That You Need To Sell Your Junk Car

Junk cars are often perceived as non-functioning, significantly damaged or too expensive to fix. In most cases, such cars are left out and deteriorating in the driveway or garage.

There are a few factors that determine when it is time to sell a junk car:

  • Expensive repairs – when a vehicle starts to demand frequent, severe, and high-priced repairs, it might be time to weigh its age and market value against these costs. Continually investing in a deteriorating car can prove to be a financially unwise decision. In such instances, selling the vehicle is often the more prudent choice.
  • Cars safety – wear and tear can cause significant safety issues, such as faulty brakes, worn-out tires, or non-functioning headlights or airbags. If these issues are not addressed promptly, they can put you and others on the road at risk. If your vehicle is unsafe to drive, it’s time to consider selling it.
  • Extensive mileage – while some cars can run well over 200,000 miles, high mileage is often a trigger for many problems, particularly if routine maintenance has been neglected. High-mileage cars are more likely to have worn-out components and could be on the brink of major systemic failures. Selling car with over 200,000 miles at a reasonable price is challenging.
  • Condition – similarly, as for cars with high mileage, the value of the car with poor condition drops significantly. If your car has flood damage, fire damage or extensive rest issues selling it as junk might be the only option.

Paperwork Required to Sell Junk Car

The list of required paperwork depends on how you decide to sell your car and specific state laws. There is much less hassle selling it online to Peddle, Wheelzy or Carbrain compared to selling privately, for example, as you only need to provide a Certificate of Title and your ID.

PaperworkPeddlePrivate salesSalvage yards
Owner’s ID cardRequiredRequiredUsually Required
Certificate of TitleRequiredRequiredOften Required
Odometer ReadingRequiredRequiredOften Required
Release of LiabilityRequired, provided by PeddleRequiredRequired
Bill of SaleProvided by PeddleRecommendedRecommended
Registration TagDepends on the State LawDepends on the State LawDepends on the State Law
Emissions TestDepends on the State LawDepends on the State LawDepends on the State Law
VIN CheckDepends on the State LawDepends on the State LawDepends on the State Law
Return License PlatesDepends on the State LawDepends on the State LawDepends on the State Law
Service RecordsNot RequiredNot Required but may increase offerNot Required
Owner’s ManualNot RequiredNot Required but may increase offerNot Required

How to Sell Junk Car with a Loan?

Having a lien means you owe money, and the legal owner of the vehicle is a lienholder, not you. You won’t have a legal claim on the car until the debt is fully paid off, meaning selling it is complicated. Read our guide on how to sell a car with a loan.

The main thing to know is that you need to pay off the loan to be able to transfer the car’s certificate of Title to the new owner.

Steps to selling junk car with a loan:

  1. Find out the outstanding loan balance – contact your lender and determine your pay-off amount.
  2. Check your car’s value – when you know the payoff amount and your car’s value, you can estimate the car’s equity. If equity is negative – the car is worth less than you owe, you will need to cover the difference between the pay-off amount and the sale price out of your pocket.
  3. Choose the way to sell – you can either sell a financed car online, to scrap yards or privately, though the latter might be difficult due to the buyer’s low interest in such transactions.

The easiest way to sell junk cars is through online car-buying services. While Peddle does not buy cars with liens, Wheelzy and Carbrain might provide you with an offer.

Best Time to Sell Junk Car

The best time to sell a junk car is typically in the spring or summer months. The period between March and June, particularly April and May, can be an opportune time to sell your junk car due to tax returns, increased disposable income and willingness to spend on auto parts.

Junkyards, responding to this heightened demand, may offer premium prices for junk cars or their parts during this season.

From June to September, the demand for scrap metal typically rises, in part due to increased construction and development projects and people being more active and pursuing hobbies that may require auto parts. This increased demand can drive up the price you get for your junk car.

Less favorable times to sell include fall and winter seasons because of market saturation, lower demand and declined outdoor activities.

How Scrap Metal Prices Affect Junk Car Offer

Scrap metal prices play a significant role in determining the amount of money you can get for your junk car because junk cars, regardless of their condition, contain valuable metals such as steel, aluminum, copper, and even sometimes precious metals.

Metal prices are not determined by individual junkyards; instead, they’re contingent on industry-wide standards driven by market forces similar to the stock market.

Common factors influencing the variability in scrap metal prices:

  • Domestic and global economic changes
  • Scrap metal demand and supply relation 
  • National interest rates
  • Cost of logistics

How Much is a Junked Car Worth?

The average car has nearly 2,400 pounds of steel. Steel accounts for over half of a vehicle’s weight and up to 300 pounds of aluminum.

Those materials’ market value will impact your junk car’s overall value. To know the estimated value of your car, you will need to find out the accurate weight of your vehicle. Weight is usually marked on the sticker that can be found on the driver’s side door.

When you have determined the car’s weight, compare this figure with the current metal price per pound. For example, current steel prices range from $0.03 to $0.05 per pound.

A midsize car weighs approximately 3,361 pounds, so you can get up to $168 for a car’s steel alone.

Nevertheless, to earn such an amount, you will need to dismantle your vehicle and sell it in parts, which will be time-consuming and non-effective compared with selling online.

For example, Peddle offers $1,360 for a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze that has damage in the front and isn’t good for daily use.

People Also Asked

Can I sell a junk car without a title?

Requirements regarding selling a junk car without a title vary from state to state. In some states, it is possible to sell a car without a title, but you will need to provide other documentation to prove that you own the car.

For example, some states offer exceptions for old cars that surpass 15 or 25 years. In this case, a bill of sale can be used instead of a title.

Exceptions apply in these states:

IowaIf the car is 15 years old or older and you have a bill of sale
MaineIf the car is 1995 or newer and you have a bill of sale
MassachusettsIf the car is 15 years old or older and you have a bill of sale
MontanaIf the car is 25 years old or older and you have a bill of sale
New HampshireIf the car is 15 years old or older and you have a bill of sale
VermontIf the car is 15 years old or older and you have a bill of sale

However, in other states, selling a car without the title is illegal, and fines of up to $2,500 or criminal charges with up to 1 year in jail can be applied.

If you have lost the title, you need to request for Title Duplicate or contact the previous owner to transfer it to your name.

Safest payment method when selling the junk car

  • Cash – the most superficial and immediate form of payment. It carries no risk of bounced checks or disputed charges, but you should count it carefully at the time of the transaction.
  • Cashier’s Check – one of the most secure forms of payment. This is because funds are guaranteed by the issuing bank or institution. However, counterfeit cashier’s checks and money orders are in circulation. Be sure to verify their authenticity with the issuing institution.
  • Bank Transfer – this method is considered safe because the money goes directly from the buyer’s bank account into yours.

What happens after I sell my junk car?

What happens with the car itself depends on the buyer, but it is most likely that the vehicle will be dismantled and used for parts.

Regarding your responsibilities as a former owner, you need to make sure to inform your insurance company about the sale and cancel the contract, sign the release of liability form and make sure the transfer of title was completed.

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Michael Becker


About the author:

Michael Becker is a car enthusiast and expert who has been working in the automotive industry for over 15 years. He started his career as a salesperson at a local dealership, where he learned the ins and outs of the car market. Then he moved on to flipping cars for a profit.

Michael has also helped many of his relatives and friends to sell their cars, using his knowledge and skills to get them the best deals. He will guide you through the process and help you avoid the common pitfalls.

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