The Beginner’s Guide to Selling Your Broken or Salvaged Car

For one reason or another, your car isn’t working anymore. You have a couple of choices on your hands. You can let it sit there and remain an unattractive lawn ornament, or you could sell it and use the money you get to buy a new car. 

The latter is a much more attractive option, wouldn’t you agree? Getting rid of a salvaged car isn’t as easy as it seems, though. There’s a lot of paperwork that goes into it. 

Once you get all the legalities out of the way, you then have to go through the trouble of finding a buyer. Don’t worry we can help you with some of the legwork. Keep reading for complete instructions on how to get cash for cars. 

Check Out the Damage

First things first, you’ve got to find out how totaled your car is. Take your vehicle to a mechanic and have them check over the systems. 

This will allow you to do a little cross-referencing with websites like Kelly Blue Book to determine how much you should sell the car for. If some of the parts are at least a little functional, that’s something good to know as well. It will allow you to write up an accurate description of the car when you put it on the market. 

Get a Salvage Certificate (If Need Be) 

Once the mechanic determines that there is no hope in this world for your vehicle, you may have to head to the DMV and get something known as a salvage certificate. 

Once you get this certificate, the car will always be seen as salvaged. The new owner will still be able to get insurance for it if they want to repair it and put it back on the road. Any warranties that were once on the car are void now, though. 

Whether or not you have to go through with getting this certificate varies from state to state. It’s better to check than to be sorry later when you find out you sold your car illegally. 

Consider Repairing the Car

If you’re selling the car “as is” you don’t have to bother going to the mechanic and getting repairs done. We will tell you that having the car in a drivable state might help your chances a bit when it comes time to sell.

It can be worth it unless you have to sink thousands upon thousands of dollars into the car to fix it up. If that’s the case, it might be better to take your broken car to a scrap yard and call it a day. 

Keep in mind that even if you decide to repair the vehicle, you’ll still have to tell the buyer about the shape the car was in before you had it fixed. 

Look For Online Buyers 

When selling a totaled car, it’s important to expand your horizons a bit. You might be able to get more for your vehicle if you sell it to an online company. It can also be much easier to sell it via the internet instead of going through a local buyer. 

Whatever you decide to do, you’ll want to get plenty of info. Call around to a few places to find out how much you can get. This way, you can compare price points and get the best deal. 

Sell It to a Scrap Yard 

If you can’t find anyone online to take your car off your hands, you can always take it to a scrapyard. They pretty much accept anything. 

There is a downside to going this route. If you’re only scraping the metal parts, you’re not going to get that much for it. The only time that you’re going to get a decent price at one of these places is if some of the components in the vehicle still function well enough to sell. 

Sell the Individual Parts

Your last option is to remove any parts from the vehicle that still work. You might be able to make a pretty penny selling them individually.

Take them to the salvage yard first. If you feel like they aren’t giving you a fair enough price, go online and list the parts. You can also post them in your local newspaper. 

Get Your Paperwork Together 

When you finally find a buyer, you’ll have to get your paperwork ready before you hand your broken car over. If you don’t prove your ownership by presenting the buyer with your registration, title, and driver’s license, you’ll be in big trouble. 

Are you panicking because you don’t have these documents? No worries! The DMV can replace them for you.

Remove Your Belongings From the Car 

Before you hand the car over, there’s one last thing that you need to do. You’ve got to take your belongings out of it. The best way to do this is to clean out your car. 

Grab two trash bags. Fill one with actual garbage and the other with your important personal items. Don’t forget that your tag counts as a valuable personal item. You’ll need to either hand it to the department of motor vehicles or transfer it to a brand-new car. 

Talk to Your Insurance Company and the DMV

Now that the car is off your hands, it’s time to let your insurance company and the DMV know. If you don’t, the insurance provider might try to charge you for a car that you don’t even drive anymore. 

The DMV will want to update its records as well. This way, if something happens in regards to the car, they know who to blame for it, and that person isn’t you. 

Profiting From Your Salvaged Car

Instead of allowing your salvaged car to remain a sad lawn ornament, sell it to someone who can use it. You can take the money you get from the sale to put a downpayment on a brand-new car. 

It may seem like the process is more trouble than it’s worth, but trust us, you’ll feel much better once it’s off your hands. If you’re looking for more tips to make selling your car easier, check out the Drive section of our blog. 

Author: Brandon Park