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How to sell a junk car

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    Maybe this sounds like you: You bought a car 10 or 15 years ago that’s stuck by you through thick and thin. From road trips to everyday drives, it carries you everywhere. You’ve been through a lot together, but along the way, your baby has lost its luster.

    And its brakes … and its acceleration ... and a door handle (or two). One day, you wake up and realize you’re now the owner of a “junk car.” What do you do? Well, believe it or not, you can still sell a junk car.

    What’s considered a junk car?

    Law Insider defines a junk car as a vehicle of any age that is damaged or defective in a way that makes the vehicle inoperable or unsafe on public roads and highways. But if your car still runs, you can still try selling it before sending it off to car heaven.

    The perks of selling a junk car

    One of the main perks of selling a junk car is putting some money in your pocket. Odds are, you’ve gotten your money’s worth over the years from driving it. You’ll also be freeing up space in your garage or driveway!

    In addition, you have the opportunity to buy a new car — and put your junk car money toward the new purchase. Last, you might even save money on repairs, simply because older cars tend to require more maintenance as parts break down.

    Seven steps to selling your junk car

    1. Make sure you have the title document to prove proper ownership. If you don’t have the title of your vehicle and proper proof it’s yours to sell, there are a few ways to secure a copy of your title so you can sell the vehicle.
    2. Assess the condition of the car. Take photos and note what is or isn’t working. Research how much cars like it have sold for.
    3. Gather the necessary paperwork to sell your car. This includes a vehicle history report and service and maintenance records.
    4. Research local junkyards and used car companies. Create a list of places you can get quotes from and potentially sell to.
    5. Get quotes. Junkyards and used car companies get to meet you and the car in person; online sales may require a verbal statement from you and photo evidence of the cars' condition to give you a proper quote.
    6. Decide on your buyer. Go with the highest bidder and bring the car in for a final inspection. If the car aligns with what you reported, the buyer should match the original quote.
    7. Collect your cash and transfer the title. Make sure to check the vehicle registration and title status at your local department of motor vehicles soon after the transaction so you are no longer liable for the car.

    Mistakes to avoid when selling your old car

    Now, it’s great to know you have the option to sell your old car and how you might go about it. But as with anything, there are pitfalls to avoid. Here are some of the don’ts.

    • Don’t misrepresent about the condition of your car. The buyer will find out the truth on the final inspection and potentially revoke their offer.
    • Don’t pay for your car to be towed. Most junkyards or buyers will come to take the car for free if you ask or negotiate this as part of the deal.
    • Don’t forget to remove your license plates and any other personal materials from the car.

    So, how does this all sound? Do you think you can sell a junk car? If so, give it a shot. You have nothing to lose — except your old clunker — and a little something to gain.

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