How to Sell Your Junk Vehicles for Cash


Rookie Wordsmith
Jun 13, 2018
How to Sell Your Junk Vehicles for Cash.jpg

I’m pretty hard on my vehicles, especially my trucks. I actually use my trucks for their intended purpose - hauling heavy objects and going through rough surfaces. I’m not one of those people who bling out their trucks, making non-functional (unless you count looking cool while stationary a legit function).

I treat my trucks with respect, but they do get worn out pretty quickly. No regrets, though: in my opinion, it’s better to have a truck that’s beat-up from use than it is to have a pristine truck that’s sitting idly in the garage.

The downside, though, is that they often end up as junkers. When a truck of mine gets past its expiration date, I usually park it behind my dad’s warehouse. Well, I eventually ended up with four junk vehicles that were taking up precious space while gathering rust, dust, and who knows what else. After a few snarky comments from my dad, I finally decided to sell them in earnest. But how? They wouldn’t be very appealing to potential buyers.

I put on my thinking cap and drew up some plans for selling these pieces of junk. With a bit of creativity and some obvious methods, I managed to sell all my trucks. I’ll be sharing some of those methods below. If you have a vehicle gathering rust, whether its a large truck or a tiny subcompact car, you can use these methods to finally sell that junker. Let’s do this…

Part Out Your Vehicle

My trucks looked like absolute garbage. Rust had taken over the bodies (gotta thank my local climate for that) and leaks were everywhere. But, surprisingly, I found lots of salvageable parts under all that crap. The transmission of my third generation Ford Explorer seemed to be in relatively good shape. The electrical system in My Land Rover Defender - my first-ever truck - was also in surprisingly good condition. I practically dismantled them while taking parts that I thought I could sell off.

Parting out a car isn’t the same as selling it completely, but when your vehicle has no hope of getting sold, you might as well take what you can. You could still get decent money for those parts. The Land Rover parts sold for pretty well to a person who was restoring his old vehicle.

So no matter how decrepit your car looks, have a peek under the hood (and everywhere else) and check for parts that you can sell.

Sell It to a Junkyard

After parting out those two trucks, I was left with a lot of scrap. I was pretty sure that even the most dedicated restorer wouldn’t be able to use these parts. So I decided to sell them as scrap. When you sell something as scrap, you’re basically selling it as a hunk of metal, not as a car. That metal could have come from a rare vehicle, but it won’t matter; scrap metal is scrap metal.

You’ll get paid for the total weight of the car. Some junkyards will come and pick up the vehicle (super-convenient!), but expect to pay someone to haul the vehicle to the ‘yard. Make sure you factor in the cost of hauling into your overall cost projections. But let’s be honest – when you’re selling something as scrap, you shouldn’t look forward to large earnings. Basically, the main benefit of selling for scrap is getting the damn vehicle out of your garage.

Sell It “As-Is”

I had two more trucks that needed disposal - a Chevy Tahoe and… another Chevy Tahoe. (My dad is a Chevy guy and I wanted to impress my old man) Both were definitely junk, but weren’t in as bad shape as the Explorer and Defender. I decided to have a go at selling them in their present condition - aka “as-is.” The term basically means you’re basically buying this as-is, so don’t come running back to me when you find something’s wrong with it. Buyer beware.

The good thing about listing something as-is is you control expectations, and you won’t have to make any repairs or try to make the vehicle look good. It is what it is.

So I put both trucks up for sale on Craigslist. It took a few months for the first Tahoe to sell, and then the second one sold a year later. Not as fast as anyone would have wanted. But the important part is that they were taken off my hands. I wasn’t able to ask the buyers what they planned to do with the trucks. Restore them? Use them as stunt vehicles? Enter them in a demolition derby? I didn’t know. All I knew is that I was grateful someone took those trucks out of my hands.

If you think your vehicle is still somewhat salvageable you may want to look into selling it as-is.


Selling a junk vehicle isn’t as simple as ripping out parts, or putting it on Craigslist, though. Here are some reminders and tips you should read first before selling anything.

Sell for Fair Price

Just because your car is mostly mineral thanks to all that rust, that doesn’t mean you should accept lowball bids. You will definitely be selling it for a low price, but even within that realm, there are unreasonable offers. Before you sell your car, whether as parts, scrap, or as-is, go online and look around for similar items to get a good idea about the item’s price range. That way you protect yourself from shady buyers.

Get it in Writing

This is especially relevant if you’re selling your car as-is. Even if you describe the car accordingly online, your buyer may complain about the vehicle after they’ve bought it. Whether they do this out of ignorance or in an effort to shake you down is irrelevant. Protect yourself at all times. Get it in writing and have the buyer sign it.

Read Up on Lemon Laws

Even selling junk cars have their own subset of laws, lovingly referred to as “lemon laws.” Each state has different variations of these laws, so it’ll be helpful if you read up on them before selling your car.

The Verdict

These are all legit ways to find buyers for your junk car. I used them, and managed to move my four crappy trucks. I made fair money off them, and my dad finally got off my back about my vehicles hogging space in his warehouse.

Your Turn

This review is based on my own experiences selling my junkers. Now it’s your turn to share! How have you sold junk vehicles? How did you get them sold?

Let’s hear your stories!
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