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How Do I Scrap My Junk Car?

Trying to get rid of an old junk car? The good news is, you have lots of options. The best option for you depends on how much time and effort you want to put into getting rid of the old clunker, and whether you’re concerned about making money. Here are the top options for unloading that old car, along with their pros and cons.

1. Salvage It

Junkyards are where old cars go to die and be reborn (OK, recycled). Any decent parts will be removed and sold, then the car will crushed and shipped off for scrap metal. The metal from that old car will probably end up in a new car somewhere.

Most junkyards pay for old cars, and most offer pick-up services, but don’t expect to get top dollar. Junkyards are used to dealing with people who just want old cars to disappear, not people who are looking to make big profits.

  • Pros: Little hassle; car will be recycled
  • Cons: Won’t get top dollar; might have to pay a towing fee

  • 2. Sell It

    Selling your clunker is as simple as filling out a short online form and arranging for the car to be picked up. Answer a few questions about the make, model and condition of the car to receive an instant quote. If you like the price, schedule the pickup. In many cases, pickup and payment can be arranged the same day.

    When you sell, a number of things could happen to the car. A mechanic might use it for spare parts, a used car dealer might fix it up and resell it, or the car might just end up in the junkyard. It’s up to the company that buys the car to decide.

  • Pros: Very little hassle; you’ll get more money for the car
  • Cons: No idea what happens to the car

  • 3. Donate It

    Many people who don’t need the extra cash they can get from a clunker choose to donate old cars to charity. You’ll get a tax write-off for the donation, too.

    The tricky part is, a lot of so-called car donation charities are actually for-profit organizations. They sell donated vehicles and keep a portion of the profits, giving only some of the money to local charities. To avoid the middleman, donate a car directly to your favorite local charity, or at least do some background research on the organization before handing over the car.

    Also, don’t forget that the IRS requires evidence of how much the charity gets for your car if the sale price is more than $500. Request this paperwork from the charity and keep it on file in case you get audited. Non-cash donations are one of the major triggers for an IRS audit.

  • Pros: Minimal hassle; performing a good deed
  • Cons: Falling for the middleman; complicated tax issues; might have to pay a towing fee

  • By: Ryan Maguire

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