How to Get Rid of a Vehicle that Doesn’t Run

Your car doesn't run what to do 444

So your car doesn’t run? Now what? It happens to the best of us. From totaling your car and not wanting to risk higher insurance premiums to an old model vehicle that stops running and is too expensive to repair, to grandma’s old clunker that won’t move, there are many reasons you might wind up with a junk car.

Below you’ll discover everything you need to know about how to get rid of a vehicle that doesn’t run.

What is a junk car?

If you have an older car, you might affectionately call it a junker, or a clunker, or a hooptie, or some similar nickname, but that doesn’t necessarily qualify it as a “junk car.” Instead, a junk car is any car that you’re better off selling for parts than trying to trade it in or sell it outright.

According to the popular vehicle website,, a junk car might have one or more of the following characteristics:

1. No Paperwork

If you’re missing the title or other paperwork for your vehicle, it could be a junk car. There are ways to recover lost titles. Still, if your car also has one of the two following issues, then you might want to look into contacting someplace that buys junkers. According to Sell Us Your Car AZ, which pays cash for junk cars in Phoenix, junk car buyers can help you file any necessary forms or file them for you when you can’t find a title or registration if you’re going to sell to them.

2. Severe Damage

If your car has a lot of expensive damage like missing transmission, mangled body, or might be considered “totaled,” then it’s probably a junk car. Remember, anytime your vehicle costs more to repair than to replace, it’s a junker, and you’re better off unloading it for parts.

3. Can’t Be Driven

If your vehicle doesn’t start, move, or it’s inoperable, then it’s a junk car. And that’s what leads us to our next point.

What if my car doesn’t run?

Don’t panic if your car doesn’t run, or the brakes have locked, and it won’t move. A reputable salvage yard or junk car buyer will come to the location of your vehicle and collect it. Often, you will also receive cash payment for your clunker at the same time.

All you have to do is tell us why it doesn’t run, so we know what type of tow truck and equipment we need to bring when we do. That means you never have to worry about paying someone to take a junk car away, nor do you have to consider taking the vehicle apart to sell individual parts yourself.

Your car doesn't work image 444444
1. What is an automotive salvage yard?

Automotive salvage yards are places that buy cars and sell them for parts. They’re known by many different names. Therefore, you’re not alone if you’re confused about the difference between an automotive salvage yard and a metal scrap yard, or if you think they’re synonyms. So, let’s examine the differences:

Metal scrap yard 49494949494
2. What is a metal scrap yard?

An automotive salvage yard is not the same as a metal scrap yard. The latter buys metal from a variety of sources that needs to be recycled. They usually pay per pound. They then sell the metal to refineries in the US or overseas who only buy from reputable metal scrap yards in large amounts.

Metal scrap yards might purchase metal from cars, but they typically do not buy junk cars outright. It’s usually not the best idea to bring your non-running car to a metal scrap yard.

Instead, you need to bring it to an automotive salvage yard or have one come pick it up.

3. What is the difference between an automotive salvage yard and a metal scrap yard?

Unlike metal scrap yards, automotive salvage yards specialize exclusively in recycling junk cars and selling car parts from the cars they purchase. Even if you’re not familiar with the term, you might have heard them referred to by one of the following names:

  • Junkyard
  • Auto Recycling Center
  • Scrap Yard
  • Part Yard
  • Salvage Yard
  • Pull Yard or Pull Lot

Some auto salvage yards evaluate and repair or rebuild old parts before selling them, and others allow people to pick through the cars or the parts themselves. So junkyards sell parts just to mechanics, and others are open to the public.

Many junkyards drain all fluids from the vehicles they buy. Then people can come during business hours or by appointment to pull out parts they need and purchase them. But selling old car parts isn’t the only way they make money. Read on to find out more.

How do salvage yards make money?

Some salvage yards buy junk cars from people directly, and others work with junk car buyers to purchase old vehicles. However, regardless of how they acquire vehicles, auto salvage yards play a crucial part in helping the environment.

How? By keeping old cars and unwanted vehicle parts out of landfills, and keeping their fluids from polluting soil and contaminating groundwater. That’s why you shouldn’t think of junkyards and junk car buyers as mere opportunists out for a buck.

But besides helping the environment, how to salvage yards make money? The answer is, by selling car parts, and selling metal and recycled fluids like oil to refineries and recyclers once all the usable parts are stripped or pulled from the vehicle. The fact is, there are many parts on a vehicle that can be repaired, sold, or recycled, including:

  • Fluids
  • Gas tanks
  • Engines
  • Transmission
  • Carburetors
  • Brakes
  • Alternators
  • Batteries
  • Seats
  • Floor Mats
  • Body
  • Mirrors
  • Tires
  • Steering Wheels
  • And more

Depending on the make, model, and year of a car, some vehicle parts are highly sought after by collectors and can earn a nice profit for junkers. Other types of vehicles may or may not have parts that can be reused. Still, all cars can be taken apart, treated, and sold for profit by a junkyard to recyclers and refineries. A junkyard can be a private company that earns a profit for its owners or shareholders, or it can be run by a charity or non-profit that seeks donations of old cars and puts any profits earned towards helping the people, causes, and communities they serve. Some private auto salvage yards also partner with non-profit organizations.

When you determine your car is a junker, it’s up to you to decide if you want to sell it to an auto salvager or donate it to a charity. It really depends on what you can afford and if you need the cash yourself or not.

How to prepare your junk car for selling

Now that you know a bit about how to determine if your car is a junk car and how auto salvage yards work, what do you need to do to prepare it to sell?

You probably don’t need to get rid of a junker every day. But it’s actually quite simple and straightforward. Follow these essential steps:

1. Research

You’re almost done with step one, which is researching online to learn about the definition of junk cars, auto salvage yards, and junk car buyers.

2. Find a Reputable Licensed Salvage Yard or Junk Car Buyer

During your research, find a reputable junk car buyer like Sell Us Your Car AZ who will walk you through the entire process, make getting a quote easy, and who will come pick up your car for free.

3. Have Your Vehicle Information Ready

Before you call or request a quote online, have everything ready. Gather all documents and vehicle information, including:

  • Year, make, and model of your vehicle
  • Your car’s VIN – also known as Vehicle Identification Number
  • The vehicle title, registration, and license plate number if you have them
  • Information or documentation of damage, necessary repairs, etc

The vehicle info helps junkers price your car as well as determine what they need to bring to take it off your hands when they come to pick it up.

4. Request a Quote

Now you’re ready to ask for quotes. You might want to get a few quotes to determine the best one, or you might just get one and then move to the next step in the process.

5. Set up a pickup time and complete paperwork

Some salvage yards and junk car buyers might have you complete these in two steps, and others might have you complete paperwork at the same time they get your car. Other car buyers might even set a pickup date and time online after you accept an initial quote.

As far as paperwork is concerned, as we mentioned near the beginning of the article, many car junkers will help you complete any necessary paperwork, including if you lost the car’s title. They might also help you notify the DMV and your insurance of the car sale.

6. Get paid!

Once you accept a quote and fill out paperwork, you’re done. Now you get your cash, usually at the same time your vehicle we pick up your car. It’s that simple when you sell your car to a licensed, reputable auto salvage yard or a junk car buyer.

Final Thoughts on Getting Rid of a Vehicle that Doesn’t Run

When your old car stops working, don’t leave it, sell it instead. By following the tips laid out in this post, you don’t have to worry about how to get rid of a junk car ever again. And if you still have questions, contact the junk car experts at Sell Us Your Car AZ. We’ll walk you through the entire process and get you cash for your car in no time and hassle-free.


Read more about cars and the automotive industry.