When is Your Car Considered Junk?

By: | September 23rd, 2020

Image by Gary Scott from Pixabay

While riding in the passenger side of a friend’s car, you may have noticed how much of a clunker it is: it sputters while accelerating, the air conditioning is somehow always broken, and the tires are always screeching. You wouldn’t trust this car to get through your 30-minute morning commute and yet your friend just won’t let go of this car.

Maybe you are the friend who won’t get rid of this car.

No matter how many fond memories we make with our vehicles, they still age and must be replaced with a newer version. Automobiles are meant to make transportation easier and give us greater mobility and freedom. However, they are not made to last forever. At some point, you will be driving a piece of junk (if your car even stays intact that long).

Read on to learn more about junk cars and determine if the vehicle you’re driving counts as one.

What is a Junk Car?

At what point should you consider your car junk? While only you, or your frustrated mechanic, can decide if your car has reached the end of its life cycle, there are certain common attributes of cars that define their “junk” status.

Essentially, a vehicle that is no longer any good to you should be considered a junk car. For instance, a vehicle that takes more than a few tries to start up (on a good day), might be considered junk since it is not doing the very thing you bought it for: to get you where you need to go.

A recently purchased vehicle that’s having startup issues might require a simple fix.  However, a vehicle with more than 100,000 miles on it that has already had multiple engine repairs might be ready to hit the salvage yard.

On the other hand, a car might still be running, but the frame rusted so much that pieces have already fallen off. Once a car reaches this point of structural decay, getting a new vehicle might be a more financially responsible decision than trying to fix your junk car.

Some cars just seem to have an endless amount of issues: the engine sputters, the exhaust billows black smoke, you can’t close the driver door all the way, and your gas mileage is impossible to calculate. These vehicles are not doing anyone any good and might be ready to go to a recycling plant.

When Repairs are No Longer Worth it

Even if a car gets you to where you need to go, you can’t trust that it will be reliable in the long term. This is when you have to start considering if your car is a piece of junk.

Some vehicles reach a point in which repairs start costing more than the car is worth or even cost in the first place. Normal wear and tear are part of owning a car. Tires, gaskets, breaks, transmission all wear down over time. This is especially true if you drive a lot.

While little things are fixable and affordable when caught early, major issues will undoubtedly occur down the road. When that time comes, your car will continue dwindling in quality, efficiency, and ease of use. Eventually, it will become a huge burden to own it.

Conversely, some makes of vehicles are just problematic. Whether they are new or old, they are constantly having issues. Yes, even your brand new car can turn out to be junk if it is a certain make and model.

Value of Junk Cars

While you might not be happy about getting rid of your old car, you will be happy to know that you can make money off of it. Even an accident-battered vehicle can make you money if you sell to the right buyers.

Scrap and Junk Yards

Junk and scrap yards are places that are happy to take your dilapidated vehicle off your hands. You can even make a sizable profit by selling your car or its parts to these businesses. 

The profit you can earn on your junk car is highly variable as several factors go into pricing old cars and their parts. For instance, the year, make, and model of your vehicle is important for beginning the valuation process.

Newer cars are more likely to sell at higher prices as whole units than older vehicles. However, older makes and models that are no longer being produced can sell for higher.

Conversely, a junk or scrap yard may focus more on the type and amount of metal remaining on the vehicle. Steel, aluminum, and titanium are abundant in cars and highly recyclable, and thus, valuable. If your car is still intact with minimal rust, then you might be able to get a sizable check for your junk car from a salvage yard. 

Online Buyers

If a scrap yard gave you a quote that you were unhappy with, or the process of parting a car is too costly and complicated, you can always sell your junk car online.

While the digital auto marketplace is relatively new, it is safe, efficient, and easy.

Several online car companies will buy your automobile at a fair price. For instance, at CarBrain.com, all you have to do is submit details about your car such as make, model, and its condition and they will give you a quote instantly.

You can go through a similar process with other online companies and compare quotes. This way, you can still sell to the highest bidder and get your money’s worth.

Alternatively, you can go through Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay to sell your car. This method might be more of a hassle especially if prospective buyers want to see the vehicle in person before committing to the sale. 


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