I saw a small sign on the corner outside my neighborhood advertising “We buy junk cars” the other day. I started wondering why anyone would want to do this and I soon discovered that it can be a way to make some extra money. If you have access to a truck and trailer that can transport junked cars, you’re on your way to a little extra cash.
Some people have cars in their possession that will not run or that are so worthless that they can’t be used as a trade in. These people have to find a way to dispose of these old clunkers. While they could dispose of them themselves, it may be simpler and more cost effective for them to sell it to a junk car buyer, particularly if it won’t run and they have no way of transporting it to a junkyard themselves.
If you want to buy junk cars, your first hurdle is to know what price you should offer. Car valuation sites like Kelley Blue Book can help put a price on the car. If the car is so old or in such bad shape that a valuation guide won’t help, you’ll have to assess the car yourself to determine its worth. Is it working? Does it have all the parts? What parts are left for you to sell? Is it a classic? Can it be repaired and, if so, for how much? These are all questions that will help you determine how much to offer.
Once you have the car, you have several options for converting it to cash. If you have the skills and the car is repairable, you can fix it yourself and sell your junk car as a functioning car. This is the method that will make you the most money, particularly if you can do all of the work yourself. If the car is a classic and you can fully restore it, you can command a much higher price.
If the car is hopeless, you have a couple of choices. You can strip the parts and sell them individually to a junkyard (or several) or to a dealer who refurbishes old parts and then resells them. Or, you can sell the whole car to a junkyard who will then sell the parts and pieces to buyers who need to fix up their own cars. You can also haul the car (or just the shell if you sell the individual parts) to a metal recycler who will pay you cash based on the weight/type of metal in the car.
Whatever you choose to do with the car, you need to have your own towing capability to preserve your profit. Junkyards and recyclers charge you if they have to come get the car and it’s often not cheap. If you’re far away from the destination, the towing charge can eat up any profit you might have made. You need your own truck and trailer if you hope to make any money doing this. You also need to make certain that you get the title to the car from the original owner. Many junkyards and recyclers will not take a car unless you can produce a title in your own name. This prevents them from getting caught up in a theft ring that is stealing and selling cars.
I was surprised that there is a decent amount of money to be made in selling junk cars. You probably won’t get rich, but certainly there are people who turn this into a full time business. Even if you only haul away a couple of cars per year you can still turn them into some extra spending money.