It happens to even the most well-meaning automotive enthusiast sooner or later: an old project falls by the wayside, and before you know it, there's an old clunker sitting on your lawn or your driveway. Or maybe the car was a faithful daily driver that you just weren't ready to part with even after replacing it, but it eventually fell into disrepair and now its hulk stands as a testament to the ravages to time. Whatever the case, there's an old junk car on your property and you finally want it gone. So, what options do you have?
Start by Prepping the Car
Before you go about getting rid of your old car, you should take a few of the same steps that you would take before ditching any vehicle. If the car is especially old or if it doesn't run, then it isn't going to be worth your time to clean it up and make it fully presentable. Instead, go through the car with a fine-tooth comb and make sure that all of your personal possessions are out of it. Since your car will most likely to heading off to its final resting place soon, you want to make sure that there's nothing inside that's left behind.
Assess the Condition and Value of the Car
It's time to take a hard, sober look at your old vehicle. Does it have any real value left? Running cars are usually worth something to someone, but its value will be greatly diminished if it's in especially bad cosmetic condition or if it's suffering from unknown mechanical issues. It's easy to look up the book value for a car and assume that the minimum condition is the lowest amount that you'll get, but it tends to be extremely difficult to sell vehicles that don't run or that have major and apparent damage. If it's a particularly rare or desirable car, then selling it may still be possible. You will need to make a judgment call on whether the time, effort, and difficulty of a traditional private party sale are worth it for your clunker.
Strip It Down
If you've decided that the car isn't worth selling yourself, then you may still be able to extract some value from it. If you're mechanically handy and you've got the time and inclination, then it may be worthwhile to strip out parts that still hold some value. The best thing to do is to judge the overall condition of both the interior and exterior and determine which parts might still have some use. Are the headlights in good shape? What about the seats? Does the stereo work well? All of these components can be removed and sold, as can mechanical components from under the hood if you know that they're in solid working condition.
Whether you've decided to strip the car for parts or not, it's finally time to call up some junkyards and see which ones offer money for junk cars. Be sure to accurately describe the condition of the car and disclose any parts that you may have removed so that you can receive correct estimates. The values you receive will essentially be scrap values, but something is still better than nothing. When calling around, don't feel compelled to take the first offer that you receive! It's fine to get a few estimates and go with the highest. In the end, it will be worth it to get that car off of your property and to have a few extra bucks in your pocket.