How to Sell a Car That Doesn’t Run

How to Sell a Junk Car

Cars don’t last forever and when problems start, they tend to grow. That’s why so many lemons become yard and driveway ornaments that do little by way of adding curb appeal. 

Did you know that a rust bucket sitting in your driveway could put hundreds or even thousands of dollars in your pocket?

Junk cars are sold every day, and depending on the year, make, model, and what’s wrong with the car, yours might be worth far more than you think. If you have a car that doesn’t run, here’s what you need to know in order to sell it. 

How to Sell a Car That Won’t Start

You’ve had it with your lemon and you’re ready to sell, but how do you go about doing it? 

Determine How Much You Can Sell Your Non-running Car For

The first thing you’ll need to do before you sell your junk car is figuring out how much money you’ll get for it. Most people aren’t experts on scrap metal values, the amount of money you can get for used car parts, or anything else having to do with pricing a junk car. 

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You don’t have to be either. 

There are multiple companies out there that make their bread and butter buying and scrapping or fixing junk cars, and they’ll be happy to tell you what they think your car is worth to them. There are two things you should do when the right price:

  1. Get a Quote From Peddle. Peddle is the premier online buyer of cars, both junk cars and those that are in great condition. All you have to do to figure out how much they’ll give you for your car is fill out this form. In the end, you’ll be given a quote, and if you accept it, a tow truck will come to pick up your junk car and you’ll get paid. 
  2. Call Junk Yards Near You. Junk yards make money by selling parts out of cars that don’t run anymore as well as scrapping the metal used to make them. Chances are, you’ve got a few junk yards within 10 or 20 miles of your home. Call them and see what they’ll pay. 

Scrap Your Junk Car for Parts

Junk yards and companies like Peddle are in the business to make money. So, when you get quotes from them, there’s room in those quotes for these companies to turn a profit. If you’d rather put some work in, and turn the profit for yourself, you may want to scrap your car yourself. 

Of course, you’ll need some mechanical knowledge, and you’ll need to put in some sweat equity, but the returns are often worth it. 

Start taking the parts that you know work well out of your junk car and cleaning them up. Once cleaned, take a few pictures to publish with sale listings. Then, use websites like, or Facebook Marketplace to list your parts for sale. 

Pro Tip. When listing your parts, look for other similar parts to determine the best pricing. You don’t want to list your parts for prices that are going to scare potential customers off and you don’t want to be the lowest-priced option on the list either. Be competitive, but try to get the biggest buck for your bang. 

Donate Your Car for a Tax Write Off

So, junk yards and Peddle didn’t offer enough to make a sale worthwhile and you’re not interested in parting your junk car out yourself. Are there any other options?

You could donate your car, regardless of its condition. 

Cars Helping Charities is just one of many companies that makes this possible. These companies pick up junk cars, part them out, or fix them up, in an attempt to generate a profit, and donate those profits to the charity of your choice. 

If you go this route, you’ll not only be able to sleep well at night knowing that you’ve done something that will benefit a meaningful cause, you’ll get a tax write-off as the profits generated from your property were donated to charity. 

Trade-In Your Non-Running Car

If your car has recently become a lemon, chances are you’re in need of another. In many cases, dealerships run “push, pull, or drag it in” promotions, offering thousands of dollars in trade-in credit for junk cars. 

Call the dealerships near you and ask if any of these promotions are going on. If not, ask if they accept junk cars as trade-ins. They’ll often give you something toward your down payment, even if it’s only a couple hundred bucks. 

Consider Fixing Your Car

Depending on what’s wrong with your car, you may be able to fix it for a low cost and sell it as a running car for far more money than you’d get for a junk car. 

Talk to your friends and family and ask if anyone will help you figure out what’s wrong. If not, and you don’t think the problem is too costly, consider having it towed to a mechanic for a diagnosis. 

If you find that making a $500 fix will increase the value of your junk car from $300 to $2,000, the fix becomes a no-brainer. 

Of course, there is the risk that what’s wrong with your car is costly, in which case, you’ll lose money from the cost of towing to the mechanic and diagnosis fees. Nonetheless, with such a big potential payoff, the potential returns may be worth the risk. 

Selling Cars That Don’t Run Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You’re human, so you’re inquisitive. Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about selling cars that don’t run below:

How Do You Sell a Car That Is Not Running?

You have several reasons to sell a car that’s not running. Here are the steps to selling a car that doesn’t run:

  • Step #1: Determine how much money your car’s worth based on the different options above.
  • Step #2: Decide how you’re going to sell your non-running car. Will you junk it, donate it, trade it in, or fix it?
  • Step #3: Take action. Follow the guide above to prep and sell your non-running car. 

Can You Get Money for a Car That Doesn’t Run?

Yes, you can get money for cars that don’t run. The amount of money you get will depend on the year, make, and model of your car, why it’s not running, and the way you decide to sell it. 

Will CarMax Buy My Car if It Doesn’t Run?

Yes. CarMax makes offers on all types of cars and trucks, running or not. However, you may get a better offer from other providers like Peddle. So, make sure to shop around. 

The Bottom Line

We’ve all heard the old adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and it’s no more true when it comes to junk cars. While that car sitting in your driveway may not have been a running machine for some time, giving you headache after headache along the way, to some, it’s worth at least a few hundred bucks. 

Don’t let your junk car continue to be an eyesore in front of your house. Getting rid of it won’t just help your curb appeal, it will help your pocket. 

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