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What to Know Before Junking an Old Vehicle

A vehicle may have once been a beloved method of transportation, but none will last forever. Owners often contact salvage yards after they have failed to sell their car or truck or when they cannot afford the repairs. Everyone wants to make the best decision. Learn if junking is best, how to prepare for junking, and what alternatives are possible.

When Junking is Best

Consumers can use references like Kelley Blue Book or NADA (North American Dealer’s Association) Guide to find out the value of their vehicle. Reconsider repairs that exceed the value of the automobile. Investing too much for repairs will make it impossible to recoup the money if you later decide to sell or use it as a trade-in. 

If your car is older, also consider that older vehicles may not have the same fuel efficiency as newer models. Maintained automobiles stay as efficient as they age but cannot always compete with the exceptional efficiency of new models. How much could you save on your daily commute if you traded your car in and bought something that got better mileage?

Unreliable vehicles, even if the repairs have been inexpensive, can also become a problem for owners. Breaking down on a roadside is hazardous for the driver, and breakdowns on the way to work can upset career goals. People that do not feel confident in their vehicle should consider junking it and finding something more trustworthy.

What Parts to Keep

Clean out the car or truck before someone arrives to collect a junked vehicle. Look under sun visors and floor mats, in the glove compartment and trunk, and inside any other storage area. Remove personal belongings and all paperwork. Also remember to remove the license plates because leaving them can become a liability issue.

Aside from personal items, consider removing anything not original to the vehicle. A salvage yard typically pays for the car or truck based on the age and condition of the model. Remove extras like a high-end speaker system, new tires, or other custom items before an assessment occurs. Install tires that are at least reliable enough to load or tow the vehicle.

Leave anything on the vehicle that was a part of the assessment by the salvage company. If the engine on the junked vehicle showed 75,000 miles, for example, do not remove it before the tow truck arrives to replace it with one with higher mileage. Ask about the need to remove any fluids like oil or gas before the tow truck arrives.

What Alternatives to Consider

The average American spends just under $400 per year on maintenance and repairs for their vehicles. Younger adults spend slightly more on average than older adults for vehicle costs. All automobiles need some care, so junking a repairable model may not always make financial sense.

Consider ways to save on the cost of repairs. Used parts can offer savings compared to new ones. Ask for estimates for the work that compare the total using OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts, used parts, and aftermarket parts to see the difference. Decide if you could do the repairs yourself. The Internet offers a variety of helpful video tutorials on auto repairs.

Check to see if the manufacturer ever recalled the failed part. Manufacturers perform recalls on many vehicles, and they usually do not expire. Do an online search of the 17-digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to see any recalls. If the part affected was recalled, contact a dealer for the make and model to get information about the repair.

Sometimes, no matter how much someone loves a vehicle, it is too expensive to continue to invest in repairs. At City Auto Wreckers, we can help you find affordable used parts if you want, or we can pick up your vehicle if it is ready for salvage. Contact us to learn more.