Follow These Tips to Junk or Salvage a Vehicle

By: Alicia Sparks June 27, 2012
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A junked vehicle, also called a salvage vehicle, is one so damaged, it makes more financial sense to sell its parts than to try to repair it and apply for a salvage title.

Typically, people junk vehicles with the help of a junk or scrap yard, but some folks like to take a more DIY approach. If this sounds like you, use these general guidelines as tips, and still be sure to check your state's salvage auto regulations to learn about title, registration, and license plate requirements.

Contact Your Area Junked or Salvage Vehicle Yards

You’re probably used to reading that requirements for various DMV-related matters vary by state, so it should come as no surprise that requirements for junking vehicles vary by junkyards.

Thus, we can’t give you definitive instructions, but we can give you some general guidelines for junking a vehicle:

So, unless you plan to dismantle the vehicle and sell the parts yourself or privately sell the vehicle in its entirety for parts, contact a few area junkyards and ask about:

  • Preparation requirements. Does the junkyard prefer to dismantle the vehicle, or will it offer more money if you do it yourself? Should you get rid of tires and any other non-metal materials, or will the junkyard handle that, too?
  • Title and registration requirements. The junkyard might want to see the title and proof of registration. Be sure to check with your DMV before releasing these documents, though (see below).
  • Prices. Just like you would with anything else, shop around! Your closest junkyard might offer a fair price, but the one across town might pay twice as much for your junked vehicle.

Also be prepared to provide the junkyard with information like:

DMV Junked Vehicle Requirements

You might already know that states have certain requirements when it comes to titling and registering a salvaged vehicle, but what about when you don’t want to salvage the vehicle? What if you just want to get some money out of the remaining decent parts?

Each state has its own junked vehicle requirements, but you might have to:

  • Complete junked or salvaged auto paperwork. Sometimes this is called a Damage Disclosure Statement, and is included on the back of the title. When it’s not, your DMV will provide appropriate paperwork.
  • Show the vehicle title and proof of registration. (Be sure to find out whether the junkyard requires this, too.)
  • Relinquish the license plate(s).

Do you have any experience with junked or salvage cars? What tips can you offer?

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