How to negotiate when trying to sell a clunker

Having a car in your possession makes your life highly convenient. You can easily drive to and from work, go shopping or take your family out on an excursion. Problems occur when the car breaks down, and it cannot run. Eventually, your once prized motor vehicle ends up as junk in your garage or backyard. A few months down the line or years later, you realize that the car is worthless.

The good news is that you have not lost everything. You could still salvage something out of the junk car. You can dispose of it and get some cash. The sales proceeds, added to your savings, will come in handy when you want to buy another car. However, disposing of such an asset can be a problem especially if the vehicle does not run. You need a truck to transport the automobile to a junkyard dealer.


Auto salvage dealers are always eager to buy junk cars. The fact that a vehicle stopped running does not mean that it is entirely damaged. Once these dealers have it in their possession, they strip the car of parts that are still in good working condition. They then sell them as used auto parts. How do you stand to benefit out of this arrangement? The answer lies in negotiating with the buyer and getting a good deal.

How to look for a junk car dealer

There are many auto salvage firms out there. The best way to find a reputable one is to carry out a little research.

Negotiating for the best deal

As an ordinary car owner, you might be knowing little about the business behind auto parts and scrap values. Unlike you, salvage dealers are at the top of their game hence they carry an advantage when buying junks. However, if you are keen to follow the tips below, you will end up getting more than a bargain:

Know your car’s salvage value

Usually, a grounded automobile only requires some repair to get it back on the road. If that is not the case, you could, in an ideal situation, strip it apart and put the parts on sale. Prepare a list of the parts that you think are still of value. It could be the tires, hood, alternator, starter motor or radiator. Ask a mechanic friend to give a fair estimate of the value.

Take photos

Unfortunately, most people do not give sufficient details when seeking for junk car quotes. Take pictures of the parts that are still in mint condition, using either a digital camera or a cell phone. Send these as an attachment to the email addressed to potential junkyards. If you can prove that the car is of high value, then you improve chances of getting a high bid.

Avoid the retract trap

During price negotiations, describe the condition of your car as honestly as you can. Where needed, or if you deem it fit, provide pictures. On the other hand, insist on the dealer keeping their bargain as promised. Avoid unscrupulous dealers who will promise to pay a certain price only for them to backtrack on the day they arrive to tow the car.

Towing cost

Always ensure that the quoted price includes the cost of hauling the car from your property to the junk yard. Do not entertain stories from the towing crew asking you to pay additional charges.

Salvage car dealers should pay you the total amount agreed. The dealer should come with a cheque for the full amount or pay you in Cash For Cars.