There are times when words like old and used are relative terms. For example, a car becomes used the moment a person drives it off the dealer's lot. However, that same "used car" would also be considered new to any buyer if or when it is eventually sold. Wait 40 or 50 years and the car is not old but vintage or antique.

So, when we talk about what to do with an old, used car, we mean a car where selling it may not be the most feasible option. There are times when a car may be so old that there is no interest, even at the lowest price. The funny thing is they may also mean that the car is not old enough to be considered vintage yet. Therefore, presented are a few ideas on how to get rid of an old car.


Yes, trading-in may not always be the most feasible option. However, like so many things timing is everything. A frequent tactic for car dealerships is to offer tremendous trade-in values for any vehicle in any shape. These deals are some variation of the "drive, push, or pull" promotions. Somehow, someway get a vehicle on the car lot during the promotional period and the dealership will give you a certain value for that vehicle as a trade-in. Specials like these increases the trade-in value, it will be much higher than if someone simply went to the dealership at a regular time. Of course, one will have to be in the market for purchasing a new car, as these specials are tied to purchasing new cars off the dealer’s car lot.

Even President Obama got into the trade-in act as one of his first orders of business as President. The Cash For Clunkers promotion provided $3500 or $4500 of trade-in value for an old, used car (within certain parameters) so people can purchase newer, more gas efficient vehicles. That would have been a great time to trade-in an old clunker.

Donate a Car to Charity

While a lot can written about donating a car to charity, the summation is that the Internal Revenue Service allows one to simply claim up to a $500 tax deduction as a car's donated value with just a donation receipt. A donor can claim a higher value than $500 but that higher value has to be the actual sales price that the charity received for selling the vehicle. That entails more paperwork, but charities that accept cars as donations will be well prepared to deliver the paperwork needed. Most charities do not actually use or give away donated cars, but instead sells them at a charity auto auction. So, it is with that in mind the IRS allows a person to claim up to $500 for a donated car with a simple donation receipt from the charity.

Still, for many vehicles $500 off one's federal income taxes could be a great value for an old junker. Think of a car not running or has street legality issues. Especially considering that many charities that accept car donations actually use third-party businesses to handle the car donations for them. And these businesses often offer pickup service for donating cars, meaning that a car that needs to be towed away could be done without any expense to the donor.

Also, cars are not the only vehicles that charities and the IRS will accept as a donation. Boats, RVs, and airplanes can also be considered as a vehicle donation.

Junk It

This is probably the quickest and easiest option. Many junkyards will come and pick up a car with a tow truck if needed. Then they will deliver a check for a set amount for the vehicle. Now, this is probably the least valuable of options as salvage yards will not pay very much for an automobile. While they might be able to piece the car out for parts, their end game will be to scrap the car. That is they will compress the car into a heap of scrap metal to be processed elsewhere. Therefore, do not expect very much for junking a car.

However, it is a great option for those that need to get rid of a car fast. If a car is not running and/or does not have a title then it can be junked very often the same day with only a phone call. This may be a viable option for someone has to move a car on someone else's property, or are being pressured by a neighborhood association, a wife, or a landlord to move an old beater.

Hopefully, one of these three options of waiting for a good trade-in special, donating the car to charity for a tax deduction, or selling it to a junkyard will help one get rid of their old, used car for a decent value in return.