It’s a situation that is all too common— you get a new car, and your old one just ends up sitting neglected on your property gathering rust and dust. You could let it sit there and go beyond all repair, but fortunately, you have other options. There are many people and businesses that are willing to buy junk cars, and if you play the game right you can get a decent amount of cash for your clunker.

buy junk carsYou’ve probably seen plenty of signs around your city advertising someone who will buy junk cars for a lot of cash, but these often come across as a bit shady and untrustworthy. So, how do you know where to actually sell junk cars? Knowing what kind of options you have, and the pros and cons the come with each option, will help you succeed in getting the best deal possible for your car.

Popular Junk Car Slang Terms

First and foremost, there are certain shortened terms or slang used among those who sell and buy junk cars that you should understand. These are typically used on signs or online postings and must be shortened because of limited space. Some are very obvious. For example, “buy junk cars cash” usually means that cash, not credit or checks will be given to the seller.

A more important one to know however is “buy junk cars no title.” This means that the person will buy junk cars that do not have a title, meaning they have not be professionally evaluated and classified in terms of damage.

Salvage Titles Are Sometimes Issued For Junk Cars

For example, a salvage title is almost always given to a vehicle that has sustained damage that is worth around 75 percent or more of its value in pre-damage condition (the value is determined by the car make, model and year). Be aware, however, that the exact conditions used to determine what constitutes a salvage title vary from state to state.

How to Buy a Junk CarFor example, a vehicle in Minnesota is given a salvage title once it is declared “repairable total loss” by a reputable insurance company, but only if it was worth at least $5,000 before the damage or is less than six years old. Additionally, a car worth around $4,000 in Minnesota cannot be given a salvage title.

What Do These Rules Mean For Those Who Want To Buy Junk Cars?

Many times, cars that have a salvage title are unfit for driving, so buying a car in Minnesota with no title for less than $5,000 could actually be very dangerous if that car is used for driving.

If you do choose to follow the signs, always call the number provided first and get the full details before taking your old car anywhere, regardless of what the sign itself offers. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into selling; the decision should be yours. If something about the deal seems a little off or shady, don’t follow through with it— trust your gut, and find another buyer.

And of course, always keep in mind that there are many online posting sites that advertise both junk cars for sale and people who are looking to buy junk cars. If while browsing you can’t seem to find someone wanting to buy junk cars who appears both honest and convenient, you can always make a post of your own and let potential buyers come to you.

Be Sure to Provide a Complete Description of Your Vehicle

If you do this, however, be sure to include a complete description of the vehicle and upload multiple photos of the interior, exterior and engine, if possible. This will not only convey to buyers that you are trustworthy and serious, but in the end it will help your junk car sell faster.

Providing an accurate description of the vehicle in question is also particularly important for people who are looking to buy project cars. These individuals aren’t necessarily looking for something that runs, but rather something they can work on and eventually fix up (hence the term “project car”).

Some Final Things That You Should Consider

In many other cases, however, it is not necessarily your vehicle as a whole, but the individual parts that count. Therefore, being even more specific goes a long way for people who want to buy salvage cars. These people buy junk cars for the purpose of taking them apart and using the parts to fix up or improve other cars.

That being said, if your old car isn’t in overly terrible shape and is still in running condition you may have even more options. Other people looking to buy used cars are new drivers. Young adults and students (and their parents) often can’t afford a new and expensive vehicle, so they look to buy cheap cars that still run. In these cases, however, the potential buyers will most likely want to take the car for a test drive or even for an inspection at a garage they trust before making you an offer.

If you find yourself worried about the car being stolen (and this is a valid concern because it does happen, albeit rarely from people who buy junk cars), make an agreement to take something from the potential buyer as collateral, or ask to write down the information on their driver’s license. In some cases, the person may agree to have you come along on the test drive. If they are an honest buyer, they will understand your concerns just as you should understand theirs.

When you do sell an old car, make sure that you remove everything you may have left in it. It is up to you whether or not you want to clean the car, as most people looking to buy junk cars are not expecting a thoroughly clean one. However, cleaning it could be considered a common courtesy.

Additionally, you’ll want to remove any remaining license plates on the vehicle. This will save some time for the buyer, and it will also help prevent the plates from being stolen if the car is going to a junkyard or other lot that can be accessed by a lot of people.