If you have a junk car to sell and need to get your hands on $500, this is the guide for you.
$500 is a lot of money. It could be used to pay off credit cards, go toward a vacation, or complete the purchase of a new car. And even if your old vehicle is little more than a hunk of rusted metal, it's still a feasible sum.
How To Sell Your Junk Car for $500?
When selling your junk car, there are three points of value to consider.
The first is whether the car is operational or not. If it is, it'll be worth more money as you can find a buyer who needs a cheap vehicle to get from A to Z.
If not, you also have the value of the parts (salvage) and the steel (scrap metal).
Even if we just focus on the latter, your vehicle could get anywhere from $100 to $400 depending on its size. If there are a few valuable parts under the hood, it's not unreasonable to assume that you could get $500 cash.
In fact, some junk cars sell for thousands of dollars, so you could get a lot more.
Who Offers Cash for Junk Cars Near Me?
On this site, you will find a number of places that buy junk cars. They are all listed by location, as well. To find a salvage yard near you, just take a look at our list of states and counties and browse through the many available "cash for junk cars" companies.
All of these companies promise to buy cars for top dollar and they also pay cash and provide free towing. However, the quote you're offered can differ considerably from one company to the next, so make sure you call several of them and get multiple quotes.
We have listed business hours and phone numbers for all salvage yards and other junk car buying services. It's also quick and easy to get a quote, usually in the form of a cash offer.
Car Buying Networks vs Junkyards
There are generally two options when it comes to selling your junk car for cash: junk car buying services and junkyards.
With the former, you're dealing with a national company that is devoted to providing a simple and hassle-free service. You can often get a quote in 90 seconds or less, after which point your car will be checked over, posted to a buyer's network, and then collected.
It's often easier to sell a car without a title and you can get rid of your vehicle regardless of its make, model, or condition.
On the flip side, you have the local junkyards. These companies might give you a higher price, but they are only available locally and they are also more prone to underhanded sales tactics.
Both company types will give you a guaranteed offer and arrange for free pickup, but the price that you receive and the customer service that is provided can differ considerably.
Pros of Using Junk Car Buyers vs Junkyards
Less Hassle: Get a guaranteed offer in under 90 seconds. Once your vehicle has passed the checks, it will be sold and you'll be given a check.
Fewer Scams: The companies that use these services (including salvage yards) are vetted. They are also required to abide by certain terms and conditions. Not only are scams rare, but you have more recourse for action in the event that they do occur.
An Easy Instant Offer: The process of getting an instant offer through one of these services is 100% free, quick, and easy. Most of the time, you can complete the quote online by inputting a few basic details about your junk car.
All Types of Car: Most junkyards promise to buy junk cars regardless of their make, model, and state, but there are some exceptions. With a junk car buying service, there are no exceptions and you can even get a good price for operational cars.
Cons of Using Junk Car Buyers vs Junkyards
Advertising: You will be asked for your email address and other basic contact information. Once you sell your car for cash, you may be inundated with offers for other services.
Higher Price: Many of the places that buy junk cars through third-party sites can also be contacted directly. And because no one is taking a cut, you're more likely to sell your car for $500 cash (or more!).
Preparing Your Junk Car for Sale
If you run a Google search for terms like "sell my junk car" and "cash for junk cars", the first two pages will be dominated by third-party car buying services. These are the companies that will connect you to buyers and take a cut. They have more money and more of a national reach, and so they tend to perform better when it comes to SEO.
However, you may get more money by working with a junkyard and so both options should be considered.
In either case, the first thing that you should do is remove all personal belongings from the vehicle and strip any custom parts and upgrades, including seat covers and sound systems.
If there are parts under the hood that you need or can sell, you should remove them as well. Companies that buy junk cars will consider the car's parts and you should always be honest about what you have removed, but the amount you get by selling that part privately is always going to be more than the amount offered by a junk car buyer.
Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to learn about the additional steps that you need to take (including what to do with the license plates) and make sure you have the paperwork in order.
Once you complete these simple steps, it's time to sell your junk car for $500 cash!
Sell Your Junk Car Using a Car Buying Service
The great thing about junk car buyers is that you can get a quote in 90 seconds using a simple online form. The first step, therefore, should be to get as many quotes as you can.
You will only need some basic vehicle information and you're not obliged to accept any of the offers.
Use services like CarMax, Peddle, JunkCarMedics, and other such companies to increase your chances of selling your car for $500 cash.
Sell Your Junk Car to a Junkyard
Most junkyards give quotes over the phone and the process is a little more longwinded. However, it's still relatively straightforward and you can get multiple quotes from just 30 minutes of phoning around.
In the first instance, take a look at the junk car buyers near you by searching through this site.
Start phoning the numbers that you find and see what quotes you get.
Be wary of fly-by-night companies. These companies are often owned by individuals and they are established temporarily. They rent a tow truck, promise to buy junk cars near you, and then simply take the vehicle to the junkyard.
As they need to pay for the towing service and earn some cash on the side, they will usually pay a lot less than what you can get elsewhere. They also don't have a reputation to worry about (because they rarely stay in business very long) and so they are more likely to try underhanded tactics.
Finally, it's important to stick with the initial offer.
All reputable companies will provide you with a cash offer for your junk car. That cash offer shouldn't change at any point.
If the tow truck driver appears with a much lower amount, refuse it and go elsewhere. They are hoping that you will accept the offer to avoid contacting more junk car buyers and restarting the process, but don't let them win!
They drove to you. They paid for the tow truck. They will be the ones to lose out if you say no. Remember that, hold your ground, and you'll often find that the rest of the cash will appear before long.
FAQs on How to Sell Your Junk Car for $500
Do I Need to Pay to Offload My Junk Car?
"Cash for junk cars" doesn't mean that you're the one paying the cash! It doesn't matter what the dealer tells you—all cars have an inherent value. The value of a scrap car is always worth more than the cost of a tow truck and collection.
Some companies might insist otherwise, only to tell you that they will pick it up and remove it for free. In such cases, and assuming you're not asking them to travel hundreds of miles, you're being scammed.
The Tow Truck Driver Insists on a Fee, What Should I Do?
There should be no upfront fees, towing fees, or any other hidden fees for selling your vehicle to a junkyard.
Some junkyards might charge a fee, but they are obligated to announce this when they give you the offer and you can refuse at any time.
The Tow Truck Driver Says I Am Obligated to Sell for a Reduced Price, What Should I Do?
Did you sign a contract? Did you accept any cash? If not, you do not have to relinquish your junk vehicle.
The driver is probably trying to scam you and is using pressure tactics to make you agree. Even if you accept an offer over the phone, you don't have to agree when the driver appears. Keep that in mind when they come to pick up the vehicle and offer less cash than you agreed.
Can I Sell Privately?
Selling to a scrap yard or a car buying service is a quick and easy option, but these services may pay less than you can get elsewhere.
After all, that tow truck might be free for you but it's not free for them. They also need to think about making a profit, which means paying less than the market value of the car.
To get the best price when selling your vehicle, you should sell privately. If it's not running, though, you're going to struggle.
Someone might be interested in a few parts, but it's unlikely that they'll also give you the value of the other parts and the scrap metal. You'll probably receive a few lowball offers from people who intend to sell it to a junkyard, and that's all.
Private selling is better suited to operational vehicles that are worth more than their scrap and salvage value.
Who Gives the Best Price for Junk Car?
You might get more money by selling your car directly to a junkyard, as opposed to a car buying service, but as noted above, that's not always the case.
Your location will also play a role. In truth, it's hard to say, and there is no clear answer.
If you want to sell your junk car for $500 or more, you just have to ask around, get several quotes, and sell to the highest bidder.
I Don't Care About $500. How Can I Get More?
If $500 doesn't sound like much money to you and your car is old and broken, you don't really have any other option. There's only so much salvage value and scrap value under the hood. It's a heap of junk metal, not a gold mine.
In such cases, you should consider donating your junk car. There are many charities that accept donated cars and it means your vehicle could help to raise funds for good causes.
How Much Does Cash for Clunkers Pay?
The Cash for Clunkers federal program finished in 2009 and took over 700,000 older vehicles off the road, many of which were given over $1,000 as a trade in value.
The program might return in the future and it continues to operate in California, where you can get between $1,000 and $1,500. The actual amount will depend on your income level.
How Much Does Peddle Pay?
Peddle is a leading nationwide service that buys junk cars for top dollar. It works through a network of car buyers and makes your vehicle available to all of them.
The amount you get will differ considerably depending on the make, model, condition, and more. However, the average seems to be between $200 and $600, so you could sell your car for $500 using peddle.
What Do Junk Car Buyers Do with My Vehicle?
Junk car buyers like Peddle and JunkCarMedics will offer your vehicle to a network of buyers. They will then make offers for your vehicle. Some will seek to repair and resell; others will scrap it for junk.