Should I Sell My Totaled Car to an Auto Auction? is an independent publisher. You will find affiliate links which means we may earn a commission if you purchase through these links. It doesn't cost you anything & it helps us keep the site running.

Vehicle auctions are a great way to offload salvage vehicles and other junk cars and totaled cars. But is this the best way to find the right car buyer and get the most cash for your total loss vehicle?

Let’s find out.

Selling a Total Loss Vehicle to an Auction

Insurance companies are the ones who decide whether a vehicle is a total loss or not. They are the ones who apply for the salvage certificate, and if you have adequate coverage, they will also give you money for your totaled car.

However, if you have a wrecked car that isn’t insured, an auto auction is a good option.

Auto auctions are attended by private car buyers and car dealers. The former are looking for vehicles to fix up, often so they can be resold but also so they can be kept and driven.

A car dealer, on the other hand, just wants to make a profit. It may salvage the vehicle for parts or repair it and resell it.

It’s cheaper to find these buyers directly, because that way you don’t have to account for their margin as well as your profit, and you can also avoid the auction fees and other charges.

However, if you don’t have the time to deal with online marketplaces, an auction is a good option to have. It’s quicker, easier, and you’ll also get near to the value of your vehicle.

Other Options for Selling a Salvage Car

There are other options for selling your totaled vehicle. Some are easier and some will get you more cash, but all are pretty straightforward.

Junk Car Buyers

The process for selling to a junkyard is straightforward and completely hassle-free. They will take any total loss vehicle, regardless of the damage, make, model, condition, and worth. The junkyard will salvage the car for parts and then scrap it for metal.

They will send a tow truck to pick up your vehicle and the tow truck driver will hand over a cash payment. You can get rid of your car and get a cash payment in return.

Not only don’t you need to worry about paying for a tow company or stripping the valuable parts, but you’ll also get a payment to go toward another purchase.

We have listed all of the best junk car companies on this site. Just find the one nearest to you, give them a call, and see what they can offer you.

Private Buyers

As noted above, a private buyer will pay more than an auction or a junkyard.

They’re not really interested in the scrap metal market or the value of your parts and just want something that they can repair and get back on the road.

However, you will need to assess the value of your vehicle, spend time listing it, and then deal with all the information requests and offers.


Take your car to a dealership and you can swap it for a cash payment or trade it in for a new vehicle. You won’t get the most money for your totaled car, but it’s a relatively pain-free process.