Complete Guide of How to Sell a Broken Down Car for Cash

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Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

There are few things that can ruin your mood more quickly than a car that breaks down on the side of the road or worse, in the middle of traffic. You might have had a feeling it was coming or you might not have any indication at all that anything was wrong — either way you’re now stuck with a broken-down car. What do you do next?

When you’re faced with the sudden realization that you’re dealing with a potentially large repair bill or perhaps even worse it feels like a hit below the belt. Everyone feels like this in these kinds of situations — it’s normal. The best thing to do is to not panic, but instead, consider all of your options carefully before moving forward with an action plan.

Below we’re going to look at all of your potential options and what you’ll need to think about along the way. It might feel like you’re in a bad spot right now, but if you go through the right steps you can minimize the financial impact on your pocketbook and clear your mind of worry.

What to Do with a Broken Down Car?

One of the first things to remember when you’re hit with a broken-down car out of the blue is to make sure you don’t attempt to step out into traffic. Make sure it’s safe to get out of your vehicle before doing so.

If you’re in the middle of a busy interstate, it might be best to call for a tow truck and just wait in your car. Each situation is different but always think safety first after breaking down. Deciding whether to sell your broken-down car for cash will wait until you’re safely out of the way of traffic.

There are dozens of options for having your vehicles towed. Thee include:

  • Manufacturer’s roadside assistance plans
  • AAA membership
  • Private towing company
  • Friend or family member with a towing vehicle

Whichever option you choose just be sure to use a reputable towing company. You should never have a friend pull you with a makeshift hook up using a chain. It’s not safe and it’s not legal. It might end up costing you a lot more money in fines or cause further damage to your vehicle. 

Next steps for Broken Down Vehicles

If you’re mechanically inclined, you might want to do the repairs yourself and have your car towed home and that’s fine. For the rest of us, it’s best to have the car towed right to a mechanic, so you don’t have to pay for a tow a second time — that places unnecessary extra stress on you in a situation that’s already stressful enough. 

What to Do Before Trying to Sell Broken Down Cars?

Before you consider a trade for cash at a junkyard for your broken car or any kind of private sale, you’ll want to be sure the vehicle isn’t salvageable. If it’s a newer vehicle, check your warranty first — if the repairs are covered and you don’t have to pay nada then you don’t have anything to worry about. 

If your car is out of warranty and/or the repair bill exceeds the value of the car and you’re positive that it’s time to “sell my broken down car” before a junkyard or used car dealership will buy it, you’ll need to have all of the paperwork in order. Selling a broken-down car can actually be a bit complicated, so here’s a quick overview of what you may need in hand for the sale. 

The Ownership Title

If you don’t have proof that you’re the owner of a vehicle you can’t consider selling a broken car. That can be a problem if you’re still making car payments. In many states, the lender continues to hold onto the title of the vehicle until you’ve paid for it in full.

If the car you drive is in another family member’s name they will have to take care of the sale process as transferring the ownership to you now wouldn’t make a lot of sense if it’s being junked. 

In many cases, you may be the sole owner of the car, but you’ve misplaced your ownership. You’ll need to head on over to the DMV and get a new one before you can move forward with selling a broken car

Verification that the Vehicle’s Paid Off

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or email us at

Receive a guaranteed highest-priced quote for your junk car from the best junk car buyer by filling out the form online.

We’re open Mon-Fri: 8 am - 8 pm, Sat: 8 am - 3 pm

The majority of states require that you prove there are no existing liens on your vehicle before you attempt to sell it. If you’ve only recently paid off your vehicle, you may not have payment verification yet. You’ll need to reach out to them and obtain one before you can get cash for broken-down cars from a junkyard or anyone else.

Proof of Current Insurance

While it’s not the case in every state, some do require that you have insurance before you try to sell a broken-down vehicle — even one you’re not currently driving. You’ll need proof of insurance before you can continue with the sale.

An Odometer Disclosure Form

Usually, when you sell a car, you note the odometer on the title. If you weren’t able to do that for some reason, you could obtain something called an Odometer Disclosure form. Either option is perfectly okay in the eyes of the law. 

Damage Disclosure Form

If your vehicle’s ever been in an accident, you should always disclose that when selling it. If the damage repair bill was more than 25% of the car's value, you’re legally obligated to disclose that information. Even when it isn’t, it’s always in your best interest to be open and honest with any potential buyer — even a junkyard.

An Optional Bill of Sale

You’re not necessarily required to make up a bill of sale when you sell a broken-down car, but it’s always a good idea to include one. It gives you added protection and prevents any misunderstandings. Be sure to include both parties' information and all of the relevant information, such as the date of sale and the price being paid for the car.

How to Calculate a Broken Car’s Worth?

Let’s assume you’re familiar with the paperwork process and you’re confident you have everything in order. That means you can sell your used car without any hassles right? Only if you’ve done your homework first and know where to start. Having a strong idea of what your junk car is worth will make you better prepared to negotiate the sale at a fair price for you.

Used Car Price Guides

These days it’s actually pretty easy for anybody to figure out the value of their used vehicle themselves using a variety of online tools available to them. In the US two of the most common are the Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds.

Both help consumers price their car and arrive at a smarter decision when selling a car — even if it is just for junk. Remember, when using these sites you should always take into account the cost of any repairs you’ve decided to move forward with before the sale. 

Kelley Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book is easily the best known consumer pricing guide for used vehicles. Their site is continuously updated to add new models and it allows the user to enter a variety of possible options such as make and model to make sure the information they receive is as accurate as possible. They’ll even break the information down by state if you enter a zip code.

Edmunds Car Reviews and Pricing

Edmunds is a little bit different from the Kelley Blue Book site. They provide much of the same information, but their estimates are built with the consumer in mind. For this reason, the results can be a bit different as Kelley Blue Book was designed primarily as a tool for dealers. If you want to work out the most accurate value possible as a private seller, you’ll probably be better off using Edmunds. 

How to Calculate Scrap Metal Value

Scrap Metal value is based on tonnage. Essentially, the more your car weighs, the more you’ll get. The problem is that most of us have no idea what our cars weigh. If you look around you’ll find sites that offer online calculators for figuring out how much the scrap value of your vehicle is, but it’s a pretty straightforward calculation. Insurance companies, as a general rule price totalled cars (scrap) at around 25% of their value give or take — so about 10% to 30% is the most you’ll get for a car that’s due to be scrapped. 

Who Buys Broken Down Cars?

Now that you’ve done all of the background work, you have your paperwork in order and you have a good idea of what your junk car is worth, it’s time to figure out where you can go that will take it off your hands.

How to sell a broken car

Sure, you can take your used car to any local junkyard, but be aware that they are always going to try and negotiate the lowest price possible — the best option is JunkCarsUs. We take away the aggravation of selling a junk car and make the process as simple as possible.

You can contact us online and have your car removed the same day. JunkCarsUs always has expert customer service reps on standby that will offer you the best price possible, not the lowest price possible. We’ll even take care of the paperwork for you.

When you’re ready to finalize the sale, we’ll come to pick up the vehicle at your home with cash in hand and that’s all included in the offer price — there are no hidden fees. Contact us today through our website or by calling us at (855) 547-1550.


What do I need to sell my broken car?

Before selling your vehicle, you should take care of certain matters. First and most obvious, you need the ownership title to prove the car is yours. Second, the verification that the vehicle is paid off. Also, you require proof of insurance, a damage disclosure form, and an odometer disclosure form.

How can I tow my broken car?

There are multiple ways to get your damaged car towed. You can ask for the help of a friend or relative with a towing vehicle. Or, choose between services from an AAA membership or a private towing company. More tips on this question, you will find in the article. Remember that JunkCarsUs can buy your car and tow it for free.

How to find out the real price of my broken car?

Choose from the next options to get the real picture of your broken car. You can use car price guides — Kelley Blue Book or Edmund's car reviews. Also, scrap calculators can give you the price based on the tonnage of your car. Or just contact us, and we will provide you with the estimate for your vehicle.

Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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