Hold On or Let Go? How to Know if Your Car’s Already a Junker

Hold On or Let Go? How to Know if Your Car’s Already a Junker

If you have an old vehicle that you think could be a junker, you may be at a loss for what to do with it. There are many different options, but they depend on your particular car and its condition.

The main question becomes, “When is the right time to cut your losses?” The short answer is when the cons start to outweigh the pros. In some circumstances, this may be easy to see; others could be more difficult.

Fortunately, there are few assessments you can make to help determine if it is time to sell a junk car. Keep reading to find what they are and what choices you have going forward.

How to Know if You Have a Junker

A “junk car” is not simply one that is old or run down. There are several qualifications that your vehicle should meet to be considered a junker.


First, your car must be at least three years old. It can be much older, but the point is that a new car that has, for instance, been in a serious accident, may not qualify. That’s because it can be used for other purposes, including salvaging undamaged parts.


If your older car has serious damage, such as lots of rust or broken axles, this is a good sign that the best option is to junk it. Short of being completely inoperable, another characteristic of junk cars is no one can use them for driving purposes.

Checking the Kelly Blue Book value of your car can help make this determination. If the amount is very low, you may have a junk car on your hands.

Cost of Getting It Running

Finally, if the cost of getting your car back on the road (including meeting all requirements like emissions standards) is much greater than its value, then it may be time to junk it. Also, if the license and registration lapsed years ago, consider those costs to getting your car back on the road.

State Laws

Note that some states have certain criteria you must meet before classifying a car as a junker. They are usually some version of the ones discussed, but you may want to investigate local laws to find out the specifics.

What to Do With a Junker

The good news is that, even if you determine your vehicle is a junk car, there are plenty of options for it. The most common use of junk cars is to sell them for parts or scrap metal.

If you have basic car information handy, you can get free quotes from various salvage yards, to get a ballpark figure of what you may be able to get for your vehicle. You can search for many different businesses in your area that are willing to pay for junkers.

Some may even pay cash for junk cars. Others may provide junk car removal, which can be important if you cannot drive or otherwise transport the car yourself.

Learn More About What to Do With Your Junker

Now that you have an idea of what constitutes a junker, you can decide the best course of action for yours. Remember to ask about the cost of junk car pick up, so that you can get the most bang for your buck.

We hope this information was helpful to you. If so, be sure to check out some of our other posts on lifestyle, travel, technology, and many other topics.


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