How should we get rid of this old car?
June 26, 2021 1:02 PM   Subscribe

We have an old car that hasn’t been driven in months. What is the best way to get rid of it?

This car is nearly 20 years old, it needs thousands of dollars of repair according to a mechanic. At one point it had been in a serious accident. It hasn’t been driven in months.

What is the best way to get rid of it? I’d rather not try to jump it and drive it anywhere even if that would be possible. There are websites I won’t link to which claim to buy any car and come get it. Donating it might also be an option. Is it worth keeping to use as a trade in? We don’t have immediate plans to buy a car but might within 3-6 months. I don’t expect to get much of anything for it but an option that gives me something would be preferable.

I’m in New Jersey if that affects anything.

Thanks in advance.
posted by cali59 to Work & Money (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The American Lung Association.

I donated a car to them a ways back - I couldn’t drive it at that point, but It didn’t matter. They came and picked it up from in front of the house.
posted by instead of three wishes at 1:15 PM on June 26, 2021

Donating it to a public radio station or something like that would probably be your path of least resistance. They'll haul it away. To trade it in, you'd most likely need to get it into drivable condition (also, if registration or insurance has lapsed, you'd want to renew those to take it on the road).
posted by adamrice at 1:16 PM on June 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You can probably get $200-300 by Craigslisting it in as-is where-is condition or calling a junk yard that will pick it up. I would personally go with the latter route because it takes the least amount of time and effort. Let it become a professional's problem. From your description, it's basically only valuable as scrap metal at this point.
posted by Candleman at 1:23 PM on June 26, 2021 [5 favorites]

Your local fire department might come and take it. They need old cars to train people to use the Jaws of Life.
posted by essexjan at 1:32 PM on June 26, 2021 [4 favorites]

Depends on the brand. I had an old Ford truck that had around 200,000 miles on it when I traded it in for a new Ford truck. The dealer said that Ford req1uired him to give me $2,000 for it. I took it!

Is it still registered and insured? If not, do not take it on the street. My guess is that is it probably worth a couple hundred bucks to someone who wants to part it out and/or for the scrap metal prices.
posted by AugustWest at 1:38 PM on June 26, 2021

When my clients are in this situation, we usually donate to the local public radio station. For the least possible effort, look at the website for Charitable Adult Rides & Services (CARS). As long as the car is towable, has an engine, and you own the title outright, they'll pick up the car. You just designate the non-profit of your choice from a long list.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:40 PM on June 26, 2021

Yeah, the model will determine the value. Something like a Honda Civic that street racers will use for spare parts is surprisingly valuable. PT Cruiser, maybe not.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:44 PM on June 26, 2021

I donated my car to a local program that taught job skills - including mechanics. They were excited to see there were lots of things wrong with it.
posted by kerf at 2:02 PM on June 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have a Mini I just sold today, 15 years old, thousands in repairs needed, check engine light, etc. It runs, I drove it twenty miles yesterday, but the resell isn't worth the repairs. I looked up the blue book value on Edmunds, then signed up on Shift. They estimated a payout of about 60 percent of book based on a car with my age and no issues. The older cars they tend to sell via auction, prices are lower, but the scrutiny is lower too. Took about an hour and a half this morning to do the handoff. Guy came over to test drive it, handed me the estimate, I accepted and they drove it away. Money deposited in 3-4 days. Probably could have gotten another few hundred, but we're moving. Liked the ease of it, and no haggling.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 2:05 PM on June 26, 2021

Best answer: A junkyard or scrapper will pick it up and give you a couple hundred for it, provided the catalytic converter is still there. That's the main part of value in otherwise worthless cars.
posted by neckro23 at 2:47 PM on June 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

We have donated cars to the JDRF because they will pick it up for you and the cause is one that is important to us.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:45 PM on June 26, 2021

If reasonably priced auto auctions are a thing where you are, I would put it in an auction rather than sell to a scrap yard. The most simple solution is to donate it to a non-profit who will haul it away and give you a tax write off. We donated an elderly BMW with engine damage to the local PBS station and they got $3000 for it. The local scrap yards were only willing to pay us a couple hundred. The make and model of the car may determine if you want to get max money or just get rid of the damn thing.
Most auctions have websites with their listings. Take a look and see if it's worth it to you to list it or if you just want to wash your hands of it (aka donate it to a cause).
posted by fiercekitten at 6:06 PM on June 26, 2021

Most? All? Of the “donate a car to charity” places use the same backend company to do the donation. Just pick a charity you like and they will do all the work including scheduling the tow truck. The hardest part I had was getting a copy of the title and notarizing a document or two.
posted by mmascolino at 8:46 PM on June 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We called three junkyards and one offered more money than the other two so that’s what we did. It was more than we thought we would get and no hassle. Thank you all for your advice.
posted by cali59 at 7:25 PM on July 7, 2021

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