Turn your Car into Cash: Four Ways to Monetize your Old Car

Valuable garage space is being used by a car you no longer need. It’s time to take that old car and get some money out of it. You have a few different ways you can turn your car into cash. Keep reading to figure out the best fit for you.

1. Sell it privately. If your old car is in good working condition and you want to get as much money as you can from the sale, privately selling your vehicle is your best option.

Selling your vehicle privately can take a lot of work. Here are the steps you will want to take to get the most out of your sale.

  • Determine a fair price. Using CarFax you can determine the value of your vehicle so you can set a fair asking price. You can also use local ads to see what similar cars are going for so you can know what a fair price would be. It’s a good idea to set your price a little higher than the current price so you can have some negotiation leverage.
  • Gather paperwork. You will need your car’s title to sell your car. You will also need to check with your state’s DMV to determine if other paperwork is necessary. An additional bit of paperwork is your car’s history report. It’s not strictly necessary for selling a car, but it’s helpful to get the best deal on your sale. Ordering a CarFax report to present to potential buyers can help them feel comfortable with the sale. Any additional paperwork you can present to potential buyers (receipts showing your routine care of the vehicle, receipts or manuals for the new sound system or theft deterrent you installed, etc.) will be icing on the cake.
  • Clean the car. If your car has good curb appeal it will sell for more than if it looks like a fix-it-up project. Having the car cleaned and detailed can help impress potential buyers.
  • List the car. Use local classifieds (Facebook Marketplace, eBay Motor, Craigslist, local newspaper marketplace, etc.) to advertise your car. Keep the ad professional. Include all relevant information: make, model, year, mileage, and condition. Photos that are taken in well-lit areas will help your ad catch the attention of buyers.
  • Set up test drives. Calls will start coming in once you list your vehicle. You may get calls from people trying to flip cars or who aren’t fully interested. You should be able to get a sense of serious buyers through their calls or texts. Set up test drives in a safe place you can meet. It doesn’t hurt to bring a friend with you. Let the buyer drive the vehicle, and you can go with them to answer any questions they have.
  • Negotiate. If a buyer is interested, the talk will turn to price. Let them give you an offer if they think your price is too high. Negotiate slowly and communicate clearly. When a final price is reached, determine how the buyer will be paying you, and sign the title and bill of sale. Research your state’s requirements to know specifically what you’ll need to do.

2. Trade it in. If your old car is still in good condition and you are looking for an upgrade, trading in your vehicle to the car dealership is a good option to consider.

If you are buying a new car, typically a dealer will offer you a better discount on your new purchase than what the car would be worth if you sold it to them for cash. This can be a win-win for both of you as you get rid of a vehicle you no longer need but the dealer keeps their inventory full, even after a sale.

To get the best price for your trade-in, you will want to have the car in good condition. Make sure the engine runs well and it can pass all safety inspections. First impressions matter, too, so cleaning the vehicle inside and out would be in your best interest to help you get top dollar.

3. Sell the parts. If your car is no longer working and you don’t have the time, money, or desire to get it to a running condition (or it’s just past its prime), selling the car for parts is one option.

If you choose to sell the parts of your vehicle, you have two ways you could do it. The easiest way is to sell your vehicle to a parts picker. Typically, you can contact the company you wish to work with and they will give you a quote for your vehicle. If you agree to the quoted price, they will often come to pick up the vehicle. They’ll bring a check and take away your car.

If you are handy with automobiles and feel like putting in a little extra work for a little more money, you can pull the parts apart yourself. Tires, wheels, sound systems, axles, lights, and more can prove to be valuable. This will take more work because you’re also responsible for selling each individual part. You can price out parts on online parts marketplaces (where you can buy or sell used car parts) to determine which parts are worth the work.

This is not a task for a beginner. There are safety and environmental concerns that come with pulling apart a vehicle and its engine, including strict guidelines for the disposal and handling of fluids. Only pursue this option if you have the proper training to do so.

After you sell any valuable parts you can contact a salvage yard. They will typically pick up the remainder of the car for free since they can sell the scrap metal from the car’s body.

4. Sell Branded Title Cars to a Rebuilt Title Car Dealership. If your car has been involved in an insurance incident and you’re concerned about the repairs, talk to a dealership that specializes in restored title cars. Maybe it was in a car accident or sustained water damage. These dealerships regularly purchase these types of cars and restore them to good working order.

If you’ve been hanging onto that old car for too long, it’s time to take the leap. And fortunately, no matter what shape it’s in, there are plenty of options for turning your old ride into a financial gain.