How to Get Rid of an Old Car

Considering the scrapyard? Here are seven smarter ways to offload a set of wheels that have seen better days.

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Shaking hands
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Trade in your old car

It’s a dilemma that every car owner will ultimately face. You’re itching to explore options on a shiny new model, but don’t know the best way to get rid of your old car. The simplest way to offload your daily driver is to trade it in when you buy your new car. You won’t get top dollar, but the dealer will take it off your hands, and the money you get could lower your car payments going forward. (Psst—this is the best time to buy a new car.)

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Best way to get rid of a car - old rusted clunker
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Restore your vintage vehicle

If your old car is a classic, why not restore it to its former glory? Since there are a limited number of old cars out there, the value of quality classic vehicles could go up substantially in the years to come. And if you do a good job, you could end up with a vehicle that is both valuable and fun to drive.

Looking for restoration inspiration? Check out the amazing before-and-after transformation of this 1952 Studebaker.

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For sale sign on car windshield
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Sell your car privately

There’s always the option of selling your old car privately, whether through a buy-and-sell site, classified ads or social media. Just be honest about its problems and set a fair price—you can’t expect to get top dollar for a car that will need constant repairs.

In the meantime, try to avoid these expensive mistakes that devalue your car.

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Row of new cars at dealership
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Take your car to a consignment lot

Want to get rid of your old car hassle-free? A consignment lot may be the option for you. All you do is drive it to the lot, park it in the assigned space and let the lot owner do the rest. In exchange, the dealer will take a commission when the car sells and send you the balance.

Find out exactly how much dealers make on the sale of a new car.

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Black car for sale
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Sell your car to a dealer

If the consignment route isn’t for you, there’s the option of selling your vehicle outright. Many used car dealers specialize in buying private vehicles, fixing them up and reselling them for a profit. You may even be able to get an estimate online by entering a few key details about your vehicle.

Here’s what happens to the cars that never get sold.

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Best way to get rid of a car - sell for car parts
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Sell your car for parts

Even if your car is no longer in great mechanical shape, the parts in it may still be valuable. Selling your car for parts could yield more than you might think, so don’t write off this option. Just call the local auto-recycling centre, provide the make, model and year of your car, and see how much they will give you.

On the market for parts yourself? Here are six great online sources for classic car parts.

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Handing over car keys
Robert Kneschke /

Donate your car

If none of the previous options work for you, don’t panic. There are plenty of charities that take donations of cars, then auction them off or sell them to raise much-needed funds. You will even get a receipt for tax purposes so you can write off the value of the donation when you file your return. Donating to a charity helps you both get rid of your old car and help a worthy cause.

Now that you know the best ways to get rid of an old car, learn how to spot the signs your car is about to die.

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