Many drivers don’t have the experience of selling their cars to a junkyard. It is usually the last place anyone ever thinks about sending a car.

As a result, most people have no idea how to navigate the process. Consequently, they are vulnerable to scams and lose out on profit, or worse. Learn about the things to look out for when seeking a reputable junkyard below.

Car in a junkyard
photo credit: Georgio Trovato / Unsplash

1. Don’t Hand Over the Title Without Signing It

Whenever a vehicle changes ownership, the title must reflect that. This is also the case when you are selling your junk car to a yard. You must do this to avoid being held responsible if something happens to your vehicle while it is the junkyard. For example, if the car is stolen, you will not be contacted — instead, the junkyard will handle it.

Thus, make sure you and the junkyard buyer sign on the title before finalizing the transaction.

2. Don’t Accept a Last Minute Lowball Offer

A reputable and honest junkyard will give you a price and stick to it. In fact, a respectable establishment will be upfront about prices and estimates.

If you call a junkyard and receive a reasonable estimate on the phone but a completely different (lower) offer once you bring in your car, it is best to seek out another company.

3. Look Up Reviews

Online reviews can be incredibly useful for finding an honest scrap yard company to sell your car to.

Both extremely satisfied and unsatisfied customers leave reviews that can help you determine whether a particular business is right for you. Checking these reviews before settling on a scrap yard to sell your car to can help to avoid a scam.

4. Watch Out for Bounced Checks

Today, the majority of businesses use cash and electronic point-of-sale systems rather than checks. These methods of cash exchange mean you can get your money right away without visiting a bank.

A company that uses check isn’t necessarily a scam — plenty of reputable businesses still employ them for payment — but you should look up reviews online before proceeding. You don’t want to get paid with a check that will bounce.

5. Ask About Hidden Fees

No one appreciates hidden fees. A reputable junkyard will be straightforward about all the fees associated with selling your vehicle to them.

These hidden fees are often associated with towing: a company might charge for towing, but not tell you about it until after your car has already been towed. As a result, it’s essential to ask about all fees upfront before committing to any junkyard.

Junkyard
photo credit: Kelly Lacy / Pexels

6. Check How Weight is Measured

The primary way that junk yards determine how much to pay for your scrap metal is by weighing it. However, not everyone follows the same procedures for weighing and it is easy to get scammed if you are unsure about what is actually being weighed and how.

Scrap metal is typically weighed in tons. However, there are several types of tons that have slightly different measurements. For instance, a short ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds while a metric ton is 2,204.6 pounds.

Make sure you understand which unit of measurement a junkyard uses for your vehicle so that you don’t lose out on money.

7. Don’t Accept Coupons as Payment

While coupons and discounts can be a nice incentive for future purchases, receiving them instead of the promised cash is infuriating. Offering coupons in place of payment is no way to run a business and you should not accept this kind of offer.

8. Don’t Get Pressured into Accepting an Offer

If a junkyard is pressuring you into accepting any kind of offer, you should view this as a red flag. Great businesses know that customers need time to consider their options and have their questions answered. Don’t let anyone pressure you into settling for an offer that you are not comfortable with.

9. Ensure You Aren’t Being Charged for Towing

Not all junkyards offer towing, especially for free. However, a respectable company will be fully transparent about their towing price and offers.

Before committing to a junkyard, make sure you inquire about towing charges to avoid surprise fees.

10. Make Sure That Junk Yard Has a License

In some states, a junkyard can operate without a license. However, working with one that has gone through the process of obtaining one can be much more reliable than one that has decided against it.

Holding a license helps to keep the company responsible and accountable. Thus, you can place greater trust in a junkyard that has a valid and active license.