Not every vehicle is salvageable for a proper sale or continued ownership. Junking a car is often the best and only solution, especially if it’s been stationary for a long period of time. But what happens when there’s no longer a title to that car? Whether it’s an inherited vehicle that came with a property, or one that just doesn’t start anymore, there is usually some way to junk a car without a title.
Can you junk a car without a title?
The short answer is yes, but not everywhere. For the states that don’t allow a car to be junked without registration, it’s mainly an effort to protect against fraud and theft. If you’re hard up for cash, junkyards could potentially pay between $250 and $500 per vehicle, which is where theft and fraud come into play. A stolen car (no matter how old or decrepit) could fetch some serious cash when junked.
California has a very strict policy, and you are required to purchase a new title for the car unless you simply want to sell it for parts (which potentially won’t lead to as much of a cash benefit at the end). In Florida, it’s possible to junk a car without a title if the seller meets a few guidelines. And in Texas, especially major cities like Houston or Dallas, if the original owner of the vehicle is no longer alive or in possession of the title, a power of attorney is necessary before you can junk the car without a title.
To locate a place that will junk your car without a title, search for salvage garages in your immediate area. There are lists of garages on the web that even offer online appraisals of your car once all the information and photos have been uploaded.
How to get rid of a junk car without a title
Junking a car without a title is a state-specific, and even region-specific, choice. There are states in which all you’ll need is proof of registration (even if it’s expired) as long as your name and address matches that of the registration. Even if you don’t have that, there are options. Let’s look at how you can get rid of a junk car without a title.
Get a new title
There are a few ways to obtain the title for a car that you want to junk. Of course, if you are the original owner you can simply head to the DMV with your ID and registration (even if it’s expired) and obtain a new title for the vehicle in question. If you are not the original owner, it’s possible to obtain a title but you will need to provide additional information about the vehicle and yourself, such as:
- A bill of sale with the purchase price
- Odometer disclosure statement
- Loan information, if you borrowed money to purchase the vehicle
If you have inherited a vehicle from a family member who has passed away, you simply need to head to the DMV and provide all your personal information and fill out a transfer form and submit a copy of the death certificate.
Contact a junkyard and ask about their process
The best thing to do is contact the junkyards in your area and ask what their process is when it comes to junking a car without a title. Some will ask for specific paperwork, like proof of registration (even if it’s expired), a bill of sale or sometimes all they require is your ID and a valid driver’s license.
But it’s important to call ahead and ensure you have all the necessary paperwork lined up, as this will vary by state.
Search for junkyards that buy cars without titles
The internet really does make things easier sometimes. If you want to find out which junkyards in your immediate area will junk a car without a title, simply search for it. Almost all salvage garages will advertise if they purchase vehicles for scrap or junking with or without a title. And if they don’t, they will more often than not list the requirements they need in order for you to junk a car without a title with them.
Sell off valuable parts
It’s almost strange that garages would be more willing to buy individual parts from a seller as opposed to the entire vehicle, but such is often the case when you have a car without a title. Selling off your vehicle part-by-part might not seem ideal, but it could be the best solution if you no longer have a title in a state with strict requirements. You still own the vehicle and can benefit from the parts it has that may be salvageable. Research salvage lots and garages in your area and provide as many details about your vehicle as you can to ensure the sale of as many parts of your car as you can.
If you happen to have a rare vehicle model—a classic that is highly sought after in the salvage/restoration world—it might be a good idea to consider selling off valuable parts as opposed to junking the vehicle entirely. There’s a possibility you could sell certain parts of your classic car for more than you would get for junking it.
It is much easier to remove the shell and/or random scrap bits of a vehicle from your property than it is an entire vehicle. If you manage to sell off all your vehicle’s most valuable parts and are simply left with a frame and wheels, you can easily have those picked up by your local garbage company and brought to an appropriate ecological dump site.
Donate your car to charity
Another option to consider when you have a car you want to junk without a title is to donate it to charity. This has no monetary return for the owner, but it could help others down the road. Your donation may also be eligible for a tax write-off. If your car sells for less than $500, typically no additional paperwork is required. If it sells for more than $500 but less than $5,000, you should be able to claim the full sale amount using IRS forms 1098-c or 8283. Deductions over $5,000 may still be claimed, but you may need a written appraisal in addition to the forms. As always, seek advice from a licensed tax professional.
If your vehicle is on blocks, it’s still a viable donation as it could be used for parts for other vehicles that are donated to charity. To see how to donate your car to charity, search online for local car charity donation organizations in your area.
Junk car without title or registration FAQs
Do I need to notify DMV if I junk my car?
Yes. The DMV requires documentation any time a car is traded, donated or sold—including to a junkyard. Even if you don’t have a title, provide the VIN.
Can i junk a car with expired registration?
Usually, yes. Proof of ownership typically matters more to junkyards than registration status. Some states do require that you return your license plates to the DMV, however, and upon doing so you may be required to pay any outstanding fees. Since rules vary by state, a reputable local junkyard should be able to guide you.
Can I junk a car if the title is not in my name?
It depends on the state. In some, you may be able to do so without taking any other action. Others may require you to get a new title in your name from the DMV. For example, if you wanted to junk a car inherited from a deceased relative, the DMV may ask for a death certificate and require a transfer form. In other states, such as Texas, you may only need to show that you had power of attorney.
Can I get cash for a junk car without title?
Yes. If you live in a state where doing so is legal, a cash payment is almost certainly an option. Many junkyards prefer to deal in cash to avoid excessive paperwork, processing times and credit card transaction fees.
Where can I sell a junk car without title?
A quick online search for junkyards in your area should turn up several options. Most will offer a quote either over the phone or online if you can provide the year, make, model and answer a few questions about the car’s condition. Many will even offer to pick the car up and pay cash on the spot.
When it comes to junking a car without a title, it’s not always an easy process. However, there are valid organizations that will do the job if you’re willing to provide some information about how you obtained the vehicle and came to be the current owner. It’s also a decent way to gain some funds if you have an old clunker lying around that you know will never hit the streets again.