The time has finally arrived. You’ve been driving that old clunker for years, hoping to squeeze out just a few more miles before getting rid of it. However, the vehicle has finally died; now you and it have to part ways.

It can be somewhat traumatic to let go of an old vehicle, even one that doesn’t run anymore. After all, it can feel like you are getting rid of a good friend.

However, before you completely say goodbye, you will want to take a few important steps. These steps can enable you to recover some of the cost of the vehicle. They may also make it a bit easier to part ways with your “old friend.”

1. Take Some Quality Pictures

This is a good first step before doing the rest of the things listed in this article. Why? For one thing, you may need pictures of your vehicle intact before you try to sell some of its parts, have it picked up for salvage, or claim it as a tax write-off.

Besides those practical reasons, you may want to have some pictures of your car for sentimental value. No doubt, you have some good memories you made with that vehicle. Just think of all the stories you’ll be able to tell your kids and grandkids about the adventures you had with it! When you’re able to reflect on those good memories by looking back at some pictures of the vehicle, you’ll be glad you still have the photos to remind you.

2. Strip the Car Before Scrapping It

Even if your old car doesn’t run anymore, there are probably many valuable parts that you would do well to remove before getting rid of it. You may want to reuse these parts in another vehicle you own. Or you may be able to give them away or even sell them for some extra cash.

Here are some examples of parts to consider removing:

  • Batteries
  • Engine parts
  • Specialty accessories
  • Headlights and taillights
  • Stereo and speaker equipment

3. Locate a Free Vehicle Pick-up Service

Many junkyards, salvage yards, and other similar companies offer a free vehicle pick-up service for old cars that are no longer needed. In most cases, all you have to do is call the company or visit its website to request a pick-up. These companies may be able to make a few bucks off the vehicle by selling it for scrap metal or other parts. For that reason, they probably won’t charge you anything to haul it away.

4. Get a Tax Receipt

Believe it or not, your old clunker just may be worth something in terms of a tax write-off. There are many charities that accept donations of used vehicles. These charities may scrap the vehicle for parts or even fix it up and use it for humanitarian relief.

Another option that may be available to you is to donate your old car to a local high school, trade school, or the like. Many of these schools are on the lookout for such vehicles. They use them in training their students how to do auto repairs, body work, and so forth. Donating your car for such purposes may qualify as a tax write-off. Be sure to check with your accountant or other tax professional for expert advice.

Regardless of how the vehicle is used, be sure to get a receipt before handing it over. Otherwise, you will not have proof of the donation for tax purposes.

5. Take Care of Legal Matters

Many states have laws that require you to turn in your license plates when getting rid of an old vehicle. If that is true in your state, it is important that you remove the plates before handing over the keys.

Likewise, you may need to notify the local DMV that the car was junked so that a notation can be made on the title. By squaring up such loose ends now, you can avoid many potential legal problems that might otherwise result later.


These are just a few of the many things to keep in mind when scrapping your junk car, truck, or other vehicle. Bear in mind that there are likely some other considerations you’ll want to go over, as well. So be sure to do your own research on the topic.

When you take the time to do some research and perform steps such as those listed above, you can have peace of mind when letting go of your old ride. You will know that you have done as the saying goes: “Look before you leap.” In other words, you will know that you haven’t been hasty in getting rid of that gas-guzzling junker in your front yard.

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This article was worked on by a variety of people from the Autoversed team, including freelancers, editors, and/or other full-time employees.