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Trade-in or Scrap: Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Rid of Your Old Car

Old car
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Getting rid of your old car might not be as straight forward as it might seem. Choosing between trading in, scrapping, or donating your car can be a tricky question to answer. Many regions such as the EU have strict environmental regulations regarding disposing off old cars, while some have made it illegal to get paid when scrapping a vehicle. You also need to make sure that the new owner isn’t some rogue who leaves you liable for penalties such as speeding tickets (or in the worst case scenario criminal activities).

This post discusses the few options you have when you want to get rid of your old. Whether you are ready for buying a new car or already have one in the garage, getting rid of the old one depends on different factors. These include your own preferences, local and federal regulations, and the vehicle itself. Let’s get started with the different options and pros and cons of each.

Selling or Trade-in

Trading in or selling your old car might seem like a daunting task, but it’s probably the best option, especially if the vehicle is in good running condition. In most countries trading in a car involves selling it directly to a dealership, which puts the worth of your old car towards the price of a new car. The dealership offers you a specific amount for your old car and waives off that amount from the purchase price of a new car. It’s also very convenient to just go to a dealership and accept whatever they offer so you don’t have to pay the full price of a new car.

Looks like a win-win situation right? But it’s not as straight forward as it seems. Car dealers might be making more money from trade in old cars than you think. They know most people don’t like to deal with the hassle of selling their old car. That’s why selling a car on your own gets you the best price compared to dealerships, which usually offer much lower than the actual price. It’s up to you to choose between the hassle and time involved in selling a car privately or getting a lower price for convenience.


Depending on the condition of your car and your own situation, handing over your old car to a scrapyard is sometimes the only option of getting rid of an old vehicle. However, junking a car is not as bad as most of us perceive it to be. You put your car in the junk pile inside a junkyard/junk wreck where it is stripped down and crushed to the smallest possible size.

Junking your car is good for the environment, especially when there is no life left in it. It’s also safe as you don’t have to worry about handling the toxic substances present in vehicles such as mercury, acids, antifreeze, etc. Since wreck yards are equipped to handle such toxic substances, you don’t have to worry about disposing of them yourself. No matter how small, you can still make some money when junking your old car. However, make sure to double check the local regulations before accepting any cash for the metal junk.

Junking is the simplest and easiest way of disposing off your old vehicle as most companies will tow the vehicles themselves from your home. However, use junking as the last resort after exhausting all other options such as repairing, trading in or selling, and donating. Junking is a better option if the cost of repairs (and expected future repairs) exceeds the loan payment of a new car (plus the time and energy needed to do these repairs).


Donating your old car might be a better option if it isn’t worth much, but still in running condition. Not only you are doing some good in this world, but you are also making someone’s life a bit better. There also exist a number of organizations that take your old car and donate the money obtained from selling it to charities.

The best option in this regard would be to donate it to someone you personally know, who should have some improvement in his/her life. However, make sure to do a background check before giving away your car to someone, and ensure all the paperwork is done so you don’t have to face the heat if something goes wrong.

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