How to Sell a Junk Car in California

by Jamie Lisse ; Updated July 27, 2017
Even if it doesn't run, your junk car may earn you some extra cash in California.

If you have a junk car in California from an auto accident that you do not want to keep, sell it on your own. The California Department of Motor Vehicles does not require you to get a salvage title before selling the vehicle. If you sell the vehicle for parts, you do not even need to transfer the title. If you already have a salvage certificate, use it in place of an auto title if you sell the entire car and not just parts.

Step 1

Advertise your junk car for sale in local classified ads such as the “Los Angeles Times,” “San Francisco Chronicle,” the “San Diego Union-Tribune,” eBay Classifieds or Craigslist. Offer to sell the entire car or to sell it for parts. Prices for the ads vary. Include a description of the car and a contact method for prospective buyers. When you sell the entire car, you must sign over the title.

Step 2

Contact a local junkyard or auto salvage yard in your area of California. Often this type of business pays for junk cars. Find a directory of California junkyards on the Junkyards, Salvage Yards or Used Parts Central websites. If your junk car has an engine that works fine, mention this to get more money for the car. When you sell the entire car, you must sign over the title.

Step 3

Use a national junk car buying service to sell your junk car via a salvage yard network. With this service, the vendor picks up the junk car from your home or other location in California so that you do not have to transport or tow it anywhere. Once the vehicle is picked up, you get paid. When you sell the entire car, sign over the title.

Step 4

Complete and submit the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form from the California DMV website (dmv.ca.gov). The form must be completed within five days of selling your junk car so that you are not liable for it any longer. You do not have to pay any type of fee when you submit the form to the address located on it.

About the Author

Jamie Lisse has been writing professionally since 1997. She has published works with a number of online and print publishers. Her areas of expertise include finance and accounting, travel, entertainment, digital media and technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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