If you look around the streets and freeways of Houston you’ll see plenty of sleek luxury automobiles and big hunky SUVs but you’ll also find that the Space City has its fair share of junk cars cruising or clunking down the road.
Maybe you’re driving one.
Now the definition of junk car or clunker will vary depending on the opinion of the driver. One man’s bucket of bolts may be seen as cheap reliable transportation by another. Ironically, the owner of the “worthless bucket of bolts” with the body damage and busted AC will try to get a premium price when he goes to sell it while the driver who considers it “reliable transportation” will want to pay as little as possible to enhance the “cheap” feature.
While horse trading is a proud part of the Texas culture many folks would prefer to avoid it altogether because they don’t like to haggle or they simply don’t have the time that it takes. If you are one of those folks, keep reading and we will give you some tips on how to sell or buy a clunker with minimum hassle.
Then there are the cars and trucks that are true “junkers.” These are the vehicles that have given up the ghost and there is no reasonable way to get them running again. If you own one of these beauties and you want the complaints from the neighbors to stop or redo the décor of your driveway you’ll be happy to learn that your junk car still has some value.
How to Sell, Buy, Tear Apart or Give Away a Junk Car in Houston
The big fear for both buyers and sellers is financially
driven; they worry that they will sell too cheap or pay too much. While “selling too cheap or paying too much” is a subjective issue, there are things you can do that will instill some self-confidence and minimize the risk of not getting or paying what the vehicle is worth.
Selling A Clunker
Believe it or not, selling a clunker is the easiest of the three “junk car” transactions. It starts with educating yourself on the value of your make and model in your (Houston’s) marketplace. Kelly Blue Book, Autobytel, and Edmunds are three of the better online resources (providing you are honest in your evaluation of the car’s condition) to find a ballpark price.
Once you have that you have the choice to use the car as a trade in or sell it outright to a used car dealer. If you go the trade in route, get a firm quote on both the trade in and new car price and then see what you can get for your car at a used car dealer. New car dealers tend to play with trade in values.
All used car dealers are not the same and you’ll need to shop your car around a bit. Of course we encourage you to send in a quote to BrokenVehicles.com, and we’ll get you the best offer for your clunker.
Buying A Cheap Car
This one is trickier because the Texas Lemon Law doesn’t apply to used vehicles. Just like selling a clunker, you want to use the online resources to learn the value of the make and model you are interested in. You are also going to want to use at least two services like CarFax and Auto Check to get the history of the car you are interested in. You’ll also want to use the NHTSA’s safercar.gov site to see if the vehicle has any outstanding recall repairs which is particularly important given the massive Takata air bag and GM ignition problems of recent years.
The more you know the better deal you can make.
Goodbye Bucket of Bolts
The key to getting rid of a junker is to make sure it has four inflated tires. It doesn’t have to run but it does have to be towable. If you have a flat tire get it repaired otherwise that bucket is going nowhere.
Junk yards, now mostly called automotive recycling centers, will buy your car for parts. Some will come and pick up your car, others will require you to have it towed. Sometimes the higher price offer made by the “on site” buyer more than offsets the cost of the tow.
If you can use a tax deduction for a charitable contribution there are several charities in the Houston area that will happily pick up your clunker (with four inflated tires) and give you a receipt for the donation (minimum is $500).
If you’re in the selling market for a car worth $10,000 or less and you have questions, give us a call today or fill out our “free quote” form and we will be happy to help you out.