Best Ways to Sell a Car that Won't Run

Best Ways to Sell a Car that Won't Run

Sign Up to get great deals for cars!

Subscribe to our blog that will make you look like an expert dealer.

We've all been there. You walk out to your car, hop inside, and when you turn the key, it won't start. Maybe the starter springs into action, and the engine turns over, but it never fires up. Or perhaps nothing happens at all, leaving you stranded when you need to drive to work. 

There could be several reasons why a vehicle doesn't start and run. It might be a fix as simple as replacing your battery. But it also could be something more serious like engine problems that cost thousands of dollars to repair. 

What happens when after considering your options, you've decided on selling a car that does not run? Let's look at the details of how to sell a non-working car.

No items found.

How to sell or trade in a car

When you decide to offload your old vehicle, typically, you have two options: sell it privately or make a trade-in. 

When you sell your vehicle to a private buyer, you typically net top dollar. But a private sale can be a time-consuming hassle, with the need to take pictures, post advertisements, and answer phone calls from prospective buyers. 

And even once you finish those tasks, you'll still need to agree on a sales price, meet the buyer in a public place for pickup, and take care of necessary documentation like signing a bill of sale and transferring the title. 

On the other hand, trading in your old car is straightforward and convenient. All that's required is contacting your reseller of choice, deciding whether or not to accept their offer, then using the funds as a down payment on your next vehicle. Though trading in usually brings less money than a private sale, it's a painless transaction that saves you time. 

Trading in can also save you money on sales tax. Many states only charge sales tax on the remaining amount once you subtract the trade-in value from the purchase price. This vital benefit can save you thousands of dollars, keeping essential money for your other monthly obligations in your bank account. 

Whichever option you choose, visiting online resources like Shift's free estimate calculator can help you determine a fair price for your car.

Although buying a new vehicle can be fun, selling your old one can be a hassle. Shift makes selling your used car easy. All you'll have to do is enter the make, model, year, and mileage on Shift's easy-to-use website, and you'll instantly receive a purchase offer that's valid for seven days. You can get a fair offer, better than at the dealership, driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. And with Shift, there is no need to spend the extra time waxing and washing the car. A little dirt will not affect the quote, and we fully detail the cars ourselves anyway before listing them for sale. When you're ready to pick out your next vehicle, Shift's easy-to-use website has a wide selection of fully inspected cars located across the country. The website is user-friendly, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget.

Common reasons a vehicle won't run

When your car doesn't start and run, it could be a simple issue costing a small amount of money to fix or a more serious one needing days spent in a repair shop.

If your car doesn't start, it could be as minor as needing a new battery. The battery in your vehicle begins the startup process, and when it's out of energy or needs replacement, nothing happens when you turn the key. If you bring your battery to a local auto parts store, they can run tests and determine if you need a new one.

For your battery to maintain a charge and work properly, the alternator must be functioning correctly. A belt connected to the engine runs your alternator, continuously charging the battery while you drive. If the alternator breaks, your battery slowly drains, leaving it with no power to start your vehicle. 

If improperly maintained, the engine on a car can develop problems over time. Not following recommended service intervals or driving a vehicle in harsh conditions can increase wear and tear and cause the engine to suffer from different issues. Not changing the oil frequently enough could lead to the engine seizing, or failing to change out spark plugs and filters could cause it to malfunction. 

When your engine doesn't start due to something as simple as the battery, it probably makes sense to install a new one and keep driving your current vehicle.

But when your car doesn't run due to serious engine issues, weighing whether or not the repairs fit your budget can help determine if you should sell it.

4 ways of selling a car that does not run

1. Sell it privately

When you decide on selling a junk car that does not run, you might want to advertise it and sell it privately. When you sell to a private party, being honest about your vehicle's condition helps develop trust with potential buyers, increasing your chances of making the sale. Aside from making it clear that the car won't start, you can also emphasize its good qualities, like unique options or an excellent finish. 

2. Sell your vehicle to a scrapyard

If you simply can't find a buyer when attempting to sell a car that does not run, contacting a junkyard may be a worthwhile option. With today's strong demand for used vehicles, junkyards buy them in large numbers, no matter their condition. If you decide to accept a junk car buyer's offer, they'll sometimes provide free towing from your location.

3. Part out your car

Sometimes offloading your vehicle piece by piece nets you additional funds than a traditional sale. Specific vehicles might have rare parts or are in high demand, and you could stand to score extra cash if that's the case. But before you sell your vehicle part by part, you'll need to remove each piece, clean it, photograph it, and post classified ads on websites like craigslist or eBay. 

4. Donate your vehicle to charity

If your car's in such poor condition that you can't find a buyer, or you'd like to support a good cause, donating it could be the option for you. Many organizations across the U.S. accept used vehicle donations and will often pick them up for free. And in addition to helping the charity of your choice, you'll receive a tax deduction. 

Though buying a used car can save you thousands, how can you know you're getting the best deal? Shift offers fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. And Shift's certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every car and have complete vehicle history reports, so you know your used car feels as good as new. Whether you need something economical like a Honda Fit or the utility of a pickup truck or an SUV, Shift has what you need.

2018 Kia Sedona (from $21,500)

2018 Kia Sedona (from $21,500)
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test DrivesButton Text
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Kia Sedona
2018 Kia Sedona (from $21,500)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Kia Sedona
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

2010 Scion xB (from $9,950)

2010 Scion xB (from $9,950)
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Scion xB
2010 Scion xB (from $9,950)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Scion xB
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.
Author
Shift Editorial Team