How to Dispose of an Old Car? 3 Possible Ways!

Every year, Americans get rid of around 10 million cars. This makes the question, “how do I dispose of my car?” quite common among most car owners.

There are many options when it comes to getting your vehicle off the road — from donating it for scrap metal to selling it online.

But they all have their pros and cons.

Here’s what you need to know about disposing of a car in the most recommended options.

How Do You Dispose of a Car?

Disposing a car safely and properly can be both challenging and easy.

You can choose to sell it, donate it or go for scrap metal recycling.

The method of disposal you choose largely depends on several factors, including:

  • Age of the car
  • Location of the car
  • Type and size of the car
  • The mileage of the car

Older, worn-out cars are most likely to end up in a scrap metal workshop, while newer cars with low mileage are most likely to be resold.

The type of car you have will also determine the best way of disposing of it.

For instance, donating it to a well-suited charity would be the best option if you have a small compact car.

However, if you have an old off-road vehicle or bigger truck with low mileage and good condition, selling it will likely yield better results than other options.

Regarding the location of your car, if you live near a scrap metal recycling plant, then recycling the car stands as the best way to dispose of your car.

In the same way, you’ll try to trade your car even if it’s old and nearly worthless, provided you live near a car dealer.

So, how do these car disposal options work? Let’s find out below.


Selling your car is the first disposal method you’ll think of, mainly because of the apparent reason — handsome monetary returns!

However, selling a car requires time and effort on your part — you may even need to pay someone else to help with the selling process.

Mostly, it’s usually cheaper and faster to sell your used car online than physically looking for a client to buy it.

The online platforms allow car owners to enter their car registration details and mileage before receiving an automated selling price for their vehicle.

Once you have an estimated selling price from different online sites, you can choose one or more to advertise your car for sale.

You’ll part with the advertisement fees, but this is more often cheaper than what you pay brokers or salespeople at physical dealerships.

Potential clients will then contact you and arrange a viewing or test-drive session.

Due to the convenience and transparency of this method, you’re likely going to get a better price for your car online than in person.

As for the physical selling process, you’ll need to place local advertisements about your car and contact as many buyers as possible.

If this is too much work, you can pay a broker to help with finding customers for your car.

Finally, after a buyer decides to purchase it, they will come to see your vehicle and carry out an inspection if necessary.

If everything is satisfactory, both parties sign off on the deal and proceed with payment (cash or bank transfer).


If your car is in good shape and you want to get rid of it without too much hustle and strain of finding a client, then you should consider donating it.

A charity organization will be grateful to take your vehicle, and they’ll use it either as an educational tool or a form of public transport for those who can’t afford it.

The charity can also sell the car and use the proceeds from its sales to fund their activities.

The car must be in good shape, and the charity will ask for all documents that prove it (registration, service history, etc.).

They might also come to inspect your vehicle before accepting it as a donation.

If you are not sure where to donate your car, get in touch with the local authorities. They will have a list of genuine charities that might be interested in taking it off your hands.

This is especially important because many scammers are posing as charity organizations to which you might fall prey.

In some cases, authorities may require you to tow your car to the charity center, but this will vary from one state or town to another.

Talking to the authorities in advance will help you know what to do concerning the towing and how much you should pay for the services.


Scrapping or recycling your car has never been easier than it is now. Gone are the days when you’d have to spend hours and weeks researching scrap metal dealers.

Nowadays, you can type ‘scrap car’ into your browser’s search engine and find a list of companies that offer this service in your area.

Most of these companies will pay cash on the spot or send someone over to pick up the vehicle within 24 – 48 hours.

With this disposal option, you can still fetch a significant amount of money if your car is still running and has some good parts left in it.

While recycling or scrapping your car might seem like the easiest way of disposing of your car, it comes with some limitations.

You need to do due diligence to find out if you’re dealing with a licensed scrap dealer.

A non-licensed scrapping company will primarily perform a substandard scrapping process that will harm the environment.

Registered car scrappers should have the ability to treat the car before disposing of it.

They should ensure that your scrapped car doesn’t harm the environment by safely getting rid of hazardous chemicals like battery acid.

Why You Should Choose the Professional Car Disposal Methods

An old car that’s not disposed of properly can have hazardous chemicals like battery acid, gasoline, and oil seeping on the ground.

These can cause damage to your car’s metal body as well as pollute the environment.

You need to settle for the above safe car-disposal options for your good and that of others around you.

Here are some of the key reasons you should work with these car-disposal options.

You Get Money in Return

When you sell or recycle your old vehicle, you get some money.

The amount of cash you receive will depend on the car’s model and condition.

You’re Doing Your Part for the Environment

The environment is everybody’s responsibility. By opting to recycle or sell your old vehicle, you do something good for it (the earth).

You should always work with certified recyclers because they have a legal responsibility to recycle your car in an environment-friendly way.

It Can Be Used for Good Purposes

Another good reason you need to work with certified recyclers is that they can find better purposes for your old vehicle’s parts and materials.

For example, the engine might be used in a new machine or model, while the hood might be used for another car.

It Can Be an Easy Process

If your old vehicle no longer functions, you can contact a company that offers free towing service.

The driver will take the car and its parts to certified recyclers, who will process it accordingly (using sustainable methods).

After this has been done, they’ll send you a certificate that proves your car has been processed responsibly.

Car Disposal Costs: The Main and the Associated Costs

If you’re considering recycling your car, the main costs you need to worry about are the recycler’s fees for disposal.

These fees vary depending on what part of the country you live in, what type of car is being processed and how old it is.

For example, on average, a small used vehicle will cost around $100 to dispose of, while larger vehicles can be as expensive as $500 or more depending on their age and size.

There are also additional costs like transportation fees that the recycler may determine.

If you’re thinking about selling your car, your great worry should be the advertising cost and the potential loss in the sale price.

For example, many ads and sales listings for cars will also include an ad fee that may be $20 or more depending on the site you’re using to sell your car.

You can use online tools to see what kind of depreciation your vehicle will likely face.

Selling a car can be incredibly stressful and confusing, especially with all the different options to choose from, like dealerships or private buyers.

You need to make sure that your needs are optimally met at a fair cost.

If you’re going for a donation, the costs will be much lower, but you may have a smaller payout.

Many charity organizations offer free pickups, so you won’t need to pay for the service.

However, this towing cost is deducted from your car’s value calculations more often.

If you want your car’s value to remain intact, you may have to worry about the towing costs.

Other associated costs that might arise include the costs of servicing the car and ensuring it’s in good condition before you give it away.


There are several ways to get rid of a car, and some are more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly than others.

Research your local options and decide what will work best for you.

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