Preparing for the Junk Car Removal Process: What to Expect When the Buyer Comes to Tow Your Car

The junk car removal process requires more than getting a junk car quote, accepting the offer, and scheduling pick up of the vehicle. There are several other steps that you need to take, including gathering the proper documentation, making the vehicle accessible for towing, and how to properly transfer possession and ownership of the junk car.

It is important to be prepared when the junk car buyer arrives to remove the decrepit car. The four steps junk car sellers need to take to complete the junk car removal process are below. Understanding the entire process will ensure a painless and positive experience.

Step 1: Gather necessary documents

Junk car buyers will not accept a vehicle unless the appropriate proof of ownership is provided at time of pick up. The vehicle ownership must be legally transferred to the junk car buyer at the time the junk car is removed.

Junk car buyers and vehicle recyclers are required to report the cars they process through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, which in turn requires them to obtain ownership documents from junk car sellers at the time of junk car removal. Although these laws and requirements seem a hassle, they are there to protect the general public from vehicles being stolen and sold for scrap.

To have a junk car removed by a junk car buyer one must have the vehicle title in their name with no liens. Do not endorse any paperwork for transfer until the junk car is removed. The documents needed in the typical junk car sale may include:

  • the paper certificate of title in the seller’s name, including a salvage certificate, nonrepairable certificate, or certificate of title with other junk title brand or status.
  • an application for duplicate title may be endorsed for transfer in place of a paper title in some states.
  • a title transfer form in place of a paper title may be an option in some states.
  • a lien release, when the title still shows a lien but the auto loan has been repaid.
  • a bill of sale noting the vehicle description, agreed upon price, and the junk car buyer must be provided with other documents and is similar to a receipt.
  • an additional form reporting or applying for junk status may be required by the state’s DMV.

Note that Arizona, Hawaii, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia have moved to digital title and registration systems, and paper titles are not necessary for vehicle transfer unless the vehicle was last titled or registered out of state.

For all other states, the documentation needed to sell a junk car without the paper title depends on the state. Check with your local DMV for additional documentation requirements for removing junk cars without a title in your state.

Failing to have the necessary documents in hand and ready for endorsement to the junk car buyer when they arrive could result in the cancellation of junk car removal services or a lower offer for the junk vehicle.

Step 2: Make sure the car is accessible

It is unnecessary to truly clean a vehicle before it is removed by a junk car buyer. The vehicle is just being salvaged then recycled, so there is no need to make sure it is clean. However, you do need to clean out the vehicle sufficiently that you are certain there are no personal items still in the vehicle. Make sure any “trash” with identifying information is also removed. Don’t forget the glove box and sunglass storage.

Hassle-free junk car removal depends on the car being easily accessible to the tow truck. Make sure that your vehicle is not blocked by objects like trash bins or bicycles. Have any gate blocking the driveway where the vehicle is located open and ready to go. If the vehicle is in a hard to access location and you do not have the ability to move it, do the best you can to prepare for the tow operator. The quote you were given for the junk vehicle will be changed on pick up if there additional unexpected towing costs.

Step 3: Review the pickup plan with the buyer

Review the pick up plan with the junk car buyer at least 24 hours before scheduled junk car removal. Confirm the time, date, and location with the junk car buyer. Many junk car buyers arrange for junk car removal services to be performed by a partnering local tow company or auto salvage companies, so you’ll want to be sure there is no confusion in relaying the information from entity to entity.

This is also your opportunity to ensure you have the necessary documents. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about any step of the process or the documentation required to prove ownership and transfer the vehicle.

If you have had any issues making the junk car accessible to the tow operator, it is important to relate these to the junk car buyer so the towing company can be prepared and the junk car quote can be adjusted if necessary. Be honest in this so that the tow company arrives with the proper equipment and manpower.

Step 4: Payment and final steps

When the junk car buyer arrives to tow away the vehicle, the tow operator will confirm details and load the vehicle on the tow truck. The seller of the vehicle must then endorse the title or other documents for transfer to the junk car buyer. Do not endorse these documents until pick up, because changing them if there is a cancellation adds to the documentation you’ll need to work with a different junk car buyer.

Payment will be made after the ownership documents have been endorsed for transfer and before the tow operator leaves with the vehicle. Some junk car buyers will pay cash for cars, but others pay by paper check or wire transfer. How payment will be made and when should be provided at the time of the junk car quote.

Finally, some states require vehicle owners to report the sale of their car whether it is purchased by another individual, a dealer, or a junk car buyer. Your DMV should make it easy to report the transfer of a vehicle, usually through an online service. Check with your state’s requirements to determine if reporting the sale is necessary.

What Should I Do Before Hiring a Junk Car Removal Service?

Before hiring a junk car removal service there are steps you can take. Educate yourself on the industry, research buyers, and plan accordingly. Read detailed list of what to do before hiring a junk car removal service.

How do I Prepare For Removal When Selling a Junk Car?

To prepare yourself for removal of your junk car when selling, there are a few steps to consider. First, make sure you have all the required documents that are needed for the sale. Next, if you do not have a required document like the title, go get a replacement title.

Last step in preparing for selling a junk car for removal is to make sure yourself and the junk car buyer are on the same page for pickup. This will ensure that everything will go smoothly on the day of pickup.

How do I Prepare For Removal For a Junk Car With No Title?

To prepare for the removal of a junk car with no title the first thing you must do is gather all the documents that are needed to sell your junk car. Because you do not have a title for the junk car you will need to show proof of ownership. This is usually the bill of sale or registration for the vehicle.

Next step is to make sure both yourself and the junk car buyer is on the same page for pickup. Making sure to have the correct day and time for pickup and having all the required documents will make the removal of the junk car with no title an easy process.

Do I Need The VIN When Preparing For Junk Car Removal?

Yes, you will need the VIN when preparing for junk car removal. Giving the VIN to the junk car buyer will allow them to know exactly the year, make, and model of your junk car. Having the VIN will give you a better accurate quote for your vehicle.


Preparing for the junk car removal process is easy, as long as you have the required documentation. Knowing the documents required for junk car removal is important for a positive and timely experience. It is important to remember that the junk car buyer’s offer is based on your preparedness when the tow company comes to remove the vehicle. If the vehicle is not accessible or documents are not ready for transfer, the offer could be lowered, or the junk car removal could be cancelled. By following the steps above you should have a safe, legal, and rewarding junk car removal experience.

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