Why it’s often time consuming to sell an old car yourself privately or to a trader and may incur costs compared to using a professional car scrapping service.

Modern car disposal methods mean you could profit from your old motor

You may think disposing of an old car is a bit of a hassle and, if in very poor condition or even off the road, will cost you to have it taken off your hands. The fact is that not only is it easier to dispose of more or less any old car, but it’s likely you’ll make some money on it through reputable scrapping companies.

The need to recycle

One of the key reasons why there’s an alternative to taking your car to your local breakers yard, and hoping you might get a few pounds if you’re lucky, is the growth in recycling. Due to the need to vastly reduce the general ‘throwing away’ of machinery and equipment that’s come to the end of its natural life, the recycling of old cars has grown.

This has created a specialism in car disposal filled by companies who will take cars off owners’ hands and have them recycled. It’s quick, easy and can be done online in a matter of minutes; you start by getting a scrap car quote from the company’s website, they’ll come out often the same day to collect the car, and will transfer payment straight into your bank account.

If you’ve been meaning to get rid of that old banger that’s taking up space, or would rather sell your old runner before seeking a replacement, this type of scrapping service is ideal.

Other options

You could try selling privately, to a dealer or used car trader but there are drawbacks:

Selling privately online – if you use sites like Auto Trader, eBay or Gumtree then there is the time and effort involved in creating listings, taking photos and fielding enquiries from potential buyers.

Selling to a dealer or trader – if your car is very old, and especially if there are major mechanical problems or corrosion and other structural issues, it may not be appealing even to a garage selling older used cars themselves. If they do make you an offer it’ll be on the low side – they’ll be factoring in what they’d spend to make it saleable.

Selling to a specialist – you may own an older car that’s achieved minor classic status such as a hot hatchback like the Peugeot 205 GTi or earlier VW Golf GTi from the 1980s. If so, an enthusiast with some mechanical knowledge might be keen to buy it and ‘do it up.’

The main cost of car maintenance and renovation is the labour charge, so someone with the required knowledge will do the work themselves and either make a decent profit when they sell the car on or enjoy it for their own use. Therefore, a car that would likely be uneconomical for you to have repaired may not be to someone who has the skills to do it themselves.

This selling option will take some time and effort on your part to find the right buyer. You’d maybe need to seek out enthusiast websites and other sources for the make and model of car concerned, then deal with transfer of ownership and the paperwork once you find a buyer.

Overall, it’s important to keep a check on what actual sum of money you’d end up with if selling by other methods as opposed to using a car scrapping service. Listings, advertising and even – in the case of cars possibly not worth much – some polish and car cleaning materials to clean it up prior to advertising will eat into the sum your car would make.

Scrapping or – if they’ll take it – selling to a dealer would avoid these costs.

Check your car’s desirability

You might by now have come to the conclusion that at least getting a price online from a car scrapping company is a good idea. One thing to check is your car’s possible desirability; while it’s usually obvious if a car has some classic status, or would appeal to an enthusiast such as an old MGB or MG Midget, some unlikely older cars are proving popular.

Certain variants of older models such as the Renault 5 and even high volume sellers such as the Vauxhall Cavalier and Austin Montego might prove attractive to some as a renovation project. Don’t necessarily expect to make a vast sum of money compared to scrapping, but it’s worth checking out. This trend is mainly due to many of these older cars now becoming rare even though thousands were sold originally.