Knowing when it’s time for your car to go isn’t always black and white, even though your car might be. The decision requires a bit of strategy, especially if you intend to benefit financially.

In this article, we’re breaking down how to crunch the right numbers and consider all the factors on keepers vs. junk cars.

Read on to find out if your car has driven its last mile.

5 Ways To Make the Call on Junk Cars

Big financial decisions, like whether or not to junk your car and buy a new one, can cause anxiety. How do you know if you’re making the best choice? When is it time to cut your losses? Are you better off making repairs or buying a new vehicle?

We’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to make the call on whether or not to cash in junk cars.

1. Repair Costs vs Car Payment

Junk cars are not only identified by a run down exterior or faded paint job. The most important factors to consider when evaluating your old car are not cosmetic, but functional.

All cars start to run down and need significant repairs after 100,000-200,000 miles. Some of these repairs can be costly and inevitable. For example, repairing anything to do with the powertrain (engine, transmission) or braking system can cost you a pretty penny. However, your car can’t function without them.

Add up the cost of your car maintenance over the past year and the cost of any imminent repairs you know you’ll have to pay for in the near future. Divide that total cost by twelve. This will give you an estimate of the monthly cost of your car.

If that number is comparable to a car payment, it’s probably time for a new car.

In most cases, you should only keep junk cars if they are saving you money. If you’re paying the same or more as you would be for a car payment, you’re throwing your hard earned cash out the window.

A new or new-to-you car will usually come with a valuable set of warranties that can protect you from paying for costly repairs out of pocket.

2. Safety is the Top Priority

Vehicle safety has improved immensely in the past few decades. It wasn’t long ago that headrests and seatbelts became a required safety feature.

Nowadays, the incredible vehicle safety technology that was once considered a luxury is accessible or even standard in affordable vehicles. With features like rear-view cameras, lane departure alert, and tire pressure monitoring, vehicles are now safer than ever.

If you have a junk car that has outdated air bags or other unreliable safety features, you should probably take it off the road. This not only protects your safety but the safety of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Speaking of safety, don’t forget to consider the cost of insurance. Typically, older vehicles have less value, so there is lower cost to insure the car. Of course, your driving record, location, and vehicle safety features also affect the cost of insurance.

Get a quote from your insurance provider to help you decide if a new car is an affordable option for you. For some, a used car is the way to get the best of both worlds!

3. Consider the Value of the Car

The value of your junk car should be a big factor in your decision to repair it or let it go. There are several online tools you can use to approximate the value of your car. You can also ask your trusted mechanic to give you an estimate.

Shop around to find out how much you could get for your junk car. Brace yourself for offers lower than the value of your car, and choose the offer you are most comfortable with.

You can use the cash toward the down payment on a new car!

4. Consider the Environment and Your Health

Even if you’re not a tree hugger, you’re probably aware that cars emit nasty things into our environment.

Newer technology like fuel efficient vehicles and electric cars have significantly improved this problem, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

If you’re old car spurts out plumes of smoke every time you turn it on, it’s time to let it go for more reasons than one.

Your junk car could be damaging your health directly, not just the health of the planet. Make sure it can pass the smog test and emissions check to ensure you’re not breathing in harmful chemicals every time you drive.

5. If You’re Just Ready to Move On

For some, it can be emotional to let go of all the memories associated with a car.

But is that worth a barely running eyesore sitting in your garage?

Even if your junk car still sort of works, you may be ready to cash in and treat yourself to a newer model.

With the buyers of junk cars ready to hand you cash, why wait?

Junk car buyers make money off of the recycled scrap metals and used parts. Find a junk car buyer you can trust to give you a fair deal and wipe your hands clean of your old vehicle today!


These are just some of the factors that can help you decide if your old car has reached the end of its lifespan.

This decision can be a bit tricky for some since emotions and anxiety can get involved. If you take the time to research the value of your vehicle, the cost of repairs, and the cost of a new replacement vehicle, the numbers should help give you a clear answer.

Visit our blog for more in-depth discussions on the process of selling a junk car, like this one about selling a junk car without a title.

If you think it’s time to get cash for your car, contact us at Junk Car Systems today. We’ll be happy to assist you with a free online quote and answer any questions you might have about junk cars.