How can I avoid buying a “junk car”?

What is the true definition of a “Junk Car”?

What qualification’s does a vehicle need to meet to be defined as a “junk car”? One of the most important questions, is your vehicle at the end of its life? If so, let us be the ones who can turn it into some quick cash!

The amount of terms to define the definition of ” junk car” is more than an unwanted car.  When your vehicle doesn’t run, and it has no use to anyone is the quickest definition of ” junk car.” (Except, perhaps, to the stray animals that have taken it over.)

In life, it is natural for us to attach emotions to different material items.  Whether it was the car, you drove to prom or the truck you restored with your father. Those memories will outlast any single material thing. Making our heart listen to our head’s is another story.

Most cities often have their specific definition of what a  “junk car” is. They must do this to keep junk off the public streets and out of any residential yards.  The local government, HOA and apartments have all set a list of criteria, that a vehicle usually needs to qualify to be considered a true“junk car.”  There are often fees or fines attached to this vehicle to make the owner dispose of it.


  • Age: In most area’s the vehicle must be more than three years old.
  • It is wrecked: Any vehicle that has been in an accident beyond any repair.
  • Low value:  It is worth more to sell it for the metal instead of a working car.
  • License and registration: State tags are out, uninsurable or no title.
  • Moving:  You can’t move it to your new place, or you have relocated and can’t take it with you.
  • Obviously inoperable: Missing parts or pieces, windows knocked out, the vehicle looks like it’s not going anywhere.


  • Over 20 years old
  • More than 150,000 miles
  • It is a ubiquitous car
  • It’s unsafe to be on the road
  • Mechanically it is shot
  • Always leaving you stranded
  • No safety equipment
  • Outdated mechanical defect


Due to the excessive damage, most “junk vehicles” are sorted for recycling. In most cases, parts have little or no value to salvage yards. Most “junk cars”  are never going to get rebuilt and receive a salvage title. On occasion, the insurance company will declare that a vehicle is a total loss. Many salvage yards or mechanic shops will fix it up and try to resell it with a new salvage title. This alerts any potential buyers that the car had been previously totaled or was a “junk car.”  The majority of “junk automobiles” are way too far gone to be repaired or rebuilt.


A “junk car” is not necessarily the same as an abandoned car. Abandoned simply means it been left sitting where it doesn’t belong. It might be junk or it could just be an abandoned a perfectly good later model vehicle.

A car can become a“junker” over time, or instantly. Like any other material things, car’s become wore out. Neglect speeds up a car’s death. (There’s a reason for a maintenance schedule.) An accident,  natural disasters, too, can quickly do a number on vehicles.


Being informed is the best knowledge you can have to prevent yourself from buying a junk car.” So good luck in the search for your new car.