How to Get Rid of a Junk Car Without a Title

Cars are well regulated by the government because they have such potential to cause damage to people and property if not handled properly. This is why you need to keep a bunch of records for every vehicle. However, what if you have lost the title to the rusting, stationary remains of what was once your go-to vehicle? Such a vehicle likely meets the definition of a “junk car.” Luckily, there is a process for selling a unwanted vehicles without a title that is defined by the Arizona Motor Vehicles Division (MVD).

What defines a true “junk car”?

Do you trust this car? How would you feel if your family needed to hit the road for a long trip in it? Ask yourself these questions about the vehicle in question to determine whether it’s truly a junker:

Is it stationary? If your vehicle has not moved in a long time (like since college) then it is likely to be inoperable and given how older cars are less reliable, less safe, and pollute more than modern ones, your car is likely a junker, good for recycling at a scrapyard.

Is it damaged? This is less about dings and dents and more about missing parts, like a door, or an engine, or tires. Is there rust? If you see rust, chances are there is a lot more that you do not see hidden away. Are the windows broken? Junkers are useless piles of metal that take up space in your yard and are likely not worth being salvaged, so again a damaged card (depending on the condition, make, and model) is likely destined to be recycled.

Do you have all it’s paperwork? Chances are no, considering the title of this article. Lacking the vehicle title is a hassle to replace and considering the state your vehicle is in, it is likely not worth your opportunity cost in time and associated MVD fees to re-title this car. Cars without all the requisite paperwork to legally drive with insurance are good candidates for the label “junk cars.”

How old is the vehicle? Unless the vehicle is less than three years old, it is likely impossible for it to be considered anything other than used in the best of circumstances. Cars are machines that are meant to be used – not driving your car with frequency is not good for maximizing its useful lifespan. If you have not driven the vehicle since the 20th century, your car is likely junk.

How much is my scrap car worth?

There is no magic formula for appraising the value of a junker. There is a small chance that it is “historic” and worth more now than when new, but this is incredibly unlikely. Basic info, to begin with, is knowing the vehicle’s:


It is better if your vehicle can be easily towed away.

Year, make & model

Certain cars have different values, even across model years.


Luckily Arizona weather tends to be ideal for preserving vehicles kept outside, even when they’re exposed to the elements. This minimizes the chances of rust and mold depreciating the value even more.

Used car values are largely determined by Kelley Blue Book (KBB). This is the best-case scenario, which would apply if the car is operational and you have been actively maintaining it.

If your car is inoperable it can be salvaged and made legal to drive. However, salvage car values will only net you 20-40% of the KBB values. And due to the expense of salvaging a “junk car,” it is unlikely that this is a viable option.

Many times, the best-case scenario for appraising your vehicle is knowing how much it is worth at a scrapyard. The price for scrap metal fluctuates, but chances are that even the most dilapidated and run-down wreck can fetch you upwards of $500 at a scrapyard.

Infographic-Selling Your Old Car

How do you sell an unwanted car without a title?

Selling a vehicle without a title can be challenging. Obviously, you need to own the car. This requires having a Bill of Sale. To obtain this you need to prove that the vehicle is not stolen, has no liens against it, and it might require a bonded title for insurance purposes.

Needless to say that this is time-consuming to do and there likely will be associated fees with obtaining a new title from the MVD.

Click here to see how the process works.

Final thoughts on selling a useless vehicle

Like pets, Americans tend to love their cars. They can become de facto members of the family and they often have strong memories attached to them. But time marches on and your old car likely has more sentimental value than actual value.

The value of an old car depends on many factors but if it looks like junk, is inoperable, and lacks a title than it is best thought of as a junker whose value is likely determined by the going rate of scrap metal.

Cars physically take up a lot of space and chances are that space currently occupied by this junk vehicle is better used for something else. Please contact us to find out how much your car may be worth.