Sell Your Car in California 

Looking for ways to dispose of an old junk car in California?

You’ve probably said to yourself, “it’s time to sell my old clunker of a car!” And while there are many ways you can get rid of an old rusting vehicle, you’ll want to figure out the best option available to you so you can get the most out of the sale.


The California Car Buyback Program: What Is It About Exactly?

The State of California has an ongoing vehicle retirement program known as the Consumer Assistance Program (or CAP) operated by the State’s Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).

The program aims to cut down on air pollution and promote cleaner air in California by encouraging the retirement of environmentally non-compliant (usually older) vehicles so they wouldn’t have to be actively operating on the roads and freeways.

Owners of junk cars and clunkers are given an incentive to turn in their old yet operational vehicles via the State’s buyback program.

The CAP is available in all locations across California.

Read more about the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) Vehicle Retirement guidelines.

The program has eligibility requirements; consumers meeting the income eligibility requirement may receive $1,500 for each vehicle retired. All other vehicle owners may receive $1,000 to retire their vehicles at a BAR-contracted dismantler.

Through this State voluntary car retirement program, the time required to process your request and receive payment is estimated at approximately 45 to 60 days (about 6 to 8 weeks) once the BAR has received your application.

Note that the vehicle in question must be drivable in order to be eligible for the California Car Buyback Program. Many old mid-sized and smaller rust buckets might not be able to get from point A to point B without being towed.

Nevertheless, you are not without further options. If your junk car doesn’t qualify for the California Buyback Program, consider getting a quote from a reputable online buyer like Donation Line.


Selling Your Car through Donation Line

In instances when California CAP Vehicle Retirement is not an option for you, or if you need cash sooner than the estimated 6-to-8-week processing time, you’ll want to consider turning to local car buyers like Donation Line. Donation Line offers payment on the spot and free towing. We buy cars in any condition, running or not. Damaged or clean, older, or newer.

To sell your car online through Donation Line, all you need to do is:

  1. Visit our website and complete our Quote Request form. Alternatively, you can also call us toll-free at 877-227-7487.
  2. We will then call you or email you with an offer for review.
  3. Once you accept the offer, our accredited towing agent will then get in touch with you to schedule pick-up.
  4. Payment is made on the spot.

Over and above the convenience of receiving cash and pick-up for junk cars, Donation Line buyers have the knowledge it takes to ensure the proper transfer paperwork is completed and filed with the California State Department of Motor Vehicles. All of this paperwork must be filed with the DMV and is usually done so by the vehicle’s purchaser because they must also pay vehicle registration fees under the new title.

Frequently Asked Questions

In the course of buying cars of all kinds from just about anywhere in the United States, we’ve been asked all sorts of questions from folks looking to sell their junk car or old vehicle, especially among car owners from the State of California.


Can I sell my car to Donation Line without a title?

Yes, you might be able to, in some cases.

Without a title or a pink slip, we will require you to present registration of the vehicle (not more than one year expired) that matches one of your valid photo IDs. In addition, you may also be requested to sign an additional power of attorney (or other affidavit documents, depending on the case) in order to facilitate the sale.

However, note that vehicles without a title often have significantly lower offers than vehicles that do have a valid title.


How much can I expect to get from selling my junk car in California?

The exact figures will depend on the overall quality and condition of your old vehicle, but you can earn anywhere from $50 to about $10,000.

A lot of factors come into play when determining the price, but it mostly boils down to whether your old car is in good working condition (or not), whether all the parts are still present and intact, and if you have the proper documents on hand when we make an offer.

Needless to say, cars that have just about everything in order and straightened out will be expected to fetch a higher price than, say, an absolute clunker of a junk car that can’t even start.


What if my car is an absolute clunker– how much can I get for that?

Assuming your old rusted junk automobile doesn’t even run and has no working parts; usually, the consideration is its weight as scrap metal. In this case, you might expect anywhere from $50 to $250 depending on how much the car (or vehicle) weighs.

In cases like these, the make and model of your old car is no longer important as these are most likely to end up in an auto salvage yard and sold for scraps.

How much can I get for used but running vehicles?

For used– yet serviceable and working– cars, trucks, and other vehicles, the value will be primarily based upon the value of the parts. Those with better condition parts are likely worth much more.

Regardless of condition, make, or model, we’ll pay you cash on the spot. You can make as much as $10,000 for the sale of a good-condition used vehicle; certainly more than old cars that are almost just mostly junk.


How do I know if my title is legit?

If you have doubts about whether your title is still valid, you may want to visit your local California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office for a quick check.

California often changes the appearance of their vehicle documents from year to year, so if you have any questions about the title to a vehicle that you have on hand, you’ll want to check in with them.


What do I do about my vehicle’s auto insurance?

When you’re about to sell your junk car or used vehicle, you’ll also want to inform your auto insurance company that you have sold your old car. This way, they can either cancel your existing policy or transfer your insurance policy onto another (presumably newer) vehicle.


Is there any other paperwork that I’m expected to do?

Yes, there is. You will also need to fill out a REG139 form; that’s a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form. You will need to submit the completed document to the DMV within five calendar days.


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