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Junk Cars

Junk Cars Durham

An ‘ol rust bucket in Durham

It’s an inevitable fact of life – unless you’re purchasing a car as an investment (like a classic car), your new vehicle will someday reach a point past its’ useful life to become something called a “Junk Car”.   Also known as a salvage vehicle, more than 3 million Junk Cars in the United States cross this value threshold wherein there’s more value in repurposing it for its’ parts /scrap iron or in selling it on the discount market as a drivable salvaged vehicle.

If you suspect your car might be a salvaged vehicle, consider using our step-by process to evaluate your vehicle’s status as well as our recommendations to squeeze any last value from your junk car.

What exactly is a Junk Car?

Technically speaking your vehicle becomes a possible junk car when the cost to maintain or repair exceeds its “estimated value”.  This is where it becomes a bit tricky:  strictly speaking a car’s estimated value is part quantitative (something you can assign a number to) and part subjective (based on an educated opinion).

Quantitative Considerations

The quantitative portion of your car’s estimated value can be found on car evaluation websites like Kelly Blue Book or  Here you’ll need to be brutally honest about your car’s condition and mileage to come up with the base value. Next you’ll need to subtract any modifications or outstanding issues from the base value in order to get it running and what those would cost to fix. If you’re negative, you’ve got yourself a potential junk car.

Qualitative Considerations

If you already have a drivable alternative to your potential Junk Car, then you can skip this step. However if the car in question is your primary means of transportation, you’ll need to make a choice: Fix it or buy. The cost of fixing an older vehicle may buy you additional useful life out of the car and it may be less up front cost of buying something new additional useful life, but since it is older, you’ll need to weigh the possibility more costly issues in the future.

The 2004 Lumina Example

Let’s say you’ve got 175,000 miles left on your 2004 Lumina. It’s been a real peach of a car, but it’s been riding rough lately and your mechanic is telling you that it immediate needs include $1500 worth of suspension work and a timing belt. Is it worth the additional miles you’ll get from the repair?

A good guideline of how much more mileage you can expect out a vehicle is the average life expectancy metrics used by the auto industry. While the numbers fluctuate from expert to expert, we at Durham Towing like to use the following rules of thumb:

  • Built prior to 2000 – 135,000
  • Built prior to 2006 – 150,000
  • 2007 – Current – 200,000

In the Lumina example, it’s probably not a great idea to spend $1500 on a fix on a vehicle that will likely have additional issues in the near future. Even though you hate to do it, the best bet it to scrap the car look for a good low mileage used car as a replacement.

If you’ve had enough of that old rusty eye-sore and you’re looking for junk car removal services, give us a call today at 919-805-3344. Our experience technician can can walk you through the process and give you honest feedback on your the best options for getting the best value on your salvage vehicle.

Contact us at (919) 805-3344