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Old 01-04-2006, 11:16 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Douglasville, GA
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Need advice on selling car to a salvage yard

Hey everyone,

I'm new to the forum and I need some advice. I have an old 1994 Ford Thunderbird LX with a 3.8L V6. It has 159,000 miles on it. This past Monday I was driving a friend back to Fort Benning in Georgia. Just north of La Grange my Tbird over heated and I guess I didn't notice it quick enough. When I did I turned on the heater, pulled over, then shut it down and let it cool off. When I started it back up there was quite a bit of white smoke coming out the back. I was able to nurse it off I-85 about 1/2 to 1 mile at a time. My friend and I had to take a cab into La Grange and rent a car to get him the rest of the way to Fort Benning.

There are some other things wrong with my Tbird too. Since it over heated I would guess that some coolant/radiator work needs to be done. There is also something out of whack with the suspension. When I am at highway speeds and make very slight, mild turns on the wheel the shifts it weight side to side in a back end sliding feeling. (Maybe a bent rear swaybar?) It also has moderate body panel damage on the front left quarter panel, hood, bumper, and left turn signal from where it took a glancing hit in an accident last year.

I have decided that the cost of towing and repairs that would be needed would probably exceed $1,000 which is the most I would expect to get for it if I fixed it all up. It seems it would be best to cut my losses sell the car to a salvage yard. I was planning on getting a newer car in about six months anyways.

Can any of you tell me how the process of selling a car to a salvage yard works? What can I expect? Is there any kind of trick that I should look out for? Does the salvage yard usually come pick up a non running car or do I need to have it towed? Does the salvage yard pick up the car for free or would they deduct a towing charge from the sale amount?

Also, can anyone help me with a rough estimate of what a fair price would be for it? The Kelley Blue Book trade in listing on a similar Tbird in fair condition (which means it runs and this one doesn't) is $375.

One other thing is that I just put new tires on the car in early December. (The tires were so short on tread it wasn't safe to drive on any kind of wet road) They probably only have 1,000 miles on them. I paid $290 for the set. Should I remove them and sell them separately? Will the salvage yard factor value of the tires into the price?

I really hate that my old Tbird had to go out this way. This was my first car and it has been very good to me. I bought it for $7,000 from a retired school teacher back in 1999 with only 49,000 miles on it. It got me all the way through college plus a year and a half. I never had any problem with it until now. All I ever had to do with it was routine maintenance and I always did that myself. I will miss that old Tbird. I guess every guy has a soft spot in his heart for his first car.

Thanks in advance for the help y'all.
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:26 PM   #2
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Well I know around here you get more money if you can drive the car in rather then if they have to come pick it up. I'm not sure but I don't think they count the costs of stuff like tires really, around here you'd probably only get $100-150 if you drove it in or maybe $50 ($100 if it's mostly useable) if they came and got it. I'd probably sell the tires seperate, might make more that way, it's hard letting a car that you've had for awhile and are clsoe with go. If you really had to you could always just throw a for sale sign in it and try to sell it and explain what's wrong with it, that's more of a hassle but then it might actually be fixed up and you could possibly make more then from a salvage yard.

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Old 01-04-2006, 11:48 PM   #3
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Selling it myself wouldn't work to well. I live in an apartment complex and no one would ever see it. I don't think it would make much sense to list it in the classified adds either since it would take a long time to sell it. The other big thing is that it now sitting about 100 miles from where I live and getting it towed back here would cost a decent amount of money.

I just need to move on from it as quickly as I can. I don't expect to get a whole bunch for it. I just want to get fair market value. As I was driving my buddy down to the base I was laughing when I old him the tires were worth more than the car.
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:13 AM   #4
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Many times you have to pay a salvage yard to take a car, as the price of steel isn't very high. At most I've seen them pay $50-100 for a car, but it takes a special kind of yard to want to do that, as they tend to buy cars for $25-50 from auctions all day long.

You could donate it to a charity in the place it's located, many advertise in the papers. Write off the value on your taxes.
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Old 01-05-2006, 11:49 PM   #5
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He only offered me $125. I think I could get that out of the tires. Oh well. I think I will look into donating it and taking the tax break.
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Old 01-06-2006, 01:42 AM   #6
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Just make sure you get a receipt from the charity you donate to.

For more information see this article from the IRS website:,00.html
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Old 01-06-2006, 02:39 PM   #7
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i work at a salvage yard and 94 Tbirds dont have much of a turn around as far as being parted out. the engines aren't worth crap and the trannys are just as bad. body pieces sell fairly quick (at least in New York). my boss would probably pay $150-$200 depending on condition.
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Old 01-06-2006, 11:00 PM   #8
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i haul my wrecks to the local auto recycler and get about 100 bucks, but depends on the price of steel. put the tires in the news paper or ebay

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