When an owner gives up on a car, what happens to it?


A frame is not where the primary VIN is located. You can’t transfer a VIN plate to a stolen car. But you can certainly replace any and all components underpinning the chassis and then register that car legally. Body on frame vehicles have frames changed out- not illegal. Unit body cars have nearly the entire power train replaced- not illegal. You can’t move a VIN plate- that’s illegal.

Nonsense. An auto recycler is no different than anybody buying a car. You sign the title over to them. That doesn’t magically make it a salvage title or junked until they send the title to the DMV as junked. One of the local junkyards has cars they resurrected for sale right out front. I’m sure they fixed up one or two I sold to them as they weren’t in all that bad of shape for someone that has access to the parts and time to do the work…


Salvage Vehicles

Many of our locations sell used vehicles that run and need some TLC or are ideal as parts or project cars. All our cars come with clean or salvage titles. These cars are great for anyone looking for inexpensive transportation or a project car to fix and sell. Buyers are responsible for meeting local, title and safety requirements.



I almost grabbed a guy’s truck by mistake. Was an old dodge D100, wrecked in the front and he left it in the midst of the mayhem because he ran out of gas. I only intended to move it, but once you put a grapple on the cab it’s pretty much done for. Luckily, I radioed to the office first and he reported running out of gas and leaving it.


In MS, they sign the title in a different place when they sell a vehicle for scrap. Once signed on that line, the state will no longer issue a title for that Vin #.

However, if you were to get them to sign the title in the other area, for normal vehicle sales, then you’re good to buy and sell the vehicle as a titled vehicle.

No idea how other states do it. MS has some funky laws. Each state probably makes up their own version.


Maybe he hoped you would so that he could have gotten more for the truck than if he actually brought it in as scrap. Extra money to shut up and go away.


I do not work at a yard with a shredder. But there are some interesting videos online on shredders. The most impressive ones are the “mega shredders”. Scary pieces of machinery that can process a school bus like a limb through a wood chipper. They tear (shear) and beat the scrap with rotating hammers. They had a mega shredder on “modern marvels” back when that show was on. I miss that show btw. Probably replaced by fake reality shows like that moonshiner show. I never figured out why the police didn’t just arrest those bozos after watching them on tv… but I digress!


Could be. He did come back for it the next day. Was a pain in the butt to work around it half a day, though. Trying not to inadvertently drop something on it


First, if all that’s wrong with the car is that it has a bad hybrid battery, someone will want it before it goes to the scrap heap. That’s one component of a very complex system, and if the rest of the system works, you’d be a fool to scrap it.

There are dozens of routes for a vehicle in need of a major repair. If you donate it to a rescue mission or to NPR, it will get fixed and put back into service. If you sell it to someone who knows how to replace bad hybrid battery cells (or where to go to hire someone to do it), it will be put back into service.

There is a chance, although remote, that the shop that diagnosed the bad hybrid battery might be interested in buying and fixing the car, especially if the shop’s owner has a teenager at home who is old enough to drive.

There are only a few scenarios where a car like that would end up at a junk yard, and those scenarios involve having more than one problem with it. There are lots of other places it could go where someone might repair the car to drive or sell.


Using @It_s_Me UPick link, there are over 50 Civic Hybrids in inventory. Who knows why? Smashed, bad batteries, hard to say. But just because a car can be fixed doesn’t mean it should be or is cost effective to do so.


Are you sure it will get repaired? This is what the NPR donation program states;

“We have a group whose expertise is in maximizing the value of every donated vehicle. For many cars, that means selling it via a wholesale auction. This is similar to a “trade in.” For cars in poorer condition, sometimes the maximum value comes from selling the car to a dismantler or recycler, who will pay for valuable parts. Our goal is to assess each car, and find a way to get the maximum donation for your station.”

The wholesale auction is where used car lots and salvage yards get their inventory.


That’s a fair point if the car has a blown engine or a wrecked transmission, but if the only thing wrong with a hybrid is that some or all of its hybrid battery cells have failed, I’m fairly confident the best way to maximize the value would be for someone to fix it, even if that someone isn’t NPR.


Yeah, it is very hard to say, which makes it a strange point to raise in a debate.

Yep, you can’t go wrong making broad generalizations about cars that aren’t hybrids or cars that probably have more than one thing wrong with them. This is a discussion about a hybrid that has one fixable problem, albeit an expensive problem.

Also, consider the raw numbers. Since 2001, Honda has sold 255,000 Civic hybrids. They’ve sold 16.5 million Civics since they’ve started making them. I’m sure the junk yards are littered with Civics of all types. They’re very popular, especially with inexperienced and elderly drivers.


Well, it has 200,000 miles, too. I classify that as a major barrier to economic repair.


I must have missed that in the comments, but it’s definitely relevant if your calculation is “Does this repair cost more than the car is worth?” and your only service option is a dealership where it will be very expensive.

That being said, if I was in the used car market, I think I’d be interested in the car, depending on what kind of shape it is in. Maybe I’m an anomaly. Heck, I’d consider buying a first generation Honda Insight if the price was right. They’re still around and some are in very good shape.


I guess it was in the Civic Hybrid thread that appears to have generated George’s question, not this thread.


I didn’t know this was a debate. Not for me anyway but have at it if you want.

The question was what happens to a car when you call the junkyard and they tow it away? I’ve only done that once but for sure that car had better not be sold and on the streets again. If I junk a car, it better be parted out or melted down not sold again. Otherwise I would not have called the junkyard, I would have called DAV or somebody.

Others have said the junkyard “may” fix it and resell it. Maybe but I think that depends on what the arrangement was made with the buyer. In Minnesota the title must be turned back to the DMV and then it can issue a “scrapped” title for purposes of transport, but it cannot be titled again and sold for use on the road. So here, once you call the junkyard, that’s it. In the other 49 states it could be different. So you decide first who you want to call, the junkyard, or DAV, NPR, or list it as repairable, and that determines what happens to it. If you are looking for a cheap hybrid though that just needs some batteries, I know where you can find one.


I thought the whole “hybrid vehicle not worth repairing with a bad battery” scenario was just an example / theoretical question with the question being “where do junk cars go whose repair cost exceeds the value of the car”.

Why would I donate anything to NPR?


High class junkyard you go to that has concrete!


My mother had a 17? year old van, CEL on, Did not want to have anyone she knew have troubles with it. She (we) donated it to NPR, they towed it for free and she got a $5K deduction after it sold at auction That is why somebody might donate a vehicle to NPR


Meh, I’d be more likely to scrap it and donate it to someone in need and get nothing from it myself than fund an organization that probably has a political agenda in order to get a tax credit. That’s just me, though.