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Your Car Stopped Working. What Now?

There may come a time when your car doesn’t run anymore. Non-running cars might be the result of a faulty battery, alternator, a completely shot engine, or various other mechanical and electrical issues.

Typically, the cost of getting these cars back up and running outweighs the actual value of the car. While they don’t run anymore, some non-running cars with low mileage hold higher value due to their components and the material they’re made of.

If you’ve got a non-running car and want to find out if you can sell it for cash near you right now, check out our instant value calculator.

If you’ve got a vehicle that doesn’t run anymore, continue reading to find out what can lead you to get the most cash for it.

What Causes Your Car To Not Run?

car parts

Alternator Problems

The alternator’s main purpose is to charge your car, truck, or SUV’s battery. When the engine is running, the drive belt spins your alternator to create energy that’s stored in the battery’s cells.

Many non-working cars are the result of alternator problems that prevent the engine from starting.

Indicators that your alternator is bad include:

  • Whining from under the hood while the engine is running.

  • An illuminated battery light.

  • A dead battery when the engine is turned off.

Car Battery Issues

Your car battery can also be a culprit behind why your car won’t run.

The car battery stores electrical energy as a reserve for vehicle accessories when the alternator can’t keep up with demand. It also starts the engine.

Signs of a bad battery include:

  • Flickering lights.

  • Strange electrical issues (like a clock that resets).

  • Problems starting the car.

  • Strange sounds (a “growling” or “whining”).

  • Bad belts.

Recharging your battery with an external source can provide assistance, but it is only a temporary solution.

Car Starter Failure

Car starter failure is another culprit behind why your car won’t run.

Starters serve the purpose of using an electric motor to turn the engine over and get the entire vehicle. An obvious indication that your car starter has issues is that the engine won’t turn over, meaning you’ll hear the engine attempting to rev up, but it won’t roar to life.

Hearing a “clunk” noise when you turn the key or the lights coming on, but the engine not revving alive are indications that your starter has issues. A jump won’t have any effect, but the lights are evidence that the battery is fine.

Engine Problems

car engine

Failing to schedule maintenance and repairs for your car can cause engine damage over time. Serious neglect (like not changing the engine oil) can cause the engine to seize or lock up.

Furthermore, a car that has been sitting for an extended period of time is liable to lock up from lack of lubrication.

Engine problems aren’t often resolved with quick fixes like a jumpstart. Many times they require your car being driven/towed to an auto repair facility and major work done under your hood.

Because engine work can be costly, your insurer may deem your car “totaled” due to the cost of engine repairs being greater than your vehicle’s value.

Fuel Problems

A faulty fuel system is another potential cause of your car not starting. Your fuel system failing could be due to several reasons:

  • A Plugged Fuel Filter

  • Faulty Fuel Pump

  • Bad Gas

  • Clogged Fuel Injectors

  • A Blown Fuse

If your car cranks but doesn’t start, you may need a professional to diagnose whether or not your fuel system isn’t functioning as it should.

Everything Else!

What else could cause your car not to start? Here are a handful of other concerns:

  • A wiring connector that’s become loose.

  • Corroded ground wire.

  • Something in your fuel.

  • A severely clogged air filter.

  • A bad sensor.

  • High engine back-pressure from a blocked exhaust.

  • A faulty immobilizer chip in your ignition key.

What to Do With Cars That Don’t Run?

When dealing with a vehicle that doesn’t run, the first thing to do is answer the question “why won’t my car start?” Getting to the root of your car’s issues likely involves getting a professional to take a look for you.

That said, a visit to the repair shop could cost you hundreds of dollars for just a diagnosis. Replacing parts in order to get your car running again can increase the prices even more.

The cost of replacing those parts may not be worth your investment, especially if you have an older vehicle or one with higher mileage.

You’ll likely be asking yourself “who buys used cars that don’t run?” The common answers are junkyards and scrap yards, but they aren’t necessarily paying top dollar for them. Individuals who buy used cars that aren’t running will likely want them repaired before paying good money for them.

You don’t need to spend ages trying to figure out whether it's worth fixing a car that doesn't work, a car that won’t start, or an undriveable car. All you need to do is find out how to sell a car that won’t run to the right buyer who will give you the most money for it.


Our expert evaluators can help you get an accurate estimate for your cars value, FAST!

How to Sell A Car That Won’t Start

get a check from carbrain for a car that wont start

CarBrain makes selling non-running cars easier than ever. We specialize in vehicles in less-than-perfect condition, including those old cars that don’t run. The journey is simplified to the point where it’s an easy 3-step process:

  1. Get your free quote! Simply enter some basic information about your car on our website and you’ll receive a free and guaranteed quote within 90 seconds.

    Towing is complementary, so you’ll never have to worry about hidden or additional fees taking away from the profits you take home. Nationwide towing means we’ll buy your car, running or not, and pick it up for you.

  2. Schedule your pickup within 24-48 hours! If you’re happy with your quote, you’ll be able to schedule your vehicle retrieval with one of our partners within your area. They’re trusted to come to you at a time that works best for you.

  3. Complete your sale! After a quick inspection and transferring of your title, you’ll receive the amount you were quoted, no haggling or fuss. Your vehicle is taken off your hands and money is put in them!

Whether you’re trying to sell a Toyota Prius or a Ford F-150, we can make a fair offer on it in under 90 seconds and you can get paid within 24-48 hours. CarBrain is the best way to sell a non-running car!

We make offers on:

  • Fords

  • Chevys

  • Toyotas

  • Jeeps

  • Kias

  • Mazdas

  • And more!

Contact CarBrain today and sell your car quickly without leaving the comfort of your own home!

Need answers? Get FREE advice from our client care experts NOW!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Sell My Car That Doesn’t Run?

There are several answers to the question, “Where can I sell my non-starting car?”  Junkyards, salvage yards, certain auto shops, dealerships, and private buyers will purchase your damaged car whether it’s running or not.  

How Much Is A Car That Doesn't Run Worth?

Figuring out how much a non-running car is worth can be tricky. Resources like Kelley Blue Book can help you figure out an estimate for your car overall, but it won’t factor in the damage. But it is important to know that a dead car will be of much less value than one that is drivable.

Can You Trade In A Car That Won’t Start?

You might be thinking, “Can you trade in a car that doesn’t run?” and the answer is yes. Used car dealerships buy all types of cars from drivers, even ones that don’t start. Usually, they fix them up to sell them again.

While you can definitely trade in your non-running car for one that does work, you are unlikely to get much money for it. That’s because dealerships typically offer low estimates for used cars, especially damaged ones. So, you’re risking losing out on hundreds of dollars when you trade in a car at a dealership.

How Much Is My Car That Won't Run Worth?

Before you try to sell your car that won’t start, you will need to figure out how much it is worth. Doing so will help you price it properly so that you’re not missing out on the money that you deserve.

You need to know how much to sell a car that doesn’t run for because most buyers will try to haggle you down. This happens with perfectly good cars but prospective buyers will be more aggressive when it comes to damaged ones.

But finding out the value of a broken car that won’t start can be difficult because you won’t be able to calculate an exact amount. Visiting different mechanics can help you get an idea of how much the damage has decreased the value. Additionally, can give you an estimate of your car’s pre-damage worth.

You don’t need to struggle driving around town or wasting time on different internet calculators to get a good offer for your non-starting car with CarBrain. Our calculator analyzes tons of details that other buyers don’t in order to price your car fairly. We beat out our competitors when it comes to buying junk cars and giving you the most money for it. Get your estimate in 90 seconds today!

Who Can I Sell My Car That Doesn’t Run To?

Selling a car that won’t start can be tricky, especially if you don’t know who will even buy it. The good news is that there are several places you can sell a car that doesn’t run. From trading it in to dealerships and selling to private buyers to selling to parting it out piece by piece or selling it to a junkyard whole, your options aren’t limited!

For what it’s worth...

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