What do I do with a totaled car?

OK, driving to work today I got into an accident. Basically, I ended up sliding into an accident that had already happened because I couldn’t stop in icy conditions. I’d guess it was my fault, but I don’t really know for sure (although I can’t see who else’s fault it could be).

My car is/was a '95 Nissan Sentra with about 110k miles on it. It now has some serious front end damage as well as a busted windshield, its not driveable. I’m assuming its not worth fixing, but I guess I don’t know for absolutely sure. Basically, the whole front end is smashed in, and I’d guess the car was only worth about a grand before the accident.

Although I do have car insurance, it is liabilty only, so I don’t think they’ll be any help.

So, my situation is that my car is now at the towing place, where it costs $25 a day to keep there. Should I be calling junkyards and just trying to get rid of it asap or what? What does one do with a wrecked car like this when they have no where to keep it? My only other option would be to have it towed to my mom’s house, but then I’d just have a non-drivable car sitting there with no way to move it. Does this car have any value at all right now, or should I just try getting rid of it and take whatever small amount of money I can get for it?

Also, now that I don’t have a car, I am in the market for one. I plan on taking care of this by the end of the weekend if at all possible. I’m hoping to pay in the $1000 - $2000 range, if possible, but I am flexible. I’m not really looking for a nice car or a long term one, because this is on such short notice. I’m just looking to have a car for the immediate future and maybe the next few months or so. Maybe some dealership will take my wrecked car in trade?

Long story short:

5 hours ago I had an ok runing car. Now I have a wrecked car that is being stored for $25 a day, and although I have a car to borrow short term, I don’t have one long term. Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot for your help.

I suggest checking your yellowpages under “automobile wrecking & recycling” or “automobile parts - used & rebuilt”, that’s where you’ll find junkyards. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one that will pay you for your wreck.

A grand or two can get you a well-maintained used car. Always get the VIN of any prospective buy and check it against CarFax. Our thousand-dollar car lasted us three years with maily just routine maintenance until all sorts of things went wrong at the same time; fixing it all would have cost more than it was worth.

Counter weight for a trebuchet.

There are often wrecking yards that will give you $50 or so, and haul it away. On the other hand, you could call around to your local high schools, and see if any of their auto shops would like it for rebuilding. You might get a handy tax writeoff that way.

I don’t know how much it’ll help, but I thought I’d mention it.

I have a '98 Mazda 626, and a few weeks ago, something in my transmission blew up. The car has about 108K miles on it, and to get the transmission fixed would cost more than the car is worth. So I called a Mazda dealership and asked if there was any interest there. One of the mechanics said he would buy it, presumably to restore and resell. I’m only getting $450 for it, but it could be worse- I could be paying to get it towed to a junkyard and not getting any money for it.

Many charities accept car donations – some will tow it away for you. You decide, based on Blue Book value, how much it was worth as a tax deduction. You can go to jail if you screw around outrageously.

I kinda doubt they’d be interested in anything that requires extensive repairs though.

Two weeks before I turned 18 (meaning it’s not on my record), I got into my one and only accident. My ex had just openly dumped me for money (though, it was for “another guy has a summer home in Paris” rather than “I don’t have enough for gas,” as was claimed). I was going back to HS (two counties away) to visit some friend’s sporting event, and I was rather pissed, so I was going slightly faster than neccesary. I hit a curve which was supposed to be 35 at about 85, a few minutes into a light rain.

I was fully expecting to spin out and kill myself, but someone else had done exactly that about 15 minutes ago, so a State Highway Patrol Sergent was there cleaning up the accident. My driver’s side door hit the front of his cruiser, throwing his about 15’ and bending my car into a rough U-shape. My glasses had gone through my shattered driver’s side window and partially through his front windshield, but somehow nobody was hurt in that accident. Just before they carted to the hospital for X-rays and questioning, though, one more person lost control of their car, hit the remains of mine, and broke their arm.

If it were in perfect condition, the car would have been worth about $2K. When I opted for it being salvaged, the parts were worth about $4.5K. Salvage Japanese cars whenever possible.

If you have no insurance, then cut your losses. Ring around and find out which wrecker will give you the best offer and also pick the car up from the place where it’s currently stored. And remember to contact the local motor registry and cancel the car’s registration.

Sometimes they will – even if the car isn’t working. It is an optuion is all I am saying

Thanks for the advice, it helped me make the desision to just have a scrap place pick up the car and cut my losses. They paid me $50 for it, so with their money deducted from the towing/storage fee, I ended up paying like $75 dollars today for the privelage of no longer having a car.

Insurance will pay for any damages to the other’s parties cars if I am responsible for them, so I don’t have that to worry about. Also, my Aunt and Uncle happened to have a 3rd car currently, so they were nice enough to let me borrow it for a while (they said til summer, but I can’t imagine I’ll keep it that long). So, I guess this could have been a lot worse.

So, now my only dilema is that I need to get a new car hopefully within the next few weeks, and definitley within the next few months. At least I’ve got the benefit of having time to shop around.

Thanks for the help.

Recently hit a deer with my car. Scrapped it for $40. Fortunately, it was driveable, so I didn’t take a net loss.

You could have just left the car there until the people that owned the lot took it for unpaid storage. That’s what happens at the dealership I work at. The dealership has a deal with a local scrapyard to take all cars from the dealership good and bad. I looked out back this week and we had at least five cars that have been back there for ninety days.

Yeah, but don’t they still bill the owner for the difference between storage cost and scrap value?

Drained of fluids and properly placed, totaled vehicles make excellent flower beds. And, oh, I second the trebuchet notion - only I’d recommend it as the flingee rather than the counterweight. You’d need some open space, though.

Sorry to hear about the car. Glad you weren’t totalled. Lots of options, but sometimes not all are available to you. If the car was as smashed up as it sounds you really can’t have done much better than you did. Yeah, parting it out is always profitable–if you can find buyers for the parts that aren’t smashed (hint–folks usually want the front end parts because, well, they smashed theirs!) and if you don’t mind having a rusting hulk on your property. Nothing wrong with walking away from something you can’t fix.

Every time I see this thread I wonder, “I don’t know, what do you do with a totalled cat?”

Anyway, I’m glad you’re OK, Blunt.