Can you sell a non-running car?

    Does your car or van not drive anymore? If so, it could be a non-runner. 

    Whether it’s due to mechanical issues, age, or damage from a past accident, there’s still value to be found in even non-running vehicles. Although selling a non-running car can seem daunting, with the right approach, it’s entirely feasible. 

    Don’t let your non-runner gather dust in your driveway. Read on for strategies to help successfully sell your non-running vehicle, turning what might seem like a burden into a profitable opportunity.

    What is a non-running car?

    woman broken down
    Non-running cars aren’t a total loss – many can be fixed or sold for parts.

    Non-running cars are vehicles that are unable to operate or move using their own power. This can be due to a variety of issues, from minor problems like a dead battery or a faulty starter motor to more severe issues such as engine failure. 

    Any condition that prevents the car from starting, driving, or being safely operable categorises it as non-running. While some of these conditions can be fixed, allowing your car to safely drive again, others cannot. If that is the case, your best option is to sell your car for parts as it is no longer usable. 

    Factors contributing to non-running status include: 

    Mechanical failure – mechanical issues such as engine damage, transmission failure (indicated by problems with gears, clutches, and fluid leaks), and fuel system issues can render a car non-running. Talk to a mechanic to see if repairs are feasible – and worth your money in the long run. 

    Electrical issues – Faulty wiring, blown fuses, and sensor malfunctions can short your car’s electrical systems and affect its ability to drive entirely. 

    Structural damage Collision damage, frame damage, and suspension damage can compromise the structural integrity and driveability of a vehicle. 

    Age and improper maintenance – Wear and tear, lack of maintenance, and ageing components can lead to mechanical failures that prevent cars from running. Discuss repair and replacement possibilities with a certified mechanic to see what’s possible.  

    Environmental damage – Flood and fire damage can cause extensive vehicle issues, making a car non-operational.

    Repair costs – Sometimes, the expense of repairing the car exceeds its value, making it non-running.

    Deciding the fate of your non-runner

    car recycling centre
    There are many options for non-running cars.

    Can your non-runner be fixed? Before scrapping or selling your non-running car for parts, consider:

    • A diagnostic assessment – Conduct a thorough diagnostic assessment to identify the extent of the issues causing the non-running condition. Are these serious or minor? 
    • A cost analysis – Evaluate the cost of repairs against the current value of the vehicle to determine if it’s financially viable to fix.
    • An expert opinion – Seek advice from automotive professionals or mechanics to understand the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of repairs.
    • Future reliability – Assess the potential for future breakdowns and reliability issues even after repairs are made. Does fixing these problems now mean additional bills and issues in the long run?

    Selling options

    If you determine that fixing your non-running car or van doesn’t make practical sense (or is impossible!), then selling could be the option for you.  

    While there is a market for non-running cars in the UK, in most cases sellers do not receive significant prices for their vehicles, given their unroadworthy status. However, it is important to go into the sales process with an estimate of just how much your non-runner is worth. Your car or van’s make, model, age, mileage, and repair history, as well as local demand, will all play into its valuation.

    For a free, instant estimate of the value of your car, try Motorway’s Car Value Tracker tool. You can also consult your local garage to get a more accurate estimate based on the current condition of your vehicle. 

    There are a variety of ways to sell a non-running car: 

    • Private sale – You can advertise and sell your non-running car privately. Remember: this means handling the particulars of any negotiations and payment on your own. 
    • Sell for parts – Consider selling individual parts or components of your car. Scrapping your vehicle for parts helps get additional value from your vehicle. 
    • Sell at auction – You can put your vehicle up for sale at a traditional car auction. However, there exist better alternatives. 
    • Trade-in or parts-exchange – Some dealerships may accept non-running cars as trade-ins, applying the value of this vehicle towards your next purchase.
    • Scrappage schemes – Explore the top scrappage schemes in your area.
    • Online platforms – Utilise online platforms in buying cars, where you can receive offers from buyers interested in vehicles in any condition.

    As with all other car sales, you need certain paperwork to proceed with selling your non-running car. This includes: 

    ✏️ V5C vehicle registration document – the V5C logbook ownership details, registration number, and vehicle specifications.

    ✏️ MOT certificate – Your MOT certificate proves that your vehicle has passed all necessary safety and emissions tests.

    ✏️ Service history – While optional, sharing service history is helpful for showcasing past maintenance and receipts for repairs.

    Can I sell a non-runner with Motorway?

    Yes! While Motorway does not sell scrap or non-running vehicles to dealers, we work with a specialist scrap buyer who can buy broken down, written-off, or non-running vehicles.

    Our scrap partner will offer you an estimated price for your non-runner. They’ll also make the sale quick and hassle-free – and provide free collection too. 

    To get started, enter your vehicle registration for an instant quote. Then, create a quick profile of your car or van directly from your phone before entering it into our daily online auction, where 5,000 verified car dealers from across the country will bid on your vehicle with their best prices. 

    You’ll receive your car’s best offer directly to your email – no hassle or haggling involved! All you need to do then is accept and schedule a time and place for free collection. You’ll get instant payment as your car drives away. 


    What is classed as a non-runner car?

    A non-runner vehicle is a car or van that cannot operate or move under its own power due to mechanical, structural, or electrical issues. These issues render it undrivable and in need of repairs.

    Can you drive a damaged car on the road?

    Driving a damaged car on the road is unsafe and may be illegal, depending on the extent of damage. It’s essential to assess and repair any damage before driving. 

    If your insurance writes your car off as Cat A or B because of serious damage, it becomes illegal to drive ever again and must be scrapped. However, if your car is written off at Cat S or N, it can still be driven after being repaired.      

    Can you part exchange a non-running car?

    That depends. Some dealerships may accept non-running cars for part exchange, depending on their policies. Contact your local dealership for more. 

    At Motorway, we work with a specialist scrap buyer for non-running cars. Should you choose to sell your non-runner this way, you’ll also enjoy free collection!

    Is it time to sell your car?

    Want to learn more about owning, maintaining, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from finding buyers, to negotiating a good price, and completing payment safely.