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Do I Need To Notify DMV If I Junk My Car

Do I Need To Notify DMV If I Junk My Car

Junking a used car typically means the vehicle is beyond repair and no longer operable.

But before calling a tow truck to haul your old clunker away, it’s important to take the proper steps for legally transferring ownership and deregistering the car.

You may be wondering — do I need to notify the DMV if I junk my car?

The short answer is yes.

Most states require informing the Department of Motor Vehicles when junking a registered vehicle.

While rules vary across jurisdictions, some common procedures exist for correctly junking your car through the DMV.

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Why Should You Notify the DMV?

Notifying your state’s DMV about junking a car is critical for avoiding legal issues or penalties. The DMV tracks vehicle ownership and registration.

If you neglect to inform them after disposing of a car, records will still list you as the owner. This opens up risks like:

  • Continued liability for the vehicle if improperly handled by a junkyard
  • Ongoing registration renewal fees and taxes
  • Fines for abandoned vehicles if your car is discovered ditched somewhere

Essentially, failing to notify the DMV creates a paper trail disaster. It’s like you still own a car filling up space in a scrapyard.

The right paperwork puts responsibility fully on the salvage yard and releases your ties to the automobile.

When Should You Contact the DMV?

Ideally, you’ll want to notify your DMV immediately before or directly after junking your car.

Most states give a grace period ranging from 5 to 45 days to complete the notification paperwork.

For example, in New York you must inform the DMV within 10 days of selling or disposing a vehicle. Meet your own state’s deadline to avoid complications. Don’t delay!

How Do I Properly Notify the DMV About Junking a Car?

The notification process entails a few key steps, which we’ll break down below:

1. Surrender the Title

  • Locate the vehicle’s title with your name listed as the owner
  • Sign the title over to the salvage yard or junk car buyer
  • Submit the title to your local DMV office

2. Remove License Plates

  • Take off license plates unless driving the car to the junkyard
  • Return plates to the DMV to cancel vehicle registration

3. Apply for Junk Slip

  • Ask the DMV for a “junk slip” or certificate of vehicle destruction
  • This confirms the automobile is scrapped and a liability release

4. Get Junkyard Receipt

  • Obtain receipt from buyer with your name, VIN, date, price etc.
  • Keep this for records in case questions arise later

Following these main steps satisfies the legal conditions for most states. But check your local laws for any extra DMV junking protocols.

Now let’s get into more junk car DMV details…

Can You Junk a Car Without a Title?

Having a title facilitates the junking process, but some states don’t strictly require one under certain conditions. For example:

StateTitle Needed to Junk Car
WisconsinNo, if providing signed bill of sale instead
OklahomaNo, with proof of ownership and ID
CaliforniaTitle not needed for junk-only vehicles
KentuckyNo, for autos over 10 years old

Reference your area’s regulations to determine if junking a car missing a title is possible. Replacement titles from the DMV are also an option if yours is misplaced.

When it comes to notifying the DMV about junking your car, requirements also vary by state:

States Requiring DMV Notification

These states mandate contacting the DMV about disposing of a junk car:

  • California – Must file Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability within 5 days
  • Florida – Recommended to notify ASAP
  • New York – Must notify DMV within 10 days of junk sale
  • Illinois – Notification required within 20 days
  • Michigan – Deadline for notice is 15 days after junking

States With Flexible Notification Policies

These areas allow junking cars without notifying the DMV under certain conditions:

  • Wisconsin – Can sell for scrap without title if providing signed bill of sale
  • Oklahoma – Allows sale without title using proof of ownership and ID

Mistakes to Avoid at the DMV When Junking a Car

When navigating all the DMV junk car paperwork, it’s easy to make hiccups. Be sure to steer clear of these missteps vehicle owners often run into:

1. Not Canceling Insurance

Terminate your old policy to halt premium charges and liability coverage.

2. Forgetting to Take Plates

You must surrender license plates to the DMV when disposing of a car. They’ll cancel registration with this key step.

3. Missing State Notification Deadlines

After junking your car, file all necessary forms to the DMV within your jurisdiction’s provided timeframe.

4. Neglecting to Get a Junkyard Receipt

Secure this transaction proof with vehicle details in case questions come up later.

5. Thinking You Can Abandon It

Illegally dumping a car prompts hefty fines and penalties in most areas. Instead, properly transfer ownership.

Easily Junk Your Clunker Through a Trusted Company

Although managing DMV obligations seems straightforward, it’s admittedly still a chore. Make your life easier by selling junk cars to reputable buyers like CarBrain.

With CarBrain, you get:

  • Free and fast online quotes
  • Contact-free junk car removal
  • Paperwork assistance meeting DMV notification rules
  • Cash payment in as little as 48 hours

Key Takeaways: Do I Need to Notify the DMV When I Junk My Car?

  • Yes, notifying your DMV about junking a registered vehicle is required by most states to transfer ownership
  • You should inform the DMV immediately before or directly after sending your old car to a junkyard
  • Critical steps include submitting your title, surrendering license plates, receiving a junk slip, and keeping receipts
  • Mistakes like missing deadlines, abandoning vehicles illegally, or forgetting insurance cancellation leads to penalties
  • Simplify DMV notifications by safely selling old clunkers to reputable junk car companies instead

Hopefully this clears up the procedures for correctly junking your automobile and dealing with the DMV notification process.

It pays to cross all the t’s and dot every i when getting that junker transferred to a salvage yard! Let us know if you have any other questions.

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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