Getting cash for my totalled car

A story of my first car and how it got totalled, and finding who in Melbourne will give you money to take away a 20 year old car that doesn’t go.


The story of my first car

My first car was a 1992 Ford Laser, purchased back in the mid-2000s soon after I turned 18, over the ensuring years I took it all over Victoria chasing trains, no matter how muddy the roads got.

I managed to get said car bogged on at least three separate occasions, being rescued by grass mowing tractors, a bobcat working at a nearby construction site, and a random four wheel driver owner after I knocked on his door.

Chasing trains in my muddy car

Despite all of those adventures, it was a much less exciting accident that lead to the demise of my car: a woman in a 4WD reversed right over the top of my bonnet, destroying the entire front chassis.

My poor smashed up car

Even through she didn’t have any insurance, thankfully she wasn’t an arsehole about it – to settle the incident she paid me around the same figure that an insurance company would have given me for a totalled 20 year old car.

With the car having been otherwise bulletproof during my adventures, and still drivable post-collision, I was rather bummed that with the damaged front end, the next stop for my car was the wreckers. So how much money could I get for it?


Getting cash for a clunker

The wonders of the internet suggest that the way to get the most cash for an old car is to pull it to pieces and and sell the bits on eBay, but that requires both skills to disassemble everything, as well as the room to store them all. I fail at both hurdles!

A much simpler option is to get a wreckers to take the car off your hands: my first stop was Google, where the first page of results is a battlefield for SEO experts trying to get their client’s car wrecking business to the top of the page.

Searching for 'Melbourne car removals' on Google

I went down the list, and enquired with each to find out which one would pay the most money.

  • http://a1carremovals.com.au/
    Price displayed on the front page:
    $150 to $200
  • http://www.cash4urscrap.com/
    Asked via email:
    No response
  • http://advantagemotors.com.au/
    Asked via web form:
    No response
  • http://www.atlascarremovals.com.au/
    Asked via web form (which was broken on submit) so used email:
    No response
  • http://www.carsremoved.com.au/
    Asked via web form:
    No response
  • http://www.oldcarsremoved.com.au/
    Asked via email:
    No response
  • http://www.carsaway.com.au/
    Asked via web form:
    No response
  • http://www.oldcarremovalsmelbourne.com.au/
    No web form, so used email:
    Got back to me within 3 hours, will pay $150 picked up
  • http://uniquecarremovals.com.au/
    Asked via web form:
    Got back to me within 2 hours, will pay $200

Two responses out of nine enquiries – pretty shit!

In the end I ended up getting a recommendation from my sister who had to get rid of her written off car a few years ago – she called up Imlachs Auto Parts and was paid $200 for her car, picked up from her house. From my enquiries it seemed that $200 was the most I was going to get, so what did I have to lose?

Imlachs had an online form on their website, so I filled it in and booked in a pickup time, asking them to call me to confirm price – they rang me up soon after offering me $200, so I took them up on it.

Tilt truck taking away my damaged car


To cut a long story short…

I ended up needing to reschedule the pickup time, and due to a mix up at the Imlachs office, it resulted in the bloke who collected the car giving me a receipt for $0 and no cheque. Given that they already had my trashed car on the back of the truck I wasn’t expecting to get the money they promised!

Luckily for me the guy I spoke to back at their office was happy to fix everything up – I told him that they had originally quoted $200 for the car but my receipt said $0, he asked for my bank details, and a few days later the money appeared in my bank account – all’s well that ends well!

In a competitive industry such as car wrecking, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised they took my word for what I was owed – paying a customer $200 they would have received anyway is cheaper than getting your company name dragged through the mud, and the wreckers isn’t going to have any trouble making back the money once they sell the parts.

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5 Responses to “Getting cash for my totalled car”

  1. mich says:

    Business must be good in Geelong. I think I have given away three cars for nothing, and none of them were 20 years old. I’m not sure about now, but in the past registration inspections were much more of a hassle in NSW.

  2. Andrew says:

    Who would have thought that a tale of totalled old car would be so interesting. Remembering my nephew’s car, that was his step grandfather’s car, $200 is not a bad price.

  3. Kelly says:

    I experienced many of the same frustrations when trying to organise an auto wrecker, untill I contacted Garden City auto wreckers in Geelong.
    I highly recommend Paul and the team as a refreshingly reliable and friendly service.

  4. removalists Melbourne says:

    Thanks a lot Markus for such a nice and beautiful posting. From my point of view getting $200 from a 20 year old car is not a small amount.

  5. Alan Gibson says:

    It is better/funny to know that you got a receipt of 0$ but get 200$ at last. By the way i just want to say that this is a good deal with you and Imlachs company.

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