A big thanks to Sam in Seattle, WA for sending me this question. What Sam wanted to know was if you could pawn the title of a car that doesn’t currently run and I thought that was a really unique question to be honest.
The answer is yes you can pawn the title of a car that doesn’t run, but it’s conditional. That means ‘only sometimes’ in reality.
So what does it depend on you might ask, and I’ll answer.
The fact of the matter not all cars are the same. Some cars are worth a lot more than others.
A 1979 Yugo isn’t going to be worth nearly the same amount as a 1970 Chevelle SS for instance, so we’ve got to be realistic about the expectations that you might have.
Some cars are ideal for collectors, others make excellent ‘racing shells,’ while something like a Cadillac is also going to highly desirable as well.
The more desirable the car is, the more likely it is that a pawn shop will take it, even if it doesn’t run.
Of course, there is a catch.
You Get What You Pay For?
See, a car that doesn’t run just won’t be worth an incredible amount of money to a pawn shop because they aren’t mechanics. They don’t want to spend the time, money and energy fixing up a car just to sell it.
So if they were to accept the title of a car that doesn’t run, they won’t want to pay much for it no matter what it is.
Everyone wants a running car, but not everyone wants a non-running car and that’s a problem for a pawn shop.
Remember, pawn brokers like to deal in highly desirable items. That why they know that if they have to turn around and sell it there’s a good chance that they will find a customer for it pretty quickly.
If you car fits into one of the following three groups then you may still be able to pawn it even if it doesn’t run.
Highly Collectible – That means there’s a collector out there that would buy it cheap to restore it.
Highly Desirable – That means that a lot of people would love to own this car and would pay to have it fixed, but they have to be able to buy it at the right price.
Highly Customization – That means there’s a ‘tuner’ or ‘gear head’ out there that would love to get a shell of the car so that they can put their own motor in there and race it.
If your car fits one of those groups, then your local pawn shop may actually take it in!
Of course, it will be up to their discretion as to how much they are willing to pay for it. You have to remember, a 1970 Chevelle SS may be a highly desirable car – but a non-running 1970 Chevelle SS is much less desirable typically.
So, just go into it knowing that you probably won’t be offered much for your car.
If you were out on the market, looking to buy a car – would the first thing you looked for be one that doesn’t run? I doubt it.
I bet that 99 out of 100 people would be looking for not just a running car, but one that ran well. One that was recently tuned up, and all of the receipts for things like regular oil changes and new tires, etc.
Most people aren’t looking for cars that don’t run and if you are honest with yourself, you know that.
So if they offer you $200-$300 for the car, its not an insult but they aren’t mechanics.
That having been said, there may be one other problem…
You’ve Got To Get Your Car To The Pawn Shop To Be Pawned
A pawn shop isn’t just going to blindly loan on something that they can’t see. They will want to look at it, kick the tires, look under the hood…
So you will probably want to try to figure out a way to get your car there first.
Now there is another consideration. In some states pawn shops have to actually hold onto the cars, not just the titles, to make a loan.
Are you going to be comfortable with that? It’s just something to think about upfront.
Of course you will want to call the pawn shop ahead of time and ask them how they feel about all of these things and if they would even be willing to make a pawn loan on a car that doesn’t run to begin with.
So That About Does It…
If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment field below and I’ll be happy to get back to you just as soon as I can.
Thanks so much,
The Head Nerd
Mandy Dormain started working for Pawn Nerd in 2020. Mandy grew up in a small town in northern Tennessee. But moved to New York for university. Before joining Pawn Nerd, Mandy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers politics and economy stories.