Cash on Wheels: How to Pawn or Sell Your Car

February 01, 2020 - Vehicles

Very few people seem to realize you can pawn or sell a car to a pawn shop.

Do you have a car you’d like sell very quick? Most people don’t realize that pawn shops buy (and loan on) cars in a variety of conditions. Whether it’s nearly new or best used for parts, pawn shops present a good alternative to dealerships and traditional used car buyers for quickness. They’re also a compelling and much more lucrative alternative to the scrap heap for cars that don’t function well, particularly if you’re looking to sell.

Pawn shops can buy or give you a loan on a car based on its value, just like any asset you own free-and-clear. When people decided to sell their car, they often leave it on their driveway with a sale sign on display, post an ad to a website, or sell to a used car dealership. The problem with these options are they all take forever to receive offers, and can lead to protracted negotiations – think of the proverbial “tire kicker”. Pawn shops are great for their convenience and ability to offer instant, clear value.

Read the following tips before you visit a pawn shop near you. They will prepare you and your car to get the best cash offer at the right pawn shop.

Locate the title of your car

Pawn shops need proof that you own your car free and clear. Why you ask? Having a car that is on lien to someone else (or worse) is not good for business.

Find a reputable pawnbroker

Pawnbrokers must have a license or have registered with a state agency – like the state consumer protection agency or state tax department — to operate business.

Decide if you want to sell or pawn

a. Sell- If you decide to sell your car, show the pawnbroker the car title and negotiate a price around the value of the car.

  1. Pawn – the same process as selling your car except you negotiate a contractual price and timeline for repayment to get your car back.

I. Storage option – When pawning a car you have the option of having it stored by the pawnbroker until you pay your loan off in full.

II. Non-Storage option — Option of getting a loan on your title .When you get a car title loan, your vehicle is not stored, you get to keep driving your car, but the lender keeps the car title  becoming the legal owner of the vehicle until you pay your loan off in full.


If you need to sell your car, for example in the case of having an older car you no longer use, then pawn shops are a great option because they’re quicker than any other selling method. If you’re looking for advice on how to get the most money out of your car to sell or pawn, shoot me a message at – we’re always eager to help!

Jordan Birnholtz
Jordan Birnholtz

Jordan Birnholtz is the cofounder of PawnGuru. An alumnus of the University of Michigan, Jordan started PawnGuru in 2015 with Jon Polter, David Stiebel, and Jessica Zahnd. When he's not working at PawnGuru, Jordan volunteers his time to support undergraduates in building socially-responsible businesses and organizations through Optimize, a program at the University of Michigan.

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Avatar for candra


June 18, 2016, 3:45 AM

Does my car have to be in good working conditions to sell my car it has a new starter, key ignition, motor mounts, and transmission but my care keeps turning off and on idk what tondo with it anymore and I have 7 kids and I need to know my options.

Avatar for Jamie watson

Jamie watson

September 9, 2016, 12:45 AM

I have a 2001 Chevy Silverado with an extended Cab and 4whl drive. My KBBV is at 4500. That’s how much I’d like to sell it to a pawn shop for. Is that too much?

Avatar for Tom Allen

Tom Allen

June 17, 2017, 10:29 PM

Is there a location in Maryland?

Avatar for Vinnie


June 27, 2017, 11:18 PM

The genius store cadlel, they’re running out of you.

Avatar for Hannah Schroeder

Hannah Schroeder

September 28, 2017, 2:55 AM

I’ve never pawned anything before, so I didn’t know that you can set up a price and timeline to get your car back. My brother is having a hard time right now, and I want to find the cash to help him. If I find a legitimate pawn shop, I might take my car there and buy it back later.

Avatar for Sam Li

Sam Li

April 8, 2019, 6:51 PM

I appreciate what you said about proof of ownership when it comes to either pawning or selling your car for cash. Locating an auto buyer in town is a great way to make a little money while ridding yourself of a faulty vehicle. My brother’s car is super old, so I’ll suggest he find an auto buyer in his respective area.

Avatar for Beatrice Shurtleff

Beatrice Shurtleff

October 8, 2019, 9:10 PM

Im looking for a truck loan or even sell it

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