Choosing Auto Parts

Local Restrictions to Consider Before Buying A Junk Car To Work On

An old, junky car is a perfect testing ground for repair techniques when you're learning how to fix or restore a vehicle. A real challenge is working on an actual junked car -- not just an old one that barely stays on the road, but one that just doesn't run. Depending on where you live, though, you might have to meet a few requirements to ensure that you actually can bring that car home.

Parking Laws and Storage

Unless you're buying the car for an auto repair class, you're likely going to store it at home for your personal work, right? Never assume that you can just leave a junked car by your house.

Most cities have strict street parking laws that prohibit cars from being left on the street -- even if it's your car in front of your house -- for a certain number of days, usually two to three. If you have no driveway or garage, you can't assume that you'll be able to leave the junked car on the street, even with your neighbors' permission.

If you live in an apartment complex and have a parking spot, you'll need to talk to your apartment management about leaving a car there and possibly working on it. Stationary cars can attract bugs, which can then move into neighboring cars, and many complexes don't want to risk engine fluids like oil spilling onto the lot surface.

If you don't have a good storage spot for it on your property, you may want to call various storage facilities and see if they allow any type of minor car work (the non-professional type you might do in your own home garage). Many don't; they allow only storage. But it's worth asking about just in case.

Your HOA

If you have a garage, you should be fine storing the car in there as long as you don't have any fluids dripping down your driveway. But storing the car in the driveway itself could be problematic depending on your HOA, if you live in a development controlled by one. Many HOAs want the exterior of your house to be very neat. If the outside of the car is in great shape, you might be able to simply leave it parked in the driveway. But if the car has an obnoxiously deteriorated exterior, you may have to cover the car, if not move it into the garage out of sight.

Registration and Planned Non-Operation

Don't forget to register the car! It doesn't matter if the car can't move and the engine doesn't work. If you own a car, you need to register it. Many states offer a cheaper "planned non-operation" option that costs only a few dollars.

Registration is fast, and storage issues can usually be worked out. If you've encountered a snag, talk to the auto parts for cars junkyard about options. They may have other customers who have encountered the same issues and found a good solution.