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How to Sell a Car for Parts (Always Make Money)

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In some cases, your car may not be worth anything on the private market.  Or, maybe the repairs are no longer worth it and you feel you may not be able to get rid of it.

Whether it doesn’t run, it has 250,000 miles or it visits the shop more than it does your garage, then it may be time to get rid of it.

However, just because you feel no one will want to buy it, it doesn’t mean you can’t get money for it as you can still sell it for parts.

How to Sell a Damaged/Wrecked/Used Car for Parts

In today’s guide, I wanted to talk about the many ways you can sell your car for parts.  And, no, you don’t have to be a mechanic or car guru, either, as many of these options are opened to all, no matter your expertise.  It’s much easier than you think.

If you have a car no longer holding value or you want cash today, then you may want to consider one of the many options I’m about to list to at least make a few extra bucks.

Let’s begin!

First, Let’s Decide If This Is the Right Choice

Before you even consider selling your car for parts, first consider if going this route is the best option financially.  Of course, you will get much less for the parts than you would selling the car to a private party.

To determine this, it really is simple math.

Go to KBB.com, see what your car is worth using the private value number (use the lowest number) and then subtract the repairs from that price to see what you’re left with.

If your car is only worth $1,250 and your repairs are close to $1,000, is it really worth it the hassle to make $200?  No.

Experts recommend that if your repairs surpass half of what your car is worth, then it’s probably time to dump it.  If you can pocket at least $1,500+ in a difference and you’re using that lower-end KBB private party number, then you may want to proceed with the repairs and then sell it.

Most repair shops are more than happy to offer you a quote on repairs.  Most will charge a shop fee, but it’s usually no more than $50 or so.  In some cases, you may luck out and they won’t charge you anything.

If you don’t want to invest, but you know what repairs are needed, then most repair shops or even a website like RepairPal.com can help get you at least an estimate.

If the numbers don’t make sense, then here’s what you can do to sell your car parts for cash.



Do You Have a Clean Title?

Even if you do the math and it makes sense to sell your car for parts, then it’s important that you have a title in which you can “sign” over to the person or company taking your car.  This can be said in a private sale, of course, but a junkyard or whoever you sell to will ask for it as well.

Depending on where you live, the definition of “clean” varies, so it’s best to check your local laws as a “salvage” title may mean you need to follow official rules.

Also, even though you have a clean title, you need to make sure there are no liens and/or legal claims against your vehicle as well.  It must be free and clear, hence the reason for the term, “CLEAN.”

As long as you own the car 100% and you owe nothing to nobody, you should be good to go and can start selling via one of the many options below.

Post the Car Yourself

Believe it or not, but there are a lot of car buyers lurking both Craigslist as well as the Facebook Marketplace, looking for cars that they can scrap.

Oftentimes, a junkyard will offer you one of the lowest rates, so your best bet, before you even follow my other tips, could be selling to a private buyer/company.

To do this, list your car as you normally would, but just make sure that you’re completely honest about the shape/condition.  It also doesn’t hurt to take at least 10-20+ pictures.  And, if it needs to be picked up, let them know.  Just explain everything in an honest fashion, and you will be surprised as to how many offers you may get.

Whether you want to post a price based on your research or “make an offer,” in doing this, you could get some bites, but it really does depend on where you live and what you’re selling.

I would start with this option first and keep the car posted for at least one to two weeks before you consider the other options mentioned here.

Call a Junkyard or Salvage Yard

One of the best ways to sell your car for parts with very minimal work is through a junkyard and salvage yard.  You can get an offer in as little as 30 minutes in some cases.

Seeing there are thousands of these businesses in the world, it’s hard for me to list them all.   To find one, however, isn’t hard at all as all you need to do is Google “car junkyards near me.”    Your results will look something like this…

In doing this, you can browse through the results, reviews and pick out a few that are nearby.  Keep in mind that many will come in pick up your car at no charge, even if it doesn’t run, so don’t be discouraged at first if you feel it isn’t worth anything.

Try to get at least three to five quotes over the phone or via a form if they have one.  The more quotes you can get, the more you can get for your car.  However, don’t accept the first quote that comes in as this could end up being the lowest quote.  Just like getting a contractor bid, it’s always wise to get as many quotes as possible to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your dollar.

Use a “Buy Your Car” Service

It’s an approach similar to that of finding a local junkyard, but your goal here is to find a company that’s willing to buy the car off you no, matter what the condition is.

Just like searching for a junkyard, consider using a search term like “scrap my car for cash near me.”

In doing so, you should see different results than that of the a junkyard search, giving you even more options.

Most of these sites allow you to get an instant quote via their websites, but in some cases, they may have to call you for more information.  Again, if going this route, ensure that you’re getting as many quotes as possible to be certain you’re getting the best deal.

If you do plan on giving your information, plan on receiving a ton of calls.  So, for that reason, I highly encourage you to at least create a Google Voice account to yield these calls.

Take the Parts out Yourself

This option will take more work, but you may want to consider taking out some parts to sell separately, as long as you know they work.  And, no, again, you don’t have to be an expert to remove some of these parts as many are as simple as unplugging or disconnecting a few parts and that’s it.  However, it isn’t always true.

In my research, these were some of the most valuable parts:

  • A/C system
  • airbags
  • battery
  • bumper
  • car engine
  • car seats
  • car stereo
  • catalytic converter
  • electronic motors/mechanism
  • exhaust system
  • fenders
  • GPS system
  • radiator
  • rims and tires

Open up YouTube, see how the parts are removed and then consider selling on eBay, Craigslist, the Facebook Marketplace or one of the many Craigslist alternatives.  Only do so, however, if you feel you have the capacity to remove the part successfully.  Most guides are fairly straight-forward.

How much are your car parts worth, you’re wondering?

The same can be said about the value.  Research the most eBay sold listings as well as Craigslist to see what your parts may be worth as you may find it won’t even be worth your time.  You can even search the car part on Google to see if you can find a storefront of sorts.

If you’re having a hard time finding out the price, then consider joining a local specific forum catered to your car or even join a subreddit to ask your question.  Most of the time, as long as it wasn’t posted before, you can get an honest answer.

I would recommend consider this option only after you contact the junkyards as mentioned above.  Oftentimes, they will want all of these parts as they will scrap them for a profit.  If you feel the quote is more than your time and/or the parts in your car, then it would be wise to just dump the car off to a local salvage yard.

Be sure to sell your smaller parts on eBay and the larger parts locally to avoid hefty shipping fees.

Final Thoughts

No matter how old your car is and what it looks like, I promise you that you have some parts that are worth something.

What you will want to do is call up a few of your local junkyards, private companies and get at least five quotes.  But, before you do so, I would at least try to sell on your own before anything else.

Then, with these quotes, part out your car to see how much you could get in doing so.  If you can make much more parting out your car, then consider going that route if you have the time.  If you don’t want to waste the time, then that’s fine as a junkyard can get you cash on the spot.

No matter what you do in the end, let it be known that money is possible.  Just do your research to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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