Is It Worth It To Sell Your Car For Parts?

How do you sell an old car? This article provides a guide on whether to sell it as a whole or sell its parts individually.

Is your vehicle near (or has already reached) the end of its life cycle?

If so, you might be wondering what your options are. If it’s mechanically sound, then selling it to a dealer or private buyer should be simple.

But if not, it might be best to sell it for parts.

Is it worth it to sell your car for parts? It definitely can be, especially if you’re mechanically savvy, with some free time available.

In this case, you can disassemble it and sell each component individually. Though, if you’re new to selling cars for parts, there are less complicated options.

Thankfully, in this handy guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about selling a car for parts!

Before starting the process, I will review a few questions you should ask yourself. Then, I will examine what the options are.

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Is It Worth Selling Your Car For Parts? Ask Yourself These Questions

Question #1 – Am I Mechanically Savvy?

man holding wrench with car in background

If you’ve never changed your own oil, swapped out an air filter, or replaced your spark plugs, there’s a good chance you are not ready to disassemble a car.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t sell a car for parts; it just means you should go about it differently.

If you have zero mechanical knowledge, you can sell it as a whole unit to a scrapyard, which will then scrap it for parts. With a basic understanding of how to work on a car, you can always just remove the most profitable parts and sell the rest for scrap.

Question #2 – What Condition Is My Car In?

older car being sold

If you’re thinking of selling your car for parts, then you’re basically acknowledging it’s worth more when sold in pieces than as a whole unit.

While there’s nothing incorrect with this, you surely don’t want to go through the efforts of disassembling your car if you don’t have to. For this reason, you should use an online car evaluation tool like NADA Guides or Kelly Blue Book (KBB).

Once there, simply enter the year, make, model, and trim level of your car, the zip code for your location, and a set of values will come out. While these aren’t official values, they are used nationwide by dealers and private buyers alike.

If the trade-in or retail value you see is less than you were hoping for, then selling your car for parts might be the best idea. Though, if it is less than 10 years old with less than 150,000 miles, it’s probably better to try and sell it privately.

Question #3 – How Much Time Do I Have?

clock calendar time management

Entirely dismantling a car takes time – lots of it. Depending on your level of expertise, expect to set aside weeks or even months to fully take it apart. Not only that, selling each part one by one takes even longer, especially if it’s not an essential component.

A faster option (that will still yield a higher return than selling to a scrapyard) is to only list the parts that are more likely to sell quickly.

Otherwise, if you need to sell your car for parts fast, selling it for parts to a scrapyard can be finalized in less than 24 hours.

Now that you’ve asked yourself the above three questions. Let’s look at the options for selling a car for parts.

Selling Your Car For Parts – The Options

Option #1 – Sell Your Car To A Scrapyard, Private Buyer, Or Online Seller

car scrapyard

If you don’t have a lot of time and you aren’t comfortable under the hood, then selling your car to a scrapyard, private, or online seller is likely your best bet.

How do you decide between the 3? Well, scrapyards are great if you have a large vehicle like an SUV, truck, or van.

Why? Because after scrapping the profitable parts, they will melt down the remaining metal for scrap. Because of this, the larger your vehicle, the more it will weigh, meaning the more you will get for it.

As for a private buyer, so long as you’re honest about the condition of your car, that it’s only meant for parts, you should be able to find a buyer. Otherwise, you risk upsetting any interested parties that may have been looking for something in better shape.

Another option similar to a scrapyard is an online junk car buyer. Some of these include CashCarsBuyers, CarBrain, JunkCarMedics. Each of these services is reputable, offers free removal, and will take just about any type of car, regardless of the condition it’s in.

However, you should know that if you can sell your car privately, you will surely get more for it.

Option #2 – Disassemble Your Car Yourself And Sell The Parts Separately

man working on car

This choice is for people who are good at fixing things. If that’s you, taking apart your car bit by bit and selling each part alone will give you the most money. But it will take a lot of time and work.

You essentially become a mini-scrapyard with endless random bits and pieces lying around. This means you’re likely to have a full garage for an extended amount of time.

Not just that, however, you need to trade each part as well, which involves listing them, meeting with buyers, and negotiating over price. If you do choose to take this path, then make sure to explore websites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and, naturally, Craigslist.

Option #3 – Remove Essential “High-Dollar” Parts And Scrap The Rest

automotive transmission

If the operation of your engine is less of a mystery and more of an interest for you. You may be able to harvest the high-dollar parts off your car and scrap the rest.

Some of these include the engine, transmission, airbags, catalytic converter, wheels, and seats.

If you aren’t quite sure how to remove a specific part. You should be able to find simple instructions on YouTube by searching for: “how to remove” – and then the name of the component.

A lot of places will pay $300-$500 for nearly any type of car, but you should be able to make at least that off selling your engine by itself, meaning the rest would be pure profit.

Once you’ve picked it clean, haul the remaining stripped chassis to a scrapyard and sell it for its metal.

Put The Hammer Down – Do You Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into?

used car parts

Is it worth it to sell your car for parts?

Well, if you’ve asked yourself the above questions, and read through different options, then you should know the answer.

In most cases, if you’re only getting offers of $300-$500, selling your car for parts is definitely worth it, regardless of the method you choose to do so.

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Joshua Barrett

Josh Barrett is a writer hailing from the great state of Alaska. While describing himself in the third person is not his forte, writing about any and all things automotive – is. After 13+ years hustling in the exciting world of car sales, he took off to travel the world with his dog Teemo.