Should I Strip My Junk Car for Parts?

If you have an irreparable car sitting in your driveway, you might be thinking about selling it for parts. Here are some things to consider in order to make the best decision: 

How much are the parts worth? 

Many things affect the value of car parts, such as the local demand and a car’s year, make, and model. You can get an idea of how much your car’s parts are worth by searching platforms like eBay and Amazon.  The list below can give you an idea of which parts will bring in the most cash:

  • Transmission: This big-ticket item is a great place to start. Used, working transmissions can bring in several hundred dollars depending on their condition.
  • Tires: Used tires can be sold if they still have a decent amount of life left in them.
  • Catalytic converter: Catalytic converters can either be sold whole at auto repair shops or  bought for the valuable metals they contain like platinum or rhodium.
  • AC: Remanufacturing companies or repair shops may be interested in your AC system’s compressor or condenser. 
  • Radiator: A radiator might not bring in much, but it is easy to remove and easy to sell for scrap metal.
  • Alternator/starter: Salvage yards are always interested in these parts because of the scrap copper and steel inside of them.

How much am I willing to work? 

Don’t underestimate how much work is involved in stripping your car for parts. 

  • You will likely have to do hours of research. 
  • You will have to dismantle the car which requires the right tools (many of which are very expensive) and foreknowledge. 
  • You will have to clean, photograph, price, and post all the parts for buyers to see.

After going through all of the above, you will still have to deal with the headache of managing the sale. This can include answering countless questions from people who may or may not be serious about buying. Don’t forget about shipping, which could be especially difficult if the parts are large.

Stripping your broken-down car and selling the parts might be a good idea — if the parts are valuable enough and you have the expertise needed to dismantle the car.  By honestly assessing these two factors, you will be in a good position to make an informed decision.

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