How to Sell a Car for Parts, Step-By-Step

If you have an old or unreliable car, your first thought might be that it would be best sold for parts rather than selling it privately or to a junkyard. Maybe you’ve had good luck doing this before and want to know the best strategy. Or maybe you’re just interested in which parts will net you the most cash so that you can plan. We’ll look at how you can remove items and why it might be easier to sell the car whole.

Selling Your Car for Parts

It’s easy to think that selling your car for parts is the smart way. After all, the tires alone might have cost you more than the junkyard offers! But the truth is that harvesting the best parts of a car is far from a one-and-done process.

Here’s a rough estimate of what you’re getting into:

  • The first step is to assess exactly how much parts are worth based on their current condition. Unlike other kinds of investments, parts lose their value as soon as they’re used, meaning it’s not always easy to determine how much they can be sold for. Plus, there’s not always a buyer for them, even if they’re in the best condition.
  • The next step is to determine the market for these parts. If no one in your area is buying, it will mean shipping to someone else. In the latter case, the price of sending a large package could make it difficult to sell. And some parts, particularly in older cars, may not have any demand.
  • The final step is to get the parts out of the car. Smaller parts on the exterior are typically a pretty simple project, but anything larger or more out of the way can present much bigger challenges.

There isn’t a single source of value in terms of how much each car part is worth, and what you get will be somewhat dependent on when you sell it. However, you can get a sense of the average price of each part (based on condition) on places like eBay or Amazon. Keep a list of how much everything is worth to understand whether stripping the car is the right decision.

What Are the Most Valuable Parts of the Car?

If you’re still interested in stripping, here’s a tour of a few of the most valuable items in (or on) your car:

  • Engine/transmission: These under-the-hood items are excellent places to start if the car is in running condition.
  • AC: The air conditioning system, mainly the compressor or condenser, may be in demand by places like repair shops or remanufacturing companies.
  • Alternator/starter: These components are attached to their engine and are largely valuable because of the copper wiring in the steel case.
  • Radiator: The radiator contains plenty of recyclable aluminum and is relatively simple to remove.
  • Catalytic converter: You’ll find metals like platinum and rhodium in the converter. They can also be purchased whole from auto repair shops.
  • Tires/wheels: You can sell them together or separately if they are in good condition.

These items make up the most valuable scrap car parts.

Why Parting Out Your Car Is a Hassle

Anyone who wants to part out their car will need a lot of time on their hands. Researching the car's many parts can quickly drain hours from your day! Plus, you’ll need to know how to disassemble the car without damaging it before cleaning, photographing, pricing, posting, and then delivering the parts.

It takes a lot of expertise to dismantle a vehicle properly and requires the right tools to handle the heavier parts of the car (e.g., engine, body panels, etc.). You’ll need a ramp or lift to ensure the vehicle stays put while you work under it, a place to store the parts, and a high-quality camera to display them in full glory.

Throughout it all, you’ll need to manage the sale, including answering endless questions from buyers who may or may not be serious about following through with it. Once you’re done with it all, you’ll still need to figure out how to get rid of the rest of the car that’s left over.

If you’re not an expert, we recommend calling a certified mechanic for help and having a buyer lined up before starting it. This will help you feel more confident about getting the most money from your car and provide a financial incentive to dismantle the vehicle.

When It’s All Too Much

Selling your car for parts is more than a weekend project; it’s one of those to-do items that usually keeps getting pushed back repeatedly. If adding this to your busy life makes you tired, Junk Car Medics is a solution that will get the car off your property (or the property where it broke down on you) faster than you might think.

With us, there’s almost no prep work. All you do is fill out a quick form and get a quote, and then the next thing you know, it’s out of your life forever. We take care of it so you can focus on what you will do with the cash.