April 6

Make the Most from Selling Your Car for Parts

Last Updated on June 20, 2022

Is selling car parts a good idea when those parts once belonged to your car? Rest assured, there’s a market just waiting for you. And we have the tips you need to make the most from selling your car for parts. 

First, let’s distinguish between selling your car for parts and selling your car parts. Selling your car for parts entails selling your car in its entirety to a single buyer. This person then tears down the vehicle for parts. On the other hand, selling car parts entails breaking your own car down to individual parts. Next, you sell the parts piecemeal with each piece most likely being purchased by a different buyer.

The most frequent reason someone would sell a car for parts is because the car is no longer operational or would cost too much to fix, but still has some working parts. Of course, these parts have to be in good condition.  

The most marketable car parts

Selling car parts takes a lot of effort, training and tools if you do it yourself. If you pay a mechanic to do it—at $60-$100/hour, it can quickly eat into any profit you were expecting. This is especially true because it can take two full days to strip out the most valuable parts. 

The following are the most valuable car parts and how much average market prices are for each item:

Selling Car Parts - market prices for car parts infographic

These prices reflect factory-installed items. If you put a really expensive radio, tires, or any other aftermarket item on a vehicle, they will maintain their market value. 

Once you remove all these parts, you will have a husk of a vehicle that can’t be driven. You can sell it to the scrap yard. They may pay you enough to cover the cost of towing it to the yard. Another option is to donate it to a local charity and receive a tax receipt.  

Tearing a car apart

The first step in selling car parts is the removal of those parts. 

If you want to remove an engine, start by removing the entire front end. This includes the grille, bumper cover, radiator and radiator condenser. You’ll have better access this way. Make sure you drain the fluid from the radiator and any other parts before removing them also.

Remove the headlights and find all the dozen or so bolts that are holding the front structure in place. Then remove them. 

Next, remove the A/C compressor, air intake, exhaust manifold, battery, alternator, and power steering pump. Also remove any other parts near the engine that make access more difficult.

Disconnect every hose or wire connecting to the engine. Then you will need to disconnect the engine from its four engine mounts. Before you do this, use something to support the engine’s weight when you detach it from the mounts. 

Vehicles Currently at Online Auction

Now, you can crane the engine out of the vehicle. If you can’t lift the engine out, you can lower it out. However, to do this you will need to remove the drive shaft, exhaust, and transmission, as well as leave the engine fastened to its mounts for a few more steps. 

Removing the transmission is easy once the driveshaft and exhaust are out of the way. It is connected to a bushing via several bolts and is connected to the engine. Place a jack or something else under the transmission so it doesn’t fall when you remove the bolts. 

At this point, you would place a dolly under the engine and two jacks that reach up to the engine. This allows you to lower the engine onto the dolly after removing the engine from its mounts. 

Removing an engine can take a professional four to eight hours (depending on the vehicle model) and taking out the transmission takes only an hour or two. Fortunately, the remaining parts can be completed relatively quickly and easily. 

Removing other car parts

If you want to take off the tires, start by removing the hubcap with a flathead screwdriver. Next, remove the bolts attaching the tire to the car. The car will need to be jacked near the tire to remove the weight of the vehicle from the tire. After you’ve pulled off the tire, place a wooden block or something similar to support the car’s weight. Lower the jack until the axle rests on the block. Repeat the process with the remaining tires. This process will take one to two hours.

Seats are fastened to the vehicle by a small number of bolts. All the seats and benches can be removed within an hour or two. 

Airbags can be removed using just a screwdriver in a matter of minutes. The same goes for the vehicle radio. 

In total, two full days could be all that’s needed to remove the parts you plan to sell.

Where can I sell car parts?

The majority of operators in the used vehicle parts industry are small to medium-sized auto-recycling yards. They dismantle old automobiles after stripping them of their used parts.

According to IBIS World, there are 1,700 businesses in the used vehicle parts industry, which is worth approximately $6 billion. 

The company also expects the market to grow in 2022 after experiencing a 17.6 percent increase in 2021, which followed a 7.1 percent decrease in 2020. 

“The used car parts market is one that will likely recover over the next several years. The goods in this industry are considered inferior goods, meaning more people demand them when the economy is doing worse overall. As the nation begins slowly recovering from the economic downturn of the pandemic, used parts will likely increase in demand due to lingering effects.”

You also have the option of buying used cars for the purposes of recycling it or selling out its parts, just as any auto business could do. This is a neat way to make money full-time or on the side. Aside from all the aforementioned parts you can sell, car metal can be worth a lot too!

There’s definitely a market available to you. Many interested in buying a new car are holding off due to low inventory and inflated prices. Instead, they’re keeping and fixing up their old cars. This means they could use good parts.

Selling car parts online

Online marketplaces have become the dominant way for buyers and sellers to meet, especially P2P (person to person or peer to peer). Engines and transmissions sell fast. Everything else usually takes weeks before someone purchases. 

The big four marketplaces

Selling Car Parts - top 4 marketplaces for car parts infographic

The four traditional online marketplaces are Craigslist, Amazon, Ebay, and Facebook Marketplace. You can post your car parts and sell on each one.

For Craigslist, use several, well-lit photos of the part from different angles. This will increase viewership and the likelihood of making a sale. Also, photograph or write down any serial numbers. When customers can verify a serial number, they can be confident they are purchasing the right part. Next, list all important information as accurately and honestly as possible. If you’re unsure about your part, search online for the part you believe it is. And keep in mind, a straightforward title gains more views.

If you want to sell auto parts on Amazon, you must sign up for the professional selling plan. You’ll also need to list all major brands with universal product codes (UPCs), and post photos that meet Amazon’s specifications. The growth of car parts on Amazon is growing at double the rate of the US auto parts industry. 

Auto parts are also a strong category for eBay. The seller has introduced a parts diagram for buyers in the US. The diagram helps customers with little or no auto parts knowledge gain the understanding needed to select the correct item. If you sell a part that has already been sold on eBay, much of the information will be auto-populated for you. 

There are nearly 3 billion accounts on Facebook Marketplace, so there’s potential for a lot of people to see it. 

Other marketplaces

Besides the big four, there are a number of sites dedicated to selling car parts, sites specific to the used vehicle parts market. Some focus on niche markets, such as antiques or muscle cars and some are generalists with no specific focus. However, most don’t purchase used auto parts from end-users—just manufacturers and distributors. Parts Beast is one of the web sites for P2P auto parts selling. They offer unlimited listings without any listing, monthly, or user fees. 

There are however, a lot of websites that will purchase your used vehicle to sell its valuable parts and then scrap the rest. Here are 10 websites that will do that: 

Selling Car Parts - top 10 non-P2P sites car parts infographic

Conclusion

When selling car parts online, you need to make sure the parts work before posting them. If it was in working order before you removed it from the vehicle, that’s good enough. However, if you don’t know a part’s function, then you need to label it as “not tested.” 

Be honest and accurate regarding the product description to help get it sold faster and to maintain a good seller’s profile. You want to stand behind your product and your word. And take good pictures! A lot of transparency and trust is developed by using a lot of photos that clearly show the product you’re selling. Speaking of selling, if you’re in the market for used vehicles or parts yourself, then there’s definitely one place you can go for good deals!


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