Selling a Car for Parts - How to Do It & What to Expect
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Even when a vehicle serves you well over the years, at some point, the inevitable happens. It reaches the end of its lifespan.
It could be that your old car never let you down and kept going and going, even as the odometer rolled past 100,000 and then 200,000 miles. But time and wear and tear eventually take their toll, and (as the saying goes) all good things must come to an end.
Or maybe you were involved in a collision, and your insurance company totaled your vehicle. Now it's too expensive to fix back to running condition, and you have to consider your options for either selling it to a junkyard or parting it out.
But whichever scenario you find yourself in, who buys cars for parts?
Let's look at the details of how to sell a car for parts.
How to sell a car
When it's time to move on from your current vehicle, you have two options: selling it to a private party or trading it in.
Either option nets you money to put toward your next car, and each one has particular advantages and disadvantages.
When you sell your car privately, it can be a laborious process that takes up a lot of time. And it could be weeks or even months before you find a buyer and receive money to use as a down payment for your new-to-you vehicle.
With a private sale, you have to take detailed photos, post ads, and then wait for the phone to ring and answer questions from potential buyers. With those steps complete, you still have to meet the new owner in a public place for pick up, agree on a purchase price, and complete necessary paperwork, like transferring the title and signing the bill of sale.
On the other hand, trading in your used car is a quick and easy way to receive funds for the down payment on your next one. Trading in is as simple as contacting the reseller of your choice, deciding whether to accept their offer, then using that money to go toward a new vehicle. The process can take as little as a few hours, allowing you to drive away in the car of your choice the same day.
While selling to private buyers typically brings top dollar, trading is more convenient. And when you trade in your used vehicle, you can also save money on sales tax. Many states only levy sales tax on the amount left once you deduct the trade-in value from the purchase price. This significant perk can save you thousands of dollars and keep necessary funds in your bank account for other important obligations.
When it's time for your next car, you'll probably want to sell or trade in your old one. But that can be a hassle, and how can you know you receive a fair offer? When selling your car to Shift, there's no need to worry about any of that. All you'll have to do is enter the make, model, year, and mileage into Shift's easy-to-use free estimate calculator, and you'll instantly receive a purchase offer that's valid for seven days. You can get a fair offer, better than any dealership, driven by powerful machine-learning algorithms and tons of data. And with Shift, there is no need to spend the extra time waxing and washing the car. A little dirt won't affect the quote, and we fully detail the cars ourselves anyway before listing them for sale.
Should I sell my car for parts or have it repaired?
When your vehicle needs expensive fixes, it's wise to seek out estimates and see if it makes financial sense to move forward with repairs. Additionally, checking local regulations on selling a car with a salvage title can inform you of your options.
For the best price to return your vehicle to running condition, it helps to ask for quotes from several repair facilities.
If repairs at the lowest-priced shop cost more than 50 percent of the car's value, it may be time to sell it for parts. But you should also consider whether you can afford a new vehicle if you decide to move forward.
If you do, remember, buying a used car can save you thousands. But where can you go for not only a great deal but also a vehicle that stands the test of time? Shift offers best-in-class service contracts at a fair price without sales pressure. You get the great price and value of a used car with the bumper-to-bumper protection of a new car. With a Shift Vehicle Protection plan, not only are essential components covered, like the engine and transmission, but you also receive roadside assistance if you run into trouble far from home. Wherever you happen to be in the continental U.S., Alaska, or Hawaii, help is just a toll-free call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
How to sell a car for parts
After considering your options, you might decide to sell your junk car for auto parts. In this situation, you have two choices: selling your car whole or parting it out.
The easiest way to divest yourself of your damaged or undrivable car is by selling it whole. Potential buyers include car enthusiasts looking for a project, a salvage yard, or a small town dealer. If you'd like to help a good cause, you can even donate your vehicle to the charity of your choice.
Either way, you're compensated for your car, whether in monetary value or as a tax deduction.
Consulting with an online resource like Shift's free estimate calculator can help you determine a fair market value for your vehicle.
You can also choose to part out your vehicle and sell it piece by piece to multiple individuals. Maybe you own a classic car with rare, hard-to-find parts that are in demand. Or you could realize that selling your used car parts will bring you extra money compared to selling it whole.
If you're unsure of the worth of your vehicle parts, consulting with an experienced mechanic with the know-how can guide you on their value.
Once you have an idea on pricing the individual parts of a car, it's time to remove, clean, and photograph each one. After that, you can list them online on sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay and attach the corresponding pictures.
Smaller parts like switches or spark plugs may be easy to ship, but with larger ones like wheels or body panels, you'll probably need to deliver them in person.
2011 BMW M3 (from $29,500)
How to sell a car for parts in summary
When your vehicle is damaged, or the cost of repairs doesn't make sense for your budget, selling it for parts is a worthwhile option.
Although you can sell an undrivable car and receive funds in return, you could net extra money if you do so part by part. Or, if you'd like to advocate for a good cause, you have the option to donate your vehicle and deduct that amount from your taxes.
When you've pocketed your profits and are ready to look for a replacement set of wheels, Shift will be ready for you, with thousands of fully inspected good-as-new used cars, pickups, and SUVs that are available at the click of a button.
2017 Volvo XC90 (from $44,450)
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
April 15, 2022
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.