Selling Used Cars for Parts

by Keith Evans

Parting Out a Car is Often More Profitable

When compared with the revenue produced by selling a used car as a whole, intact unit, many sellers find that selling a car in the form of individual pieces is considerably more profitable. This difference is especially true if the car is in poor condition or not running, as many of the individual components may still function even through the car does not run on its own. When parting out a car, it is not uncommon to find that pieces of a car, especially of a non-running car, may sell for as much as the entire vehicle itself, justifying the investment of time, knowledge and sweat required to part out the vehicle.

Parting Out a Car Requires Knowledge

In many cases, the process of parting out a car requires a level of knowledge that goes further than basic understandings. While most car owners may be easily able to identify and remove common elements like wheels, batteries and radiators, more specialized components such as brake master cylinders, blow-off valves and fuel rails may require some research and education. Esoteric components, such as the resonator bottle on a naturally aspirated Dodge Stealth, may require an advanced understanding to identify and remove. Other components, such as superchargers and turbochargers, may require an even deeper understanding not only of their location, but of their function and how they interact with other parts of the vehicle.

Parting Out a Car Requires Skill

In addition to the knowledge required for tracking down, identifying and removing parts from a used car for individual resale, this process also requires a considerable amount of skill. Many components are placed in small areas, located in very close proximity to one another, and can be exceptionally difficult to remove without damaging the component or other parts around it, especially for individuals with large hands. Finally, some makes of automobiles--especially those of high end or luxury marques--may require specialized tools to remove certain components. In the event a vehicle requires a special tool, the component may have to be removed by an authorized service center.

Parting Out a Car is Dirty Work

Removing and selling individual parts from a used car requires not only knowledge and skill, but also lots of room and an acceptance of a dirty, greasy working environment. Many components of used car, especially a vehicle that has seen a lot of use or that has served in a tough environment, are coated with a combination of grease, oil and road grime. This layer of filth is not easy to remove, though it easily transfers to hands and clothing while finding its way deep underneath fingernails. Many mechanics find the need for additional space in their work area for storing removed parts and preparing them for shipping, and more than a few mechanics benefit from a sink and heavy-duty soap in their garage. Despite these considerations, however, selling a used car for parts can be an emotionally and financially rewarding endeavor.

About the Author

Keith Evans has been writing professionally since 1994 and now works from his office outside of Orlando. He has written for various print and online publications and wrote the book, "Appearances: The Art of Class." Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication from Rollins College and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration in strategic leadership from Andrew Jackson University.