How To Sell A Car For Parts

Whether your car is beyond repair, has high mileage, is damaged or is impossible to sell as a whole car, it may be more profitable to break it and sell the parts. Within this article, we walk you through the entire process of selling cars for parts from start to finish.

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selling cars for parts
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As long as you know how to use a screwdriver and spanner, selling a car for parts can be a very profitable way to dispose of your old car. Depending upon how far you want to go, you can either remove parts that are worth a significant amount of money or absolutely every nut and bolt. There really isn’t any limit to the number of parts you can strip from the car and you may be very surprised at how much actually gets removed.

When it comes to breaking cars, we have plenty of experience because we’ve stripped multiple over the years to sell their parts and our photos within this article display just a few examples. We’ve also been on the other end and bought car parts from other people breaking their cars in order to complete any of our projects or repair our own cars.

Therefore, based on our first-hand experience, below is a comprehensive guide on how to sell cars for parts.

What You’ll Need To Break A Car

If you are ready to start breaking your car, you’ll need the following:

  • Mechanics tool set
  • Car manual or access to the internet for part removal guides
  • Trolley jack (or access to a lift)
  • Jack stands or car ramps
  • Impact wrench for tough bolts (optional)
  • WD40 to loosen rusted parts
  • Inspection light
  • Work/rubber gloves
  • Tow rope to move the car if the engine is removed

What Are The Most Valuable Car Parts To Sell?

Over the years, we’ve sold many cars for parts and as you can see in the photo below, we usually remove as many parts as we can to the point that there is just the shell left. However, depending upon the time that we have available to strip the car, we may only focus our time on removing the most valuable parts from the car.

If you are wondering what the most valuable car parts to sell are, they include:

  • Anything rare or unique
  • Engine and gearbox
  • Catalytic converter(s) and other exhaust components
  • Wheels (including the spare)
  • Headlights and rear lights
  • Bumpers, side skirts, spoilers, bonnet, boot and wings
  • Airbags and seatbelts
  • Suspension (springs, shock absorbers & arms)
  • ECUs and modules
  • Interior (seats, carpets & door cards)
  • Gear selector/shifter and cruise control stalk
  • Air conditioning system (compressor and display)
  • Dashboard and speedometer cluster
  • Stereo, speakers and other audio components
  • Side mirrors and their folding mechanisms
  • Battery and alternator
how to sell a car for parts

Where Can You Sell Car Parts?

Once you have begun the process of breaking your car, you’ll want to start selling the car parts as soon as you can to avoid them piling up in a corner. The obvious online marketplaces that we would recommend listing your car for parts include eBay and Gumtree but you’ll need to list it in a particular way. For example, you have the choice of listing each individual part or having a single listing to sell your car for parts and we would recommend both styles of listing.

Individual listings on eBay and Gumtree are the recommended type of listing for expensive or popular parts. For example, the engine, gearbox, complete interior, wheels as well as other expensive items.

However, for all the other parts you want to sell, we would recommend creating a “car breaking listing”. To do this, create a listing with the title of the make, model, year, engine and then “breaking” at the end.

You can then add a few photos of your car and a “buy it now” price of a random figure. However, to avoid people clicking “buy it now”, you’ll want to state in the description that the “buy it now” price is for a single wheel bolt. You also want to add your contact details for people to get in touch to request certain parts from your car.

Other places that we recommend selling cars for parts are enthusiast forums and car-specific Facebook groups. For example, a Mercedes Owners Club or similar would be a great place to list your car parts because there will always be other owners looking for parts to complete or repair their own cars.

How Long Does It Take To Break A Car

If you decide to break your car, it isn’t going to be a quick process because not only will you need to remove the parts but you also need to sell them. Therefore, if you don’t have the time, we would recommend selling your car privately because there are many people that do have the time to break a car.

However, if you do have the time to break a car, selling cars for parts can actually be quite enjoyable as well as profitable. In terms of how long it takes, there really isn’t a set time period but we recommend that you set one. For example, we would recommend giving yourself a week to remove all the parts and then a couple of weeks to sell the parts.

From our experience, classics or cars that have special components (i.e. AMG, M Sport, RS etc) tend to be much quicker to sell for parts. However, standard or common cars can take much longer due to the fact that you are competing against all the other people selling the same cars for parts.

sell car for parts

What Car Parts To Take Off Last

When it comes to selling cars for parts, it’s important that you remove parts strategically. Unless the car that you are breaking is in a garage, it’ll be open to the elements, which can potentially damage certain parts.

For example, if you were to sell a door from a car you are breaking, all of the interior would be exposed after it’s removed and if it rains, it can potentially ruin the interior and eat into your potential profits.

Therefore we would recommend that you sell the following car parts at the end:

  • Windows, windscreen and doors as they protect the interior
  • Bonnet as it protects the engine
  • Wheels as it allows you to move the car around
  • Steering wheel so that you can turn the wheels

The car parts that we recommend selling first include:

  • Bumpers and wings
  • Engine and gearbox
  • Interior and electronics
  • Seats and airbags
  • Headlights and rear lights

What To Do With What’s Left?

Once you have removed all of the car parts you want to sell, you may be wondering what to do with what’s left. However, due to the value of scrap metal, you can improve your profits further by scrapping the car for extra money. Depending on the parts that have been removed will reflect the price that’s paid but even the car’s shell can be worth up to £100.

As you can see in the below photo, we removed pretty much everything we could from this particular car and all that was left was the shell and windscreen. We decided to remove all the parts we could because the car was a classic and every part has some sort of value, so it made sense to strip all the parts that we were able to take off.

sell your car for parts

Conclusion

Selling your car for parts before you scrap it can be very profitable and the amount of parts you wish to take off is completely up to you. However, we always recommend that you set a time limit when it comes to selling cars for parts. The reason we recommend this is because you may find that the car hangs around for too long, which may become frustrating when you need the space. If you are breaking a car for parts outside your house, it can also annoy nearby neighbours too because once a few parts have been removed, it can be unsightly to look at.

If you require further information with regards to selling cars for parts, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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