Parting out a car means selling individual parts of a car instead of selling it as a whole, and usually something catastrophic has to happen to the car in order for the owner to resort to this arduous process. It could have been in an accident or perhaps the engine may have blown up. Either way, parting out a car is an avenue that some people take when their car, in particular, is unique and has parts that are hard to find.
A lot of cars simply aren't worth the trouble of dismantling or parting out. They might be too common, or the newest versions of it are not very expensive or maybe you just happen to have one model year that was a black sheep and no one wants any part of it. A good way to find out if your car fits this category is to search for it on Craigslist or eBay Motors and see what comes up. If there are lots of them for sale, going for a small amount of money in a running state then it might be best to just scrap your car at a junkyard, which will still net you some cash. If other people are selling them but in rough shape for higher cost (enter Nissan 240sx) then you may be in good company to sell your car for parts.
There are a few directions you can go when parting out cars. The first is difficult at first but easier in the long run, and that is to remove the parts yourself, throw them in a pile, list them as individual parts on Craigslist or eBay and call it a day. Not everything will be worth money though. For instance, brake calipers are a replacement part and are not part of regular maintenance so they may be worth selling, or suspension bits like struts if they aren’t blown.
Generally the more solid parts like suspension springs, wheels and sway bars are what’s worth some money. Parts that wear away, like brake pads and rotors aren’t worth as much, as they aren’t typically very expensive brand new. Tires wear away of course, but if they’re in good enough condition they can be worth selling because tires are pretty expensive brand new. The good thing about parting out is it’s likely you’ll get more money for your parts all together than for your car as a whole. If your car has unique parts on it, and it’s a collector’s car of sorts like a Nissan 240sx or Mazda RX-7 then those will be worth more than anything else.
A different way to part out your car is to leave it assembled and allow prospective buyers to take the part they want by themselves. A person may call you and want the aforementioned brake caliper, so you would tell them to come and get it. It may be harder to find people willing to do this instead of going to a junkyard where there’s more variety and it could take longer because of this. It’s also more risky for you as a seller, because this would involve people coming to your house to remove the parts.
A third way is to sell it as a parts car on Craigslist or eBay, or specialty junkyards that specialize in specific makes, which dismantle cars and sell parts individually. With Craigslist or eBay, some owners with the same type of car as yours may need a lot of parts all at once, and in that instance, they may be interested in buying your car as a whole. This is probably the easiest way because the buyer comes and takes the car themselves (by tow most likely), and all you have to do is sit back and count your cash. This would most likely make you less money than if you parted out the car and could take a long time to find a buyer, but it would be the easiest option.
One thing these all have in common is that they all take time and space, and lots of both. So if you have space and the time and your car fits that elusive unicorn profile, then parting out your car might not be a bad idea after all.
Avid Formula 1 fan and motorcyclist, I enjoy chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and long rides to the beach.