If you or a family member were involved in a car accident, you might wonder what to do with the wrecked vehicle. You could sell the car all in one piece or dismantle it and sell the parts. Which is the better option? Keep reading to discover what factors our readers suggest you consider when making this decision.
Nicole Miskelley is the manager of PMR in Marion, IL, and has been working in the automotive industry for the past six years.
In many cases, I would advise against parting out a wrecked car unless you are knowledgeable in removing and testing parts. While parting out a car can indeed be more profitable in the long run, there is a lot you need to make yourself aware of when doing it.
First off, you need to ensure that any part you are attempting to sell is in working order and doesn’t show any damage from the wreck. If the vehicle is running, you may be able to check these components before removing them. However, it may be hard to see what is working if the vehicle is damaged beyond starting.
To try suspension components, you must also ensure that nothing is bent. Even a single-side impact can cause minor bends in parts not immediately near the impact site, causing it to be bad.
Second, part removal can be labor-intensive in some cases. Unlike the good old days when you could pretty much hop in the engine bay and have a picnic, vehicles now are compact and hide common parts in strange places.
Some Cadillacs stash the starter under the intake, some alternators are placed in such a way that it takes hours to get to, and even some a/c compressors are day-long jobs. Unless you are prepared to take on several hours of labor just to get to these components, it may not be worth the effort.
Lastly, you’ll need to check with state and local ordinances. Many places have rules regarding auto repair and disassembly in town, which can lead to code departments charging you with hefty fines and even having the vehicle towed from your property.
Some states also have rules regarding used part sales and scrapping.
If you have mechanical knowledge, a more private space, and some time on your hands, parting out your vehicle can be more profitable than scrapping or taking it to a salvage yard.
If you don’t feel up to the task but don’t want just scrap prices for your vehicle, you can always sell a vehicle privately. If your vehicle has value or is a more common vehicle, many people will be willing to purchase a donor vehicle for their own vehicle’s repairs.
If a vehicle is new enough, sometimes rebuilders may show interest in purchasing a wrecked vehicle with a salvage or a new title to flip and re-sell. While you will in no way get the value of the vehicle from these sources, you will likely get better than scrap prices.
I once had a customer who needed several thousand dollars worth of work for his wrecked 2-year-old Yukon Denali, which he was unwilling to pay out of pocket. Rather, he listed the vehicle for private sale and was able to sell it to a rebuilder for a few thousand dollars vs. the few hundred he would have received scrapping it.
The Condition Of The Vehicle
There are some situations in which selling the entire car in one piece is better and vice versa – it really just depends on the condition of the vehicle, the money you can get from it, and the amount of time/effort you want to put into the ordeal.
The best way to figure out what to do is to get some price quotes. Start by getting a general quote from your local salvage yard on the price for the entire vehicle. With that in mind, you can get individual quotes for all the working parts you are capable of selling.
With all of these numbers, you can figure out which option will get you the most bang for your buck.
Your Financial Needs
It depends on the condition of your car and your financial needs. If your vehicle is not in the worst condition and its parts are valuable, selling them is the smartest way to go. You can profit by selling your car’s engine, AC, transmission, catalytic converter, tires, radiator, alternator, etc.
However, if you are in desperate need of urgent money, choose the first option and sell your wrecked car in one piece. This option is more feasible because properly dismantling a vehicle is a time-consuming process. It also requires expertise and the right tools to handle heavy parts carefully. You would also need a garage or large space where you can store all these spare parts.
On the other hand, selling your vehicle in one piece is a quick, easy, and convenient method that gives instant offers and certainty of proper disposal. You don’t even need any automotive expertise to handle your car once you sell it in one piece.