If you have a junk car, then ideally you want to get the most value from it. Sure you can call a salvage or junk car buyer, but that is not how you maximize your cash. When a junkyard buys your car, they take the most valuable parts from it and sell them for cash. Why? Because the individual functioning parts are worth more then the car.
By pulling the parts yourself and selling them second hand, you can maximize your cash. Then sell what’s left of the junker for the scrap metal price. Now pulling all these parts isn’t practical for everybody, there are some that can do this and maximize their money. So here are the 15 best parts to remove from a car before you junk it.
15 Best Parts to Remove From a Car Before You Junk It
1. The GPS System
If your vehicle has an in-dash GPS, you can get a few hundred bucks for it on the secondary market. If you are going to junk the car you also need to consider clearing your PII from the GPS regardless. Portable GPS systems, like a Garmin, can be sold as used, but don’t fetch as much cash as an in dash GPS.
2. The Exhaust System
An exhaust system is a high demand part that can sell for some nice cash. If you think about it the average cost of replacing an exhaust system is between $500 and $1000. The exhaust alone is worth money on it’s metal, but it’s primary purpose also makes it valuable. If your car is a true rusted out junker, you probably can’t salvage the exhaust second hand. If your vehicle is in decent condition, perhaps been totaled in an accident and the exhaust is intact, then you can consider pulling it out and selling second hand.
3. The Catalytic Converter
All cars made after 1975 feature a catalytic converter. This part is an anti pollution device and it is needed on all cars made in the last 45 years. What gives this part interesting value is the precious metals inside of it including palladium, platinum, and rhodium. While it is difficult to extract these from the part, it is what makes a used catalytic converter have good resale value.
Fenders are what protect the wheel and the undercarriage of your vehicle. Fender for new cars are very expensive so people look for them second hand. Fenders for classic cars are hard to find or are often rusted and so those have good value also. Even if your car is completely totaled on one side, you may be able to pull and scrap the fenders on the other side and sell them.
Doors can be a hot commodity given the number of accidents a year where a door gets damaged. The doors structure itself has value, but there is also the internal electric components, the door window and the side view mirror. When considering all these pieces as a whole you can see why doors fetch a good price on the secondary market. Sometimes the window motor and locking mechanism are exactly what a mechanic is looking for. If you have a sedan, you have 4 nice doors to sell. If you have a van, you might have a nice value in your cargo door.
Bumpers are one of the most impacted parts of a vehicle in most accidents. That means they are constantly being replaced. Bumpers are made of different materials like fiberglass, steel, plastic, and aluminum. Depending on the make, model, and age of your vehicle, some bumpers can run a few hundred dollars.
If you don’t pull the battery before you junk it, the salvage yard will pull it, recharge it, and resell it. You might as well pull it yourself and sell it on your own or at least turn it in. Some salvage yards will pay you up to $20 depending on the battery size and condition. The other option is to recharge the battery yourself and squeeze another 5 years out of it. You can get more info on how to recharge a battery here.
8. Air Conditioning System
If these hot summers and warmer winters aren’t proof of global warming, then I don’t know what is. A vehicle without a proper air conditioning in mid-August is not fun! The demand for a cooling system is higher during the summer where you can squeeze a few extra bucks out of one as long as it is fully functional. On some vehicles the cooling system is hard to pull, but if you can get it or the compressor out, you can sell it second hand.
9. Air Bags
If your vehicle was in an accident and the air bags deployed, then skip this one. However if you have air bags that have not deployed these parts fetch a nice price especially considering parts and labor for installation can cost $1K. Depending on the vehicle you could definitely get a few hundred bucks for the air bags.
10. Windshield Wiper Arms
Windshield wiper arms are the components that attach to the vehicle, but not the wipers themselves. The wiper arms can be removed fairly easily. They won’t get you much money, but they can resold secondarily for a few dollars.
11. Wheels and Tires
There is a huge market for secondary used tires and wheels. In fact while you can buy used tires and wheels well below manufacturer prices, they are still really expensive if they are in good shape. There are sites like SellMyTires.com that are market places for selling your used tires. Wheels are hot commodity to second hand. The higher the grade and type of material the more money they will get. There is a good wheel grading chart here.
Truck tailgates are another part of a vehicle that are prone to damage. Given the heavy duty nature of trucks, these parts get a lot of stress from use. This leads to people needing replacement parts. Certain makes and model trucks have tailgates that can fetch a couple hundred dollars. You can get even more if your tailgate has any special features or customizations.
13. Sound System
Stock systems will sell second hand, but normally for only a minimal price. Upgraded audio systems, TV’s, and speakers can get significantly more. If you have upgraded a system in a newer vehicle that required computer integration you could really get some nice money if you can’t get it all out intact.
14. Oil Filters & Engine Oil
Oil filters are one of the easiest parts to clean and reuse. Selling a used oil filter won’t get much money, but they are sellable. Used motor oil is sellable as well. The average person never thinks to sell their recycled engine oil. Some recycling centers or mechanic shops will pay for recycled oil. These shops will repurpose ut and reuse it.
Oil filters can easily be cleaned and reused, so throwing those in with the oil can get you a few more bucks.
15. Security System Components
If you added any additional security components to your car like a security alarm, dash cam, etc, these can sell pretty well. Since things like cameras and recording systems are associated with newer vehicles and technology they can often get up to $100 depending on what you have. If the parts are OEM you can often get more then after market.
16. Everything Else You Find…
If you have the vehicle for awhile, you’ve probably built up a good amount of stuff in it. Check your trunk, glove box, console, door compartments, under seats, and seat flaps. You may find other valuables you can sell like high end car chargers, emergency road kits, or like my girlfriend a $100 Amazon gift card under the seat! While you likely won’t get that lucky, my point is that before you junk a vehicle you need to look around everywhere.
Why Not the Motor and Transmission?
Some will certainly say how come the motor and the transmission are not on this list. Those are two amazing parts if you have the tools and skills. While the motor and the transmission are parts I recommend removing and rebuilding, they are not easy for the average person to remove. Not only are they complicated to get out of the car, they are heavy to lift, and more difficult to transport.
Wanna See a Car Get Stripped for Parts? Watch This…
Best Parts to Remove From a Car Before You Junk It
If you don’t have experience removing car parts, then this isn’t practical for everyone. Most folks though can remove a battery and maybe even the wheels and tires. Don’t do anything that you aren’t comfortable or feel safe doing. For those of you that do remove parts, you can try selling them to junkyards or on Craigslist or Ebay. For other ideas on other parts to pull, see a great car parts list here.
If you don’t have the skills or perhaps don’t want to spend the time, you can also consider a junk car buyer near me. You can also read more about how to junk a car here.