Last updated October 12th, 2023
If your car has a low resale value or has been significantly damaged, you may be debating whether to repair your car or sell it.
Using our free car valuation tool can give you an indication of how much your motor is worth in its current state. You can then browse a few car selling websites to get a ballpark of what it might be worth after the repairs.
If it turns out that the necessary repair work wouldn’t be cost effective, you might think about either scrapping your car or selling your car. Both these options can help you raise cash towards your next purchase.
However, there is a third alternative that many do not consider: selling your car for parts. If you want to sell a non-runner or a worn-out motor with many miles on the clock, you could make a tidy profit by stripping the vehicle of its valuable parts, then selling them off individually to car owners who need them for their own projects.
In this guide, we will cover how to strip your car for parts, your options for selling individual car parts, which parts are worth the most – and which are easiest to sell. Finally, we’ll list some of the alternatives to selling for parts.
Yes, you can sell virtually any elements of a car for parts or spares, unless it has been deemed a Category A write-off. If you’re looking to maximise your profits, consider selling salvageable parts individually rather than selling the vehicle to a trader be stripped for useful parts.
Stripping your car down for parts isn’t a simple process and can be time-consuming. However, if you have enough patience, knowledge and a few basic tools, you should be able to get the job done.
You should always take care when removing parts from a car to ensure that they don’t get damaged (particularly more complex parts such as the steering wheel and airbags). If you damage a part whilst removing it, you will likely find it much harder to sell on.
Some parts can be removed more easily than others, such as the seats. (They’re generally held in place by bolts and screws that can be removed without much hassle.)
However, others, such as the engine are far trickier to remove. To successfully remove an engine, you’ll need to know how to drain the fluids, disconnect the exhaust, intake and coolant lines - and how to remove the wiring safely.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing all this yourself, you could enlist a trustworthy mechanic to remove the parts on your behalf. (However, you’ll need to ensure you can recoup the cost of this work. Otherwise, it may end up costing more than the value of the parts.)
Once you’ve removed all the salvageable parts from your car, you’re going to want to sell them for as much as possible with minimal hassle. Here are a few options to consider:
If you want to avoid the hassle of selling the parts individually, you should consider selling them to a local scrap merchant who may be interested in buying the parts to resell themselves.
Alternatively, if you want to avoid the middlemen, you could try to sell the parts all together (or separately) through an online marketplace such as eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.
Each of these platforms gives you instant access to potential buyers who are searching for the parts you’re selling. It is important to make your listing stand out from the crowd, which can be done by taking professional photos, writing compelling descriptions and ensuring your parts are priced to sell.
However, bear in mind that there is no guarantee that your parts will sell - and you could be waiting a long time if they aren’t in demand.
Visit a few car enthusiast forums for your car brand and you’re likely to find threads requesting spare parts for your specific model. This avenue requires a little digging, but someone who’s keen on sourcing a specific part may give you a great price for it!
You will often be able to make more money by removing parts from your vehicle and selling them individually, providing the key parts are salvageable and in reasonable condition.
However, it is important to bear in mind that stripping down your car for parts will take more time and effort than selling the whole car for its parts.
The value of your car’s parts will depend on the level of demand for that particular make, model and trim. For example, you might have a part that an enthusiast has been trying to source unsuccessfully for a long time. This will allow you to demand a higher price.
On the other hand, if you have a part that is widely available at a low price, you may need to set your price below the market average if your aim is to sell quickly.
You may make more money by selling your car’s valuable parts individually than if you were to scrap your car, but it could take months or even years to sell everything off.
If you sell your car for parts, you’ll also need to store them in a place where they won’t get damaged.
Here is a list of some of the most valuable components found in modern cars:
If you don’t have the time to remove every salvageable part, you may be keen to learn which components are the easiest to sell.
A quick search of a car owners’ forum is sure to reveal a few threads by members looking for an engine to fit a particular model.
They might want to increase their car’s engine size to improve its performance and value – or they may be looking for a like-for-like replacement after the original engine failed. Some owners will also seek out smaller components to repair an original engine.
The price you’ll get for your engine will depend on its overall condition and how many miles you have put it through.
Seats are among the easiest components to remove – and can fetch a great price if they are in good condition. Premium seats with sports or leather trim can command higher prices.
Gearboxes are also highly sought after. You can expect to get a good price for a gearbox with relatively little wear. A well-worn gearbox might have some value to an enthusiast looking to source parts to repair their existing gearbox.
When a car is involved in an accident, the airbags often deploy. Buying replacement airbags directly from the manufacturer can be very expensive – and as such, unused airbags are highly sought after. If your old car has intact airbags, carefully removing them could earn you a nice profit.
If you would prefer not to sell your car for parts, here are a few of the alternative options at your disposal:
Following the expansion of the ULEZ (Ultra-low Emission Zone), anyone residing in one of London’s 32 boroughs or the City of London can apply for a grant in exchange for scrapping a non-ULEZ compliant car or motorcycle. (Read our guide to ULEZ exempt cars to find out if your vehicle is eligible for the scheme.)
The grants available are as follows:
Scrapping a car:
Scrapping a motorcycle:
Scrapping a wheelchair accessible car or van
For more details, please visit the TFL (Transport for London) website.
TFL is also offering £6,000 grants to help owners of wheelchair accessible vans retrofit their vehicles to meet ULEZ standards.
This could be accomplished by carrying out an electric van conversion. Whilst this could be a technically demanding and costly project, the conversion could increase your van valuation whilst also helping you to save on running costs.
A ‘Category A’ insurance write-off cannot be salvaged for parts – or restored for use on the roads. (See our guide ‘How to check if your car has a category’ for an in-depth explanation of insurance categories.)
Important: Make sure you have the correct documents to scrap your car.
Selling your car for parts can be a long process which involves stripping the parts, listing them for sale and meeting prospective buyers. Want to skip the hassle? You can sell your car to webuyanycar in less than an hour.
Simply get a free car valuation in less than 30 seconds and book an appointment at one of our 500+ branches across the UK.