Did you know that Massachusetts is home to 4.6 million registered private cars and trucks? Or that the Honda Accord is the most popular car in Boston, accounting for 4.22% of all cars in the state?
Boston is no doubt an automotive hub — of its employed residents alone, 45% (151,000 people) commute by car.
All these show just how crucial automobiles are to Bostonians. Which is why, after a few years, many of them swap their old rides for a new one.
If you're one of these folks with an old vehicle, you may be wondering how to part out a car. After all, as “useless” as it is, many of its parts are still worth something, right?
Now, the big question is, how do you actually take out all these parts? Which parts should you remove in the first place?
We'll answer all these questions in this guide, so be sure to keep reading!
Friendly Reminders Before Parting out Your Car
Before anything else, know that parting out a car requires basic and advanced skills. You also need to do some research and marketing for the car parts you want to sell.
It Requires Patience and a Lot of Effort
There are only a few parts, like the windshield wipers, that are easy to remove. For the rest, you either need muscle power, electrical knowledge, or both.
So, before you declare, “I want to sell my car for parts!”, ask yourself first if you're ready for labor-intensive work.
Check the Demand for the Car Parts You Want Sell
Also, be sure to google “who buys car parts near me” before you start parting out your car. This way, you’ll have an idea of which components are in high demand. From here, you can prioritize removing the parts that have the biggest market.
Selling Car Parts to Private Buyers Can Take Time
Depending on the quality and condition of the parts, you may have to wait weeks, even months to secure a buyer. You also have to post ads, contact prospective buyers, and meet up with them. All the time you spend on these tasks can quickly rack up.
If you don't have the time to learn about the technical side of your vehicle, it's best to sell your entire car as-is. Even if you think it's completely useless or if it's been in a car accident, you can still sell it to junk car buyers.
These cash-for-car businesses will buy your junk, old, wrecked, or even flood-damaged car. You don't have to carry out any repairs at all — they'll take your vehicle whatever its condition is and pay you cash for it.
How to Part Out a Car: Gather These Must-Have Tools First
If you’re 100% sure you want to part out your car, then the first step is to get some mechanical tools. Gather the following before you get down on all fours.
A Set of Screwdrivers
The nuts, bolts, and screws that hold the parts of your car together come in various sizes and types. For instance, bolts and screws have various “head” styles, including flat, round, oval, pan, and hex. They also have different “drive” types, including slotted, combination, socket, Philips, or Frearson.
It's not a good idea to force these fasteners loose with the wrong screwdriver. Using the incorrect tool can damage the car part that you're trying to disassemble (and sell).
That said, make sure you get a complete set of screwdrivers before parting out your car. This way, you'll have access to all the drive types you'll encounter as you disassemble your ride.
A Set of Rachet Wrenches
You'll use rachet wrenches for loosening all those nuts and bolts in car parts, such as the wheels. You'd want to go for rachet wrenches since these are easier to use in tight spaces (like under the hood). Moreover, they provide a better, firmer grip than the longer, bulkier traditional wrenches.
Pliers are essential for removing wired car parts, such as the stereo system and GPS. These also come in different kinds, such as regular, locking, and needle-nose. These are the three that you'll likely use the most when you part out your car.
Personal Protective Equipment
In 2017, a whopping 2.8 million injuries occurred in U.S. workplaces. Many of these workplace injuries took place in the automotive industry.
These are professional car mechanics and technicians we're talking about. If they're prone to injuries despite being great at what they do, then just imagine what could happen to a DIY-er.
That's why you should always don protective gear before tinkering with your car. Wear goggles to protect your eyes, a face mask to avoid breathing fumes, and gloves to avoid cuts and bruises.
Start Removing the Easiest-To-Disassemble Components
The windshield wiper arms, tires, and battery are some of the easiest things to remove when you part out your car. Tire removal is time-consuming though, especially if you'll take out all four tires.
Windshield Wiper Arms
The average replacement cost a new windshield wiper arm is around $250. It's about $200 for the parts alone.
$250 is still a lot of money, which is why many car owners prefer the DIY route to replace their busted wiper arms. Use this as a chance to make some money by selling your car's still-working wipers.
Depending on the type of wiper your car has, you may either need a screwdriver or a ratchet wrench. Use a screwdriver to remove wipers that have a locking clip. For wipers secured with a retaining nut, a ratchet wrench will do the trick.
Car batteries consist of up to 99% of recyclable materials. That makes your battery one of the best and easiest car parts to sell. Plus, it's easy to remove, as you only need a socket wrench to remove the nuts attaching the terminals to the battery.
In most cars, the battery is under the hood, inside the engine compartment. If you can't find yours, it may be in your car trunk or under an access panel. If you still can't locate it, check your owner's manual or look up your car's specific make and model online.
In the U.S. alone, an estimated 233 million tires are either recycled or reused every year. More than half of these (130 million) become sources of fuel (tire-derived fuel). Civil engineering projects also reuse some 50 million of these tires.
Since tires have many reusable properties, it's no wonder that even the old ones are in demand. They're also easy to remove, although the task requires muscle power.
Before you remove the tires, use a jack to prop up and secure the vehicle in place. Next, use a lug wrench to loosen all the lug nuts (most tires have five) that attach the tire to your car. Then, grip the tire by its treads and pull it toward you to free it from the hub.
Repeat these steps for the remaining tires.
Work Your Way to the Wired Parts
These parts are more challenging to remove and you need to be very careful to avoid damaging them. Take extra caution when attempting to remove airbags, as they can accidentally deploy.
Some stereo systems may be behind a trim panel, while others are rail-mounted inside the dash. If yours is behind a panel, you'd first need to take the trim panels off using a nylon prying tool.
Both types of stereo systems use screws and bolts to lock them in place. Use the proper screwdrivers and wrenches from your toolkit to unbolt the unit.
Then, slowly pull the unit towards you until you can access the wires behind it. Use your pliers or wire cutters to cut the very ends of the wires and completely free the system from the dash.
GPS or Navigation System
Follow the same instructions if your car has a built-in GPS or navigation system. If you have a portable one, then simply take it off its mount.
If your car's airbags never deployed, you can still sell them for a good price. But before you remove these safety devices, take out the car battery first. Airbags run on current, so you need to disconnect them from the battery to avoid accidents.
To remove the steering wheel airbag, remove the screws (behind the wheel) that hold it in place. In older cars, this step will already free the airbag.
In newer cars, airbags are still secured by wires that are either screwed or bolted inside the wheel. Reach out for your screwdriver or wrench to remove the fasteners.
Other Car Parts to Remove and Sell
Bumpers, fenders, glass, and car doors are also recyclable and reusable, so you can sell them too. Removing these require unscrewing and unbolting their fasteners. It may be best to keep the glass in your car windows and sell the entire door as is.
All the other parts that you're left with may also contain valuable scrap metal, such as aluminum. Steel makes up most of your car's framework though, and while it's not a valuable metal, you can still sell it.
Once you've parted out your car, you can also sell its remains to reputable junk car buyers.
Part out Your Car Now to Rake in Some Cash
There you have it, your ultimate guide on how to part out a car and sell these car parts for cash. Selling these to private buyers will definitely make you more money, but it'll also take a lot of time.
If you can't commit to this labor-intensive activity, we can help. We'll gladly take your old, totaled, or flood-damaged car and pay you in hard cash. Get in touch with us now so we can talk about your options and give you a free estimate!