Your car has finally reached its end, either by age or by being deemed a total loss after an accident. You decide that the best option for you is to junk your car. Either you decide to do DIY scrapping or ask a salvage dealer to do the job professionally you will have to know the junkyard value. Here are 5 of the most valuable car parts everyone should know about before they junk.
Five Valuable Auto Parts Found in Junkyards
Although a car has been totaled, the majority of its parts might still be in perfectly good shape. Many of the used car parts could still be gems, valuable to be reused or sold. Here is a list of the common valuable auto parts on old cars:
- Electronic System
Electronic devices remain in demand for used car parts, from radios down to built-in GPS. Many choose to purchase from scrap yards pre-owned, top-of-the-line electronics systems as they can get a unit with advanced design features for far less than the cost of purchasing it brand new.
- Transmission System
The automotive transmission market already has an approximate global size of $109.36 billion and as analysts estimate this will only go up to a whopping $130.25 billion by the end of 2026. These data show the importance of transmission systems.
If the transmission system of your totaled vehicle is still repairable, you can sell it as-is to car parts buyers and some car repair shops will also be willing to buy it from you if you don't want to deal with hefty repair costs.
If the transmission system is no longer repairable the aluminum, which is one of the most common metals used in transmission system cases, can still be sold for scrap. The transmission may be made up of up to 85% aluminum. Other common metals used for transmission systems include cast iron and brass.
- Doors and Windows
Doors not only offer obvious protection from the weather, but they are also valuable when it comes to selling your car in parts. Although it's easy to think of a car door as a giant component, individual components like mirror & window controls, lock/unlock buttons and sheet metal can be sold separately so you will be able to really maximize your profit.
And if a door is completely intact and all the parts are working as they should, it can be a sought after item in the used market.
The approximate value is well above average for doors, windows and mirrors as it tends to get damaged no matter how large or small an accident is. Also instead of repairing them, these parts are often simply replaced so selling these parts to the right person at the right time will make you a few hundred dollars richer, given that the parts you are selling are in great condition.
The engine is one of the most important pieces of a car to be scrapped. It can be an incredibly costly proposition to replace a car engine, so many turn to the second-hand market to find what they need.
The engine, transmission and transfer case are often still in working condition after a collision. It could be an easy sell for those looking for a replacement if an engine is still in good working condition.
Sell the engine to rebuilders or remanufacturers if repairs will bring your engine back to life. The company will fix and sell it if the engine passes inspection. These engines cost less than brand new OEMs because they're technically recycled. That makes them very popular with buyers of engine replacements.
But if your engine is already completely dead, you can still get some cash for its scrap metal parts. Most engines have aluminum components, and aluminum is worth more than steel too. So never disregard the aluminum on your old car. The engine’s mere metal weight makes the engine a very valuable car component.
Lastly, it is important to take note that engines also require some advance preparation for second-hand use. If you’re not selling the car as a whole, you will have to take out the engine, drain the fluids, and then bring it to the junkyard.
- Catalytic Converters
A car not older than 1975 has a catalytic converter used to minimize the emissions generated by the car. The fact that catalytic converters are valuable should come as no surprise. There are two justifications for this.
They fall out from under the vehicle first, and they need to be replaced immediately. Second, precious metals such as palladium, rhodium, or platinum found inside the earth’s surface are present in them.
Most Sought After Used Car Parts
Other used car parts that are most sought after includes the following:
Bumpers & Fenders
Since they're always the first parts in a car collision to get damaged bumpers and fenders are always on demand and selling like pancakes. That is especially true if they're in good shape. Modern car bumpers and fenders are made of materials made of plastic and fiberglass that retain their structural integrity over time so that they can be easily fixed and placed on another car.
Although selling the battery to a scrap yard itself would only make you around $20 richer, you're doing two birds with one stone by also keeping toxic chemicals away from the world by recycling them. You should be able to refurbish the battery using distilled water and Epsom salt and also extend the battery life by 5 years or so through it all.
You will be able to make some cash out of the unused or undeployed airbag from your totaled car. Unused because the airbag itself can be replaced for only a few hundred bucks but it can cost closer to $1,000 of parts and labor to install it properly. Many people opt to buy an unused
airbag in an attempt to save some bucks and if you play your cards correctly you will be able to get up to $200 dollars.
Most newer cars already have different airbags, but the steering wheel airbag and the one for the front passenger are some of the most valuable ones. Do not attempt to detach them on your own if you're not familiar with installing airbags. If you're not cautious, they are explosive and cause serious injury. Not to mention, they'll lose their value as scrap parts if they're damaged during the removal process.
Nothing is worse than being trapped with a faulty air conditioner in a car most especially during the summer. So a still functioning air conditioning from a totaled car can still carry in some cash.
Parts like the compressor and condenser can either be placed in another car or reused elsewhere. You will just need to get help from a mechanic to remove the components properly.
Tailgates although nothing fancy may be worth a couple of hundred dollars provided if it is in good condition. And if you had a custom or specialized tailgate you will probably get more than that.
Tires & Rims
Did you ever have to pay for a used tire? If so, you know just how costly even the tiniest car can be. If you can easily remove them, you can sell to individual customers the whole wheel set-up (including rims and tires). The treads need to be in good shape to make a good profit off your tires and they should be fairly fresh.
The more valuable (such as aluminum alloy) your rims are, the more cash you can also get for them. Chrome and alloy rims also sell hot for car enthusiasts and street racers. You could end up with a few hundred dollars, if not a thousand, in your wallet. In the secondhand market, broad tires, such as from an SUV or truck, will raise even more cash.
Can you negotiate with a junkyard?
Once you have determined you will be junking your car the next step is seeing how much money you can actually get for it from a wrecking yard. Knowing the most valuable car parts is critical. Be open to the idea that you will more than likely be quoted a price that is lower than what the car is worth. And when this happens can you negotiate with the junkyard? The answer can be yes in most cases. But only before you drop your stuff off or before you have it picked up because after that it means you have already received the offer.
It’s best to be prepared to hold your own for junk-car negotiations. You can do that by taking the time to educate yourself. If your car part is still working or can still be repaired without too much cost or effort, then expect a bit more for it than if it were simply being sold as scrap. It helps to point that out to the junk dealer as that will decrease the odds of being low-balled. Also expect a bit more if the junkyard doesn’t have to come and pick up your car or the car part.
Also, familiarize yourself with the estimated worth of the parts you intend to sell. Take note that if you are selling the car as a whole you must make an inventory of every car part that is still on it and that includes the battery, airbags, air-conditioning system, bumpers, doors, fenders and tires. Show the list of these parts upon contacting the junkyard and increase the chances of you getting a reasonable quote for your car.
Also, look at the Blue Book value of your car. Although not the same as your car is no longer working, it will still help to know the price of your car in good condition. This could be used as a reference to estimate how much the car would be worth if it were auctioned off. Take this number and deduct the cost of maintenance expected. Doing so will also help you assess how much tax write-off you would enjoy if you plan instead to donate the vehicle. This calculation can also serve as an additional bargaining instrument with the junkyard.
And even if very little or worst none of your car or car parts are salvageable it will still be sold as scrap metal, so do your research to make sure that you receive what is due. It will fluctuate but a car as scrap is worth around $150 a ton so know how much your car weighs and then do the math so that you have a rough estimate of how much you should be paid for it.
Take clear pictures and that includes those with parts and include them when interacting with the yard so that they can have a clearer idea of what they are purchasing and how much it’s worth. The more junkyard you visit or call to compare prices the better. So you are able to get the best price option.
Take time to explain the important details about what you have found out about your car and then ask what they would offer for it. Be firm and confident with your facts without being overbearing. Also, be prepared to be asked questions and honestly answer them. And as what could be one of the most important rules in negotiations, always be polite so that the other party will be willing to listen until you reach a price you’ll both be happy with.
Conclusion on Most Valuable Car Parts
There are a lot of parts in your car that will still be of value even if your car has gotten old or it doesn’t drive anymore. If you have the time, the know-how and tools you may be able to pull those parts and sell them. But if you want to do it in a breeze there are a lot of reliable junk dealers who will be able to help you out. Now that you have learned the basics, trust you can get the best deal out there.