Can you make money from parting out your car?

John Avis by | January 12, 2013 | Used Cars

For a long time I have wanted to buy a wrecked car and sell off the parts. Time, lack of space, and fear of the unknown have prevented me from giving it a go... Until now.
For a long time I have wanted to buy a wrecked car and sell off the parts. Time, lack of space, and fear of the unknown have prevented me from giving it a go... Until now.

I recently saw an advertisement for a cheap written-off 15 year old BMW 3 series. As I happen to own two similar models I thought this might be a good opportunity to get some parts for myself and make some money.

The car was advertised for A$1000. I made a low offer and we eventually agreed on A$600.

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Fortunately the car was only 10km away, and although it was driveable, it was unregistered and uninsured so I spent A$75 on towing. (NB. I had another quote for towing another car that was about 40km away and it was A$75, so still reasonable.)

One of the reasons why I chose the car was that it had a few high value parts like a black leather interior.

I immediately put a listing on eBay listing all the parts that were available. I also put a few of the high value parts up for bidding.

Some parts sold quickly for good prices, but some took some time to sell. Perhaps it was because it was around Christmas time and perhaps this is not the best time, with people spending their money on other things or away on holiday.

Anyway, it took over two months to get rid of the majority of parts and strip the car of all other valuable parts which were stored and advertised. Over that time I ended up heavily discounting most of the parts as I just wanted to move them and clear some space.

I also didn't have the experience or tools required to remove some of the larger mechanical items like the engine and transmission. I opted to make these real cheap if someone would come and remove them themselves. Only the transmission sold this way and I ended up stripping a lot of the parts off the engine (which wasn't in good condition anyway) so the block and head will go with the shell to scrap metal.

After 2 and a half months I had sold around A$2,300 worth of parts, for a profit (excluding my time and effort) of around A$1,600. Plus I still have many parts left, maybe another A$500 or so. Of course, I also got many parts for myself and have many spares if I ever need them.

So there's a reasonable amount of profit to be had, but there is a lot of work involved: stripping parts, advertising, handling enquiries, and waiting for people to come and look at parts or pick things up.

I guess part of the reason why I was able to make this profit was because I chose a model with plenty of demand but one that parts are usually expensive for from wreckers. Choosing a more popular model with plenty of cheap parts already available might not work out so well.

Today I have arranged for the shell to be taken away which will also add an extra A$150 to the profit for scrap metal value.

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by Callum | May 23, 2019

Hi there, I'm thinking about doing this as a side income. is there any further advice or tips you could give me regarding this?

Many thanks,


John Avis

by John Avis | May 23, 2019

Hi Callum. I did this with another two cars (all three were BMW E36s). The second time I think I made about A$1000 profit and the third time less than that. It can be a lot of work dealing with people buying so you need to weigh up if it is worth it. For me, the big advantage was getting the parts I needed for free and making a little extra money.

For many of the larger and heavier parts people are going to need to pick these up, so it helps if you are in a big/central area - people may not want to travel too far. Also if you are in an affluent area you may not have many buyers.

Put a fair price on your premium items but I chose to sell most of my other parts cheaper than anyone else to move them fast. Otherwise it could take a long time to sell. Even doing that I still have boxes of parts unsold.

I think it is best to choose a model that is owned by the type of people that do their own work. try and get one with good options as these will be your premium options that you can charge more for,

Don't be afraid to offer very low prices for a car. Damaged and unregistered cars are hard to sell and people are more likely just to want to get rid of them so will take anything.

Good luck!


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