How to Sell a Broken Car

February 22, 2012

Some owners of broken cars simply abandon the vehicle to avoid hassle, but there a number of easy ways to sell a broken car.

Broken Car

There are a variety of ways to sell a broken car. Salvaged parts and entire damaged vehicles can be sold through salvage lots and other used parts dealers. If you plan on selling damaged vehicles, however, beware of lemon laws in your state and take the time and effort to protect yourself so you do not run afoul of the law or become accused of false advertising.

Assess the Damage
Before you can make a good estimate of the amount of money you can make on your vehicle and continue your process of selling it, you need to know how much money the car is worth. Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle and give you a report on the condition of the vehicle overall and also on the condition of the various major systems in the car. It's important you know whether certain parts are still functioning properly, as this will influence how you market the vehicle later on.

Check in the Kelley Blue Book listings for an average value of your vehicle based on its condition.

Repair the Vehicle
If you're looking to make a bit more money off your broken car and sell it to someone looking to purchase a vehicle that works properly, take the time to repair the vehicle. If you plan on selling the car in an individual sale, repair the vehicle to the point at which it is functional and driveable. In most cases, the cost of repairing the car will be approximately the same as the added value of the car after the repairs. Of course, you'll have to determine if this is the case for you and whether or not it's worth your time to repair your vehicle.

If and when you sell the car after repairing it, you must notify any potential buyers of the car's prior status as a defunct vehicle.

Sell the Car "As Is" to a Salvage Lot

The easiest option for someone with a broken or severely damaged car is to sell the vehicle "as is" to a salvage lot. Salvage lots are car lots where all of the vehicles for sale have been deemed irreparable by their prior owners. The vehicles themselves do not operate properly and cannot be driven off the lot as they are. They are still useful, however, for both spare parts that still work and, if all else fails, as scrap metal. One downside to selling your vehicle to a salvage lot is you're unlikely to get a very good price for the car, unless a good number of the various components in the vehicle are still operable and could be easily resold as spare parts.

Sell Parts from the Car
A third way of getting rid of a broken car is to strip out any useful and usable parts to the vehicle and sell them individually. If certain components of your vehicle are still in good condition, you can sell these parts by themselves to make back some of your money. Begin by offering these parts to the salvage yards. If they will not take them, or if you suspect you could earn more money elsewhere, offer them for sale to private buyers. Take out listings in your local newspaper classified ads and post the parts for sale on craigslist, eBay and other online sale sites.

Any parts that remain or are unusable can then be sold for scrap metal.

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