Busted, rusty, total loss – sooner or later every car reaches the end of its life. When costs for repair exceed the replacement value, care-free driving has come to an end. This doesn’t mean you cannot earn money with your car. Repair, patching up and selling may no longer be feasible, yet spare parts can bring in a considerable amount of cash. And so it is time for car scrapping!
The legal side of car scrapping
Disassembly and scrapping of an old car is a matter for an authorised treatment facility (ATF), i.e. a professional. Cars contain plenty of toxic substances that require professional removal. An ATF has the necessary systems and equipment.
Having said that, nobody can tell a car owner what to do with his possession. If you choose to disassemble your car in the home garage and sell the parts, you cannot be legally hindered to do so. If this results in car wrecks piling up on the driveway, a visit by the local authorities is a matter of days. This specifically applies to cars standing in the public space. You will receive a warning and subsequently the cars will be towed away.
Municipal authorities are apt to invest a lot of time and work in tracking their last owners who will be made liable for towing, storage and scrapping.
Car scrapping: expired MOT certificate
MOT inspection is a turning point in a car’s existence. A recent MOT inspection enhances the value of a car by at least 500 EUR (± £430). An MOT certificate sometimes even causes a 1000 EUR (± £900) increase in value. When a car fails MOT, its value falls dramatically. Cars which are no longer fit for inspection are generally so old that repair is no longer worthwhile.
This has its own advantage: the aging process of same-generation cars is relatively synchronous. This specifically applies to cars from the last 20 years. The extremely long production periods of, let’s say the VW Beetle is a thing of the past, meaning that in case of MOT failure you can safely assume this applies for thousands of similar car models. These all signify potential customers.
If damage no longer feasibly warrants repair, the car’s bodywork is the first thing that can be turned into cash: doors, boot lids, front, mirrors and side windows are much in demand, depending on model. This particularly applies to cars known for their susceptibility to rust. The Mercedes models of 1992 – 2015 should be mentioned in this respect. The otherwise indestructible C-class (W202) is seriously affected. Plenty of these beautiful, durable cars crumble to dust. When disassembling this car with intact fenders, doors and boot lids, you will most certainly find a buyer for these parts. Meanwhile a real market for old Mercedes models has developed and even with moderate, yet repairable rust damage its plating finds customers.
Tip: grinding, filling and priming enhances the sales value of these parts considerably.
Front means cash in car scrapping
The front of virtually every car is very marketable: radiator grille, lamps, bumpers, blinkers, bonnet and the front fenders as well as the internal components such as radiator and its supports screwed on the bodywork are much in demand. The reason is simple: these vulnerable parts are the first to sustain damage in case of accident. As long as the base frame is not bent, a car with minor damage can be repaired with these used parts.A weak point are the lamps. The clear-glass headlights that became fashionable some 15 years ago, now start to show their Achilles’ heel: they become dull. Depending on the car and its age, hazy headlight covers can be the reason for a car failing MOT.
A tip: as long as the glass is undamaged, the dull spots and scratches can be polished. In light cases, tooth paste and a kitchen towel are sufficient. More serious cases require a polishing set. Freshly polished and clearly translucent headlights reach excellent prices.
This specifically applies to the extremely expensive xenon headlights. Their installation and replacement is all but simple. They are much in demand and can easily be sold, ideally as a pair.
For selling individual engine parts, no disassembly is necessary. As long as the car still starts adequately, two components are easily accessible: the starter and the generator.
The starter sits at the top of the engine block. It is a cast iron box with two cables. The starter is fixed with four bolts. It often must be dug up from under a lot of plastic and other components. Once removed, it can be easily stored until you have found a buyer.
|The generator can be removed just as easily. It is accessibly fixed with three bolts. The generator can be identified by its outgoing cables and the connected drive belt. If this is an old V-belt generator, its disassembly is particularly easy. To speed up the process, simply cut the belt. For serpentine belt generators it is recommended to remove the tensioner as well. They can be sold as a set.|
Do not cut the cables of the starter or the generator. Always leave the complete connection cable attached to the component. This considerably enhances the value.
|The next easily accessible part is the control unit, generally found behind the bulkhead between passenger cabin and engine bay. The control unit is an aluminium box with a connected multi-plug.|
|The turbocharger might be of interest to buyers as well, being extremely expensive as a new part. Unfortunately it is impossible to determine how long it has been in operation. Therefore, prospective buyers of turbochargers are all but forthcoming, but you can always try.|
EGR-valve and inlet manifold are easily removed. Prior to their sale they must be cleaned thoroughly. Showing deposits and crusts will hardly attract buyers.
For the injection pump applies the same as for the turbocharger: they are much in demand, but their purchase remains risky. Either which way: this part has to be removed anyway in case of car scrapping.
|If you have time and energy left, you can remove the cylinder head. If it concerns a popular car model, you might consider an investment: a professionally repaired cylinder head with ground or replaced valves and ground pressure surface can be worth several hundreds of pounds. Conduct some market research first. Removing a cylinder head is simpler than disassembling the entire engine. If you go for car scrapping, you cannot avoid this.|
The heart: Engine block & gearbox
Finding a buyer of a used engine block with gear is not simple. It strongly depends on the model if engine and gearbox can be sold. These parts cannot be tested after disassembly. On the other hand, engine gaskets and clutch cannot be easily repaired once the drive is disassembled. With a profound cleaning and a previously organised shipping solution (shipment per pallet & freight forwarding) the sale becomes considerably simpler.
The interior cabin
Scrapping the interior depends on its appearance. Leather upholstery brings in more than a simple seating set. However, in undamaged, spotless state showing no pressure sores, a simple interior set can bring in some money. The shipment is somewhat complicated. Freight forwarding is the best solution in this case.
Much in demand, yet dangerous: the airbags
Nobody can be prevented from disassembling the airbag of his own car. This is, however, dangerous and can cause lethal damage. We recommend assistance from a professional mechanic. Airbags are much in demand because they are very expensive as a new part. Installing a used airbag is strongly advised against as this is a safety-relevant part. The responsibility lies with the buyer and not the seller, as long as the latter does not offer the used airbag as a new part.
Wheels and radio
The entertainment system and the wheels can bring in money as well. Removing the wheels causes the problem of the scrapheap car no longer being able to roll.
Tip: obtain cheap replacement wheels from the scrapheap in advance. The car only should be able to roll onto a trailer. Everything which can be fixed with two screws is good enough.
Car scrapping: All the rest
Even if you were able to sell everything – you have to get rid of the last remains. The problem is, most scrappers do not accept a disassembled car free of charge. Count on 100 EUR (± £90) car scrapping fee in case of a completely disassembled car. The proceeds from the sale of parts can compensate for these costs.
Foto: Dmitry Kalinovsky, ChiccoDodiFC, Take Photo, Basar, VGstockstudio, DedMityay, vikorn, J. Lekavicius, Patcharapa, Comedstock, sima, hookmedia, Opanas, testing, kostastudio / shutterstock.com