Selling a car for parts

My wife and I are about to drive across the country in a month or so and her car will definitely not be making the trip (we had planned on being a one car family next year anyway). We have been having some trouble with her car for some time now. This weekend the mechanic who checked it out that it failed the block test (he thinks the block is cracked).

On KellyBlueBook the car (which has lots of other problems) is worth less than the repair. I really think the best thing we could do would be to either A) sell it to someone who likes working on cars A LOT B) sell it to someone who might want to use it for spare parts. I feel like I have heard that term “sell it for the parts” but I am not sure exactly what it means…Do i just call up local junk yards or drive it in to see what it is worth???

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Dave

The reality is a mechanic or individual will not buy a Olds Alero in need of severe repair.

Call a few junkyards you will get more money for it. Especially if you drive it in.

It would be listed as “Repairable” under used cars or car parts.

If it indeed does have a major engine issues then don’t expect to get too much for it. Be it to a private buyer or a recycling yard.


“Block test?” What’s a block test? You either have a cracked block or you don’t. There’s no guessing about it.

Get another opinion.

I’ve never heard of a block test. What does this entail?

What about donating it to a charity that wants cars and taking a tax deduction?

Only deduction you can take is what they end up selling it for. Here, that’s not much.

“If the head gasket has a leak between a combustion chamber and coolant passage, the gases from the combustion process are going to leak into the coolant system. A block tester is a tool that you put on the mouth of the radiator. With the engine running if there is any combustion gases leaking into the coolant system the chemical in the block tester will change from blue to yellow.”

Don’t know if it’s true or not, but I found it on the Internets using this cool new tool called, get this, “Google”. What a stupid name.

Selling a car for parts can entail three different things.

One, it can just be wheeling it into the junkyard, in which case you might get $100 for it if it makes it in under its own power, but more likely you’ll get the scrap value which will probably be like $30.

Or, you put an ad in the paper or on craigslist under the auto parts section and try to sell the whole thing to someone who either wants it as a project or happens to have an Alero they want to have a spare to pull parts off of. You might be able to get a few hundred bucks out if it this way, although this depends on finding some Alero fan out there.

The third way is you “part it out” which means you sell the individual parts to individual buyers. You put an ad in the paper “parting out 1996 Alero” (or whatever year) and invite people to come on by and pull what they need and charge 'em half what the auto parts store would. Or you can list individual parts on eBay and pull them yourself. This approach can often yield more than the actual value of the running car, but obviously is quite involved and your neighbors probably won’t like it.

List it as ‘Mechanic’s Special’, and list a few of the problems. The prospective owner will decide whether to fix it or strip it for parts. Ask a fair price, like KBB value for poor condition, and add OBO (or best offer). Entertain some offers less that the asking price, and see how far that gets you. I sold a 16-yo bucket for $500 with a transmission issue after asking for $750, but took the best offer after 3 weeks of listing it in the local paper and on Craig’s List.

A cracked block is easy to verify, and you either have one or you don’t. The hydrocarbon sensitive device (paper test strip?) referenced by Zombiewolf does not test the block for anything, it tests only to see of combustion gasses are present in the coolant, which if they are would typically be a sign of a blown headgasket. A cracked block in a stock engine is a truely rare event (except perhaps in Alaska or North Dakota from frozen water in the cooling system), and anyone who has one is worthy of an article in a motor magazine. I suspect there was a miscommunication somewhere.

Anyway, it’s clear that you have no desire to keep her Olds. “Sell it for parts” only means to advertise it as a “parts car”, meaning to someone who has the same make and model and is trying to fix it up. Chances of successfully selling it this way are near zero. But throw an ad in the newspaper for a week or so and see what happens. You might get lucky.

Meanwhile, check around and look for boneyards that will take it away for free if nobdy buys it. I honestly think that’s the best you’ll do.

Sincere best.

I think one uses the block test on an older car. This test is to determine if there is a chip off the old block.