Should we sell our minivan for scrap?

Hi! My husband and I own a 1999 Pontiac Montana (extended) minivan. A year ago, my husband was waiting for the light to change at a busy intersection when he was struck from behind by a dodge ram. He survived w/ minor injuries but the van, not so much. The force of the impact dislodged the driver’s seat, bent the frame, power sliding door–forget about it.
And I forgot to mention, the day before the accident, we had just gotten it out of the shop: newly rebuilt ($1500!) transmission! The van has just been sitting in our garage since the accident. Should we just have the local junkyard pick it up? Can we sell it for scrap piece by piece? What should we do with it? It seems as if the cost to repair it would outweigh its value. And what about the transmission?
I would appreciate any insights, Thanks!

With damage that far forward from a rear impact I’d scrap the van, no doubt about it.

You might get more for it by advertising it on CL or something like that. Someone needing an engine, trans, or other parts may decide it’s worth more to them than what a scrapyard would offer.
If you still have the paperwork on the rebuilt transmission that could be a plus in trying to sell it.

I agree with OK, list it on CL “For Sale For Parts” Sell the entire mess, not bits and pieces…A salvage yard will not pay much, especially if they have to come and get it…But someone who needs the transmission or engine or other front-end parts WILL pay good money for your “Parts Car” Highlight the new transmission and ask $600. Don’t accept the first low-ball offer. Work the ad for a month and you will get your money…

If worse comes to worse, metal scrappers in my are pay anything from about $2-400 for complete vehicles. They pick them up. You can also donate it to various causes & write it off of your taxes. In this van’s case its likely it would go to the scrap yard, but most places that take donations don’t care if the vehicle is complete. (There’s some kind of a link via car talk to donate it to NPR).

You could also give the selling of the engine/transmission on craigslist a whirl.

The Ram driver’s insurance company should total it. They take the van and you get its replacement value.

Negotiate on the amount. Show receipt for the new tranny.

I would imagine your best bet would be to put this kind of information in an ad on Craigslist or something similar. You’re unlikely to get any real money back out of it at this point. Scrap value (from a yard) won’t be all that high (they’ll tell you over the phone), and they also won’t care about the transmission.

If you can find (through the ad) someone who wants the whole thing for parts, then you may be better off going that route.

Parting out a vehicle by yourself can be a rather daunting task, and then you still end up with the shell to get rid of. Depending on where you live (HOA?, how much land? garage for long term storage?), it may be very difficult, or even illegal to do it yourself. Since it’s now in the garage, is there enough physical room to move around it to part out? Once parts start getting taken off of it, moving it could prove difficult. If you’re capable of pulling the parts yourslef, cool. Otherwise, you may also be in insurance danger-land as your coverage may not cover someone else working on your property.

If you’re really ambitious, you could pull the transmission and try to sell it as-is, but you’re unlikely to get the $1500 for it.

And be sure you follow Goldwing’s advice first. You were rear-ended…not your fault (providing the other guy has insurance…).

This is all my opinion, of course, but I would most likely take the hit, get the van to a yard, and move on.

Since it’s now a year post-accident, I’m assuming the insurance companies have already squared everything away. It’s unusual for either party to keep their vehicle if it’s totaled, so how did you end up keeping the van? Your best bet to get a decent amount of money for this vehicle is to list it on Craigslist as a parts vehicle with a rebuilt transmission with very few miles on it. You should get more than scrap value out of it that way. If you are ambitious (and creative if your garage is small), you could remove the engine and transmission to sell separately, then scrap the rolling body. This will get you more than selling the vehicle whole, but is not nearly as convenient, and unfortunately it will pretty much take a miracle to recover the cost of the transmission rebuild. You are not alone, though. A few years ago, a coworker of mine performed about a thousand bucks worth of work on a loyal customer’s van. He literally spent all day on that one vehicle doing a ton of engine and suspension work on it. The customer picked up the van that evening, then hit a deer with it at 60 mph on the way home, totaling the vehicle. My coworker was heartbroken for the customer’s loss, and for the hours he had just put into that vehicle bringing it back to health.

Wow! I didn’t really expect anyone to respond! Thanks guys for taking the time-u rock!
As all of you suggested, I had thought about putting it on craigslist. When I mentioned it to my husband he just grunted, I guess that’s guy-speak for “ok”. Caddyman I will be taking your advice on how to post it.
Goldwing, I’m sorry I forgot to mention: this was a hit and run. My husband dislodged his face from the steering wheel just in time to see a white dodge ram screeching into the night! Also, I live in MI where we have ‘no fault’ ins laws and we only had plpd on the van. So, mark9207 the only thing the ins co squared away, was hubby’s med bills. And technically it is still drivable (after the accident i simply drove it home)–the airbags didn’t deploy and it runs just fine, the driver seat just isn’t bolted down and the bent frame makes it really hard to open the doors making it a deathtrap for the kiddies!

I don’t expect to recoup the 1500 spent on the transmission, but at this point I’ll take anything resembling cold, hard cash! I think hubby may’ve been secretly hoping to get it ‘fixed’–not happening!

Hopefully your husband will not have any lingering injury problems due to the wreck. Year before last my daughter was sitting at a light and a lady smacked her Mustang from behind, shoving her out into the intersection.
The impact wasn’t that great and most of the repair cost involved a new rear valance and taillights.

However, several weeks later she started having headaches. This has led to a long history of doctor visits, X-rays, pain shots in the neck*, 4 MRIs, and apparently 2 damaged discs in her neck. The docs do not want to do surgery at this time because of her age (27) and recommend she hold off any surgery until she’s considerably older. That’s kind of hard to do when you’re hurting all the time.

*Seven or eight of them at this point @ 1000 dollars apiece; and people complain about the cost of car repairs. :slight_smile:

ok4450 has your daughter been to a chiropractor? I have chronic back pain that resulted from a construction accident almost 12 years ago. Of all the nerve root blocks, steroid injections, narcotic pain relievers and other types of conventional medical treatment a chiropractor helped me more than anything else. I spent about 10 years with extreme back/neck and leg pain on a daily basis before finally trying a chiropractor one of my friends suggested I see right after I had the accident. I still have a significant amount of pain, but where my pain level on a scale of 1-10 use to run anywhere from 7-10 most of the time now its often 4-7 with only occasional severe pain in the 9-10 area. I very well know the expense of these injections. They did one on my back at the pain clinic I use to go to, the procedure took maybe 15 minutes and if I remember correctly it was nearly $10,000. I think they tried 2 of this injection and neither did any good.


Did you report this to the police? Surely the White Ram pick-up would stick out with the damaged front end and your van’s colors all over it. Even with no-fault, the other driver should face a penalty for hit-and-run. Having done it once, he will certainly do it again. Maybe next time someone may be hurt - possibly seriously. I know it happened a year ago, but it’s worth mentioning in case it happens to anyone else.

HI jt! Yes, the police were on hand to make a report. With that intersection being in a busy commercial district and a police station less than a mile away, the cops were there promptly. But, since no one died, and my husband sustained only “minor injuries” they really didn’t seem all that motivated to do anything. In MI, we have a serious problem w/ people who drink and then drive. So 9:30 on a Sat night, someone plows into you and keeps going, it’s usually just chalked up to that! Not to mention, most of the neighborhoods in that area have a busted up truck or two in their yard anyway. The cops were basically like “good luck with that”.

If you bought another 99 Pontiac Montana (cheaply), this Montana would supply you with a lifetime of free parts, including a newly rebuilt tranny.