What parts to keep?

So a friend’s daughter nearly done with college had a run of bad luck with her 2003 Matrix. It was rear ended (no fault by her) which collapsed part of the tailgate and part of the adjacent body.
Then it overheated and the engine was cooked. Donation and off to the junkyard seems likely.

The friend was asking around for ideas and one was to get another Matrix and possibly move parts (like the reasonably good tires) from the 2003 to that car.

Question is whether other parts should be stripped and kept ‘just in case’ – maybe the alternator? Wires and wire harness?

Other thoughts?

What’s the insurance situation? If her insurance (or the guy who wrecked into her) covered the loss and totaled the car, then it’s their car and if you take parts off of it, you’re stealing.

If for some reason no one had insurance, then you can take parts off but…

Well, look, I had an old CRX that I parted out 15 years ago. I sold about $400 worth of parts off of it. The rest of the parts are still in my basement. I’ll probably never get them sold because once you’ve sold the commonly-broken parts, you have to wait for someone to break something that almost never breaks before you make any money.

If you’re keeping it just in case, that might be worthwhile, assuming you have the storage space, and you’re sure the replacement car is exactly the same. But it’s only worth it if you’re going to put those parts in yourself when necessary, because most mechanics won’t let you bring in your own used parts from a wrecked car.


99% of the time when I kept something just in case I might need it, I ended up not needing it, not remembering where it is, or not remembering that I kept it in the first place.

If you’re like me, pass. If you’re not like me (and it’s legal to do so), go for it.

There isn’t one from what I know. The rear ending did not total her car, and the overheating was a separate incident months later.

I don’t think this is a case of parting out for $. This is more like a few possible spare parts to keep in a big cardboard box somewhere ‘just in case’ – because with an older (2003) car like the Matrix, expecting work is reasonable.

And it seems she has some access to ‘friends with wrenches’ who can help with simple remove and replace jobs.

Sounds like the case for most people – kind of a reverse Murphy’s Law.

Don’t keep any of them.

A 2003 vehicle probably has the mileage where any part is about due to be replaced anyway.

When you scrap a vehicle, and any parts are missing, you get less money for the vehicle.

The auto recycler wants those parts to sell.


When My kids were High School and colledge age we had a bunch of Mopars that were bought for only a few hundred dollars. We simply interrupted their trip to the junk yard by a few years and when they did go I stripped and shelved a lot of parts. I found out that Chrysler used a lot of parts that were useful for decades. I had a 56 Desoto starter that was huge and heavy but worked fine on a 61 Dodge 318 abd 3 slant 6 Plymouths.
A 66 Valiant radiator hose replaced the drain trap on my kitchen sink thet broke on Easter Sunday morning with 20+ people coming for dinner. It outlasted the metal pipes it fastened to. A Valiant wiper motor mounted under the dash replaced the wiper motor on an 87 Horizon mounted under the hood, just needing a stack of washers under one bolt. The widest time span was a 62 Valiant hood latch was a perfect replacement for the one on my son’s 2002 Grand Caravan thet broke on Christmas day. I also used carbs, fuel pumps, a head , rocker arms and lifters, wiring , light sockets, bulbs and sheet metal from hoods and trunk lids to make new floors.

Why it is that I could find all that stuff when I can never find my tools is a mystery. It might be because I always find time to fix things but neve find time to put my tools away except for sockets that I always return to their racks or sets.


Those of us in the hillbilly persuasion would put the old car up on blocks in the yard and just go back to it when you need parts. Why strip them off till you need them?


Yeah when I cleaned my garage cabinets out I threw away a lot of parts that I didn’t know which car they came from, but nothing recent. Spark plugs, radiator hoses, water pumps, coils, wires, etc. I just can’t throw the stuff away.

Alternator, power steering pump, battery, radiator, radiator fan, ww washer bottle/pump, wheels and tires, light bulbs, multi-function switch (if it would work as a replacement), blower motor, ignition switch are all common failure items & should all be pretty easy to remove and might come in handy as spare parts for the replacement Matrix. As mentioned above, make sure you have the right to remove any of those items beforehand.

If the coils and fuel injectors are compatible, those too.

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A lot of the mechanical parts from the 2003 Matrix will also fit the 2003-2007 Corolla, so keep that in mind. The wheels and tires will also likely fit.

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