12 Surprisingly Valuable Items in a Junk Car

Whether you drive a rusty old clunker or the latest model sports car, knowing the value of your vehicle’s parts is essential to appraising the overall value of your vehicle. We’ve taken some time to think about what parts are surprisingly valuable, and have put together a list of components that could help you make a bit of money when it comes time to part out or sell your vehicle.

1. GPS System

While many people probably use their smartphones as their GPS system now, when it comes to parting out your vehicle, selling a car’s built in GPS system could make you a couple hundred bucks richer. Even if you own a portable system, selling your gadget with the car could give you bank account a little boost.

2. Fenders

When it comes to car parts, fenders are the sort of thing you only think about when your car is brand new or gets damaged. Fenders serve a very practical purpose: protecting the wheel wells and portions of the undercarriage of a car. For many cars nowadays, the fenders and bumpers are directly connected, which makes replacing the part expensive. For this reason, many people seek out used fenders, since buying from a private seller is usually cheaper, but still profitable for the seller.

3. Doors

Unless you’re driving an off-road Jeep Wrangler or a delivery truck, chances are you’re not going to want to ride around without car doors. Not only do doors provide obvious protection from the elements, they also are worth a bit when it comes time to part out your vehicle. While it’s easy to think of a car door as one giant part,  individual components (window controls, mirror controls, lock/unlock buttons, sheet metal) can be sold separately, so you can truly maximize your profit.

4. Catalytic Converters

This item may not be as surprising, since it’s common knowledge that the catalytic converter is a coveted piece of any car manufactured after 1975. Many people know that it’s valuable, but not everyone knows why. The answer is simple: the catalytic converter contains precious metals such as palladium, rhodium, or platinum, which gives the part a lot of resale value, but also helps to lower the amount of harmful fumes a vehicle emits.

5. Bumpers

We’ve all seen those cars that are otherwise perfect, minus a cracked, dented or missing bumper. In many vehicles today, the bumper is actually a multi-layered group of parts consisting of aluminum, steel, fiberglass composites and plastic. The combination of these materials helps to reduce damage received in low speed accidents. Depending on the make/model/year of your vehicle, a bumper in good condition could earn you a few hundred dollars.

6. Battery

While selling the battery itself to a scrap yard will only make you about $20 richer, by recycling it, you’re keeping harmful chemicals away from the environment. Alternatively, instead of immediately recycling it, you can refurbish the battery using distilled water and Epsom salt. Through this process, you may be able to extend the life of your battery by 5 or so years.

7. Air Conditioning

There is nothing worse than being stuck in a car with a broken air conditioner. Luckily, even if the rest of your car is down and out, you can probably make a small chunk of change off of your used air conditioning system or compressor.

8. Air Bags

If your car has been totaled, but the airbags were not deployed, you may be able to make some money off of the unused airbag. While the airbag itself can be replaced for a couple hundred bucks, a proper installation can cost closer to $1,000. In an effort to save money down the road, many people will opt to buy an unused air bag, and if the seller plays their cards right, they may be able to fetch up to $200 dollars.

8. Windshield Wiper Arms

Like scrapping a battery, you’re not going to fetch the big bucks for a windshield wiper arm, but money is money, right? Depending on the model of your car, you may be able to get up to $65 per windshield arm.

9. Wheels, Tires, & Rims

Like a few other items on this lists, cashing in on your wheels, tires, and rims might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. You may not think your cruddy old wheels and rims have much value, but to a car enthusiast or modification specialist, your junker might have the much-needed parts they want. This is especially true if your vehicle is sporting aluminum wheels.

10. Tailgates

In practice, a truck’s tailgate is nothing fancy, but when it comes to selling parts off a vehicle, tailgates may be worth a couple hundred dollars if it is in good condition. If you had a custom or specializes tailgate installed onto you pick, you will probably be able to make considerably more than that.

11. Radio

Other than major mechanical issues, or a broken A/C, there is nothing worse than driving a car without a working radio.  Obviously, if you have had a new radio installed in your car, it’s probably worth more than the generic setup your vehicle came with, but selling your radio system could put some much needed spending money in back in your wallet.

12. Motor Oil & Oil Filters

While recycling oil filters and engine oil will not make you a large profit,  engine oil doesn’t actually wear out, it just gets dirty. That’s why disposing of it properly is so important. By bringing it to an authorized recycling station or garage, you’re ensuring it can be used by future car owners. The same idea applies to oil filters. Oil filters can be cleaned, refurbished, and reused once the oil has been removed.

Your car’s parts are valuable, but so is your time.

It’s important to remember  that in order to make the most money off of your car, you will need the time and space to do so. Not only do you need the time to physically take the car apart, you will need the time to research how much parts are worth. On top of that, finding a buyer for the parts can also be time-consuming. While there is more money to be made in parting out your vehicle on your own, if you’re looking for an easy and fast solution, calling a junk car buying company may be your best bet. Most companies like Cash Auto Salvage provide free-towing, speedy pick-up, and will pay you on the spot for your vehicle.

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About the Author



Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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