How to Sell Your Used Auto Parts Effectively

Silver mechanical pieces sitting on a grey, wood floor

The thought “I need to sell my car fast” might come to mind when you decide you want a new one. However, you need to step back and take a good look at it before you decide what to do. If it’s worn-out and beaten down, or the rust sent it to an early grave, chances are it won’t sell. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost. You still have the option of “parting out” your vehicle, and selling used car parts (especially if you have a popular make/model) can be a good way to get a little money back before it’s time to junk your car.

Selling the parts on your car is a lot like selling the car itself; and if you want to sell them effectively, you need to know a thing or two.


Pick a Good Online Site

First, it’s important that you pick a good online website to sell your car parts. While there are other ways to sell your car parts, the internet is by far the easiest. It’s generally an effortless experience, and allows your product to reach a lot of consumers. That being said, it’s important that you pick an online site that has a good community, or a decent amount of site traffic. Two of the best websites for selling car parts are Craigslist and eBay. Both of these websites only take a small percentage from your sale, and allow people who are looking for a specific part to easily find what’s in their area.

These are just two of the more well-known sites that come to mind, and there are a few more out there like or Autotrader. Regardless of which site you pick, it’s important that you consider what type of parts are actually going to sell.


Pick Parts That Are Going To Sell

You can sell a lot of parts of a car successfully; if it’s clean, still works well, and is set at a reasonable price. Even though you can sell a lot of parts off a car, it’s still important to pick the ones you know are going to sell. Used spark plugs probably won’t sell that much, neither would a transmission with a lot of miles on it. Things like the radio, HVAC controls, CD dash, subwoofer/speakers, or any other item that is easily replaced/in high-demand for a car. Electronics like this are generally a good go-to, seeing as they are easy to replace and people are always looking for better speakers/CD dashes.

For the mechanical parts of a vehicle, tires are typically popular because of how expensive they are new. Headlight/Brake-light inserts also sell fairly easily, seeing as this is one of the more common things that can break. Even a mirror on an older car or truck might sell.

The point is, you want to sell things that people want. Trying to sell used spark plugs or a fan-belt just isn’t worth it. People would rather spend the money on new spark plugs or a belt since they don’t cost that much in the first place.


The Parts Need to Be Tested — and Actually Work

Before you put these parts up for sale, they need to be tested and in working condition. The first thing you should do, is test parts and then throw out the ones that don’t work/aren’t in functional condition. If the tires have cracks in them/no tread, the subwoofer has a raspy sound when the bass hits, or you have a CD Dash that doesn’t play a CD, people won’t want them. Chances are, they are buying these parts as a replacement for ones in their car. If you were buying a part to try and fix something on your car, would you really want to have to fix the part as well? If you put a part up for sale and it’s too worn-out, or just doesn’t work, you are wasting your time and the buyer’s time.

Now, I’m not saying the parts need to be in pristine condition. After all, they are going to be used. For example, tires that still have a decent amount of tread can be sold for a solid price, along with headlights/brake-lights that aren’t fogged up. Even if the subwoofer is archaic but still in decent condition, then don’t be afraid to throw it up there — just acknowledge that it’s old and could wear out sometime soon. On top of being honest, you also need to tell people the product has been tested. This will give them a sense of security, and set your product apart from any others that say “not tested.”

Which brings me to my next point; the advertisement. The ad you put up (along with the pictures) needs to be as detailed and honest as possible. If the subwoofer has some rasp to it, don’t lie and say it works-like new. You will have an angry eBay customer who will hound you for their money back, and also completely annihilate any reputation you had/just started to build up on eBay. In the end, it’s not worth it for you or them.

Speaking of your advertisement, you need to also put up high-quality pictures of the item; even more so if you are selling it on eBay.


Take Good Pictures

eBay is an auction website, and all the viewing, bidding, and selling is done online. It’s not like Craigslist, where someone will actually come out to see the item you are selling. Which means pictures are the only way for you to show your customers your product in all it’s glory, or whatever state it’s in. The pictures need to show everything about the product, so you can’t pick and choose which angle you want potential buyers to see; because they need to see the good and the bad. If the CD Dash has a slight scratch on the screen, don’t take it at an angle that hides it. Buyers need to know what they are getting, and the only way to do that is through the pictures.

This is also another surefire way to have a buyer destroy your reputation on eBay or Craigslist, and therefore shatter any hope you have of selling on these websites in the future. Plus, buyers are more likely to look at high-quality images. Which means your product will generate more traffic than Joe Bob with his fuzzy picture of a spark plug.


Make Sure to Set Realistic Prices

This should be a no-brainer, but you need to set realistic prices. If you have a subwoofer that rasps and you set it for a price higher than what you paid for it new, it’s not going to sell. While a subwoofer that has a rasp to it is a lost cause and shouldn’t be sold, you understand the example I’m trying to set. The price needs to match the condition of the item, and it also needs to match the competition. If you set a buyout price on eBay (or list something on Craigslist for a ridiculous price), then you are practically handing the sale to the next guy in line who is selling the same thing.

While some of these might seem like forehead-slapping concepts, chances are you will still see someone on eBay or Craigslist doing exactly what not to do when trying to sell a used car part. It all boils down to making sure the parts are in decent condition/have been tested, and are set at a reasonable price with an honest ad and good pictures.