99 Camry: Sell for Parts?

Looking for some sage advice here: This is my first time selling/ridding of a car and I’m not sure what the best approach is or how to go about it. I’ve got a 99 Camry that has been replaced by a newer shinier toy. It runs, but has some cosmetic issues - interior door handle is busted, front headlight is smashed, driver side mirror is taped to the door and power window on the front driver side is out of juice. Compiled ~150k miles and has never given me any issues outside of the blemishes noted above.

In sum: Am I best off selling for parts? If so, how? Am I best off trying to sell it in some other capacity? Or, should I be looking to donate?

Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

The first thing I would do would be to check local laws surrounding the sale automobiles as a private party to another. In Massachusetts, I believe the rule is that the car needs to pass the state inspection, otherwise the buyer can get the seller to handle the repairs to make it street legal, get a refund, etc.

If that turns out to be true for you, most junkyards are willing to take working vehicles as they make nice for-parts cars. Alternatively, see if there’s a technical or vocational school that has Automotive classes and see if they want it for a project car.

It sounds like the car is still running, so you’re better off selling the car as is. You could sell the parts, but you’re not going to be able to part out the entire vehicle. In other words, you would possibly be left with a non-running car that you’d have to eventually pay someone to tow to the junkyard.

Moderator Action

Welcome to the SDMB, gvleuvan.

General Questions is for questions with factual answers. Questions seeking advice and opinions belong in the In My Humble Opinion (IMHO) forum. You don’t have to do anything. I will move the thread for you.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

Is there some reason you’re ignoring the normal course of action, which is to simply sell it as a running driveable car as is? That’s what I would do.

Selling for parts means:

> Finding buyers for the parts. This is easy when you’re a salvage yard that attracts a lot of phone calls. This is hard when you’re an individual with only one alternator, one radiator, one engine, etc. in stock. And no knowledge of whether any of those (or other parts) fit other years or other models. Even if you actively advertise (which can sometimes be costly), it could take months to find enough buyers to make it worthwhile.

> Establishing prices. Not hard to do, but it can take a lot of time, and has to consider the condition and value of each part relative to dealer, aftermarket, and salvage yard prices.

> Getting the parts removed from the vehicle. Are you going to do this yourself? Got the tools? What’s your time worth? Or will you require the buyers to do it, which will reduce the number of potential buyers and make it necessary to reduce the parts prices accordingly. What about the engine and transmission? They’re the most valuable items, and the hardest to remove. How are you (or the buyer) going to get them out?

> Disposing of the remainder. The easiest step, but consider it may be taking up space – and looking uglier as time passes – for months before it’s time to do so. With the vehicle stripped of much of its value, you’ll probably have to pay for this.

General rule: If you have to ask about selling for parts, you do not have the knowledge and resources to pull it off. Don’t do it.

150,000 miles is not bad for a camry of that year. It may have more value than you think as a running car. What state are you in?

When I hear about selling a car for parts I imagine a non-running car and someone is trying salvage what they can. You have a running car with a few things that are broken, all of which could probably be handled by a decent shade-tree mechanic. As a single point of reference and without knowing the trim level of the car, Blue Book puts a '99 Camry with 150K miles in Fair condition (their lowest) at about $1,500. If you’d be happy getting that for it, put it on Craigslist and see what you get.

I’m sure you know better than I, but I interpreted “sell for parts” to mean sell to someplace like a salvage yard that would value the car for its usable parts rather than as an intact, working vehicle, and maybe that’s what the OP meant too.

You could proably get a quick sale at $1,000 or maybe $1,200.

Around here you would get about $500 from a salvage yard like Pull-A-Part for that type vehicle (call yards in your area for actual valuation). If Blue Book pricing in “Fair” condition is $1500, I would expect you might get $1000 for a car in the condition you describe. The question becomes “Is it worth a potential additional $500 to list, show and sell the car?”. If yes, then put it on Craigslist and be prepared to anwser lots of phone and email questions, show the car and negotiate a sale. If not, drive it to the salvage yard.

I guess that could be.

I think in terms of whom I’m selling it to, not what they’re going to do with it. The salvage yard may part it out, crush it into a cube, make it into a sculpture, or fix it and sell it. I wouldn’t presume to know the buyer’s purpose.

I recently sold my 99 Camry I had owned for 12 years. Had the engine not needed replacing I could have gotten about $1400 for it.

Sell it as is and be done with it. I think you’ll get more than if you sell to one of those “buy your car for parts” businesses. To be on the safe side, sell it to a dealer, and not to gypsies like I did. That’s another (long) story for another day.

I still have my 99 Camry, with 207,000 miles on it. Still gets 30 miles per gallon, runs great. I just fix things that need fixing, and it goes and goes. Better than a monthly car payment. I just replaced the timing belt for the third time, and I am hoping to make it to 300,000 miles.

Now I am curious, what is the long version about the Gypsies?

To the OP, unless you are prepared to spend some significant amount of time parting it out yourself, just sell it on Craigslist. Read the cautions about selling your car and pay attention. Do not do stupid stuff like taking payments, you are not a bank. I have bought and sold many vehicles this way. They all worked out fine.

My camry had been sitting outside the house for about a month - for whatever reason, I’ve lost my mind and forgot to change the oil long enough to make the engine clatter, whereupon husband says its probably going to die. He tries to clean it and put expensive synthetic oil, but he said he could still hear the clattering. I bought another new to me Camry (2003), and just left the other sitting.

One day my kids told me a lady came by and wanted to buy the car, and had left her number. I called her and told her about the car probably needing a new engine; she said that was ok, her uncle was a mechanic. So she comes and looks at the car and brings her little boy. This is a young woman, well dressed and well spoken, very friendly. Said she had recently gotten divorced and moved back in with her parents the next street over. She explained that in the Romanian culture, girls get married very young, and divorce is frowned upon. She said she passed the car every day on the way to work and wondered about it. (She talked A LOT, but I just wrote it off.) She had asked me if I could look up how much a new engine would be. Price online was about $1200. The uncle came over later that evening, test drove it, said he’d tow it back to his shop and fix it there, and then his niece would have something dependable to drive to work. We settled on $500, and I wrote up a bill of sale which she signed, and I signed the title. Uncle says they will take the title to the DMV tomorrow and niece will sign it there. Ok fine, bye.

That was on a Thursday evening. Sunday afternoon, a couple rings my doorbell and tells me they bought my car on friday and it had just DIED. I’m sure my blank stare was very obvious, so I told them what happened on my end. Seems they answered an ad on Craigslist on Friday, and met a man in the library parking lot down the street, to look at the car. He had my signed title in hand, saying his mother (that would be ME), couldn’t be there to sign it over, so he was doing it for her. He sold it to them for $1700, and two days later it was dead.

I felt horrible for these poor people, who just wanted to buy their daughter a dependable car. I showed them the bill of sale, which had an address on it of a house in the neighborhood. I even took this couple there and we knocked on the door, but the people weren’t home. I’m sure they had no idea their address was being used in a scam. The wife was fit to be tied, and I don’t blame her.

There was nothing I could do, but I was advised to register the sale with the DMV. I’m sure the name on the bill of sale was as fake as the address. The couple and I both had the same phone number for these scam artists, but of course, it was no longer in service.

The thought that these thieves are driving around my neighborhood, looking for opportunities, talking to children, and the fact that I never checked out this girl’s story, let alone what they did to that poor couple, makes me creeped out and furious.

Sell as is, unless you want to take a tax write off. I can’t imagine how “for parts” will give you anywhere near the maximum value, and the car seems perfectly serviceable:

150k, not a problem for most Toyotas. I have a 99 Corolla, so it might not be the same, but I just replaced my door handle for the princely sum of $7.30 including shipping, and 5 minutes of my time. Can’t imagine a Camry is any more. Headlight I don’t think is too expensive, and Amazon tells me a power mirror is $18.95, discounted from $131.58 :dubious:. The only thing I think might be more of a problem is the power window, the mechanics can expound.

That’s quite a story, but you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. The couple who purchased it at the higher price didn’t check it out with an independent mechanic before they shelled out the dough… their loss.

First, Thanks for sharing this story! Now, as to your anger, I would also be very upset. You did not say that you felt guilty, but if you did feel guilty, you should stop that.

I agree. It is very frustrating that there are people who will do this to others, just so they can make a dishonest buck. However, the buyer must beware.

Your sale to the “gypsies” was an honest sale. You told them what was wrong with the car. The “Gypsies” were dishonest to the couple. They obviously did not tell the couple what they knew to be wrong with the car. You sold it “as is”. The couple probably also bought it “as is”. If the couple had hired a mechanic to check the car out, the mechanic probably would have found this problem. I am not trying to be harsh, but due diligence is always a good idea.

Giving a mechanic $100.00 to check out a car for you is cheap insurance. This car cost them $1700.00 and they got a $200.00 piece of scrap metal. If they had had it checked out, they would have spent $100.00 to save them from this happening. Money well spent. Of course the “Gypsies” would have made some excuse as to why the inspection could not be done.