How much for parts?
February 11, 2011 4:19 PM   Subscribe

Help - quick! Someone has offered to buy our 1991 Volvo 240 wagon for parts but we are being required to set an asking price instead of him making an offer. Anyone have any advice? The mechanic kind of scoffed at $500.
posted by krikany to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
Have you checked craigslist for your area and blue book? It's impossible to know without more information about condition.

Data point: I sold my running-well-but-beat-up 1996 Volvo 850 for $1100 last year, and I was lowballing it.
posted by momus_window at 4:29 PM on February 11, 2011

I don't know why your mechanic scoffed. Asking price too high, too low?

I think $500 is fine to get rid of an old clunker.
posted by snsranch at 4:32 PM on February 11, 2011

I too think $500 is fine - there are examples of that car selling at $2-3K, much to my amazement. I thought a running one would be worth about $750, which'd make your price high, but they really seem to be holding their value for some absolutely unfathomable reason.

Without knowing why it's only a donor (and hence the value in the parts on it) it's pretty hard to give any sort of answer, though. If someone came to my door and wanted to buy something, if they didn't want to make me an offer, I'd suspect they figured it was maybe worth more than I might (ie they are suspecting you will lowball).

A friend of mine would NEVER sell anything without someone making an offer on it - he never set a price ever. He buys and sells all kinds of stuff and is now dealing in very expensive boats and fancy cars and doing very very well for himself has been since he was about 25. He would also, conversely, never EVER name a price before the person he was buying something from. Think of that example.

We need more information, in particular what's wrong with it, mileage and any pertinent facts that may make us believe it's rare, or the gearbox is worth a load of money second hand or something like that.
posted by Brockles at 4:38 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I sold a perfectly drivable 250 for $350 a few months ago. A lot of things didn't work in the car but it drove well. It's really not worth as much as you think it is unless you find the right person, which you're not going to since it's not even running. Try $300
posted by thylacine at 4:52 PM on February 11, 2011

240 of course, not 250.
posted by thylacine at 4:52 PM on February 11, 2011

Does the car in question actually run?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:01 PM on February 11, 2011

if you're in la crescenta as your profile indicates, $500 seems really low to me. depending on the condition of the wagon (running, body, electrical issues etc) the parts themselves are worth much more than $500. I have bought and sold 20+ cars here in the LA area, four of them volvos, three of them 240's, two of those being wagons. I've never sold a single one for less than a thousand, and that one didn't run at all. the wagons are cars that will last forever. if your car runs, i would just list it on craigslist for $1500. there aren't a lot of 240's on CL right now, so you can be confident that in a large area like LA, if people wanted to sell their 240, it would be on CL. Good luck!
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 5:36 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've parted out cars before and it's not easy, so it's ok if the buyer makes a little money.

Other options are to have it hauled away by "Pick Your Part" junk yard and make $50. Or you can donate it and have it hauled away and get a tax deduction for whatever blue book is.

If you're comfortable with partaking in a little haggling, sure, start at $2000 and don't worry about scaring the buyer away. You will work it out.
posted by snsranch at 6:14 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't know what the market is like in your area, but remember that 240s are kind of a special case, and yours is a late-model example (the last of them were imported in 1994).
I think this is because they're relatively easy for the amateur mechanic to work on and the engines routinely last for 250,000-350,000 miles, meaning that it's often tempting to nurse them along far longer than many cars--there's rarely a catastrophic engine/transmission failure that sends it to the scrapper, just a long, slow process of part-attrition. Thus, there's an unusually robust parts aftermarket for a 20-year-old car. I was driving mine (a 1992) until early last year, and only stopped because my 140-mile/day commute was just too expensive at 21 mpg.
posted by pullayup at 9:03 PM on February 11, 2011

You should be able to get well over $500 if it's in anything approaching working condition. Those 240s hold their value like crazy. I had a sort of ok condition 1993 240 a couple years ago. It needed some work (nothing major) and had some scratches and dings and bad paint, and we got $1700 for it. And you know what? I regret selling it (moved on to the 850, much less work but zero character). If it runs, hold out for more. If it's scrap, your price seems very reasonable. Volvo parts are expensive as hell, and they're getting more than their money's worth for $500.
posted by kella at 9:28 PM on February 11, 2011

The scoffer is not offering to buy your car. He is negotiating to get you to give it to him for very little. Put the car up for $500 on craigslist. You will know quickly if it is a fair price. If not, lower it. The truth of the matter is if you are at all handy (not engine knowledgeable, but handy) you could part it out yourself on craigslist or ebay. Heck, you can get a receipt for over $500 from a charity if you donate the car. The charity will then sell it to a wholesaler for parts.
posted by AugustWest at 10:21 PM on February 11, 2011 has an appraiser function that gives you a fair market value for your car in your area. Go to "used cars," and run through the "appraise my car" feature. After you do that once, it lets you customize for condition and such. It used to let you print up a certification, but I can't find it right now.
posted by Gilbert at 11:12 PM on February 11, 2011

The car is only worth what someone else will actually pay for it. When something "holds its value", that means that others are willing to pay higher prices than what would be average. If conventional wisdom says that this model holds its value, but nobody is willing to pay that price, then it is wrong. Only the buyer can determine the selling price. The seller only has two options: agree that the car is only worth that price and sell it, or disagree and not sell it.

Method 1:

Get an appraisal off of kelly blue book or edmunds, for private party sale price. Be honest about the condition of the car, except for the part about it that is broken.

Then, subtract the price of repair from that number.

So if your car, if working, would go for $2500, but it needs $2000 worth of repairs to get it back working, then $500 is the highest price you should probably ask.

Method 2:

Get a couple of other bids on what other people would pay you. A junkyard might tow it away and give you $50. The garage on the corner might give you $100. Put an add on Craigslist that says "I have this car in this condition, make an offer."

Whatever the highest price ends up being, give this Someone the opportunity to meet that price. If they don't, sell it to the high bidder.

Also try ebay motors, I think this will give you a bigger marketplace. But it costs more.
posted by gjc at 8:12 AM on February 12, 2011

If he's insisting that you make him an offer, and he scoffed at your $500 offer and didn't make a counteroffer, he's probably trying to rip you off.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:24 AM on February 12, 2011

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