How much to expect for a car with no transmission?
February 14, 2011 6:54 PM   Subscribe

How much can I expect to get for a car with no transmission?

The transmission of my special lady friend's 1999 Mazda 626 is dead. The car has ~150K mi on it, and the engine runs fine. A coworker of hers has expressed interest in it, but the other option we're considering is having it towed to a pick-a-part type place - can you give an estimate as to what such a place might offer? We'd rather not pay to have it towed only to have them offer $100.
posted by sanko to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Well, the Blue Book value is $1,450 for a Mazda 626 in "fair" condition. So that minus the cost of having the transmission replaced minus whatever percentage off the BB is the norm in your neck of the woods is the actual "value" of the car.

I'd put it on Craigslist for $500 and see if anyone bit; here in Massachusetts, I'd be surprised to get $300 from a salvage yard for it, if that's what you mean by "pick-a-part type place," but I know prices vary like whoa, so.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:07 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I *drove* a 1986 GMC pickup truck to a place like that (it was about 2000 or 2001 at the time), meaning the car still functioned, and they offered me $50 for it.

My brother, just a few weeks ago, had the transmission die on his 1996 Honda Accord EX, and had it towed to a similar place, where they gave him $200 for it.

Those are the only data points I've got, but I doubt they'll offer you more than a couple hundred bucks for it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 7:09 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Craigslist it. I'm sure you can get at least 300-500 on it.
posted by Slinga at 7:20 PM on February 14, 2011

Mazda retired the 626 in 2001 I think. I'm not sure if that makes it more or less valuable for parts. I know when I was looking for a used valve cover for my 97 626 last year I had a hell of a time finding one.
posted by COD at 7:39 PM on February 14, 2011

You can negotiate with the pick-a-part place before you have it towed there. It's probably also worth asking if they can arrange for it to be picked up--chances are good they either have a sweetheart deal with a towing place or have a truck themselves.

As others have said, though, they probably won't give you a lot of money.

If it were me, I'd get a quote from the pick-a-part place, then give the coworker the chance to match it. Then again, I'm not much of a businessman.
posted by box at 7:49 PM on February 14, 2011

I would not be surprised if the offer from the junkyard is "we'll tow it away for free". Apparently 626 transmissions are pretty unreliable. Looks like a rebuilt one is going for around $1600 but the rebuild won't avoid the problems that cause the failure in the first place. So the 626 is a bit of a lemon in that regard.
posted by mendel at 7:56 PM on February 14, 2011

The Ford transmission that came with the 4 cylinder engine is a piece of crap. The Mazda built AT mated to the 6 cylinder engine is much more durable.
posted by COD at 8:25 PM on February 14, 2011

Although it's not the same, I got $500 for a 99 626 that had a timing belt slip. Given the horrible reputation of the transmission, I'm assuming that having the thing working didn't make my car any more valuable than it would normally be. That was to a small independent shop; the local junkyard offered $200.
posted by bizzyb at 8:33 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd say worst case is somewhere in the ballpark of $250/ton, which is the price I saw posted last week at a scrapper in industrial North Portland (on Columbia Blvd out towards the port terminals north of Schnitzer's docks). A 1999 626 is spec'd at 2866 pounds, so around $350 before subtracting towing. I'd go with that as a baseline price for selling to whomever.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:20 PM on February 14, 2011

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