Dead car--how to get rid of the car and keep its nice new tires?
June 23, 2014 1:01 PM   Subscribe

About two weeks ago my 2002 PT Cruiser Limited suffered a head gasket failure. This is the second time it's happened on this car in recent years and I'm not having it repaired it again. About a week ago my wife and I bought a nice 2011 Toyota Corolla LE to replace that car. Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the Cruiser and how to keep its nice new tires for the Corolla.

About two weeks ago my 2002 PT Cruiser Limited suffered a head gasket failure. This is the second time it's happened on this car in recent years and I'm not having it repaired it again. About a week ago my wife and I bought a nice 2011 Toyota Corolla LE to replace that car. Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the Cruiser and how to keep its nice new tires for the Corolla.

Firstly, should I sell the car to a junkyard or a scrap metal yard? Should I try selling it 'as-is' on Craigslist? My goal is to get the most amount of money out of the car while also getting rid of it quickly.

My next question regards the four brand-new Michelin Primacy MXV4 all-season tires that I had put on the PT Cruiser back in December. I'd hate to get rid of such nice new tires on the car. The 2011 Toyota Corolla that we just got has okay tires, about 8/32 treads left. The Michelin tires that I have are rated 205/55R16 91H, which is compatible with the Corolla, but I'm not sure that I can just switch the wheels over because of possibly different lugnuts/rim offsets. Is there any issue of having those Michelins remounted to my 2011 Toyota Corolla rims? Might a junkyard tow away a wheel-less PT Cruiser?

I'd appreciate your thoughts.
posted by FelineoidEntity to Work & Money (15 answers total)
Any reason you can't switch the tires but not the wheels? You'd have to get the cars to a shop, which may be an issue with the Cruiser, but after doing that you'd be able to do whatever with it. If the shop you bought the tires from has a lifetime rotation/balancing deal included in your purchase, maybe you'd only have to pay for switching one set of tires (I doubt it, but it might be worth a try).
posted by LionIndex at 1:07 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Most junkyards can take a wheel-less car - wreckers are equipped to recover cars that have been in accidents, after all.

Call a couple junkyards and ask. Most times, they will give you 50 bucks and take the title in exchange. Easypeasy.

You could theoretically get more if you try to craigslist it, but... I wouldn't bother.

And yes, you can take the tires off the PT and have the tires put on the rims from the Corolla easily enough - assuming that the tires will fit on the corolla rims.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:07 PM on June 23, 2014

Or, you can take the wheels off the Cruiser, take those and the Toyota to the shop (friend with a truck? U-haul?), change the tires, and then put the wheels back on.
posted by LionIndex at 1:08 PM on June 23, 2014

Shouldn't be any issue swapping the tires, as long as the measurements are the same.. you'd not swap wheels, just the tires. Can you take the wheels off the Cruiser? If you can, then I'd just do that and bring them to a tire shop and ask them to swap them. (How you go about doing this would depend on what you've got tool-wise and space-wise.. if you've got a sufficient quantity of jackstands and a decent jack, you could put the Cruiser on four jackstands and do it all at once. Or, if both have at least some sort of spare and similar bolt patterns, you could do it two-at-a-time, or one-at-a-time. Worst case is you tow the Cruiser out to a tire shop and they put both on lifts.)
posted by mrg at 1:10 PM on June 23, 2014

Best answer: When I junked my car a few years ago I stuck it on craigslist "as is" for $500 obo and got a couple hundred more than a junker would have given me. It was a little more hassle cause the guy didn't show up the first time he said he was coming, but it was worth it to me. I think I got $350?
posted by geegollygosh at 1:11 PM on June 23, 2014

Call your local tire center (preferably where you bought the tires) and ask them their thoughts on the tires. They can remount them for you and put them on your Corolla. (and put the less good ones on the PT Cruiser.) You can have AAA tow it to the tire-shop.

Try advertising the PT Cruiser on Craigslist. AS-IS, Doesn't Run. Someone out there might like to replace the head gasket as a project. A junkyard may give you $35 or $100 for it. Hard to say.

A PT Cruiser in Fair condition would fetch about $2,300 according to Kelly Blue Book. So even at 1/4 of that, you'd get about $500 for it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:12 PM on June 23, 2014

Mobile ture service is a thing. They come to you and perform everything on site. Check your local listings.
posted by chasles at 1:17 PM on June 23, 2014

The junkyard will likely pay you for the tires if it turns out swapping would be cost prohibitive or a hassle. I got rid of my faithful '92 Tercel a couple years back after a decade of head gasket issues finally broke the poor thing's heart. I got a few hundred bucks from the junkyard, mostly because of the newish tires.
posted by The White Hat at 1:32 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would say do whatever you can to nurse the Cruiser to the tire shop, swicth out the tires (it'll cost a few bucks, but no big deal) and then if you have a Carmax near you get it there. They will buy any car you can drag in, and they pay more for crappy cars then they do for good ones. Insomuch as, they have an algorithm, and a car you couldn't sell they will happily sell, fix and sell, or auction off, or fix and auction off.

Mediocre tires and an engine rebuild is nothing to them, and they'll give you some money with no hassle.
posted by dirtdirt at 2:03 PM on June 23, 2014

I'd make sure the two cars wear the same size rubber.
The PT Cruiser came stock with 205/55-16 tires.
The Corolla came with a base tire size of 195/65-15. If that's what your Corolla has, the PT tires won't fit. All is not lost, though...The Corolla had an option tire sized the same as the PT Cruiser, 205/55-16. I'd run out and double-check the tire size on the Corolla before deciding what to do.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:08 PM on June 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

If you just want to swap the tires the diameter has to match (14"vs.15"), and the width needs to be relatively close.
If you are going to try to swap the wheels too you also need to know the bolt patterns:
PT Cruiser bolt pattern: 5 lug 3.94 inch or 100 mm High Positive Offset
Corolla bolt pattern:5 lug 3.97 inch or 100mm High Positive Offset

I honestly can't tell if those bolt patterns are close enough to work, but technically they are different. Googling seems to turn up some anecdotal evidence point to them being close enough.
posted by Big_B at 4:01 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, I would look into selling it as is. There are plenty of mechanics who buy project cars, do the work themselves and then flip them. You could probably call around to junkyards to see what they would give you, and then list it on CL for more and see what happens. But then there's also the hassle of dealing with CL weirdos versus telling the junkyard where they can pick it up and where to send you a check.
posted by Big_B at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2014

Check the tyre sizes. If the tyres are the same diameter and the same spec as a standard tyre for the corola, you may be ok. But the profile/width ratio must be the same as a standard tyre for that car or the overall diameter of the tyre will be wrong (and so your speedometer will not be accurate for a start).

Check with a tyre store (Tire Rack?) if that size fits the Corrola. Then take the tyres off the PT Cruiser (put it on jack stands or blocks of wood). Put the wheels and tyres in garbage bags and put them on the back seat of the Corolla and drive it to a tyre store. They swap the tyres on the rims, you put the wheels back on the PT cruiser and scrap it, the tyres are on the Corolla. Done.
posted by Brockles at 6:14 PM on June 23, 2014

I blew a head gasket once and sold the car for $500, cars with gasket issues are classic mechanic specials since the expense of the fix is heavy on labor and cheap on parts.

Not sure how having or not having the tires will affect the sales price however.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:15 PM on June 23, 2014

You could always pop an ad on kijiji or craigslist offering to buy a set of really bald, awful old tires, on a set of rims (if you want to keep the rims) Sometimes people are happy to give them away. If you provide the sizes you can take, or likely car models that would have appropriate tires, that may help your listing.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 10:45 PM on June 23, 2014

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