eBay Dismantles Cars to Stock Thousands of Used Car Parts

Used Car Parts

In a bid to save motorists money, eBay has launched a ‘certified recycled portal’ for car parts. Cars intended for the scrap heap are instead deconstructed by Charles Trent, a recycling plant down in Dorset. eBay reckons drivers opting for used car parts not only save money, but also some 16,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, and prevent three million kilos of waste from hitting landfill.

The deconstruction process starts with Step 1: parts identification. An inventory is started for all the parts that can be rescued, the vehicle is cleaned, rubbish is removed and photos are taken.

Why do all of this? eBay reckons offering certification on recycled parts could save drivers 70 per cent off the manufacturers’ recommended retail price.

Depollution involves the safe removal of the battery, tyres and air-con gasses. Other fluids, like fuel, oil and washer bottle water are also sorted out here. According to eBay research, some 14 per cent of drivers choose used items to reduce their carbon emissions so there’s interest in pursuing earth-friendly repair options.

Doors and bonnets are removed and other parts are loosened in preparation for more deconstruction later down the line. This isn’t the first time eBay has embarked on Certified Recycled parts. It first started in 2020. There are now 81 recycled vehicle parts sellers on eBay’s approved list, including Charles Trent.

Removing the electrics is done in two parts. First, the lights and centre console get lifted out. eBay reckons over 400,000 lighting parts were sold on the platform last year.

Dr Tony Tong, head of automotive at eBay UK, said: “We’re making it as easy as possible for people to find these parts, and to understand the potential benefits they bring, in the hope that motorists will increasingly choose Certified Recycled parts as alternatives to buying brand new items.”

Mechanical removal sees the engine, gearbox, rear axle, catalytic converter and tailgate decoupled from the chassis.

According to eBay stats, drivers, mechanics and automotive enthusiasts bought over 130,000 engine-related used car parts using the online marketplace in 2022.

The second part of the electrics is the complete removal of the dashboard, wiring, infotainment and climate control systems.

Parts with ‘certified recycled’ status means the parts listed can be traced to an end-of-life vehicle and have been adequately tested – they’re sold by businesses that have been checked and certified by the Vehicle Recyclers Association (VRA) and are expected to jump through a bunch of bureaucratic hoops to prove their compliance.

The mechanical dismantling is where the engine and gearbox are removed from the subframe and the driveshaft and brake calipers are also broken down. Then the engine is separated from the gearbox, and the alternator, starter motor and turbo are taken out. At this point, the engine is prepped for resale. And then stacked and secured prettily on a pallet.

All the panels are stripped completely, including the wing mirrors and window mechanisms. Components are cleaned, identified, numbered, inspected, photographed and weighed (for shipping costs, we presume).

All the usable components are packaged, labelled and put on a shelf ready to dispatch. Someone else uploads the images and listings to eBay and voila, you’ve saved yourself a small fortune. £96 million, eBay reckons.


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