Piston Slap: Karma, Cash And Choosing a Final Resting Place

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap karma cash and choosing a final resting place

Jayson writes:


I have a couple of Q45’s that are ready for retirement. They have been great highway rides, but I just don’t have the time or desire to keep them running anymore. Since I no longer have time to wrench on them, parting them out is a no-go and neither is going to leave the driveway under their own power. My question is what is the best way to dispose of a dead car or two?

Should I just call a local wrecking yard or just sell them for scrap?

Call the “We need your used car” charities for a donation?

Sajeev answers:

Much like the beginning of one’s automotive journey at new car dealerships, shopping around for the best deal (or most karmic benefit) in your ride’s final resting place is very, very wise.

Case in point: a friend once donated a 1992-ish Pontiac Grand Am to a local Battered Woman’s shelter. I had wrenched on said vehicle, and while the oxblood interior and maroon paint was bleached out by Texas summers, it was a strong runner with cold A/C. I was proud of my friend for doing the right thing, hoping someone who needs a second chance puts this Pontiac to good use. And he got a decent tax donation for it.

As this (biased?) chart from Cars 4 Causes shows, there’s a benefit to donating your car outside of the moral goodness of your heart. But let’s get serious: we’re talking about Infiniti Q45s, not durable Rangers or desirable Civics.

They are not gonna find a new home that’ll love and cherish them. I’d post them as parts cars on craigslist: someone might need a Q45 parts car! Then consider donating to a charity, or scrapping outright. Question is: will you get more if you go straight to the junkyard and eliminate the middlemen?

Or, considering the car, does that even matter if the right charity tugs at your heartstrings? Off to you, Best and Brightest.

Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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2 of 14 comments
  • Jberger Jberger on Apr 25, 2011

    As luck would have it, these were picked up by a local pull-a-part last week. They gave me $500 for both with no charge for pickup, avg selling prices in the classified was $850-1000 ea. I called around to the local salvage yards and junk car buyers with very little interest, plus the towing costs would have eaten up most of the scrap value. The only outright offer was from a junkyard offering $100 for both. I'm guessing the pull-a-part dealer has a ready market for the parts, thus the higher offer. After reading up on the tax code changes, I skipped the charity for cars idea. Nicoclub.com is the internet spot for Infiniti owners, I was active there and it's predecessor site for years but I'm just too busy to do my own wrenching anymore. My local moonlighting nissan tech was just not motivated enough to tackle the underhood hoses on either unit and they were leaking to the point of being one hot manifold away from a Car-B-Q.

  • Ajla Ajla on Apr 25, 2011

    I would have gone with making a V8 coffee table, headlight/taillight light fixtures, engine block wine rack, leather upholstered office furniture, and piston rod door handles.

  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉
  • Kcflyer What Toyota needs is a true full size body on frame suv to compete with the Expedition and Suburban and their badge engineered brethren. The new sequoia and LX are too compromised in capacity by their off road capabilities that most buyers will never use.