What Should You Do with Broken Drones?

By Pilot Institute
Posted on March 29, 2024 - 3 minute read

Nobody likes to get into an accident, but it can happen to even the most skilled drone pilots.

Your drone can be badly damaged in a crash, but that does not mean it is no longer valuable.

In this article, we explore your options if your drone unfortunately breaks.

Key Takeaways

  • The best option is to send a broken drone to the original manufacturer for repair.
  • If the drone cannot be repaired, its working parts can be either assembled into a new drone or sold.
  • Drone batteries from damaged drones should be treated with caution as they can be a fire hazard.

Have It Repaired

Person repairing a drone.

It seems like obvious advice, but the best thing you can do with a broken drone is to have it repaired. The cost of repair may still be expensive, but there is no harm in asking around first.

First, contact your drone’s manufacturer and ask if there are any authorized repair centers near you. If this is the case, you’re in luck, as it likely means they can repair your drone quickly. If no such repair center exists, you will likely have to send it directly to the manufacturer.

Big brands like DJI can provide a repair quote for broken drones after an assessment. There is even a chance that you will receive a refurbished drone, instead of the broken drone that you sent in. Prices are usually reasonable and might even be cheaper than you expect.

There is also the option of going to third-party repair shops. However, this means paying for aftermarket replacement parts. Third-party repair is likely more expensive unless you’re dealing with minor damage.

There is also a chance that your drone truly is beyond repair. In that case, move on to our next recommendations.

DIY a New Drone

A DIY drone.

Drones are fundamentally complex machines with many intricate parts. If your drone crashes and stops working, it is likely because some of its parts have broken. It is not a total wreck, though—some of those parts are salvageable.

If you are patient enough to do some tinkering, you can try to salvage the drone yourself. You can take that broken drone apart, pick out the parts that still look good, and DIY a new drone from them. Of course, you will need to replace the broken parts with new ones, but that should still be cheaper than buying a new drone.

This option will likely take plenty of time and require substantial skill. If you’ve never put a drone together, doing so with salvaged parts is a great learning opportunity. What better way to make lemonade out of the proverbial lemons?

Sell the Working Parts

A disassembled drone.

Even if your drone is not responding anymore, it likely has a few parts that work perfectly well. Some of the rotor motors might still be spinning. Or you may be able to pull out a working electronic speed controller (ESC) or Flight Controller. Parts from premium drones can fetch a pretty price even if you sell them piecewise. You can try offering these parts in online marketplaces or drone community groups.

When selling parts from a broken drone, it is important to be honest and straightforward. Be clear that these are from a broken drone, but that you have tested and confirmed that they are working well. There is always a risk in buying used parts, so offering a guarantee to potential buyers might be a smart move.


Damaging your drone badly does not mean it has lost its entire value. Depending on the seriousness of the damage, you may be able to repair it or salvage the usable components. At worst, you might still get a few hundred dollars from selling the parts that are still functioning.

Having a bunch of loose, working parts is also a great starting point for developing a DIY drone hobby.  Who knows? You might end up building your own drones from parts before you know it.Do you have a new drone and want to learn how to protect your investment? Learn more about drone insurance here.

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