How to Shop For Car Parts Using Junkyards and Salvage Yards
Cheap cars and Junkyards pretty much go hand in hand. Now of course there are a million places to get parts from new and used from ebay to your local parts store. In the age of limitless online suppliers and a world wide parts market I think a lot of part shoppers have forgotten about using the local salvage yard as a parts alternative.
I think that for some amateur wrenchers the salvage yard can seem like a somewhat intimidating kind of place to be. Thoughts of pit bulls and a big fella named skeeter may come to mind ( no offense to any salvage yard owners named skeeter), but actually they can be a great place to quickly and easily locate used parts. Most salvage yards these days tend to have a cataloged and computerized inventory so really finding out if they have what you need can be as simple as making a phone call.
Personally I much rather prefer the yards that are willing to simply let you browse around on your own. These yards can also be a good spot to find some better prices, because in some cases a little haggling can be done. If your looking to make a trip to one of these “you pick you pull” type yards its a good idea to take a few steps to come prepared.
First bring some tools of course! Usually a decent enough socket set, some screwdrivers, and a set of vice-grips will get the job done and not be too heavy to carry around. In some cases bringing a jack may be necessary, but some yards are willing to provide jacks and engine hoists or at least rent them. If bringing any power tools, torches, or other equipment its a good idea to check with the owner first. Also its a good idea to wear some old clothes, a pair of boots, and some thick gloves (lots of old rusty debris can be a hazard and most yards tend to get pretty muddy and can have some really over grown grass).
After finding the right part, some may be concerned about how they know that the part is going to be in good enough condition to reuse. Honestly it really depends on the part and a lot of other variables, but in most cases yard owners are willing to provide some type of warranty or guarantee.
So the next time you decide to purchase a used car part don’t forget that there could be a great deal waiting for you at your local yard and the shopping experience itself can be pretty fun too!