Junkyards are an excellent source of affordable car parts. If you have a discerning eye and you’re a bit handy, learn to make use of your local junkyard and save a ton of money on expensive car parts and repairs. While we don’t deal parts, the majority of auto junkyards across the country do. It’s just a matter of finding the right one, being selective, and negotiating a fair price.
FINDING JUNKYARDS THAT SELL CAR PARTS
You can find plenty of junkyards near you by searching on Google, Yellow Pages, Yelp or another directory. Our list of local auto junkyards is also a great resource. The junkyard that you choose should have reasonably good reviews and be professional and reputable. Give them a call and ask them if they deal with parts before you head over.
Junkyards that do sell parts to consumers may either be “you-pick” or full-service outlets. At you-picks, you’ll be responsible for finding and removing the parts you need. Full-service yards will pull the parts for you and bring them to the front desk. You-picks are, understandably, cheaper than full-service yards, so if you’re a bit handy, they’re a pretty attractive option.
FINDING THE CAR PARTS YOU NEED
Some you-pick junkyards will simply hand you a paper map of the junkyard and let you figure it out from there. You’ll need to locate the make of the car and see if you can find any parts you need, and you’ll also need to remove the parts yourself. Other junkyards, though, make it a bit easier by offering parts locators through Car-Part.com. This website allows you to search a directory of millions of car parts.
CHOOSE PARTS CAREFULLY
As this handy visual guide explains, you’ll want to bring a few tools with you if you’re going to a you-pick junkyard, since you’ll be on your own searching the junkyard for the relevant parts and removing them from the car. They might be quite rusted into place, so be prepared to use some elbow grease!
If you take a minute to imagine the typical junk car — lots of rust and other damage — then you’ll understand why you need to be careful when choosing parts. In most cases, these are not gently used car parts. You need to make sure that the part is in good enough shape to work for your needs. In some cases, though, you may find some absolute gems for a good bargain.
Keep in mind that most auto salvage yards don’t offer a refund for car parts, so what you choose is what you get. Save yourself some stress by being picky in the first place.
NEGOTIATING A FAIR PRICE
Once you find the part you need, you can head to the check out center. Depending on the junkyard, you may be stuck with whatever price the clerk gives you. Some junkyards have standard pricing for parts with no room for negotiation. Most junkyards, however, will allow you to haggle for a lower price. It’s worth asking — but be reasonable, of course. The whole point of buying parts from a junkyard is to save some cash, so make sure the price seems fair before you hand over your money. Remember, you likely won’t get a refund.