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!

Buying a Salvage Car

Buying salvage cars is not for everyone, but if you want to put a little time into it, you can really get a great deal on a high-end car. Think of it like buying a fixer-upper home. The home may be in the perfect location and the right size, but needs a kitchen remodel and an upgrade to the landscape. If you are handy with tools, you can give it a go yourself and in time you will get it looking really nice. You could also higher a few contractors and have it in tip-top condition before you even move in.

Salvage cars work the same way. You may not be able to afford a brand new Lexus SUV, but you can a salvage title Lexus. If you look for a vehicle that has mainly body damage and minor engine repair, after a few days at the shop, you could have a vehicle in tip-top shape.

Maybe you are the do-it-yourselfer. Then salvage title cars are just for you. You can get excellent deals on cars and feed your addiction to cars by fixing it up. You can even get parts from your dealer or from a local salvage yard.

Can you get it re-titled?

Yes, each state has its own salvage car rules and regulation. Check with your local DMV for the process to re-title your salvage car.

Things to Look for when Buying Salvage Cars

Obviously the less damaged the car is the easier it will be to fix, however, the more expensive it will be. You want to look for vehicles with body damage and preferably in the backend. Do note, that any car that has been in an accident will most likely need engine repair. The jolt from the impact often shakes parts loose and possibly damages them.

Often you will find repo or theft recovery vehicles. These are good deals since the damage on them can be very minimal.

In any event, a salvage car can allow you to buy a luxury or exotic car at the price of a used Honda, but buyers beware. You will have to invest in repairs, and just like remolding a house, you can run into unexpected problems.

Salvaging the Most Out of Your Dead Vehicle

If you have a car that is completely dead and would cost more to repair than what it is worth, then you can still make some money off of it. Even if the car is beyond repair, there are engine and body parts that are still functional and could be salvaged. There are auto mechanic shops, salvage yards, and many more who would be interested in buying those parts off of you. Don’t just give up and send it to the junk yard. They are simply going to take the car and do exactly what you can do. They are going to sell the parts to any individuals who come there looking for what is on your old car.

The engine

Even though part of the engine is dead doesn’t mean the entire thing is. The car battery may still be good, the alternator, air conditioning unit, belts, cam shaft, and so much more can be sold because these are items that are frequently sought out by individuals. So it is a good idea to take advantage of that by placing a sign in front of your yard or an ad in the paper. That is if you know how to safely remove the car parts on your own. If you do, then you can maximize your profit on the car because many individuals seek out salvage engine parts before they will go to the auto parts store and buy new ones.

The body

The body of the car is also a money maker for you. Just like engine parts break down and need replaced, body components are damaged for a number of reasons. A person can damage their car in a wreck, someone can purposely inflict damage on their car, or their car can become physically damaged during a natural disaster. In these cases, doors, hoods, trunks, side panels, fenders, and even the wheels and tires are needed to fix those damaged areas. They can easily have the spare body parts installed on their car and refinished to look like nothing ever happened.

Need some help?

If you do not know how to remove the parts yourself, then you can employ the help of someone who does. You may have to pay that individual, but you can still make money with the auto salvage parts of your car. Don’t just simply sell it for a few hundred dollars. You can certainly get a lot more out of it if you sell it piece by piece. Then again, if you don’t have the time to sell the parts, then it might be in your best interest to take it to a salvage yard and allow them to buy it off of you. They will rebuild the car and sell it as a whole under a salvage title in order to make a profit after buying it off of you and replacing the parts of it that were defective or damaged.

No matter which route you decide to take, you can make your dead vehicle a profitable one for you. Don’t simply throw a “for sale” sign on it and hope that someone who needs spare parts will buy the whole thing. Selling it in pieces will prove to be more profitable. However, even selling it to a salvage yard is going to be more profitable than some of the other alternatives, such as dropping it at a junk yard for them to make a profit off of your junk. Go ahead and get yourself a piece of the pie. You bought the vehicle and you cared for it, so it is only fair that you are able to get something out of it in the end.