If you are thinking about buying or selling old car parts, you may have considered visiting an auto salvage yard. But there is a bit of a learning curve before you jump headfirst into the world of auto salvage. In this guide, we will talk about the top things you should know before buying or selling car parts at salvage lots.
What is Auto Salvage?
Auto salvage yards are places where you can quickly sell a car. This has benefits when you need some quick cash or to get rid of an old, undrivable, or unwanted clunker. Once you sell your car to a junkyard, the car will be stripped apart into pieces, depending on what the buyers think will be usable.
This might include anything from tires to lights, hardware, wiring, and even fluids. The company will refurbish what is possible and resell the usable parts, either at the salvage yard or online. It will process and recycle any scrap metal pieces that can’t be reused.
How Does Auto Salvage Work?
When you visit an auto salvage yard, you will likely find that it is either full-service or self-service. Self-service junkyards, also known as "u pull it" yards, sell car parts to customers, who are then responsible for removing them and hauling them off. A full-service auto salvage yard, on the other hand, removes used auto parts either on request or ahead of time.
Self-service auto salvage yards require more knowledge and effort on the part of the customers. If you go to one of these, make sure to bring your own tools and be prepared to put in some work to get it. Similarly, you will need to have enough knowledge to know how to remove the part from the car.
You should know what type of auto salvage yard you are visiting before you arrive. Bear in mind that while self-service auto salvage yards require more from the customer, you may save yourself a significant amount of money by performing these services yourself.
A self-service auto salvage yard is a good choice for people who have the knowledge, tools, and time to remove car parts on their own. Don’t try to tackle these tasks if you are new to cars and auto repair, though.
What to Expect When You Go to an Auto Salvage Yard
If you have never been to an auto salvage yard before, you might find it an overwhelming experience at first. Junkyards tend to be large, disorganized places with old vehicles all around — although this depends on the location you visit. Feel free to ask the staff to show you around, so you know where to find what you need.
Make Sure to Wear The Proper Gear
It probably goes without saying, but an auto salvage yard is a place with a lot of hazards. Dress appropriately to make sure that you can work effectively and safely. You will need to wear close-toed shoes and work clothes as well as work gloves.
Depending on how much work you need to do and what replacement parts you need, you may also want to bring eye protection. All of this will ensure that you stay safe from nails, rusty metal, broken glass, and other dangerous objects.
Plan to Spend Time There
Most people end up spending a few hours in an auto salvage yard. You might not be able to find the part that you are looking for, or it may take longer to remove and collect than you anticipate. Either way, make sure to carve out enough of your day. You may even find yourself spending longer in the junkyard than you expected because you end up finding something unusual or interesting.
Have a Plan Ahead of Time
Before you head to an auto salvage yard, make a plan for what you want to get. This is usually the best way to get the best deal and save yourself some time. Don’t walk in without a plan. If you are new to the world of auto salvage, make a plan to go to a junkyard where employees are more knowledgeable and able and willing to offer more help.
Reach Out to The Employees
Before you head out to the salvage yard, contact the staff over the phone. They might be able to tell you ahead of time if they have the parts you are looking for and what condition they are in. Many of them will be mechanics with a lot of knowledge and experience, so they can be a great resource, especially if you are looking for something that might be a little rarer.
Many auto salvage yards now partner with websites or have their own web pages. These help you source the car parts that are available in your area. Some of them even operate on a nationwide basis.
These sites can be invaluable sources of information. Many of them even offer insight into what parts can work with those from other types of cars.
All of this sounds great, but of course, there are times when buying from an auto salvage yard isn’t a good idea. If you are looking for certain parts that are instrumental in keeping drivers and passengers safe, you want to be sure they are in excellent condition.
The problem is that many of these can be difficult to inspect for quality. For this reason, it is best to stay away from them altogether and instead make sure you buy them new. Here are some parts that are better avoided at the salvage yard:
- Brake components
- Excessively corroded or damaged parts
- Any parts that take a huge amount of time or effort to access
- Parts of dubious quality or condition
When in doubt, stick to new parts if you are unsure about the quality of a used car part. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to car parts.
Of course, not everyone goes to an auto salvage yard looking to buy parts. You might also be interested in selling a car. There is a method to this, so it is good to know what to expect before you go.
Most auto salvage yards require you to provide the year, make, and model of your car to get an accurate quote, as well as the mileage and the damage and repairs it has had. Giving a quote for a used vehicle isn’t an exact science. But in general, the more information you can provide, the more accurate a quote you will get.
Many auto salvage yards now provide online services to generate a quote. This lets you put all your information into an automated system that provides you with an estimate without having to talk to any mechanics or employees.
Pricing your vehicle will depend on an extensive range of conditions, including the vehicle parts that are currently in demand in your area.
Benefits of Going to an Auto Salvage Yard
Bringing your car to a junkyard is not your only option. But it is a good one for many people, especially those with wrecked, damaged, and junk vehicles or those who need to unload a car quickly.
Here are the main benefits of buying automotive parts or selling your car for parts at an auto salvage yard:
- You get paid in cash on the spot
- It is a good option for damaged cars that can’t be sold elsewhere
- You can unload a junk car quickly
- You might find parts that you didn’t expect
- You can find useful or valuable auto parts that fit with your own vehicle
Despite these benefits, there are also some challenges, so it is good to know what you are doing and use the resources available to you. These include talking to the employees at the salvage yard and using online quote estimators for your car. You may find an auto salvage yard that you want to use time and time again.