There are plenty of places to get autoparts, such as from the autoparts store, a dealership, or your neighbor’s garage, but DIYers might want to consider a less-common option: the junkyard. Indeed, getting autoparts from a junkyard won’t net you brand new parts with warranties, but it’s also cheaper than any other option. Plus, there’s no strained relations with the neighbor.
The Right Parts
There are plenty of times when you really should go to the autoparts store, such as for new brake pads or tune-up parts. Aftermarket parts are sometimes better than original, and are usually priced better. There are times that going to the dealer might seem like the only option, such as for an engine part or some interior parts. In that case, it’s quite possible to find what you’re looking for at the junkyard.
Junkyards, because they recycle cars, have genuine parts, but they have a few miles on them – they also might be damaged. Junkyards are great places to find body parts, windows, mirrors, seats, chassis and brake parts, engines, transmissions, wheels, hubcaps, radios, speakers, aftermarket parts, and other sundries.
The Right Place
Junkyards generally come in two different styles, you-pick and full-service. Full-service junkyards have on-site mechanics that pull parts from wrecked cars, dust them off, and put them on a rack, complete with prices. You can call or visit, or check their website, and let them know what year, make, model, and part you’re looking for. If they have the part, you can buy it, and if they don’t have the part, they can usually locate one for you. Either way, you’ll pay a little more for parts at a full-service junkyard than you would at a you-pick junkyard.
You-pick junkyards range from highly-organized, by make or type, to totally disorganized random lots of junked cars. Either way, plan to do some walking and carry your tools so you can get the part yourself. You’ll have to find the car, see if it has the part you need and if seems to be in good condition, and then remove it. You can usually save a lot of money by pulling the part yourself at one of these junkyards.
Choose Your Adventure
If you’re looking pick your own parts, then you’re in for an adventure. Ask the management how the lot is organized and if the vehicle you need is on the lot. Management on a well-organized lot might be able to tell you exactly where your car is located, while others may not have any organizational structure at all.
When you go, ask what kind of tools you can bring with you and how. A garden cart or wheelbarrow might be handy for carrying things, and you’ll need some basic hand tools. Battery-powered tools are great for working in the field, as well. A jump box and multimeter are a good idea to test any electrical items for functionality.
Keep your sense of adventure about you. While you’re there, keep your eyes open for parts any other projects you have around the home, yard, and shop. You’d be surprised how much money you can save and how much fun you can have getting parts from a junkyard.