How to find auto parts in a junkyard and save (Pt. 2)

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A series of polished chrome auto parts, displayed on a sheet, that were found in a junkyard then cleaned up.

Some choice junkyard auto part finds. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Arnoldmw/Wikipedia)

When it comes to finding cheap auto parts, nothing beats the junkyard. It helps to know a few things first in order to maximize your experience and ensure your safety, however. CLICK HERE if you missed the beginning of this article.

Finding auto parts

Keep in mind that junkyards for auto parts are divided in other important ways, not just by degree of demand for parts. Vehicle manufacturer, point of origin and alphabetical are all incorporated. However, there are plenty of junkyards out there that have to apparent rhyme or reason. If such a yard is you-pick, you’ll be in for a long afternoon. But the savings!

Pay attention to the price board as you scavenge about your junkyard of choice. As individual parts will most likely not be labeled and price-tagged, you’ll have to refer to the master board to know how much your discount haul is going to cost. There may be a generic price that applies to a certain part, or the price may vary by manufacturer of vehicle. Whatever the case, the amount of savings a junkyard delver can enjoy with used parts when compared with new parts will be tremendous.

What you might need at the junkyard

Some of the most common auto parts that people search for in the junkyard include door handles, cylinder heads, lights, window glass, body panels and parts for auto suspensions. Sometimes, people are looking to fill an immediate need, but others are simply looking for treasures to resell online at profit, such as airbag modules, computer systems and more. Still others may have a peculiar decorating sense and want hubcaps, license plates, speaker grilles and hood ornaments to spruce up the yard or use in some other DIY household project. Whatever the need, a junkyard can be a dream playpen for the auto parts lover.

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Be willing to shop around

Just like any other retail venture, the price at the first junkyard for the auto parts you need may not be the least expensive around. Inspect parts up and down for wear and damage, then consider checking at least a couple of other junkyard options before opening your wallet. Online resources like Automotix enable you to do some quick research so that you’ll be properly armed with pricing data before you go to the junkyard. If you’re looking for auto parts that are electrical in nature, be sure to test them on the junkyard’s 12-volt before you buy.

Swing it, baby

In a you-pick junkyard, there’s a good reason that the owners have you sign a no liability waiver: people will be swinging tools at the once-vibrant hulks of the highway. You have to be willing to pull a car apart to get at the auto parts you want, although it is common courtesy that customers not inflict unnecessary destruction. Someone may want that part that you wantonly destroyed. The best idea is to observe your surroundings in order to determine that there are no dangerous hackers working nearby. Plus, you’ll want to make sure that your actions won’t bring a wall of metal down on your head or other precious appendage.

The tools of the trade

Speaking of breaking down cars for auto parts, here are some of the tools you’ll need to make a successful go of your local junkyard:

  • Small and large pry bars
  • ⅜-inch-drive ratchet set (standard and metric)
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • Tin snips
  • Hacksaw
  • Screwdrivers
  • Combination wrenches
  • Allen wrenches
  • Safety glasses
  • Heavy-duty leather gloves
  • Coveralls
  • Cardboard for kneeling
  • Sunscreen
  • A truncheon or similar club
  • ½-inch socket set

Remember, your trip to the junkyard needn’t be scary. Be prepared with info and tools, call around and give yourself time. If you are a complete newcomer to auto parts, bring a more knowledgeable friend. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after finding the necessary auto parts for less is priceless.



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