How to find car parts at a scrapyard

When cars reach the end of their life, many people have them hauled away to a junkyard. Once the car is gone, we never really think about it again. But where exactly does it end up? And what happens to it? In some cases, the car is pulled apart, “parted out,” and turned into scrap metal and other materials immediately. When this happens, there’s no trace of the car left afterwards.

More frequently, though, the vehicle ends up in a veritable car graveyard: the junkyard, or scrapyard, depending on who you ask. Rather than having all of its component parts removed immediately, the car lays in wait for the enterprising do-it-yourselfer to come along. That’s right: if you’re brave enough, you can head to a junkyard yourself, pick through the cars on the lot, pry out whatever parts you need, and pay next to nothing for them on your way out.

We say “brave enough,” but really, junkyards aren’t as intimidating as they look. To the uninitiated, the task of looking for parts at a junkyard might seem like a real challenge–but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what you need to know.

Full-service vs. you-pick

There are generally two types of junkyards out there: full-service and you-pick. With full-service junkyards, you go to the front desk, tell them what you’re looking for, and wait. They send someone out into the lot, and that person returns with the part in question. This is the easier route for someone with minimal mechanical knowledge; however, the price for the part will be considerably higher.

At a you-pick junkyard, you head out into the lot yourself with your toolbox and grab whatever parts you might want. This can be fun, educational, and downright entertaining–not to mention cheaper. If you opt for the you-pick route, you’ll need to bring some tools with you. Carry the basics, such as a ratchet set, pliers, hammer, tin snips, screwdrivers, gloves, and safety glasses. Be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting messy, as you may need to crawl underneath a vehicle to get what you’re looking for.

Pricing and layout

As it’d be impossible to put prices on all of the vehicles and their component parts, most junkyards have a display board at the entrance (or inside the office, depending on the setup) with a list of what they charge for various parts. There’s often no differentiation between make or model with parts, which is why junkyards can be such a great deal.

Before venturing out into the lot, ask how it’s laid out. There may be a map posted, but if there’s not, the attendant can probably tell you where to find whatever vehicle type you’re looking for.

All in all: don’t be afraid to ask questions. Junkyards are less intimidating than they look, and their employees are the same. Ask a few questions here and there, give yourself plenty of time to wander, and enjoy yourself! You might save a ton of money; and, if nothing else, you’re sure to have a good time.

If this process seems like two much work for you, then go ahead and give Junk Car Traders a call. They give the best quotes, can tow from anywhere, and can pay in cash. They work with people all over the country, including Indiana


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