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Getting used auto parts at an auto recycling facility can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared to purchasing similar products from a mechanic’s garage or an auto dealership. Junkyards are home to hundreds of salvage or used vehicles. Car owners typically pay a small fee to access them in order to browse the vehicles for any components they want. As they exit, they can pay for the components they have picked.

Before heading to the auto recycling facility, it’s important to understand how to pull components and how to adhere to the business’s rules. Here’s an overview of what you need to know before getting components from an auto recycling facility.

The benefits of getting parts from a salvage facility

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There are several benefits of choosing used parts over ordering new auto parts or visiting a conventional mechanic. First, auto recycling facilities offer the lowest price for high-quality used auto components. This can help car owners save costs, particularly for expensive things like transmissions, engines, and suspension components.

Secondly, used components rarely become stale. This means that auto recycling facilities continuously acquire vehicles and used cars to refill their inventory. Since new cars are coming in every day, you can feel certain that even high-demand products will likely be available somewhere on the lot.

Another benefit of considering an auto recycling facility is sustainability. These businesses remanufacture, reprocess, and recycle vehicle components as much as possible, which helps minimize environmental pollution. Many of them also recycle auto scrap metals to ensure they’re promoting sustainability.

How a salvage yard works

A salvage facility operates just like a grocery store in the sense that you visit and pick what you want. You go into the lot, look for a vehicle or model that you need, pull them, and then check out as you exit. Essentially, your day at the lot will include:

  • Entering the property
  • Locating and finding the car model you’re looking for
  • Picking the desired model or component
  • Paying for the auto part as you exit

Parts you can get from a salvage facility

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The principle behind getting components from a salvage facility is simple: If you find it, pull it. Consumers have access to anything that’s available on the lot.

This includes components like axle shafts, spark plugs, fuel injectors, airbags, and tires. Products at a salvage yard range from minor components like ashtrays to major ones like engines. You can grab whatever you need if you know what you’re looking for, have the right tools to pull the components, and are ready to pay up before you leave.

Be on the move

Most salvage yards send their frequent customers email alerts when a particular vehicle or salvage car arrives at their yards. If you get such a notice, go to the yard immediately. The longer you take to go to the yard, the higher the chances of losing whatever you need as other frequent customers hurry to get the goods, too.

Carry the right tools

Bring along the right tools to help finish the job efficiently. The following items will probably come in handy:

  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver set
  • A ratchet set
  • A jack
  • Lubricant
  • Gloves
  • Allen wrenches
  • Hammer and mallet
  • Combo wrenches
  • A flashlight
  • Cloths or rags
  • Lubricant
  • A pry bar
  • Tin snips

In addition to carrying these smaller tools, put some bigger tools in your car just in case you need them. Tools like a pipe, a drive socket set or a larger pry bar might be necessary. You may also need to pack some sunscreen and a hat for yourself on sunny days to protect your skin from sunburn.

Take a tool bag

Since you need to carry your tools into the salvage yard, you’ll need a place to keep them. The best item for this is a tool bag. Although some people like to carry their tools on a metal toolbox, these take a lot of space. Get a high-quality tool bag instead.

Consider compatible alternatives

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If you were hoping to find a Bronco to scavenge for your spindle but don’t see one on the lot, you might consider F-150 as an alternative because of the similar components. Looking beyond the exact model or trim you need can help you save time, especially if the car you own is badge-engineered.

Looking for components for your Isuzu Rodeo, but can’t find any? Consider pieces for a Honda Passport instead. It’s the same thing! Don’t have a fixed mind when looking for parts. Always consider alternatives that can serve the same purpose.

Take extra

When you first check in to a salvage yard, you’d be shocked to see someone carrying a whole V-8 in their car or an entire 6.2-liter Chevy V-8 for a few dollars. You might also take advantage of this as well. You might only need a small component. But considering the labor and time needed to remove it, it can often be easier to go for a whole system.

Are you the ideal customer for a salvage yard?

Salvage yard lots are technically open to the public but tend to draw a more niche group of customers. Regular customers include automotive hobbyists, repair shops, and dealers who purchase parts in large quantities. You may also find “treasure hunters” who are busy perusing the lot to find something valuable to sell or keep for future use.

When planning to hunt for auto parts at a salvage yard, make sure you find a reliable company. Some of them have online catalogs, while others don’t. Others might have their vehicles raised for easy pulling of parts, while others do not. Some lots might also provide their customers personal maps for easy navigation through the yard lot while others won’t. When you’re ready to get parts from a salvage yard, make sure you find the most convenient and reliable auto recycling yard that will best serve your needs.

For more information on auto recycling, check out this helpful article.


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