Junk cars in a junkyard

Junkyard Car Parts: Used Parts and Good Deals

Car manufacturers replace models every few years, and older cars can be hard to find parts for. Paying big bucks for new replacement parts from auto part stores might be a bummer too. Luckily, if you are looking for used parts for cheap, junkyards are a good source of deals on used car parts. Not only can you find obsolete or discontinued parts but you can even find factory performance parts to upgrade your car for a lot less than if you were to buy them directly from the dealer. However, not all junkyards work the same and the inner-working of some of them might be confusing. We’ve created this post to help you easily get your hand on used car parts and making sure you get the best deal out of your next trip to the junkyard.

How Do You Get Car Parts From a Junkyard?

How to find used junkyard parts really depends on your level of mechanic skills. Auto mechanics will have no problem navigating the junkyard world but it might be a bit more complicated if you are still a beginner. For newbies, before starting to look around for used car parts at your local junkyards, you will need to know the name of the part you are looking for. When in doubt, make sure to get yourself a high-quality repair manual for your car. The various diagrams and drawings will help you identify and locate the replacement part you need. Most often, you can call a junkyard and tell them what part you are searching for and they can let you know if they are likely to have it or not. The biggest junkyards have online car parts locators that search the inventory speeding up the process significantly.

Junkyard car parts

Can I Go and Look Around?

Every junkyard is different. Some will allow you to just come in, wander around, take the parts you want and charge you on what you take out. Some will require you to remove the part you need while others will remove the part for you. It’s safe to say that most junkyards don’t let people simply walk around the yard, unfortunately. If you want to just shop around and look at what you could get, you’ll need to go to a “Pick-n-Pull” junkyard. If you decide to do that, don’t forget to call beforehand and ask if they can lend you some tools or if you have to bring your own.

Where Can I Find Discontinued Auto Parts?

Some of the most interesting cars out there are also those that are notoriously hard to find parts to repair. Many antique and classic cars do not have aftermarket replacement parts. Even some of our most familiar brands have hard to find obsolete parts.

When you start searching for a discontinued part or something hard to find, call the junkyards. They will sometimes have old rare cars laying around just waiting for you to come is some of the parts. Never forget that a rare car also means that not a lot of people need parts for it.

Some junkyards even specialize in old cars and classics. If possible, you should start by searching for junkyards near you that specialize in your make and model. It’s not uncommon to see junkyards specialized in Honda & Acura parts or German models, for example.

Furthermore, many auto manufacturers have lists of parts that are used in many different car models. You can find replacement parts for your discontinued car by searching for other cars those parts were also used on. These interchange manuals are very helpful for finding upgrade parts, too.

Alternators in a junkyard car parts wharehouse

Do Junkyards Buy Car Parts?

Some junkyards buy loose car parts and others don’t. It really depends on the type of junkyard and the car model. If you’ve got an expensive part that is actually hard to find and in high-demand, maybe they’ll be interested in buying it.

When it comes to inexpensive car parts, some junkyard will even buy them for the weight. If you do a lot of mechanic work in your garage, you may have tons of brake rotors and exhaust components laying around. If that’s your case, think about asking your local junkyard if they buy metal parts. There’s money to make here and, if you are lucky, they may even give you store credit for your scrap metal.

If you intend to sell useable parts to a junkyard, you should be prepared to get a very low offer. Junkyards primarily buy whole cars, then sell the good parts from them and sell them for scrap after that. A specialty junkyard might be interested in your parts if there is value in selling them, but you would probably be better off selling your parts online.

Does Pick-n-Pull Remove Parts For You?

Pick-n-Pull junkyards are among the best for getting good deals on used parts. The company is owned by Shnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. and has 51 locations in North America. These junkyards are self-service and do not remove parts for you. In some cases, parts that were previously removed by the employees may be available for you to purchase without having to remove the parts yourself. However, these are usually a bit more expensive.

What Kinds of Parts Can You Get at a Junkyard?

Junkyards are a great place for you to find rare and obsolete parts, but they are also an excellent way to save money on replacement parts for common vehicles. You can often find items like factory navigation media centers and other expensive electronics in excellent condition at a fraction of what the dealer will charge. You can often use factory parts to upgrade your car. For example, you’ve got a Subaru WRX but you’d like to have an STI rear-wing? Look for a junkyard having a front-smashed Impreza STI and you could get the rear spoiler for cheap. Well, maybe not cheap… but cheaper.

You can also buy brakes and tires from junkyards. It is very common to use junkyard parts to swap from drum brakes to disc brakes on older cars. Buying a new knuckle, rotors, pads, and calipers might turn out expensive. Buying a complete rear suspension with rear brake discs from a car the same model as yours should be cheaper.

Junkyards are also a great source of parts like short or long engine blocks and accessory brackets, exhaust hangers, and door panel clips. Starting a project? It’S safe to bet that you can find many of the hard to get parts at a junkyard near you.

Classic car at a junkyard

Finding Performance Parts at a Junkyard

You would be amazed to discover how often you can find factory performance parts at a junkyard that are in perfect working order. Using a parts interchange manual and your repair manual to identify the components the factory used to make higher performance models. You can then locate one of those models and get the parts you need to upgrade your car for much less money than buying aftermarket or factory replacement parts.

Junkyards can be an excellent resource for people with older cars too. It is not uncommon to find high-performance cylinder heads, intake manifolds, factory superchargers and turbochargers, and ignition components in a junkyard.

Do Junkyards Sell Cars?

Lots of cars end up in junkyards after being involved in car accidents. Frequently, cars that have airbags deployed in an accident are considered a total loss by insurance adjusters. However, some junkyards will repair the cars and resell them. Other junkyards sell junk cars for parts only.

When anyone sells a vehicle that has been declared a total loss in an accident, there are specific regulations that must be followed. You should check with your state Department of Motor Vehicles before buying a junked car that you intend to register. You will find that each state has its own rules about how you can get a salvage vehicle registered and back on the road.

How Do I Find Used Auto Parts Junkyards Near Me?

The best place to find junkyards in your area is to search online. Many junkyards will have parts identifiers and locators online that you can use to find the parts you are searching for. That’s a lot easier than calling each of them asking for the same car part over and over.

Searching online will also help you compare multiple offerings and let you know the right price you should pay for the part. Furthermore, prices in junkyards are often negotiable. Even if you plan on calling or visiting your junkyard anyway, being aware of the price tag of a specific part will help you get the most bang for your bucks when negotiating.

Junkyard car parts warehouse

How Much is My Junk Car Worth?

Junkyards will buy your junk car from you. The price you’ll get, on the other hand, will depend on what type of car you have and what condition it’s in. If your car doesn’t move, most junkyards will come to your house and pick your car up for you. They often pay cash for your junk car, which can come in handy when you have a car that isn’t worth fixing.

Are Used Junkyard Parts Worth It?

You can find really good deals on many parts from a junkyard. Unfortunately, this will require your judgment. Some of the parts might be excellent while others are simply not worth it. Keep in mind that it can sometimes be hard to tell if a part is in good shape to not. Some parts are quite easy to inspect, like wheels and brake components, but other parts, like engines or transmissions, might be difficult to test. It’s really a question of trust at that point.

Doing business with a trustworthy junkyard is very important here. The good ones will tell you as much about the part and the condition of the original car as they can. They will also offer a warranty and be helpful when you have a problem with a part.

To Sum It All Up

Buying used car parts from your local junkyard can make you save a lot of money and it’s also more environmentally-friendly. By purchasing parts from a junkyard, you are reducing the number of new parts that have to be made and helping to keep the number of parts thrown in the trash as low as possible.

The next time you go to a junkyard near you, keep in mind the tips covered above. Doing so will ensure that you get your car back on the road while keeping the total cost within your budget.




About Derek F

Derek grew up in Southern California and started working on cars when he was a child. He learned from his father and grandfather how to make basic repairs and maintain cars correctly. Derek rebuilt his first engine at 15 years-old, beginning an automotive career that took him to many interesting jobs. Derek has worked as an automotive detailer, managed parts warehouses and auto parts stores, and worked as a mechanic for several years doing brake and suspension work. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in government journalism, Derek worked for an auto museum where he started to write about cars. Today, Derek uses his expertise gained from many years of practical experience to help educate DIYers and share interesting knowledge about various types of automotive repair and service. Writing about cars helps fund his numerous classic car restoration and customization projects.

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