Junkyards are many things depending on who you ask. To some, they’re creepy, trash filled depots that should be avoided at all costs. But to others, they’re wonderlands, full of valuable finds. It’s where most people go to dump unwanted items, and where others go to pick up said items to refurbish and reuse. In the words of the musical artist Macklemore, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
The questions is, is it worth it to go to junkyards for car parts? How do they work? And how can I get rid of my old car parts for money? Below you can find all the answers to everything you’ve ever wondered about how junkyards operate and what you can get out of them.
How Do Junkyards Work?
Junkyards are pretty self-explanatory. They are places that buy beat up old cars from people, usually cars that can’t even drive anymore, and sell the parts of the cars for cheap. The incentive is for buyers to get working parts for less money than purchasing new ones.
When decommissioned vehicles are brought in with no parts that can be resold, they are usually taken apart for their scrap metal and sold to metal recycling companies.
If your car is at the point where it’s not functional, you can call up the auto junkyard of your choice and they will typically pick it up and take it away for you for a small fee.
And, depending on where you go, some places will let you roam around the yard to collect whatever parts you can find, while others will have showroom full of the more valuable pieces.
When Are They Open?
The first thing you should do if you’re interested in buying parts from a junkyard is chose the one closest to you, and figure out their hours of operation. For the most part, junkyards are not open on Sunday’s, and here’s why: they are privately owned and operated, and so like most independent businesses, they get to choose when they’re open.
However, you should do your own investigating and make sure this is the case for your local junkyard. They could be open on Sunday’s but closed on Tuesday’s. It’s entirely up to whoever runs the place.
Not All Are Built the Same
Not all junkyards provide the same services. Some may only focus on a specific makes and models of cars, while others may house a variety of different things outside of just cars, like boats as well.
It’s important to make sure you know what kind of yard you’re going to so you can find whatever services you’re looking for.
A car yard is sometimes referred to as a ‘car lot’. This type of yard is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a pre-owned vehicle. They will not, however, have any scrap metal or car parts.
If you’re looking for parts, your best bet would be to go to an auto salvage yard. This is where you’ll find everything you need to build your car from scratch, if you’re up for that challenge.
Scrapyard on the other hand is where you can find recyclable metal parts, and where you can sell metal parts for a profit.
And finally, a wrecking yard is exactly what it sounds like. Here you will typically find decommissioned cars stacked on top of one another. The owners will let you wander around the property looking for whatever piques your interest.
Where to start
It can be time consuming to call around to different yards or even walk around them to find exactly which parts you’re looking for. Reaching out to a professional mechanic to help you out is a good idea, considering they may know where to find the parts you’re looking for exactly.
You can also consider shopping online to save time. There are online junkyard websites where people nationwide post ads for parts. Sometimes businesses even have online inventories for you to browse virtually as opposed to going in person.
However, it can be enjoyable to physically walk around a junkyard on a nice day. You may find things you didn’t know you needed as they tend to be filled with unexpected treasures.
Some good websites to check out though if you are interested are Auto Parts Warehouse, LKQ, Junk Yard Dog, and Junkyard Locator.
Once you Get In
So let’s say you’ve done your research, you’ve found the perfect junkyard, and you’re ready to visit. There are a few things you need to know before you head in.
First of all, don’t go in with high expectations that exactly what you’re looking for is going to be sitting right at the entrance in perfect condition just waiting for you.
Junkyards can be labyrinths. They can be chaotic places. It takes a lot of wandering around and patience to find the right parts, and its best to take your time to see everything before getting frustrated or settling.
Depending on where you go, some places may charge a small entrance fee, and then you are on your own with finding and dismantling parts. It’s important to figure out what kind of place you’re going to so you’re not unprepared.
If you are going to one of the places described above, you should be prepared to get your hands a little dirty, and remember to bring the correct tools for taking cars apart.
And also before you go, you should do research and make sure you know exactly what kind of parts you’re looking for, so you don’t end up wasting time taking apart the wrong things.
How To Sell Car Parts
Now that you have all the background information about shopping around junkyards and buying from them, you may be wondering about the process of selling.
The best way to get started is to use google to find your local junkyard and give them a call to see how they handle things.
In rare cases, there are junkyards that don’t typically sell or buy from public consumers, so you should watch out for that.
Junkyards Require Car Titles
The most important thing you need to know about selling to a junkyard is that they will expect you to have a car’s title in order to go through with the sale. It’s illegal in the United States to sell a vehicle without one.
If the title was lost years ago or somehow destroyed, you can always go to the DMV for a replacement. And if the vehicle is not in your name, you will also need to go through the DMV in order to get it transferred over.
If you don’t have a car’s title and have absolutely no way of obtaining one, you will need to make sure the car does not have a lien that needs to be paid off. Then, you will need to be able to prove ownership somehow and write out a clear bill of sale.
However, most junkyards will accept junk cars as scrap metal in exchange for payment, but the situation varies depending on who you’re dealing with.
It can get complicated, so it’s best to have a title before going forward to avoid any difficulties.
What sells for the most money?
Now that you’re ready to sell, you should be aware of what junkyards are most eager to buy from sellers. Not only are these the most sought after items, they are also worth the most amount of money.
Engine and cylinders
The engine is obviously the most important part of any vehicle. If the engine goes out, you are basically screwed. The cost of repairing or replacing a broken engine will cost thousands of dollars.
However, selling one to a junkyard can get you upwards of 700 bucks.
The transmission is in charge of the amount of power that goes to your wheels and shifting the gears. Since most American cars have automatic transmissions, they are definitely in high demand.
Depending on the condition it’s in, most junkyards will buy a car’s transmission for anywhere between 500 to 1000 dollars.
Airbags are lifesavers. They can mean the difference between a very serious accident and a minor one, and they are understandably very expensive to replace. By law, all cars have driver side and passenger side airbags, and newer ones even have more than that now.
Junkyards will typically buy used airbags for anywhere from 400 to 1000 dollars.
Car seats are not money makers. They don’t cost very much to produce and junkyards won’t pay much for them, especially because of how dirty they can become over time. You could get anywhere from 40 to 90 dollars, if you’re lucky.
The catalytic converters is a very important part of your car. It is an exhaust emission that takes toxic gases and pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and turns it into less harmful substances like vapor.
These tend to be targets for theft, as they are worth a lot of money. If you’re interested in selling one to a junkyard, you will definitely make a pretty penny.
Junkyards will buy them from sellers for upwards of a thousand dollars, depending on the make and model.
Electric Car Battery
A regular car battery is not worth very much money. They tend to go for around 50 to 200 dollars.
However, electric and hybrid batteries are much more pricey. Brand new ones can cost anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 dollars.
There aren’t many estimates out there for the resale of electric car batteries, so it’s best to reach out to a couple of local junkyards and find out what they’re offering.
Camshafts are an essential part of a car’s engine. They are a rotating object that are used in internal combustion engines, and can become damaged over time if you don’t get regular oil changes. Think of them as the lungs of your car.
If you’ve kept yours in good shape, selling a used one will definitely go for a lot. They typically get sold for 1500 to 3000 dollars.
If you’re a car enthusiast, the junkyard is probably your mecca. It’s a sacred place with acres of shining metal and an assortment of unusual car parts. There is no saying what exactly you’ll find when you go, but here are a few examples of interesting things that have been found that you may not have thought about before.
Buses and Trucks
School buses and trucks only tend to last for about 12 to 15 years, and when they ‘die’, they end up in junkyards just like other vehicles.
Lots of people have been known to take old school buses and refurbish them into mobile homes, or reuse them as cool outdoor spaces in their yards. The possibilities are endless.
Decommissioned police cars also share the same fate as other vehicles. You can definitely find them in junkyards if that’s what you’re interested, and they tend to be left there in pretty good shape.
You should be careful when driving one around though, as to not confuse the public. You don’t want to end up getting charged with impersonating an officer.
Classic cars and trucks
Every car lover’s dream is to find a diamond in the rough- a classic car that’s been neglected and overlooked by others, but is a treasure to more knowledgeable people. It could be the car you always wanted from your youth, or the one you admired from that cool old movie you watched. Whatever the case, if you spend enough time around junkyards, your chances of finding it will be high.
So there you have it! If you’re interested in buying from a junkyard, remember to check around for the right kind to make sure they’re selling what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to bring tools to take apart the things you need, and try looking online too if you want to see nationwide options.
If you’re looking to sell an old car for parts, remember that you will need to have the cars title in order to go through with the sale, and keep in mind which parts will get you the most money.