Car owners know exactly what it takes to maintain a car. There should be a budget for its regular maintenance, tires, battery, and a lot more. Then there are times when its parts need some replacing. Some may find it too expensive or too impractical to buy new parts for their cars from their local dealerships especially if you own a car that is 5 years old or above. Fortunately, there is a better alternative other than buying car parts from the dealerships – finding cheap car parts at junkyards.
With the pandemic happening on a global scale, a lot has been affected by our families to our work. Then there’s the economic instability which made more people resort to choosing practicality and affordability over luxury. The same can be said when it comes to buying car parts. Finding used car parts at a junkyard is a great way to save money for car repairs or for fixing and restoring an old junker. To help you make the most out of it, here are some tips for finding cheap car parts at your local junkyard.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT JUNKYARD
There are two common types of junkyards: self-service and full-service. It is best that you know what type of junkyard you plan to visit. You can make a list of your local junkyards and find out what services they offer.
The full-service junkyard does all the heavy lifting for you and will remove the parts you need. Some of these yards allow you to call them or order online then they will proceed to search for them. They tend to ask for a higher price since they will be the ones to remove the parts from the junk vehicle, clean and prepare it for you. Some full-service junkyards also offer warranties and have extended and labor warranty options.
The self-service junkyard on the other hand allows you to go into their yard, look for a vehicle similar to yours or the vehicle that you are working on, and remove the needed parts yourself. You will only pay for whatever parts that you remove and take. If you are good with tools and you know what to do, self-service junks will be a better choice since it won’t charge you that much. You will just have to bring the right tools to get the job done.
Keep in mind that if you choose a self-service junkyard, chances are, the parts you need have already been harvested from the junk vehicle by some person who got there earlier. There are some junkyards that allow you to set up an email or a number that notifies you when there is a certain vehicle that arrives in their yard. It is best that you make use of that so you can be there as soon as the vehicle you need arrives.
KNOW THE CAR PARTS YOU CAN BUY USED
Not all car parts you can find at your local junkyard can be used. There are parts that are already worn out while others can be hard to inspect. You don’t want to purchase something that is no longer usable. There are also some car parts that don’t cost that much when you buy them new. In this case, it is much better to purchase a new one.
You need to know beforehand what are the parts that you can buy used. Parts like bumpers, doors, hoods, fenders, car stereos, speakers, rims, and mirrors are some of the used car parts that you can buy at a junkyard. If you are working on an old model vehicle, you can get its parts from there too.
There are also some car parts that are encouraged to purchase new. Parts like the brake pads, brake rotors, and belts tend to wear quickly so it is better to replace them with new ones. Plus, these parts are all essential for your safety when driving. Buying these parts at a junkyard will just be a gamble that can compromise your safety and your vehicle’s overall performance.
If you are not sure about the quality of a certain used car part, better steer clear of that one. It’ll be just a waste of money to buy something you’re not sure will work.
TAKE THE RIGHT TOOLS
If you decide to visit a self-service junkyard, you need to take the right tools and bring the right gear. Some of these junkyards don’t provide tools and the needed equipment to help you remove used parts from the junk cars. It’ll be frustrating to find yourself deep in the yard with the parts you need in sight into only to find out that you don’t have the right tools with you.
The tools you need for the job really depends on the parts you are looking for. You can add some specific tools you know you’ll need but in most cases, you will just need pliers, 9/16 and 1/2 inch wrenches, screwdrivers, electrical tools like test lights and battery power, ratchet with 8 and 10 mm sockets, Allen wrench set, a can of WD-40, and a rubber mallet or a hammer. You can also bring a notepad and marker where you can make a list of the things you need or jot down measurements.
As for your gears, it is better to wear protective gloves since you will be dealing with old, worn-out vehicles. Also, refrain from bringing a heavy tool box. You don’t want to carry it around the yard as you look for parts. It is better to use a tool bag with only the needed tools with some spare space to put the used car parts you bought. You can also bring Ziplocs with you for the parts that have small parts like screws, washers, and bolts.
Remember that there are some tools that you can’t take inside a junkyard like torches and other gas-powered tools. It is always safe to check the junkyard you plan to visit and check what tools they prohibit people from bringing.
CONSIDER OTHER COMPATIBLE OPTIONS
Finding cheap car parts at your local junkyard can be a struggle at times especially if you are looking for a part of a vehicle that is not quite common. Then there are car parts that are in-demand that everyone is trying to have. To save you the trouble of wasting your time looking around in there and leaving empty-handed, you can research and study in advance on other compatible options.
There are vehicles that share the same parts. It might surprise you how many car parts are there that will fit on other vehicles. You just have to look beyond the actual model and find other compatible alternatives from there. Many websites today have lists of compatible parts that are listed by year, make, and model.
ASK ABOUT THE JUNKYARD’S POLICIES ON RETURNS AND WARRANTIES
There are some junkyards that don’t accept returns if you bought a part that is defective or doesn’t fit on your vehicle. You have to ask for the junkyard’s policies about it before proceeding to transact with them. Be sure to read their policies carefully since they are usually written in the fine print.
The 30-day warranty is the standard junkyard warranty given for each part they sell. If a part is really defective and has a major problem, it will probably stop working before the warranty ends. If it does on the 31st day, then you have no other choice but to buy that part again.
The lifetime warranty ensures the parts for life. It seems like the best option for the buyers but it usually has many conditions attached. Conditions like the warranty will only apply to a certain type of malfunction such as cracking. If you read all the conditions attached to the warranty, you might find out that it is not the best option after all.
The per-day warranty will require you to pay a nominal fee per day for the warranty for each part you purchase. You will have to pay for the actual warranty for this one not like the 30-day and the lifetime warranties. You will be the one to choose how long the parts will remain insured. You get to decide what you want to protect. You might want to insure an expensive and hard-to-find part longer than the cheap ones.
ENSURE THAT THE PARTS YOU PICK MATCH THE ORIGINAL
When you are already in the junkyard and you are looking for cheap exterior car parts, make sure that the parts you pick match the original in terms of style and color. You don’t want to have a vehicle with mismatched exterior parts. It will be a complete eyesore if one part of it has a darker shade than the other parts. Make a mental note of the color and the style of your vehicle. Make sure that the car parts you pick will blend well with its existing design.
How to Get the Right Car Parts for Replacements at a Junkyard?
Finding cheap car parts at your local junkyard allows you to save a lot of money but you have to make sure that you get the right parts. It’ll be frustrating to know you purchased something you can’t use. Sure you can try to return and replace it, but you will have to do the finding and the removing of parts again. To help you avoid that situation, here are some things you can do to get the right replacement car parts.
Remove all the parts of your vehicle that need to be replaced.
Before going to your local junkyard, inspect your vehicle first, and remove the parts that need to be replaced. You can practice removing it so it will be easier to remove one at the junkyard. Doing so will give you an idea of what tools you need to bring there. You also need to pay attention to where the part is located and inspect if you have to remove any other parts to get it. Make sure that you secure all its parts including the bolts and nuts when you remove it.
Research for any compatible options.
Check online the compatibility of the parts. You need to be prepared since there will be instances where the parts you need are not available. It is better to come up with plans if ever you can’t find the parts you need.
Research how you can make sure that all the car parts are working.
You need to make sure that all the car parts you find are working by conducting quick tests on each part. You can do some research online, learn how to do quick tests and prepare the tools you will need.
Remove the car parts you found.
Keep in mind that before you remove the parts, examine each one and inspect its every angle for rust or damage. You can then conduct a quick test on each one by using testers or portable jump starters. Once you ensure that all the parts are working, you can use your tools and proceed to remove them. If it is hard to remove or reach a certain part, do not hesitate to cut the part out. Just make sure that you don’t damage the part you need.
It is already known that a junkyard is the official and favorite go-to place for car owners who want to find cheap car parts for replacements or for restoring vintage cars. Whatever car parts you need, you can find them there. You can even find hidden gems there if you know how to look. But not everyone knows that junkyards play an important role in the automotive ecosystem. They help recycle millions of gallons of gas, thousands of gallons of oil, and almost a million tons of steel each year. Junkyards offer that and so much more.