The thought of visiting a junkyard, or salvage yard, to look for used auto parts is distasteful to some people. It creates an image of dusty mountains of decaying cars that litter a massive yard of dirt. Looking for a part could take hours. But, those days are long gone. Today, junkyards track their inventory in databases. And while things may still be dusty, finding the parts you need is easy. Employees can check their inventory, saving you the hassle of hours spent looking. Plus, cars often arrive at the junkyard stripped down. They’re easily dismantled and the parts are placed together in groups.
Using The Hotline
Most of the large junkyards use a system called a “Hotline.” If you call a junkyard and ask whether they carry a certain part, they’ll check their inventory database while you’re on the phone. If they don’t find the part you need in their inventory, they can use their Hotline to quickly check the inventories of neighboring junkyards. A quick tip about the Hotline: ask the junkyard that is checking other yards what that particular part would have cost if they had it in their inventory. You may be able to negotiate the price with the other dealer.
How Much Can You Expect To Pay?
Keep in mind that junkyards are similar to swap meets in that most prices are negotiable. This is especially true when you’re buying parts that are not in good condition. Ask for a discount or offer a lower price. Junkyards will often agree just to move the inventory. That being said, you can expect to pay nearly half of the cost of a new part. For example, a water pump for a BMW 740i may cost $140 new. Expect to pay $70 (in cash) at the junkyard.
Buying used auto parts from a junkyard is a much different experience today than it was years ago. It’s quick, convenient and cost effective. That being said, salvage yards aren’t perfect. Parts can be labeled incorrectly. If possible, take the part that you’re replacing with you to compare. You’ll want to make sure the replacement will fit your vehicle properly. Remember, refunds are seldom offered at salvage yards. In the end, visiting the junkyard can save time and money. But, use the tips above to approach them with the right expectations.