Discussing Auto Parts And Repair Practices

3 Thrifty Tips For First-Time Salvage Parts Buyers

Buying car parts at a salvage yard is one of the easiest ways to save money on automotive maintenance and repairs. Salvage yards can typically offer parts at greatly reduced prices because they rely on visitors to take a "pick-n-pull" approach. In other words, you're doing the work of pulling parts from the donor vehicles, which means you get to save money on the final cost.

Of course, this process can also be a bit intimidating for first-timers. The good news is that pulling parts from salvage vehicles can be a lot of fun, and a day at the yard can feel like an adventure as much as an exercise in saving money. If you're a little nervous about your first trip, follow these three thrifty tips to ensure you walk away with some great parts for an amazing price.

1. Ask Questions

Salvage yard employees are usually willing to help if you need to find a particular part. As long as you know what makes, models, and years have compatible parts for your car, an employee can usually tell you if they have anything appropriate on the lot. Depending on the salvage yard's layout, they may also be able to direct you to the appropriate area so you can find what you need quickly.

Different yards will take different approaches to record-keeping, but many will also record which parts previous visitors have taken. If you know you need something specific (like an alternator or water pump), the employees may be able to tell you if a previous visitor already took it from a particular donor car. Asking those questions can help save you from a fruitless trip across the yard.

2. Examine Donor Vehicles

If you drive a relatively common car, many salvage yards will have multiple appropriate donor vehicles on the lot. You may be able to get some additional information from employees, such as the mileage of a particular vehicle, but you can also learn a lot from a visual inspection. For example, you might want to avoid pulling exterior cosmetic components from a vehicle that looks like it suffered a collision.

You also shouldn't be afraid to be picky. If you have multiple options, favor the donor vehicle with lower mileage that appears in better condition. Being a little fussy about your donor vehicle can help ensure the parts you pull will be reliable and long-lasting.

3. Pack Light

You'll need tools to get parts from a pick-n-pull salvage yard, but loading up a toolbox with every socket, wrench, and screwdriver in your arsenal will make walking across the yard a fairly unpleasant experience. If you know the parts you're pulling, research which tools you'll need to remove them from a donor vehicle. Your back will thank you for the time spent lightening your load.

Ultimately, all it takes for a successful salvage yard visit is a little planning and a willingness to get your hands dirty. If you come with the right tools and the right attitude, you'll be sure to leave with the perfect parts for your car. For more information, contact an auto parts salvage yard near you.