The thought of visiting a junkyard, or salvage yard, to find used auto parts is distasteful to some people. It makes an image of dusty mountains of decaying cars that litter a huge yard of dirt. Buying a part might take hours. But, those times are long gone. Today, junkyards track their inventory in databases. And while things can always be dusty, finding the parts you’ll 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

All the large junkyards use a system called a “Hotline.” In the event that you call a junkyard and ask if they carry a certain part, they’ll check their inventory database while you’re on the phone nearest junkyard. If they don’t really get the part you’ll need in their inventory, they could use their Hotline to quickly check the inventories of neighboring junkyards. An instant tip in regards to the Hotline: ask the junkyard that’s checking other yards what that one part might have cost if they had it in their inventory. You may well be able to negotiate the cost with another dealer.

How Much Can You Expect To Pay?

Keep in mind that junkyards are similar to swap meets in that many costs are negotiable. That 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 said, you can expect to cover nearly 1 / 2 of the expense of a fresh part. For example, a water pump for a BMW 740i could cost $140 new. Expect to cover $70 (in cash) at the junkyard.

Last Thoughts

Buying used auto parts from a junkyard is a much different experience today than it absolutely was years ago. It’s quick, convenient and cost effective. That said, salvage yards aren’t perfect. Parts may be labeled incorrectly. If at all 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. Ultimately, visiting the junkyard can save time and money. But, utilize the tips above to approach them with the best expectations.