A junkyard is a great place to go to look for pieces of trash that can turn into treasure. Car parts are most commonly salvaged from junk yards and there are two types of junkyards you will come across: full or self service. In a self-service junk yard, you are able to go out to a car, find the parts you want and remove them yourself. In a full-service junkyard, their employees go out and get the parts the deliver them to the front for you to load up. While the convenience of a full-service junkyard is certainly appealing, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience pulling cars apart, it is noticeably more expensive to use a full-service junkyard than a self-service one.

Before heading off to the junkyard there are some things you should do to prepare. First, call and talk to them about what kind of cars they have. Some yards specialize in certain brands while others have a little bit of everything. If you let them know what you’re looking for they may be able to guide you in the right direction. Also find out what the process is for using their yard. Most yards charge a small fee and make you sign a release of liability so that if you hurt yourself in their yard they aren’t to blame for it. Talk to them about their price board so you have a general idea of what it will cost you to get the parts you’re looking for, if they have those cars available. Make sure you know what tools you will need to bring with you and what tools they have available there. For example, if you’re looking for new tail lights, you want to check that they work. Does the junkyard provide a way to test them? Or will you need to bring your own tools for that?


Bear in mind that when you arrive at the yard you will be responsible for carrying everything you bring in and want to bring out, unless you choose to utilize a full-service yard. Make sure you only carry the essentials in – leave extra tools in your car and come back for them if necessary. Ask the yard ahead of time if they can provide you with a map or help you briefly draw one out. Junkyards can be huge and you don’t want to be stuck wandering around looking for your car part.

Junkyards are a great place to go to learn about how cars are put together and are a low-cost way to get into rebuilding cars. They are also a great place to pick up pieces for DIY crafts, metalwork, and a host of hobbies. If you’re not sure that your local junkyard has what you’re looking for, see if they have a website or simply call them. Cars are constantly coming in and going out of junkyards and so even if they don’t have something the day you call, a week or so later a car you can use may come in!

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