Finding a good salvage yard can be hard, so here’s a series of tips to help you on your salvaging journey.
- Salvage yards go by many names – make sure you use them all to search your local area. Here are some common names for auto salvage yards: junkyard, scrapyard, reclaim yard, auto recycling, u-pull, pick & pull, scavenge yard, and many combination of “pick,” “pull,” and “auto.” Many salvage yards will also be simply named something-something “Auto Parts.” Of course this can be deceiving since many auto part stores are not also salvage yards, but most salvage yards have a street-facing storefront which is in fact the auto parts store.
- Salvage yards tend to be unkempt places, with bits and pieces of cars and trucks everywhere, the more organized the place looks, the more likely that you are at a well run place.
- But, be mindful of the difference between unkempt and dirty. A place can be disorganized, but you should not have to walk around dog poop, or any other kind of trash. A salvage yard is not a trash dump.
- A well run salvage yard will also know what they have in the yard in terms of makes and models, but more importantly they should know what they don’t have. So ask for what you want at the front desk, their answer should give you a good idea whether that place is the right one for you.
- Is the place busy? Most salvage yards are small family businesses that do little advertising other than word of mouth, so a busy salvage yard is one that has been recommended a lot.
- Or if you know a mechanic ask them. Independent mechanics are the primary customer of most salvage yards and most mechanic shops tend to form (in)formal relationships with local salvage yards, so they should know better than anyone else. Even when they have a close relationship with a yard, their status as customers of the yard makes their position and perspective similar to yours.
- So, trust a mechanic’s recommendation, but be wary of tow truck recommendations. Tow trucks often work with salvage yards, and salvage yards often pay them to deliver vehicles totaled in car crashes. This makes tow truckers less of a customer and more of a supplier, or partner, of a salvage yard, and that means that they may have other reasons why they prefer one or another.
- Finally, take day out of your schedule and visit as many local salvage yards as you can. Nothing beats being there in person to see if any of these places are worth your money.