If you're able to do your own car repair work, you can save a lot of money by getting the parts you need from an auto salvage yard or auto parts recycler instead of buying them brand new. However, if you've never used a salvage yard before, you may need some information about how to find and pull the parts that you need. Take a look at some tips that can help you get the parts you need at a price that you can afford.
Check Online or Call First
If you're picturing a disorganized junkyard when you think of an auto parts salvage yard, you're behind the times. Most modern auto parts recyclers keep careful inventories, and what's more, many list the available parts they have online. Checking ahead of time to see if they have the parts you need can save you from wasting time. You may even be able to reserve a part that you're looking for.
If the most convenient yard in your area does not have their inventory listed online, try giving them a call before you head out. Chances are that someone there will be able to confirm whether or not they have what you need.
What happens if the salvage yards don't have any of the parts for the year, make, and model of car you have? It's important to understand that not all parts are specific to a particular model or year. Two cars by the same manufacturer may share the same headlights, for example, even if they are different models or were produced in different years. This is called interchangeability.
In order to make sure you find the right parts, you can look up your VIN number on the dealer's website to find the part numbers you need. One part can have several identification numbers, so make sure to take note of all available part numbers for that part. You can also purchase interchange guides that will help you ensure that you get the right parts. An interchange guide is a must if you plan on doing frequent DIY mechanic work.
Bring the Right Tools
When you're visiting a self-service auto salvage yard, you can usually expect to need your own tools. While a salvage yard may provide large tools, like an engine pulling hoist, they do not usually provide hand tools. Wrenches, screwdrivers, mallets, pry bars, and supports are all examples of tools that you should pack in your tool box.
Make sure that you have any specialty tools you need as well as the basics. For example, you may need to stop by the auto parts store and pick up windshield wire if you plan on pulling a glass windshield. Also, some manufacturers require specially made tools to pull parts from their vehicles.
If you have a question about the tools you need to or how to find the right part, give your local salvage yard a call. Chances are good that they'll know the answer to your question, or at least know where to tell you to look for the answer. Companies like Teddy Bears Auto Parts & Salvage Inc may be able to help meet your needs in this area.