Are auto parts from scrapyards reliable?
Whether due to user error, normal wear and tear, or just plain bad luck, critical components in our vehicles can break, rendering the entire thing out of order. Scrapped vehicles often contain a number of parts that are still in working order, however, and a bit of smart salvage can save you a lot of money.
For many vehicle owners, scrapyards can be very intimidating. How do you know what to look for? Where do you find it? And how do you know if it’s in good enough condition to install in another vehicle? After all, if these cars worked, they wouldn’t be in a scrapyard – right? Not necessarily. Remember that cars are built out of thousands of different precision components, and the failure of any of them can cause a malfunction. When this happens, some people either cannot afford to repair the part or decide to buy a new car instead. Just because one component fails, it doesn’t mean the rest of the car is in poor condition. If you have a decent knowledge of vehicles, or know someone who does, consider browsing the listings of a local scrapyard or two before you spend a pretty penny on new auto parts.
What to look for and how to find it
The major risk in scrapyard savings is the uncertainty surrounding scrapped parts. How do you find what you need, and how can you be sure it works? Every scrapyard is a bit different, but most will have some sort of organisational system, be it a map or some kind of indication as to where specific types of cars can be found.
Before you begin your search, know that the scrap business moves quickly, with vehicles moving in and out of yards regularly, and the parts in stock will be largely dependent on supply and demand. If you’re looking for a rare part for an uncommon vehicle, it’s best to call ahead or look for a specialised scrapyard. If your vehicle or desired part is either extremely uncommon or in very high demand, you may have no choice but invest in new auto parts. Scrapyard parts are generally sold as they are, so if you are not experienced enough to determine the condition of the part you’re looking for, bring someone along who is.
What you’ll need
The tools you’ll need will depend on what part you’re looking to replace. You’re likely to find a massive collection of scrapped vehicles in a variety of conditions and will have to do all of the component removal yourself, so come prepared. It’s always a good idea to have an adjustable screwdriver and wrench, socket wrench, pry bar, hammer and pliers, and potentially a hack saw. While scrapyards will take measures to ensure safety, always be sure the vehicle you plan to work on is properly secured and safe before you begin removing your desired parts.