Finding used auto parts at your local junkyard could be a great way to find what you need for a reasonable cost, but consider these factors first.

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Junkyards aren’t hard to find – just look for places offering cash for cars in New Oxford or your local region and you’ll gain access to the used auto parts you want. Before you buy, however, you should know a few things about scavenging parts for your DIY projects. Here are some factors to consider when pulling used auto parts from a junkyard.

1. Type of Junkyard

There are a lot of different ways to get parts from junkyards these days, especially with many organized operations starting to inventory and sell parts online to buyers all over the country and even the world. If you’re the type to visit a junkyard in person, however, there are really only two types of businesses to consider: full-service or u-pull-it.

The names are relatively self-explanatory. A full-service operation is one in which you come in looking for parts and a professional working at the junkyard pulls them from inventory (sometimes wrenching them right out of a car while you wait). A u-pull-it, as you might imagine, is one where you enter the junkyard armed with your own tools, pick through the wares, and remove your own parts, whether they’re in bins or they’re still attached to automobiles.

Some operations actually offer both options, catering to those who would rather pay less and do their own labor as well as a crowd that’s willing to pay a little extra to avoid getting dirty. If you’re handy with automotive tools, you might prefer to skip the additional fee, but if the part you’re after requires you to remove half the engine, it might be worth a few more bucks to let someone else do the heavy lifting.

Don’t forget, most junkyards require you to sign some sort of waiver indemnifying them in the event you have an accident and/or injure yourself on the lot. If you’re not confident in your ability to safely pull parts on your own, skip the waiver and pay for assistance.

2. Finding What You Want

Some junkyards are a complete mystery, with parts strewn willy-nilly about the grounds. Most, however, have some kind of organizational scheme. It usually involves having the most popular parts up front with less sought-after items further in.

If you’re not sure how to find what you’re seeking, asking is always your best bet. Proprietors can explain the layout or perhaps even lead you directly to what you’re looking for.

3. Type of Parts

Some parts, like belts, hoses, and filters, should be purchased new. Whether a car has been on the road recently or sitting in the junkyard for years, you don’t want to risk pulling parts that tend to deteriorate rapidly. Some brake parts (pads, for example) are probably best left behind, as well.

Pretty much everything else, including engine parts, body parts, interior materials, gauges, and even electrical wiring and weather stripping could reasonably be salvaged from a junkyard.

4. Wear and Tear

Cars don’t end up in a junkyard because they’re fit as a fiddle. They go there to die, or more likely because they’re already dead.

You therefore need to take care checking the wear and tear of items before you purchase them. If an engine block looks good, for example, it may only need a good cleaning and new gaskets to enjoy a second life. Or it might have a fatal flaw like a crack. If you don’t know how to gauge condition, bring along a more experienced mechanic to assist you.

5. Parts Cars

Not everyone has the space to store an entire junked car on their property, but if you do, it might be worth a trip to your local salvage yard in New Oxford in search of junked cars like yours that haven’t been completely picked over. Having an entire extra of your automobile on hand to scavenge parts from could come in extremely handy if you ever suffer a breakdown or an accident.

Of course, the chances you’ll need a new quarter panel or chassis are pretty slim, so you might be better off snapping up a parts car temporarily, pulling the parts you actually want to keep on hand and store at your home, and then selling the parts you don’t want or simply returning the remainder to your preferred junk yard in New Oxford. If you’ve been a DIY mechanic for a while, you probably have a good idea which parts you might need in the future.

Some municipalities and community associations also have rules about cars on blocks or even those that are simply non-op, so if you plan to park your parts car in the driveway or the yard instead of the garage, you might want to first make sure you’re allowed to in your neighborhood. If you have proper storage, however, a parts car is a great way to have all the pieces you need for repair and replacement in easy reach.