A Real Genius Knows How to Shop at a Junkyard

A tragic incident in my post-graduate years sent me to the junkyard looking for a new door for a sky blue 1978 Chevy Nova I bought from a friend for one dollar and named Laverne. Thanks to my love for Laverne, a seriously flawed car, even before the collision, I learned that a door from a Nova or a similar car (like a Buick Skylark) could fit it, but beyond that, the junkyard taught many more lessons.

It was frightening. The dumps are huge and run by people who know what a Mansfield bar is like. Thus began my acquaintance with landfills, which are much more than heaps of car garbage. Landfills do a great job of recycling and disposing of toxic fluids like antifreeze and old motor oil, and are a source of affordable spare parts for people who need to keep old cars running (or who have serious car hobbies) – which is very important for the time being. when buying a used car requires tons of cash. But before you head to your local junkyard for parts, you need to have a plan in place because junkyard work is competitive, difficult, and easy to screw up. Here’s how to get the most out of visiting a landfill.

Plan ahead before you visit the landfill

If you’re looking for a specific part (as opposed to just spending the day wandering around looking for cool stuff, as usual), the first step is to fire up an old computer and check the junkyard’s website. Most junkyards have pretty advanced internet presences these days – you can (and should) do a search. The more information you have about the part and the vehicle it comes in, the better. If you can’t find your part in the database, you can probably set up an alert that will contact you if and when the part becomes available.

Then figure out what tools you’ll need. While junkyards sometimes do all the dirty work for you, often times you have to strip the parts yourself. Driving all the way to the junkyard and finding a rusty case that contains the part you need, only to realize that you took the wrong wrench, will seriously reduce your schedule and your pride. Also, if you’re going to be working on a particular part, knowing the right tools will reduce the number of heavy tools you’ll have to carry around.

A few things you wo n’t need in a landfill:

  • Jackie. In junk yards, cars are almost always on blocks or stands, and there are usually lifts if you need to remove an engine or transmission.
  • Wheelbarrows. A vehicle is required to transport an engine or a few very heavy parts, but most warehouses provide wheelbarrows or similar tools.
  • Torches or grinders. Landfills are completely saturated with flammable substances, so anything that produces a flame or spark is not allowed. If you need to cut something, the yard will help you with this.

Finally, research your vehicle. Many cars and trucks share powertrain components and other parts—it’s all part of the efficiency of scale used by car manufacturers. Many junkyard websites offer this functionality; if your local junkyard doesn’t have this, try a junkyard from another region – for example, www.pull-a-part.com has a fairly reliable parts exchange database that can give you a lot of useful information. In addition, AutoZone allows you to search for specific parts for your make and model and will show you a range of matching parts that you can then add to your junkyard’s database.

Ask for help

Like I said, landfills can be intimidating because everyone there lives and breathes car and truck parts. But it’s an asset. Junkyard operators make money by selling parts to people, so they are usually more than happy to offer you their experience and advice. So if you feel like you can’t find what you’re looking for, or can’t remove a part, no matter how much effort you’ve put into it, don’t be afraid to ask for help. And if you don’t see the part you’re looking for in their online database, it’s almost always worth a call – many parts, especially for older models, sell out very, very quickly, and a call can sometimes lead to a successful outcome. to find.

Some landfills offer more services than others. Some of them will remove the parts for you and some will even install the parts on your car if you can drive it. If this is what you are interested in, it is worth knowing in advance.

Junkyards are an incredible opportunity for anyone interested in cars or desperate for cheap repairs. It takes quite a bit of planning and effort to get the most out of your visit, but the payoff can be huge.


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