Some parts don’t have to be obtained in mint conditions from stores. Interior parts, fasteners, clips and headlights can actually be hard to come by. Perhaps we have misplaced some proprietary, uniquely-shaped bolts for a bracket. A common option is to find these parts in the dealers, but they are not always available, especially for older car models. Another option is by looking for reusable parts in local junkyard. Within 50 miles, we may find multiple junkyards that have all the parts we need. We could find the using Google Map and other mapping services. We could choose the closest salvage yard and it likely has parts for car models common in the area. Although, it is easy and cheap to obtain parts from junkyard, we should be aware of some drawbacks. It is likely that the junkyard has hundreds or thousands of cars that are exposed to the elements. There are shards of jagged steel and glasses, while the soil is soaked with differential oil, coolant and engine oil. We should be prepared to explore the area and traverse through the twisted, rusted remains of cars.
- Bring a list: Before we go, we should make a list of things that we need. It is a good idea to bring a sample of the wanted part or it’s not possible, we could at least bring the photo. There are many varieties of parts and although they may look identical, the trim level could actually be different. Parts may not be universal across all platforms.
- Bring the right tools: When removing parts from cars, we may need to know the exact tools we need. It takes special tools to take off heater control panel or door handles. We may need to bring metric socket set, drive socket wrench, jack, prybar, screwdrivers and others.
- Ask for prices before exploring: We could show the junkyard owners the photos of parts we need. We should know the total cost of the items and compare them with prices of the new ones. Often, parts that we want to obtain are not in high demand, so we could ask for lower prices.
- Inspect the items: After ripping out items from old cars in the junkyard, we should inspect them. It is important that they are in the best possible conditions. It may require us to check 4 or 5 cars with identical models to find items with the best conditions. This may be quite time consuming, but could still be a fun weekend activity, similar to treasure-hunting game for dads and sons.