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How does buying a part from a junk yard work? What are the rules?

I’ve never done it. So, first I would have to find a junk yard nearby. Do I call their front desk to see if they have the correct junk car?

If said car is available, do I bring my own tools to extract the part? Do I need to bring my own jack and jackstands?

Once the parts are extracted, do I have to put everything back together or just leave it as is? What are the rules?

So, I have my parts, do I take it to the “front desk” and determine a price? Or is the price determined ahead of time?

How does this all work?

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That varies by the yard. Best to call and see if they have the part and what their policy is. Many will have the part waiting for you if you call ahead. A lot of popular parts are already on their shelf. There are U Pick yards where you go to the junk car and take the part off yourself.

Some yards have already stripped the vehicles and shelved the parts already. You just walk in and get the part for you. The U-Pick yards are getting harder to find these days.

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And if you do find a u-pull yard, expect to pay a cover charge to get in. Usually 5 bucks or so. Also, expect to be turned away if you’re not wearing at least minimally protective clothes. No open-toed shoes, etc.

You will also need to bring any tools you might need to remove the parts you’re looking for. And you will want to inspect them as well as you can before you pull them, because the guy grabbing parts from the car before you probably wasn’t too worried about damaging parts next to the one he wanted.

Most yards I have dealt with let me walk into the yard and do my own searching. I’d write the location down and return to the front desk and tell them what I want off what car. The countrr guy would tell me the price and their people would remove the part.

My local u-pick places each charge a dollar to enter and I bring my own tools in to find the part. A huge board lists prices. ECUs $15, doors $35 and so on.

Use a search engine like this:

Why not use the web search for a Salvage Yard near you and see if they have the answers to your questions on their web site. If not call them and find out just what they can do . Also many of them have the ability to locate parts from other Salvage yards across the country.

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Pull r parts yards are cheapest. Then I figured out parts on shelves were almost same price. And no walking thru snow. Use to find parts. Easy. Most yards have return with receipt. Exchange for another part or credit if you can’t find another part.

Reading through the replies should be telling you that there are no “rules”

Each yard works somewhat differently since they are all independent businesses.


It is always best to find out how a business does things . Just like store returns - some only exchange - some only do store credit - some have a time period for returns - some have a restocking fee and so on.


The one near me was a u-pull. No price list. They expected you to go in and spend time removing parts, then they’d tell you the price at the register. If it was too expensive, you just left the part which they would then take next door to the non-u-pull salvage counter… Also owned by them. Didn’t take too long to figure out they were making people pay a cover charge to come in and disassemble cars for them. Not surprisingly, they’re out of business now.


That is so cold hearted but it proves the customer has the final say when business act in bad faith!

Both U-picks near me have price lists and the prices are very low. Both lots have only the oldest cars… 10 plus years so they cater to those customers keeping “old Bessie” alive for one more year.

The yards that pull parts in advance from cars less than about 10 years old are more expensive but have better warranties.


Here’s the U-Pull yard I go to.


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You don’t say what kind of part(s) you need, but any time I am considering buying used parts from a junkyard, I look up the price of a new aftermarket version from Rock Auto and compare that to the junkyard’s price list posted online. More often than not, the junkyard charges 60% or more of the Rock Auto price, which means that buying the used part simply does not make sense.

The local “you pull it” yard has become so grossly overpriced that it is often cheaper to buy a part online from a different junkyard which sells online (for example on Ebay) even including the shipping. As long as the seller posts plenty of pictures of the actual item for sale, it is possible to save a lot of money–as well as time–by buying used car parts online.

I guess you’ve had better luck with aftermarket parts than me, at least for power window regulator/motor combos. I finally found one that worked consistently. Even they had a low priced line that fit poorly.

Here’s some advice, concerning pick a part yards . . .

Only go there on 1/2 price weekends . . . otherwise, the parts prices are too high, in my opinion

keep a real good eye on any tools you bring. If you put down a tool and let it out of your sight for even an instant, there’s a very good chance somebody else will steal it

Same thing goes for any parts you remove from cars. Don’t let anything out of your sight or even out of your hands. If you remove a tail light and turn your back for even an instant, there’s a very good chance somebody will just take it

If you’re removing an an oil pan or any component that has liquid, be prepared for the possibility that the junk yard did NOT drain the crankcase. The one near me is supposed to drain fluids, but they don’t. Every time somebody removes an oil pan, there’s several quarts of engine oil on the concrete. Every time somebody removes an ac compressor or condenser, there’s a hiss and a mist as the refrigerant escapes into the atmosphere. And so forth . . .

The bigger operations have websites. Check them out. That way, you’ll have an idea what you might spend ahead of time

Sometimes it’s not worth it at all. Sometimes a cheap aftermarket new part is only slightly more expensive than a used part which may or may not be functional


A customer bought a used dash cluster off Ebay for $50.00 plus shippingfor his Accord, and had me install it.

Didn’t work.

I ran down to the U-PULL yard and got one for $15,00, and it worked!


Don’t buy used car parts off Ebay.



I wish I had access to this U-PULL yard. The one here charges $50 for an instrument cluster–plus tax and an “environmental fee”. For a common car, I can get a used one on Ebay for a lot less.

The “you pull it” yard here charges $85 for a steering wheel–and will not allow you to have the airbag module for any price. I can get a used steering wheel WITH the airbag module on Ebay, for not much more. I paid a little over $100 with the tax and shipping for a used steering wheel and airbag module for my 2000 Silverado from a junkyard on Ebay.

That’s a perfect example of why pick a part is only worth it on 1/2-price weekend(s)

I like the All You Can Carry For $59.99 sales at the U-Pull yard.