When did Junkyard prices skyrocket?

So I went to the Junky… AHem… Sorry, automotive recycling yard looking for a few things, and I was handed a price sheet when I went in the door. I almost fell over. 20 dollars for a used tire? Air filter 2.99? Fuel pump 20.00? Brake Drum 12.50? Idler Arm 17.99? Air cleaner box 24.99?

You get the point. These are not late model wrecks either. We are talking mostly early 90’s cars to late 90’s cars that have been drove hard and put up wet.

I know its 2015 and times have changed since the last time I frequented junkyards which was 97-98, but I think the prices are twice what they were back then. I looked an old price sheet that I had in my toolbox from probably 1997 and the prices were a lot cheaper back then. Why would I pay 2.99 for an junky old air filter when I can buy new for 5.99.

This yard is in Indy. It is a sterile, modern junkyard. I understand they have alot of rules and regulations, but they did back in 97 as well.

Well you need to go to a local, non corporate junkyard Rick…

The local junkyard which feels like its from the 1960s or 1970s due to its informal setup, well his prices are so high that you can’t buy anything off him. He will try to sell you new chinese bumpers and body parts, they are not much more than a rusty one from this guys junkyard. He is a nice guy and I have no ill will against him because he is a likeable good person, but his prices are simply too high, and he knows it, he will tell you

What gives?

I can speculate. The recession of '08 caused used car prices to skyrocket because very few were buying new cars. A lot of used cars around means a lot of demand for “recycled” parts. ??

It’s the economy. Politicians and statisticians can “cook” the numbers all they want, but the economy is still terrible, and millions of people are keeping their old buggys running that might have bought a new car 40 years ago. Boneyard prices react accordingly.

Could it be that because of the “Cash for Clunkers” program, crushed many older cars along with all those parts…
So the result is that there are fewer parts out there.
The sway bar that you need went to the crusher and the eight vehicles that would have a match…the sway bar has already been removed.

The recycler has one left and it will cost more because they are hard to find.



Are we talking about a pick your part kind of junkyard?

Or are talking about a junkyard in which the parts are already sitting on a shelf?

There are a couple of different types of junkyards in my area . . .

pick your part . . . the place is poorly organized, even for a junkyard. the prices are so-so, really only worth going there on 1/2 price weekend. Also, it’s always very busy, hard to find parking spot. And you have to watch your tools or scavenged parts like a hawk.

another pick a part kind of place, which is much better organized. It is smaller, and also has far less people scavenging parts. I know this may be hard to believe, but the people frequenting this junkyard are more polite. The place is “clean” . . . meaning they actually clean up between the car aisles, so you’re not always tripping over things. The prices are fair, but not low. Still much cheaper than new

And then there are the places where you walk in and ask if they have something. If yes, it’s already on the shelf. These are the kinds of places that many indy shops go to, looking for parts

Could people be reselling junk-yard parts on ebay? That might explain the crowds going after anything.


They sure do. Many people get highly sought after parts at the junkyard, then resell them on ebay, for a nice profit

I remember several years ago, I had a car without a tachometer. I knew the top trim line had a cluster with a tachometer. I found some on ebay, but there was usually a bidding war. I did get one in the end, for a reasonable price, but it took awhile

Also, many junkyards also sell their parts on ebay

Even though we are regularly informed there is no unusual inflation. When the price of new commodities substantially increase, the price of used commodities follows.

That is correct

In my neck of the woods, the price of used cars has dramatically risen over the last few years. Part of it is the fact that people are keeping their current cars longer. I don’t know how much of an effect cash for clunkers had on the price of cars

There is one “pull your part” here (in Sunland for LA residents) that I have been to for my (RIP) Dodge Caravan. I needed some window regulators, I pulled them off but the price was over half of the new and they were not able to test it, nor would they take it back if it wasn’t working. SO I passed. The area for newer cars had a higher entrance fee.

The only use I got from that yard was practicing ripping things out on a junk car so I know how to handle mine :slight_smile:


I go to the place in Sun Valley, the one with the octopus on the sign. But like I said, I only bother going there on 1/2 price weekends

They also have a separate entrance fee for the “newer car” area. Although many of the cars there are from the 90s . . . !

Adlen Brothers is the other pull your parts place I was talking about, the one that was better organized and cleaner

@db4690; Good to know on both accounts. I have not needed a part for a while. I am sure I will soon. But usually the internet has better deals esp if you factor in time and gas etc.

On a different note, if you ever show up to these yards with dress pants & ironed shirts, the looks you get is amazing. This wasn’t me but my friend who went there with his wife’s luxury car to buy parts for his beater, I was just helping him.


You’ll like this . . .

At the pick a parts yard . . . on Sundays, after church, you’ll often see guys laying under a car, removing parts, and filthy fluids are spilling on their face

The guys are sweating, uncomfortable, and cursing, because that stuff is spilling on their face, and the wives are standing next to the junk cars, in their sunday best, yelling at the guys to hurry up, because they have to be at such and such place in an hour . . . !

You’ll really like this . . . those wives are usually wearing heels. “Unfortunately” I’ve not yet seen one of these overdressed ladies break off a heel, or step into a puddle of oil

I’m not saying I want to see somebody get hurt, but it would be amusing to see somebody ruin their church clothes at the junkyard . . . !

At least it would teach them to wear the appropriate clothing

there is a sign posted, that open toed shoes are not allowed, but it doesn’t mention heels

Strangely enough, smoking in the yard is tolerated. Presumably because it’s outside

I don’t have anything against smoking, by the way

I’m not familiar at all with regulations concerning auto junkyards but I have to wonder if the cost of compliance has something to do with higher prices and many of them shutting down.
There’s only one combination tow and salvage yard in my immediate area left and no one uses them for salvage parts as they always want more for a used part than what a reman cost at the local parts house.

There’s a pull a part yard about 90 miles from me and about 2 or 3 years ago I quit going there because they were getting a bit excessive on their prices in my opinion.
Forty bucks for a used Ford coil? Twenty five for a used brake rotor? Buy a used cylinder head and they charge you extra for an overhead camshaft or if it’s a pushrod motor they charge 2 bucks extra PER rocker arm on that head. I don’t think so.

About a year or so ago LKQ (nationwide and on eBay) came into the area. I noted the original pull a part yard has now revamped their price board and slashed the prices back into a more normal range. A little healthy competition… :slight_smile:

All the great junk yards are gone from my area. My favorite place was a pickup truck junk yard. I could always find the bits and pieces I needed. I went in to get some door hinges and when I went to pay the owner said they were free. He was closing today and retiring. Then he stated that the EPA regulations on hazardous waste disposal and spill mitigation were too costly. He would be fined out of business. Now they just shred them for their metal and that more lucrative.

Then he stated that the EPA regulations on hazardous waste disposal and spill mitigation were too costly. He would be fined out of business.
Funny...the "u-pull-it" where I live has you sign a disclaimer when you enter, that states (in addition to the "if you hurt yourself, don't come crying to us"), that "you agree to comply with all EPA and DEP enviromental regs when disassembling vehicle components, etc..." basically, throwing the burden on to the (small-pocketed) customer, vs. the deeper-pocketed owner. Pretty smart, if it holds water!

Practically, the junkyard is housed on land that had perviously been heavily mined for coal, and it seems it “piggy-backs” on the extant acid-mine-drainage setup that would be there anyways. Again, pretty smart.

The problem with getting TOO reg-happy is that the need for used parts will continue, and crippling levels of red tape will serve only to push the market underground, where there would be ZERO controls on mitigation of eco effects. This bumps the actual environmental harm upward, NOT downward. A government with a modicum of common sense would see that before enacting anything; alas, common sense is anything but common in government!

@WheresRick‌ --Glad you are back. Years ago, the Sunoco station mechanic where I did business could get a better price than I could get. He would call the recycling yard and negotiate a better price than I could get. Usually the charge was about half what I could get. He would have me put on a jacket with the Sunoco insignia on the back and the name Bud on the front. I was Bud. Often, I would pick up other parts the mechanic needed. I would drive out in the station’s service truck. The station, my mechanic friend and the recycling yard are long gone. More recently, in 2003, I swerved to avoid a UPS truck and snapped off the right mirror. On my 2000 Windstar. The dealer price was only $20 more than the price from the recycler. I had called to get the prices.




Yes I am talk about a self service pic a part.

I don’t understand how many of these yards sell any parts since many local parts houses have a rebuilt one for the same or slightly more.

Anyway the days of going to the junk yard and getting a tire on a rim for 10 bucks or a cylinder head for 15 are long gone.

Heck I remember buying brake drums for a mustang I had and I seem to remember that they were something like 3 bucks a piece and the guy let me have them for 5. This was back in 97-98

$20 for a used tire and $12.50 for a brake drum? Those prices don’t really sound bad at all to me. Circa 1988 when I was going to U-pull-it places for parts, tires were typically $10-$15 and rotors or drums were $10. That’s not much in the way of inflation. Maybe it’s a regional thing. Cars were a lot less sophisticated and parts were a lot cheaper in general.

On a positive note, in 2002 I bought a Mistu Galant with a shot transmission. A local yard in CT had a few of these cars on hand. Had only one owner that would also work on cars. He put in a used transmission for me for $800 parts and labor, also let me take some odds and ends of the cars to fix the other ailing parts on my car. One window regulator, a used radio and the AC duct actuator among others. Was a stand up guy and when I went back for another part would still not charge me; he said he had learned a few things about the electronics on these cars from me and was returning the “favor”. Wonder if he is still in business.