Your local auto wreckers is a treasure trove of vehicle parts for both the casual fix-it person and the dedicated restorer. But before you head out to the salvage yard, make your trip successful by taking these five things with you.
1. Pictures and a Manual
Document exactly what you need for your project. Photos should probably include multiple angles of the old part you’re replacing, the ways it fits into the engine or dash, connections around it, and any subsequent parts that rely on the right fit from it.
If you have a manual for your project vehicle, bring it with you. Knowing as much as possible about what you need to look for will make your trip short and efficient, especially if you can find similar models that will do the job. Since many wreckers don’t offer refunds, this is key to saving money.
2. A Toolbox
Most salvage yards provide a few large equipment aids to help you pull items and haul them to the cashier and to your vehicle. But you’ll likely need to provide the small tools needed to get parts out and disconnected. And for the most part, you’ll need to work with small tools that the yard’s owner won’t consider dangerous.
Keep your salvage toolbox light since you may trek around the yard a bit. In your tool kit, include combination wrenches of various types, vice grips, pliers, needle-nose pliers, snips, diagonal cutters, a pry bar, sockets, different sizes of screwdrivers, and a good utility knife. You may need additional specialty tools, but those will depend on what you plan to salvage.
3. Pulling Clothes and Accessories
Pulling from a junkyard is tremendous fun, but this can be hard on your clothing. Come prepared to get down and dirty. Wear protective and sturdy clothing since you’ll be around potentially dangerous metals and mechanical parts. But keep the clothing light and comfortable. Wear sturdy shoes — preferably steel-toed boots — and good mechanics’ gloves to protect your hands.
Remember that you’ll also probably be out in the sun all day, so wear bug spray and sunblock to prevent burns and bites. Stay hydrated, particularly when working to get your parts out of any junked vehicles. And don’t forget the snacks if you expect to spend some time finding the right pieces.
4. A Mat
Many of the cars at the yard will be up on blocks to help you get at their parts. But you’ll also do yourself a favor if you bring knee pads and a mat to lie on. Wrecking yards aren’t usually designed for comfort. So provide yourself some comfort on your own for a more enjoyable trip.
5. A Plan
Two kinds of trips to a wrecking yard typically happen.
The first is a trip for a specific part. Wrenching trips are usually best done with a singular focus such as because a car doesn’t work or you’re taking time out of your repair project to find what you need to continue. Don’t get sidetracked if you don’t really have the time and budget. For this trip, consult the yard’s inventory and discuss with the staff how to find the best bets for your specific needs.
The second kind of trip is one where you just browse without a pressing need. This is a great way to pass an afternoon, so plan to wander around and look for things that might strike your fancy. A browsing trip doesn’t mean you go with no plan, though. Creating a general game plan will help you spend more time finding useful parts and less time wandering around lost.
As you prepare for your trip to the wrecker, check out the inventory at City Auto Wreckers. We offer a large variety of cars and parts, so you’re sure to find exactly what you need no matter what your make and model. Stop by today to learn more.