Wrecking yards are typically the most cost-effective option for keeping late-model vehicles on the road. Junkyard visitors are often searching for parts off of common cars, but the local wrecker is also a treasure trove for owners of rare or unusual vehicles.
While you may not be able to find a Ferrari on the lot, the variety and scale of cars available are often staggering. If your late model daily driver is less common than most, then the junkyard may be the perfect place to find the parts you need to keep it running.
Finding what you need on the lot can take some skill and experience, however. This guide will ensure that you come armed with the knowledge you need for a successful trip.
Start With Communication and Respect
When you’re looking for unusual parts for a unique car, relationships with suppliers begin to take center stage. Discuss your specific needs with the lot employees. The workers at a junkyard will be familiar with the vehicles on their lot, and they can help to direct you to where you are most likely to find the right parts.
Never ignore the importance of building a solid rapport, especially if you intend to return in the future to scavenge more parts.
Respect is an equally essential part of this relationship. Learn the rules of the junkyard on your first visit and be sure to abide by them. Are you allowed to cut wires or hoses? What level of modification is acceptable when removing parts? Always err on the side of caution and do as little damage as possible when pulling parts.
Know Your Car’s Platform
Your particular vehicle may be a rare model with highly sought-after options, but it’s likely to be one of many cars built on the same platform. For example, Ford’s C1 platform encompasses cars across four separate brands. Platform mates typically share a variety of parts.
While your car’s engine or transmission might be rare, it may share interior components or other parts with many other models. The more you know about your car’s platform, the easier it will be to find what you need.
Before you visit the junkyard for the first time, carefully research these details. Determine which (if any) components your car shares with other vehicles on its platform. This is another area where building a relationship with the yard can be helpful. Knowledgeable employees can often help you to find vehicles that may be suitable for your needs, even if they are not an exact match.
Build a Customized Toolbox
You’ll need a few essential tools when visiting a junkyard: sockets, a mallet, pliers, and a good pair of cutters. These tools will get you through most visits, but they aren’t always enough for the truly unusual vehicles.
If you’ve spent much time working on your car, then you know the tools that are essential for most jobs. Whether it’s a 7mm socket or an oddly sized Torx bit, building a toolbox focused on your car will save you significant time and effort.
You should also consider removing unnecessary tools. Junkyards can be crowded and chaotic places, so taking more than you need will only slow you down and make your work that much more frustrating.
Consider Buying in Bulk
When you’re trying to keep an uncommon car going for a few more miles, finding a great parts donor car can be like striking gold. Keep a list of common failures on your vehicle or parts that you expect to replace soon.
When you stumble on a suitable donor car on the lot, don’t hesitate to buy more than you need. You might only need an alternator, but having an extra water pump on hand never hurts. Keep a nice-to-have list and try to check off a few more items on every visit.
It’s not always easy to keep something unique in running condition, but a good junkyard can help to ensure that you’re never missing out on essential parts. City Auto Wreckers has the parts you need, so stop by today.