In a perfect world, your car would never break, and if it did, magic fairies would fly into your car with a stack of fresh parts and fix it for you. But the world isn’t perfect. Your car will break, and if you want to a) save money and b) be awesome, you’ll fix it yourself.
So you’ll need to beg, borrow, steal or buy parts somehow. You could go to the dealership or an auto parts store — and there are a lot of parts that you’ll want to get there. But maybe they’re too pricey or don’t have the part you need. If so, it’s time to go to the junkyard.
It’s best to have a plan when you’re on the lookout for used parts, so you’ll need to figure out what you need, where best to get it, and who has it. There are definitely things you don’t want to get at the junkyard: timing belts/chains, accessory belts, hoses, filters (unless they happen to be brand new … you can score from time to time if someone’s car was sent to the boneyard right after a tuneup), ignition tuneup parts, etc. But there are a ton of parts that are great to get from a salvage yard:
- body parts
- glass and mirrors
- trim and interior parts
- durable suspension parts, such as springs, control arms, and axles
- engines and transmissions, in some cases
- intact door and window rubber
- screws, weird fasteners, blade fuses
- cool emblems (hey, why not?)