How to Navigate a Junkyard

Mechanics and car enthusiasts understand that while a junkyard may look like a dump, it’s really a potential gold mine for cheap, quality car parts. If you’re working on a repair, before you head to an auto shop to order an expensive new part, head over to one of the Florida junkyards nearby. Your first trip may be intimidating as you sort through an ocean of scrap metal and used car parts, but if you know what to look for, you can navigate your local junkyard like a pro. Here are a few tips to help you strike gold during your next trip to the junkyard.

Know What You Want

You can save time and energy during your next junkyard visit by deciding beforehand what you’d like to find. If you’re working on a particular project and you need a specific part, call the junkyard ahead of time and ask if they carry it. This is particularly helpful when you’re looking for a part for a rare car model, though the employees may not always know whether they have what you need. Most junkyards carry a general array of parts, but other junkyards specialize in certain auto types, like domestic or Japanese cars. Look on the junkyard’s website or call ahead to find out if the junkyard specializes in the parts you need.

Know Your Way Around

There is order to the madness of a junkyard’s layout, and they’re typically organized logically according to demand. High-demand parts for common models or models that frequently break down are generally located near the front of the lot while rare cars and parts are usually found at the back. Look for a map or ask an employee before you start wandering if you’re looking for a specific part.

Don’t Rush

Since you’re shopping for used parts, you should be sure of the quality of your finds before you purchase them. Rather than jumping at the first matching part you find, take your time to examine and test it. If you find an electrical component, make sure it works using the junkyard’s 12-volt source. If you need to remove the part yourself, look around to ensure the area is safe before you start extracting it, and whenever possible, try not to damage any parts that someone else would want as you remove your own.

Stay Open to Surprises

Most people head to a junkyard looking for specific, generic parts, like lights, body panels, or handles, but stay open to finding unexpected treasures as you search the grounds. Some junkyard connoisseurs find expensive parts to resell online, or they find high-quality speakers and other parts for future projects. Though you may enter the yard with your sights set on a certain part, don’t forget to enjoy the element of discovery while you’re out there.