If you’ve never been to a salvage yard, visiting one might seem a little intimidating. But if you’re searching for discount auto parts, a salvage yard is the absolute best place to find them. 

Whether you’re planning your first yard visit soon or simply curious about how these businesses work, our team at Ace Auto Parts has all the details you need to know!

What Does a Salvage Yard Do?

Salvage yards purchase used vehicles that are no longer fit to drive. Depending on the vehicle’s condition, the yard might pull out automobile components and sell them as used car parts to consumers. 

Or, they may restore the vehicle to driveable condition and sell the fully intact car, truck, or SUV to a consumer.

Pulling Parts: Does the Yard Do That or Do You?

The part-pulling process varies from yard to yard. In some cases, salvage yards will pull functional and usable used car parts — as well as oil and other fluids — from the vehicles they purchase. In other cases, a yard might remove the vehicle’s fluids and tires before transitioning the remainder to the yard and allowing consumers to pull the parts independently. 

If you’re unfamiliar with pulling parts or lack the tools to complete the job, visiting a salvage that pulls their parts will be in your best interest. These types of yards (Ace Auto Parts is one of them) will have a used car parts inventory, and they can search that inventory for the part you need. 

Yards that operate this way may also have connections with other salvage yards and may be able to acquire parts from those yards if they do not currently have what you need in stock. 

Pulling Parts Yourself: Pros & Cons

Recycled auto parts represent a significant value over new dealer and aftermarket parts, and these parts are often even cheaper when you pull them from a salvage yourself. However, just visiting a salvage yard presents multiple safety hazards. When you also pull the parts yourself, there are more risks to consider. 

With the following steps, you’ll have a safe and successful visit to the parts shop. 

Protect Your Body in a Salvage Yard

A little preparation will ensure a costly ER visit doesn’t offset your auto parts savings. Our team at Ace Auto Parts in St. Paul has put together a list of safety tips for “pull-it-yourselfers,” which are great rules anyone can follow. 

Please consider these things.

Feet: Wear Proper Shoes

Hunting for parts in the thick of summer may have you feeling tempted to wear a comfortable pair of sandals, but you should opt for a pair of sturdy and closed-toed shoes instead. A variety of heavy metal objects can fall on your feet, putting you at risk of injury. To prevent any accidents from occurring, protect your feet with some closed-toe boots.

If you don’t do anything else from this list, please protect your feet! Heavy and sharp objects abound in a salvage yard, and sandals or slip-on shoes simply aren’t enough.

Eyes: Invest in Good Protection 

For shop visitors who prefer to pull parts themselves, be sure to have a form of eye protection. Between loose fluids and falling parts, your eyes are at risk of many forms of damage.

Good eye protection comes cheap, but protecting your eyes is priceless. Use good eye gear, especially when climbing under a car and dealing with hazardous fluids that may be pressurized.

Hands: Find Durable Gloves

Sharp edges are frequent in car parts, so you should arrive at the salvage yards prepared with a durable pair of gloves. Heavy-duty gloves keep you safe while pulling and handling parts at the salvage yard.

Gloves are yet another low-cost item delivering high-value protection. If nothing else, a decent pair of gloves may prevent annoying cuts and scrapes or worse. 

Head: Keep It Covered

For most operations in the junkyard, covering the head sits low on the list of priorities but is still something to consider for heavy line-type work such as transmission or engine removal.

What to Expect When You Visit a Salvage Yard

If you’re heading to a salvage yard to locate used car parts you need for automobile repairs or a vehicle restoration, what you should expect depends on the yard you visit. A yard that pulls its parts will thoroughly evaluate each in-stock part to verify that it’s functional and still has a considerable remaining lifespan. 

If you’re pulling parts independently, you’ll need to evaluate them yourself, so the DIY parts-pulling route is best for someone with significant auto parts knowledge. 

Ideally, you’ll want a warranty on the parts you purchase because, like new auto parts, used car parts sometimes malfunction, regardless of their quality.  

Bring a Friend for Help

Because many car parts are heavy and fragile, you should ask a friend or family member to assist you with your trip to the parts shop. Not only will this make for a smoother search process, but additional help will also lower your chances of experiencing injuries due to bulky and heavy pieces.

More Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Salvage Yard Visit

If you’re planning your first-ever trip to a salvage yard to pick up discount auto parts, you should know a few things to get the most out of your upcoming visit. 

Check out our best tips for finding and acquiring quality used car parts!

Browse the Parts Inventory Online

Years ago, the only way to find out which parts a salvage yard had on their lot was to visit the location and look for them yourself. But those days are long gone. Today, most quality salvage yards maintain an online parts inventory, where you can search for the item you want. 

Even better, many yards allow you to fill out a quote request for parts if they don’t have the component you’re looking for. If they can get their hands on the item, they’ll notify you when it arrives at their location.

While you don’t have to browse the online inventory before you go, if you do, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you get there. 

Don’t Forget Tools

If you have a hammer or mallet, don’t forget to bring it with you! Depending on the used car part you’re searching for, you may need to nudge it loose from the vehicle it’s currently housed in. 

Getting your hands on certain parts may also require using C-clamps or other tools, so if you’re unsure what you need to bring, call the yard and ask before you visit. 

Ask For a Map & Plan Out Your Search

When you arrive at the salvage yard, inform the clerk of the parts you’re looking for. If they have a map that makes scouring the property easier, the clerk can point you in the right direction and highlight any areas you should pay special attention to. 

It may also be helpful to bring along a notebook where you can jot down aisles or even create a crude map to direct you throughout your search. The more organized you are, the less likely you’ll wander aimlessly and accidentally lose track of a part you need.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions or Haggle

When in doubt, ask questions! The salvage yard clerk will be more than happy to direct you toward the used car parts you need, and if they don’t have them, the clerk will let you know that, too. 

In addition to asking part-specific questions, don’t be afraid to ask questions about pricing! Many yards have standard prices, but seeing if you can get a better bargain never hurts!

Take Advantage of the Yard’s Tools

Even if you bring tools, acquiring certain used car parts may require heavy-duty tools you don’t have. For example, if you find an engine or another heavy part you need, toting it throughout the yard won’t be possible on your own. 

Most locations have an A-frame specifically designed to remove heavy, bulky parts, so don’t hesitate to ask yard staff for help. If you’re collecting a lot of smaller, lighter parts, ask if the yard has wheelbarrows for temporary use. 

Take Your Time in the Junkyard

Rushing to complete the job may lead to errors and shortcuts. Too often, this results in wasted time and broken parts. Plan and give yourself plenty of time for the task at hand. 

Except for a few parts, such as exhaust bolts, if you find something difficult to remove and resort to applying extreme force for removal, a strong possibility exists that you have overlooked another screw or component which requires removal first and may be out of view. 

If available, a service manual can help to prevent this situation.

Decide Whether the Salvage Yard Will Install Your New Parts

Successfully purchasing the part you want is one hurdle, but finding a way to install the new part is another important step to complete. If you’re not familiar with how to install your new car part, take the time to find out whether the salvage yard offers additional installation services.

At Ace Auto Parts, we offer installation services for various car parts. From side mirrors to headlights, our technicians can securely install your new part right after you purchase it. To learn more about our installation services, give us a call. 

Know Your Car’s Make & Model 

Certain car parts will only work with particular car makes and models. While you may be able to find the part you need, you should ensure it’s compatible with your car. 

The technicians at Ace Auto Parts can help you understand whether a part works in your car. Contact us today to speak with one of our team members!

Understand the Return Policy

Each salvage yard may have unique return policies for their used car parts. Before jumping on a purchase and accidentally buying a part that doesn’t work with your car, speak with a team member to understand your options with returns.

Looking for Discount Auto Parts in St. Paul?

Take your time, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. While your local salvage yard is filled with used tires, used auto parts, and used cars, it shouldn’t be too hard to navigate. 

Assuming you’re prepared, you can strategize your trip for maximum success. Whether you want to repair your vehicle or sell the parts for money, your yard clerks are your friends. 

Contact the pros at Ace Auto Parts or call us at 651-727-4299 and ask about used part quality standards. If you know what to look for, you’ll be a step ahead!