Looking to perform DIY vehicle repairs on the cheap? Perhaps you’re restoring a vintage automobile? Then you should know a salvage yard can offer you a plethora of used car parts at a serious discount. But to find the highest-quality (and longest-lasting) used car parts in the yard, there are a few things you should know.

Here are some of our top tips on locating the best affordable used auto parts at a reputable salvage yard.

Look for a Parts Search Tool

Most reputable salvage yards have websites these days. Those websites often contain search tools that encompass a yard’s entire inventory. If you don’t want to waste your time at the yard looking for a part that might not be there, see if the salvage yard offers an online search functionality you can use.

Simply Google the yard you’re looking for, look around for an inventory search on the website (Ace Auto Parts has this!), and input the vehicle model and part you’re hunting for. If the yard has it, it should display on the website.

Next, give the salvage yard a call to see if they’ll hold the part for you, and if they will, you can simply head there and pick it up from the service desk.

Seek Out Interchangeable Parts

If you’re familiar with automobile manufacturers, then you’ll know many vehicle models can function perfectly with auto parts that come out of a totally different vehicle. For example, Toyota manufactures both Toyota-branded vehicles and Lexus-branded vehicles, and in many cases, those parts are interchangeable.

Of course, not all of the parts manufactured by the same auto group will be interchangeable, so you’ll have to do a little research to find out if your part might have substitutions. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to ask one of the yard’s employees for advice.

Like a standard auto parts shop, a salvage yard may have access to info concerning which parts can be substituted between vehicles.

Do Your Research

Nowadays, you can find a plethora of information online about the types of parts you can use for your vehicle. You can look in auto repair and enthusiast forums, watch videos from auto repair experts, and even ask questions directly on various paid platforms.

So if you’re unsure which parts you really need or whether your vehicle has interchangeable parts, take some time to do your due diligence before you begin your on-site search at the yard. If you go to a reputable yard (like Ace Auto Parts in St. Paul), the staff should also be more than willing to assist you in your search — don’t hesitate to seek them out and ask for assistance! 

Ask for Help

If you’re curious about visiting a salvage yard to get discount auto parts, don’t automatically assume you need to know everything about your vehicle’s components! Salvage yard employees are very knowledgeable about what they have in stock and where those parts are located on the premises.

If you’re interested in a particular vehicle component and you’re not sure where to find it or whether it can be substituted for something else, don’t hesitate to ask. The yard’s staff is a valuable resource, so take advantage of their knowledge!

Bring a Stocked Toolbox

If you’re planning to pull parts from any vehicles (some yards will have you do this, while others pull them for you), don’t forget your toolbox. Tools may not be available in the yard, and even if you have access to a few tools, they may not be the ones you need.

Before you travel to a salvage yard, remove the faulty part(s) from your vehicle, and take note of which tools you used to get the job done.

Then be sure to bring those tools with you on your parts run, so you can quickly and easily remove those part(s) from the same type of vehicle you have.

Familiarize Yourself With the Warranty Policy

Not all salvage yards offer warranties on their parts, but if you find one that does (Ace Auto Parts offers limited warranties on all of our parts) go there first. And make sure you understand the warranty details clearly. Call ahead or check the yard’s website before you go, so you know what to expect.

If the part you purchased malfunctions within the stated warranty period, you can have it replaced. However, you’ll have to bring back the part you purchased to take advantage of the warranty if the component is one of several parts that have a core price.

What’s the core price? It’s a sort of “deposit” that you must make on the component of the part that can be remanufactured for future sale.

That deposit is essentially a way of encouraging you to bring the faulty part back to the yard, so it can be recycled properly. 

Looking for Used Auto Parts in St. Paul or Minneapolis? Stop By Ace Auto Parts

If you’re in the market for used or discount auto parts, look no further than Ace Auto Parts in St. Paul! For more than 100 years, we’ve stocked an extensive variety of used car parts, and even if we don’t have the part you’re looking for, we can order it to our location.

Feel free to use our web-based parts search tool or parts search app to locate the item you need, or stop by our St. Paul location in person.

You can also message us with any questions or concerns, and we’ll be in touch.