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Can You Find Race Car Parts From Salvage Yards?

CarPart  ·  December 8, 2020

Can You Find Race Car Parts From Salvage Yards?

Anyone who has ever been to salvage or junkyard knows just how filthy the place can look. Some might say it’s no place to find operational race car parts. Well, I put it to you today that one man’s scrap can be another racer’s treasure!

Quick Clarification: Salvage yards and scrap yards are two distinct entities.

Most people think that both “automotive salvage yards and “scrap yards” mean the same thing. They don’t.

A scrap yard is a place of business which buys strictly leftover scrap metals from vehicles or any other metal object. On the other hand, an automotive salvage yard or junkyard buys wrecked, damaged or junk cars from owners who no longer want them.  

Salvage yards will buy your junk car even if it is still in working condition. They then remove the fully-functioning and well-conditioned parts of the vehicle— metals and non-metals— and put them up for sale. Because they work with a slew of cars, their inventory often houses various parts. You’ll be amazed at what you can get from these salvage yards.

Can you find race car parts from salvage yards?

From the foregoing, “yes” is the obvious answer to this question. That said, there are two types of salvage yards. These are the full service and self-service salvage yards, and it is essential to understand this distinction before visiting any of them.

A self-service yard requires you to drive in with your tools and remove the parts for yourself. That is, you go through the multitude of vehicles available to find the car part you need. In contrast, a full-service yard removes the usable parts from the cars on its arrival to the lot, stores them in warehouses, and offers them for sale. Some full-service yards do allow customers to pull the pieces themselves, allowing their clients to save money.

Are salvage yards worth your time?

No doubt, scooping through a salvage yard for used parts can save you a lot of money. But it’s up to you to determine whether or not it’s worth your time. Here are a few things to think about:

With salvage yards, there’s no guarantee you’ll find the part you’re looking for. Professional mechanics have it easier since they already know who and where to call when searching for a particular part, due to the knowledge they have built over their years in business.

You are just groping in the dark. And it could be a considerable time investment if you're inexperienced with browsing through listings and websites to look for the salvage yards in town. Meanwhile, many yards require that you pay an entry fee and bring your tools for removing the parts.

Remember, the entry fee is non-refundable. So if you have the resources to buy a new replacement part, especially when you don’t have time on your hands or automotive skills under your belt, it might be best to forego this option.

Speaking of listings and websites, a great way to save time is to find salvage yards with an online inventory system that allows you to check which cars and what parts are available on their lot.

How do you find parts at a junkyard?

Before you go to a salvage yard, check to know if they have what you need. You could call them or browse their website to find out this information. Some yards alert you when new vehicles arrive if you sign up for notifications with them.

If you've decided to explore a junkyard for your racecar parts, the following tips will be useful on your adventure.

1. Be ready to act fast.

Remember that you’re not the only one who signed up for notifications. There could be many others who need the same part you’re searching for. Always be prepared to jump when you receive the notification for your part or the damaged vehicle containing the required spare part. First come, first served.

2. Bring the right tools.

I advise that you remove the part from your vehicle, as this will give you an idea as to which tools to take along when going to the salvage yard. The last thing you’d want happening is to finally locate the part only to find out that you didn’t have the tools to remove it with.

3. Study your compatible options.

Since many cars share the same auto parts, do well to study other vehicle options that can offer the same part you need.

4. Go with an experienced person.

In situations where you don't know much about the vehicle and its parts, make sure to bring someone with you who knows what they are doing.

5. Take more than you need.

I recommend that you always take more parts than what you need from a salvage yard. The parts are going to be sold for cheap anyway, so buy any part that you consider might be useful in the future.

How can an online part finder help you?

The platform has connections with various salvage and wrecking yards. When you use the free part finder tool, your request will be sent to over 500 sellers. It’s safe to say that the chances that you wouldn’t get the part you need are pretty slim.

Here’s my bottom line, a salvage yard is only worth your time if the yard is two or three blocks from you, you’re experienced in car repairs, and you have the right set of tools. Otherwise, it’s like looking for a needle in the haystack.

Better yet, you can start taking another route – head over to and request a part! You’ll find just about any race auto parts you want, both new and used.

By Damilare Olasinde

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