Some of the biggest expenses for almost every person are related to their cars. In addition to the huge costs of fuel and insurance, there are also the major expenses related to maintenance and repair of vehicles. These bills can often cost upwards of $1,000.
Many people are taking matters into their own hands and learning how to make repairs to their cars by themselves. Not only does this save the often exorbitant cost of labor that mechanics usually charge, but people are saving on the cost of parts, as well. This is often due to the fact that brand new car parts are not always necessary, and used parts are much less expensive, and just as serviceable as their newer counterparts.
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However, obtaining used car parts often involves a trip to a salvage yard, which can seem a bit daunting to the uninitiated. Many people view salvage yards as mazes of wrecked cars that are presided over by the ubiquitous and ferocious junkyard dog. Todayâ€™s salvage yards are much different than they were several years ago, with savvy car experts in charge who maintain impeccable inventories in an often high-tech environment. These changes make sourcing used car parts easier than ever.
Here are a few tips to help you get started on your search for used car parts, and ways to make removal of those parts a breeze.
Locating the Parts
In the not so distant past, sourcing car parts from a salvage yard was a time consuming process. The DIY mechanic often had to spend hours on the phone with various salvage companies, asking if a certain part was on the premises. In some cases a visit to the yard was necessary, which usually meant an hour or more combing through the yardâ€™s inventory.
Thankfully, things are different today. Most salvage yards have revamped the ways that they do business, and inventories are catalogued and shared on the companiesâ€™ websites. Now, finding the part that you need is as easy as a simple Google search.
When searching for a part itâ€™s wise to keep a few things in mind. Some salvage yards might not list the actual parts that they have available, but they will list the vehicle. For instance, this means that if you need a radiator for a 2000 Jeep Cherokee and the website says that they have the vehicle then you may need to call the yard to be sure that the radiator is still intact.
While most salvage yards keep very good records of their stock and update the information to their websites regularly, some might not be so meticulous. If you donâ€™t find the part of the make and model of car youâ€™re interested in on the site, call them to check. They may have just gotten a specific car and havenâ€™t yet updated the inventory list.
Pulling Your Parts
Once youâ€™ve located the parts that you need itâ€™s time to go and get them. One of the main reasons that salvage yards can keep their prices low is the fact that the customer is generally the one who pulls the part from the car. This isnâ€™t as difficult as it sounds, and with a few tools and a lot of elbow grease the job can be over before you know it.
Before you leave for the salvage yard you should gather your tools. Youâ€™ll want to make sure that you have the right tools for the job, which might mean metric wrenches if youâ€™ll be pulling parts from a Japanese car or truck. Combination wrenches are essential, as is a breaker bar.
Some other great additions to your salvage arsenal include a jack, pliers, vise grips, and several sizes of screwdriver. You may also want to pack gloves, a flashlight, and a solvent such as WD40. A cordless reciprocating saw can also be a lifesaver if youâ€™re faced with frozen bolts. Round out your tool kit with a hammer and a good knife and you should be ready for anything the salvage yard throws your way.
Performing your own car repairs can not only save you a great deal of money, but it can be a lot of fun, as well. Once youâ€™ve mastered the art of navigating the salvage yard business, youâ€™ll be well on your way to harnessing your own inner mechanic.