Essential Tips For First-Time Salvage Pickers

There are plenty of reasons to consider buying salvage auto parts from your local pick and pull junkyard. Whether you want to save money, find components for an uncommon vehicle, or just enjoy a day out, pulling your own used parts can be an excellent option. Unfortunately, the process might seem intimidating if you've never taken this approach before.

However, that doesn't mean you need to despair if you're a junkyard neophyte. Instead, check out these four essential tips for first-time salvage pickers.

1. Bring a Cheap Toolkit

When working in a junkyard, it's good to bring along some cheap tools. You'll be pulling parts from cars in various states of disrepair, and many may have endured exposure to the elements for months or years. You're likely to encounter many rusty and stuck-on bolts, which means you may be using your tools in some pretty forceful and unorthodox ways.

A cheap toolkit will allow you to wrench on donor cars with abandon and not worry about breaking your more expensive tools. This small investment can also pay off for a long time if you plan to start making multiple trips to the junkyard.

2. Read the Manual

Making the most of a day of salvaging parts means getting those components as quickly and efficiently as you can. You don't want to waste time figuring out how to access an alternator or remove part of a dash assembly. If you aren't an expert gearhead, consider picking up a maintenance manual for your car to have disassembly instructions on hand when you need them.

3. Know Your Stuff

Don't know your alternators from your water pumps? You'll probably want to learn before your first visit. Going into a scrapyard blind can be frustrating, and you can easily waste time pulling parts you don't need or disassembling more than necessary. If you're looking for a specific part, learn as much as possible before you arrive.

One good tip is to jot down some part numbers or, even better, bring your old part along for the ride. In the latter case, you can compare the component you pull to the one you're replacing to confirm how it'll fit.

4. Be Respectful

Scrapyards might be full of junk cars, but remember that these vehicles still have value for their parts and scrap. After all, that's why you're there! Treat donor vehicles with respect and avoid causing additional damage whenever possible. Treading lightly will keep you on good terms with the scrapyard owner and help preserve these cars for future parts pullers. Contact a local salvage auto parts service, such as Trusty Pick-A-Part, to learn more.