The junkyard is not aptly named. There’s tons of useful stuff there. It's not all junk, especially when it comes to cars. Junkyards are some of the best places to find inexpensive parts for your car. Second-hand parts aren’t the best thing in the world to put on your car and certain things like tires you should always buy new, but if you're strapped for cash and you have the know-how, stopping off at the local junkyard can save you some serious money.

Going to the Junk Yard Is Smart If You Know What You’re Doing

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The junkyard can be an excellent place to get car parts of all kinds for extremely low prices whenever you need them, but you kind of have to know what you’re doing. Don’t just show up at the junkyard with a messed up car expecting the good people who work there to be able to tell you exactly what you need. Before you go, know what part you’re looking for.

Junkyards aren’t all the same. Some full-service junkyards will have the parts on shelves or in warehouses and you can simply let the people working there know what you need and they’ll pull it off the shelf for you. Other places, you’ll simply pay an entry fee and then you have to go get the car part yourself and remove it from the vehicle in the junkyard, pay for said part, and then put it on your own car. This is the way most junkyards are going now, the self-serve route (there's little overhead cost for the junkyard), so you need your own tools and know-how to get the job done.

You Have to Be Willing to Do the Work Yourself

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The junkyard isn’t for people who’re not mechanically inclined. It’s a goldmine for someone who is willing to do a little work themselves, but if you’re a hands-off car owner when it comes to maintenance, you’re better off taking it to a qualified mechanic and letting them handle it.

You can always get the part from the junkyard and then take it to a mechanic and have them install it. However, much of the mechanic’s fee is in labor so you probably won’t save that much money by doing it. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty, the junkyard can be your best friend.

In most cases, you’ll have to remove the part yourself, pay for it, and then install it on your own car. This requires two things: tools and knowledge. Many replacement tasks are simple if you have the right tools. You should be able to find a tutorial video online or a detailed how-to guide that will walk you through the steps. However, not every job is easy.

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The internet is a great resource for information. Use it. A simple Google search can show you whether a maintenance job is worth doing yourself or if you should just bite the bullet and pay a certified mechanic. If you have to buy a lot of tools to get the job done, you should probably just take your car to a garage. Between the cost of the part and the tools, you’re going to be in quite a lot of money and at that point, you might as well let a pro handle it.

Still, if the job seems to be straightforward and easy, load up the necessary tools in your car and head to the nearest junkyard to get that part you need. Then get home and get it done. Then you can pat yourself on the back, sit back, and relax knowing that you just saved a boatload by taking the frugal route and shopping at your local junkyard.