Car junk yards are a great place to get used auto parts cheap. Usually, for around $1 or $2 you can walk around the auto salvage yards with your tools and pull parts out of cars. You of course will pay for what used auto parts you remove, but the prices will be well below retail and often even cheaper than what you can find on eBay and Craigslist. In this article, I will help you find auto salvage yards and I will share my experience with the car junkyards near me.

Map of Car Junk Yards Near Me

For “Car Junk Yards Near Me” or ” Car Salvage Yards Near Me”, see the map below…

The Google Map below displays all of the auto junk yards, auto salvage yards, and auto scrap yards in your local area. They may go by many different names such as Pick-n-Pull’s, Pick-A-Part, and U-Pull-&-Pay, as well as many other names.

How Do the Car Junk Yards Near Me Operate

A lot of car salvage yards operate on a local level, but there are some large chains. In my experience, larger chains like Pick-N-Pull are a bit more organized and have a better-defined process for finding used auto parts. The car junk yards near me, buy used autos from both people and from insurance companies after a vehicle has been in an accident.

At the car junk yards near me, when you first arrive you pay a $1 admittance fee and sign a waiver before you can walk the yard. Then there is a person who checks your tools and tool bag. They are just trying to account for what you are bringing in so that they can verify what you are taking out. If you have any car parts in your bag or you plan on carrying they will need to mark it so they can ensure you brought it in with you.

Pro Tip:  Most car junkyards won’t let you bring in torches or jacks! 

Pro Tip: If you have heavy equipment like a Sawzall or a heavy toolbox, you may be able to ask for a wheel barrel for your stuff. This is also helpful if you pull anything large like an engine or a car door.

After you are checked in you may want to see if there is a map to navigate the car junk yard. Many places have a posted map you can reference so you can find the section you need such as a truck section or an imports section. Some yards, but not all, have crushed concrete to walk on which prevents mud build up to make walking around after it rains a bit easier.

Here is an example of the yard structure at the car junk yard near me:

Car Junk Yards Near Me

Once you know where you are going, you can wander around and go and pull some used auto parts that you need.

Pro Tip: It’s helpful to look at the parts price board before you go out to the yard to help keep you within your budget

It’s also worth noting in terms of making a plan to go, most junkyards are closed on the weekends. Some in more populated areas offer limited hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

Advantages of Car Junk Yards: A Treasure Trove for Automotive Enthusiasts

Car junk yards offer a myriad of advantages to those searching for automotive solutions. Whether you’re in need of parts for your vehicle, looking to sell your junk cars, or seeking budget-friendly used cars and trucks, these locations can be a goldmine of opportunities for all other models.

Car junk yards also provide great prices on both used and new parts, allowing car enthusiasts and mechanics to save money while keeping their vehicles running smoothly. Additionally, customers can typically get a free quote for their junk cars, streamlining the selling process.

So, if you’re on the lookout for automotive bargains or considering selling a vehicle, a visit to a local car junk yard can be an excellent decision, considering their diverse inventory, convenient location, and competitive sales options.

How to Scavenge at a Car Junk Yard for Used Parts

It’s easy to go crazy and start pulling all types of parts at the auto salvo and it’s best to go in with a plan. You should limit the used parts you pull to only what you can use otherwise you will end up with a garage full of junk. While you are scavenging around you may notice newer parts on cars. People often take their cars to the junk yard when their car no longer functions. Sometimes they throw a bunch of parts at it and when it still doesn’t run, they scrap it. This means you might find some barely used auto parts in your scavenging.

Pretty much anything on a car is fair game, but there are a few things you may want to shy away from pulling.

How to Scavenge at a Car Junk Yard for Used Parts

What Salvage Parts Not to Pull

  • Filters
  • Spark plugs
  • Wires and wiring harness
  • Hoses on any cars more than a few years old

These are not hard and fast rules, but I pretty much wouldn’t pull anything that wears out. Here is a list of parts I would never pull.

Pro Tip: Look for green on parts. Green is the color of copper oxide, which means there is some corrosion. If the part has A LOT of green on it, don’t pull it and keep looking.

How to Pick and Pull Used Car Parts Like a Pro

The best thing to do is to pull your part first at home and set aside the tools you are using. This will keep your tool bag lightweight and keep your mission-focused.

For example, if you need an alternator, pull it out of your current car first and put all the tools you used on the side. Then bring those tools to the auto salvage yard to pull the same alternator if a junk car. The other advantage you get here is that if you break something while you pulling it out of your car, you can also grab that part at the junkyard.

For our best tips on how to pull like a pro, read this.

Buying Used Car Parts & Getting a Warranty

When it’s time to check out they will ring you up for all the parts you have. At the car junk yards near me, they take cash and credit but don’t offer cash refunds on returns. They will also ask you if you want any warranties on the parts. You have to tell them specifically which parts you want a warranty on.

Pro Tip: Get a warranty on any complex parts. This will allow you to exchange them if they don’t work. At the auto salvage yards near me, a warranty is $6 per part.

Pricing at Every Auto Salvage Yard is Different

At most auto yards everything is the same price by part. In other words, an alternator on a Jaguar is the same price as the alternator on a Ford. Most Junk yards have a price board you can look at.

Here are some of the prices at my local car junkyard:

  • Pricing Battery $14
  • Engines $139.15 and up
  • Tires $12.50
  • Alternators $18.40
  • Starters $18.40
  • Transmissions $87.40

As you can see above there is so much money you can save. For example an $18 alternator, with a $6 warranty you could save you about $150 from purchasing a brand new one.

What to Bring to Car Junk Yards…

While some people like to just go and walk around the yard, most of us are there to save money and pull parts. Here are a few essentials you may want to consider carrying with you:

  • Lightweight tool bag with only essential tools
  • Water
  • Rags
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Sunscreen

How Do The Car Junk Yards Near Me Process Their Inventory?

These yards are more like auto recycling facilities than junk yards. They fully process the car down to recyclable materials. Here is how the auto junkyard near me processes their new vehicles when they come in…

First They Drain The Fluids

First, they take the vehicle into a shop or warehouse and drain all of the fluids out of it like power steering fluid, windshield wiper solvent, trans fluid, gas, antifreeze, and oil. These liquids get drained into huge holding tanks. Liquids like antifreeze get bottled for resale, gas gets reused, and oil gets sold to a recycler. Some places at this point remove other parts for resale such as the battery,

Then The Autos Are Sent to The Yard

After all the liquids have been drained the vehicle is sent out to the car junk yard. Most auto salvages send the vehicle to a designated area based on what type of vehicle it is and put the hoods up. By keeping like vehicles in the same area it helps people be more efficient when they are walking the yard to pull used auto parts.

Car Salvage Yards Near ME

After a Few Months, The Cars Are Crushed

At the car salvage yard near me, the vehicles only go out on the lot for 2 to 3 months. Sometimes they stay out longer if there are still a lot of valuable parts on them. Once they determine they have gotten the most value out of the wrecked car they get crushed down in a car crusher. The car crusher applies about 2400 PSI and can squish a car down to about 18 inches from top to bottom. Once the car is crushed it gets loaded on a truck and taken to a shredder. After it is shredded to pieces it gets separated into like materials and sold off to recycling and scrap metal facilities.

This process allows them to continue to make room for new inventory. Every car junkyard is different though some leave the cars out in the yard to rust.

Car Junk Yards Near Me – Wrap-Up

By taking advantage of pulling used parts at your local car salvage yard you can save $1000’s of dollars. It’s important to go in with a plan and purchase guarantees for parts that you are not sure of their functionality.  Try and keep your tool bag light and wear the appropriate clothes and safety equipment when you are pulling parts.

All auto junkyards operate and process cars a bit differently, have different used parts pricing, and have different ways of organizing their inventory. Above is how the car junkyards near me operate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Salvage Yards Pay For Cars?

Prices vary based on the daily scrap metal market prices. On average you can expect between $250 and $500 for a junked car. The vehicle’s weight, condition, years, and damage will determine the prices. Read this to estimate your vehicle value.

How Does a Salvage Yard Work?

Salvage yards purchase junked vehicles and then sell the parts that still function. Cars end up at a salvage yard from various sources such as private owner’s auctions, and insurance companies. When a vehicle enters the lot, they drain the fluids and pre-strip certain parts for sale. Then the car goes out to the lot for pick and pull.

Do Scrap Metal Yards Buy Cars?

Scrap metal yards do purchase junked cars. The value is determined by the weight of the vehicle and the current rate for scrap metal. While scrap metal yards are one of the easiest ways to junk a car, there are higher-paying alternatives.

How Can I Sell My Old Car Parts?

Two of the most popular websites for selling used car parts are Craigslist and Ebay. The advantage of selling on those sites is you deal with the consumer directly. This eliminates the middle and allows you to make more money. When you sell used parts to a salvage yard, they will make a minimal offer because they need to mark it up to make a profit.

What Should I Bring to the Car Junkyards Near Me?

Having the right tools on hand is key for a successful salvage yard trip. Here is a list of common tools you should have in your tool bag for a junkyard trip:

  • Impact Driver
  • Sawsall
  • Wrenches
  • Ratchets
  • Sockets SAE and Metric (depending on vehicle origin)
  • Extensions
  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers
  • Penetrating fluid
  • Breaker bar
  • Gloves
  • Small portable battery for testing


James is an avid junkyarder and mechanic. He has visited Junkyards in every US state and has restored over 30 makes and models of vehicles. He has several automotive and recycling related blogs that generate over 150K views a month.