Getting parts for a foreign auto can be really expensive. This is particularly true for European vehicles, but certainly, OEM parts from other parts of the world are also pricey. This is what makes finding used parts at a foreign auto junkyard ideal. You can get cheap used OEM parts, which outweighs ordering parts new or getting after market parts. Below I will share where to find foreign auto junkyards, discuss how they work, and share my experience with the foreign auto salvage yards near me.

Map of Foreign Auto Salvage Yards Near Me

For “Foreign Auto Salvage Yards Near Me” or “Foreign Auto Junkyards Near Me”, use the map below…

There are salvage yards specifically dedicated to foreign automobiles, where it’s literally only imports on the lot. Of course, you can find plenty of foreign cars and trucks at your typical auto salvage. The advantage though of an import yard though is that there is a bit more exclusivity and a better selection of relevant parts.

How the Foreign Auto Salvage Yards Near Me Work

Foreign Vehicle Salvage Yards play a pivotal role in the automotive industry due to their importance in providing recycled auto parts, used cars, and extensive inventory. The foreign auto salvage yards near me are locally run businesses. They are operated by enthusiasts who love imported vehicles. Most of these salvos charge a few bucks just to walk around. Then they will charge you for the parts that you pull. Some of them do arrange free shipping as well.

The way these salvos operate is on a business model similar to a thrift shop. Except here they buy junked imported vehicles for cheap and then sell off the functioning parts for a profit. These businesses are part of the vehicle recycling industry and actually have a positive impact on the environment.

How the Foreign Auto Salvage Yards Near Me Work

Where do the Junked Autos Come From?…

Import salvos get their foreign vehicles from a few different sources. These sources include the general public, insurance companies, and salvage auctions.

When a private owner junks their car it is often because the cost of repair is more than the vehicle’s worth. Vehicles coming from insurance companies are normally the result of an accident and the insurance company sold the vehicle for scrap to offset paying out a claim. Some vehicles may come from auctions, where a junkyard bids on a “lot” of salvage vehicles and they stock their inventory with them.

Where do the Junked Autos Come From

How a Junkyard Preps a Vehicle for Pick and Pull

All junkyards operate a little differently, but there are some basic prep steps they all have in common. First, the yard will drain the vehicle of fluids. This includes oil, gas, Freon, coolant, and wiper fluid. Fluid-like coolant may get re-bottled and resold. Fluids like oil and gas need to be recycled according to the EPA regulations. Fluids need to be handled this way because if the car were to leak any of these hazardous liquids it could seep into the groundwater supply and impact surrounding communities.

Next, the yard will begin the dismantling process. This involves pre-stripping key auto parts that have more value. This may include parts like the transmission, motor, battery, starter, alternator, etc. Typically they strip parts that sell fast and/or tend to corrode fast when left outside in the elements.

How a Junkyard Preps a Vehicle for Pick and Pull

What Kind of Foreign Auto Parts Can You Find?

You can search and find all types of parts for foreign cars at these lots. You can get doors, hoods, fenders, transmissions, tires, rims, motors, turbos, exhausts, intakes, and even aftermarket parts like carbon fiber spoilers. Even better you can expect to save up to 60% to 75% versus buying new.

How Foreign Vehicle Salvage Yards are Structured

The foreign auto salvage yards near me, have some structure. They are arranged in the lot by manufacturer and then loosely arranged by vehicle model. So for example, if you go to the BMW section, there will be an arrangement of mostly 3 series models together or M series together. Then you have a BMW truck section.

You can find most foreign automobiles at these yards. That includes Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, Honda, VW, Toyota, Kia, Jaguar, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Land Rover, Fiat, etc. If the imports sell over here in the States you can find them at a foreign auto salvage. My point here is that we aren’t going to find a Citroen or Renault. Also, you won’t find much in the way of exotics at these yards either, so don’t expect to find Ferrari parts.

If a junkyard is well managed it likely has a searchable online database of its inventory, making it a top priority for the customers. This means you can see if they have what you need before you get there. Even if they don’t have the used auto parts inventory online, you may be able to call and ask what they have. These folks tend to know everything in the lot, what condition it is in, and where it is placed. I like to call and ask questions like: “Do you have a 2012 Nissan Sentra, what condition is the passenger side in, and is the front door in good shape”?

Foreign Auto Salvage Yards Near Me

Selling Your Foreign Car or Truck to a  Junkyard

If you think you are ready to junk a vehicle, you should consider the following first:

  1. Can the vehicle be repaired?
  2. If you can repair it or even just get it running, what is the cost?
  3. What is the value both with the repairs and without the repairs?

The reason you should think through this is that selling an auto to a junkyard doesn’t always net you much cash. They will offer you the lowest value based on your car’s worth in scrap metal weight. Now if your vehicle still has valuable parts attached and it runs, you may be able to negotiate a higher payout. Also if you can get it running you may want to try and sell it independently first which will get you more money.

If you decide to junk your car, here are a few things you need to do…

Selling Your Foreign Car or Truck to a Junkyard

Prepping Your Import Vehicle For Junking

  • Remove your personal belongings.
  • Return the license plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Cancel your state registration and insurance policy (if the junkyard has to do this, they will charge you).
  • Wipe your navigation system for any personal information (your address and phone numbers).
  • Siphon out the gas so you can reuse it.
  • Find the title. You will need to sign it over.
  • Estimate the value of the vehicle, and call around to places for the best offer.

When you sell your junked auto be prepared to negotiate. You may not only need to negotiate for the great price but also the transportation of the vehicle if you need a tow service.

Used Foreign Automobile Parts in Scrap Yards

The Advantage of Used Parts for Foreign Autos

Saving money on used parts is the primary driver for visiting a salvage yard. You can find parts like batteries for $15 or less, Starters for $30 or less, Tires for $25 or less, and even an engine for $350 for a small car like a Corolla.

The other thing I love about these places is that a majority of what you find are OEM parts. 99% of everything in the yard will be manufacturer-installed and assembled. This beats having to get aftermarket parts which sometimes don’t have the right fit.

Used Foreign Automobile Parts in Scrap Yards

Disadvantages of Buying Spare Foreign Auto Parts from the Junkyard

Of course, the downside to salvage parts is the concern of quality. These vehicles were junked for a reason and now they have been sitting out exposed to the elements in the salvo. Before you remove parts you need to thoroughly inspect them, You should thoroughly inspect them again after they are removed and before you pay. When in doubt ask if they have a warranty program that allows you to exchange a part or get credit if the parts you purchased don’t work.

Foreign Auto Salvage Yards Near Me Conclusion

Foreign auto salvages are great places to save money on replacement parts. In my experience, you tend to get great customer service at these businesses and they will even point you to another place if they don’t have the parts you need. While you don’t need an import salvage to find foreign autos, you can go to a general auto salvo, the part selection at these places tends to be more exclusive. That’s my experience from the foreign auto salvage yards near me.


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.