If you have a GM vehicle and need spare parts an auto salvage is your best bet. You can find GM automobiles on most salvage lots, but there are lots that deal exclusively in GM manufactured vehicles. Below I’ll share my experience with the GM salvage yards near me, tips and tricks, and a few junkyard scams you’ll want to avoid.
Find GM Salvage Yards Near Me – Use the Junkyard Locator
If you want to locate “GM Junk Yards Near Me” or “GM Salvage Yards Near Me”, use the map below to identify the salvos in your area.
According to Ranker, the top 5 GM brands are: 1. Chevy, 2. Pontiac, 2. Cadillac, 4. GMC, and 5.Oldsmobile. You will find these makes and used parts in a GM salvage along with other GM manufactured vehicles like Hummer, Saab, and Saturn. You can find other foreign autos that GM owns like Suzuki and Isuzu, but in my experience gonna find most American made used GM parts.
How Does a GM Salvage Yard Operate
GM junkyards run like any other local business. They have a business model similar to a thrift shop, except here, they take in junked GM autos and sell off the functioning parts. Some places pre-strip the vehicles and sell parts via a warehouse or online, while others are true junkyards where you walk around and pull parts yourself. Many of the yards that you walk around charge a small entrance fee and then charge for the parts you pull.
How Do GM Vehicles Get in the Yard
All yards get their inventory a little differently, but the most common ways are:
- The general public (owner junks the vehicle)
- Insurance companies (company junks vehicle after paying out a total loss claim)
- Auto Auction (salvage buys a “lot” of salvage vehicles for their inventory)
- Junk car buyers (have relationships with junk car buyers who works as a middle man).
How GM Junkyards Process Their Vehicles
When a vehicle hits the salvage, it doesn’t automatically go out for pick and pull. Junkyards need to meet specific environmental requirements for handling hazardous materials. This pertains to draining and recycling fluids such as gas, oil, and anti-freeze. Some of these fluids will actually be containerized and resold.
Another step junkyards take is to pre-strip specific auto parts. Parts that corrode the fastest, like alternators, get taken extracted. Other parts like batteries are taken out as well. This process ensures that the business can make the most profit from the parts by pulling them before they deteriorate further. Some salvages will even pull the motors, rebuild them, and then sell it with a warranty.
How a GM Junk Yard is Arranged
Every auto salvage yard is different. The best yards will take their GM models and break them out into brands and models with the years being mixed. The worst yards will just throw everything out in the lot with no system for finding what you need. Generally though here are the General Motors vehicles you will find, with a much higher and maybebe even exclusive inventory of American manufacturing:
Finding old classic Chevy’s like a 64 Impala or 69 Oldsmobile 442, is totally possible. The question is what condition is it in and how much is left to pick off of it. The good news though is if you go to a specialized salvage that deals exclusively in General Motors, you tend to find higher quality inventory.
To find if your GM salvage has what you need I would advise you to check their website or call. Some yards have an online database and you can look up the vehicles on the lot. More often then not I prefer to call. I do this particularly because I want to ask about the condition. I call and ask questions like “do you have a transmission for a 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, and if so what condition is it in?”
What Kind of Used General Motors Parts Can You Find?
You can find a bit of everything. That includes, motors, doors, mirrors, exhausts, intakes, transmissions, seats, dashboards, alternators, you name it you can find it. So it’s not a matter of what you can find, but can you find the right part for your make and model of GM vehicle.
The upside though is you can find a lot of parts in great condition. I once found an old salvage trans-am that someone started a resto on and left all the parts he replaced. It was like someone had done all the work for me and let me get a bunch of parts at a discount. This kind of stuff is found all the time!
What Happens After a Vehicle Gets Junked?
If you ever wondered what happens to a car after it’s junked, depends on the business. Well managed yards, complete the vehicle recycling process and sell what’s left of a stripped car for scrap metal. This lets them get a little more cash for what remains and makes room on the lot for more vehicles. Yards that aren’t run so well leave the vehicles to rust in the lot.
Buying Used GM Parts at a Salvage Yard
Pros of Buying Used GM Parts at a Salvage Yard
There are five main reasons you should be purchasing used parts at a junkyard:
- Save significant amount of money from buying new pats
- Get OEM parts that were factory assembled
- The ability to get a warranty even on used parts (normally 30 days no cash back)
- Support sustainability and the environment
- Doing a restoration project and there is no other place to get the parts you need.
Cons of Buying Used GM Parts Cheap
Of course with the good there is the bad:
- Quality of parts can vary greatly (very important to inspect and test)
- Yards that have no organization, you could walk all day and never find what you need
Not all auto parts should be pulled from a salvaged vehicle, here is my list of parts that you shouldn’t take.
Tips For Selling Your GM Vehicle to an Auto Salvage
If you are ready to junk a GM vehicle, or any vehicle, there are some basic steps you should complete first:
- Siphon the gas if it’s still good and have it for your own reuse.
- Clear the vehicle of all personal items, check trunk, glove box, consoles, side panels, etc…
- Cancel your insurance, registration, and plates (if you don’t the salvage yard will charge you an admin fee).
- Try and estimate out how much your vehicle is worth.
Scams That Junkyards Play When Purchasing Automobiles
if you are junking a vehicle there are some common scams that some places will try and do. This includes agreeing on a price over the phone, sending a wreck and hooking the vehicle, then renegotiating after the car is hooked. Another scam is saying your automobile is worthless, but offering to take it for free. You can learn about more scams here.
Resources for GM Automobiles
- GM Forums
- General Motors Wiki
- Reddit r/General Motors
- Cadillac Salvage Yards
- Chevy Salvage Yards
- GMC Salvage Yards
- Saturn Salvage Yards
- Buick Salvage Yards
There is also a great article on Car & Driver that discusses Everything You Need to Know About the GM Brand. Really goes into the cars and the history pretty well if you want to learn more about General Motors.
GM Salvage Yards Near Me – Wrap Up
Yards that specialize in GM manufactured vehicles are a gold mine for enthusiasts. Nowhere will you find a better collection of Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Cadillac, and GMC parts and salvage vehicles in one place. That are the ultimate spot for a restoration project, parts car, or to fix your daily GM driver. Your local auto salvage lot will of course have some General Motors vehicles available, but the selection is limited along with the expertise of the staff. That’s what I’ve learned from the GM salvage yards near me.