If you own any imported vehicle and are looking for inexpensive parts for it, then an import salvage yard is your best option. These yards buy wrecked or junked imports and then sell the vehicle for used parts. These business are often refereed to as auto salvos, junkyards, scrap yards, and graveyards. Even if you don’t have an import salvage yard near you, any automobile junkyard will have its fair share of imported vehicles on the lot. In this article I will share my experience with the Import salvage yards near me and provide guidance on buying used parts and negotiating the price for your used vehicle.

Map of Import Junk Yards Near Me

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


If you see a limited result set, you can try a search for “used Import parts near me” or “used foreign car parts near me” on Google Maps. Even if there isn’t an exclusive import junkyard near you, a standard auto junkyard may still meet your needs. A standard auto junkyard will likely have a huge section dedicated to imported vehicles including cars, trucks, and vans. You can also find some salvo yards specific to European auto imports.

Operations of Import Junk Yards

The foreign car salvage yards near me operate on a local level. Meaning this are like mom and pop businesses and not big box brand junk yards. They do adhere to some government regulations for both business and environmental protection. Most places operate on both sides of the business as both a seller of good (used vehicle parts) and a buyer of goods (junked vehicles).


An import scrap yard will get its vehicles primarily via two sources: from the public and from insurance companies. When a vehicle comes in from the public its often because the owner tried to fix it and couldn’t or the cost of repair is more than the value. Vehicles received from an insurance company are because it was in an accident and the insurance co is junking the vehicle to offset the payout of a claim.


When a vehicle comes into the lot it will be processed through some basic maintenance steps. This includes draining fluids like gas and antifreeze to be containerized and resold and oil recycled. Some import salvos will remove the motor and send it away to be rebuilt and resold with a warranty. Most yards, like the foreign car salvage yards near me, at this point put the vehicle out in the lot. There are a few places that actually take the vehicles apart and inventory all the used parts into a warehouse.


The types of parts you will find in a junkyard is endless. I have picked and pulled doors, mirrors, panels, dashboards, carbs, batteries, tires, rims, exhaust systems, etc. These parts can be bought for heavily discounted prices. You can get an alternator for about $18, a battery for $12, and a door for $60.


Once a vehicle has been picked down to the frame, what remains will be sold to a scrap metal plant. This serves two functions for the auto salvo. First it creates room on the lot for more automobiles and second the junkyard can squeeze the last bit of value out of whats left after people have picked the vehicle apart.

How Import Vehicle Salvage Yards are Structured

import car salvage yards


Manufacturer, model and year is the ideal layout, but most import junkyards aren’t quite that organized. The import salvage yards near me are only arranged by manufacturer, so you have specific sections dedicated to BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, Honda, Audi, Volkswagon, Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, Kia, Hyundai, Fiat, etc.


The best import junkyards will have an online searchable database that allows you to search by manufacturer, model and year. This way you can do research before you visit the yard. A little bit of research upfront will save you time from walking around a salvo that doesn’t have the vehicle and parts you need. If your auto junk yard doesn’t have an online database alternatively you can call ahead and ask if they have what you need on the lot. For example you can call and ask questions like: “Do you have a 2015 Nissan 270Z, what condition is it in, and does it still have the rear fender attached”?

Selling Your Foreign Car or Truck to Salvage Yards

If you are ready to junk your imported vehicle, you may want to explore all your options before you junk it. You should think through the following:

  1. Is your car, truck or van able to be repaired?
  2. If you can repair the vehicle, what is the total cost of repairs?
  3. What is the value of the vehicle, with the repairs and without the repairs?

The questions above should help you determine if you are ready to junk your vehicle. There is no right or wrong answer, its just a matter of what its worth to you or how much of a burden you feel the vehicle is. Your options are essentially fix it and keep it, fix it and sell it yourself, fix it and sell it to a salvage yard, or don’t fix it and sell it to salvage yard.

Prepping Your Import Vehicle For Junking

If you decide that junking your import is your best option, perform the following :

  • Remove all of your personal belongings
  • Return the license plates yourself to the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Cancel your state registration and insurance policy
  • Wipe your navigation system of any personal information (your address and phone numbers)
  • Siphon out the gas and keep it for yourself
  • Find your title because you will need it to sell your vehicle
  • Look up the value of your import vehicle Kelly Blue Book

When you are ready to junk the vehicle you must be prepared to negotiate in good faith. Its important to be transparent about the issues with it and what the condition is. The more honest you are the smoother the negotiation will go. I recently negotiated a sale of a 97 Honda Civic and the yard asked me to give them multiple pictures of the car with a newspaper date in the picture to prove authenticity. to learn how to properly estimate the value, read this.

Tricks and Scams By Foreign Car Junkyards

Not all import salvage yards near me negotiate in good faith. Some of them try a few underhanded tactics when it comes to the purchasing process. Here are some of the tricks that occur…


Delayed Payment: This is when the wrecker shows up to pick up your vehicle and the tow driver says they won’t pay you until the vehicle reaches the junk yard. What they will do is take your car or truck back to the salvo and inspect it. Then they will renegotiate the price you agreed to. Never let them take your auto until you have your money. Don’t sign over the title either. You have the most leverage when you negotiate when the vehicle is still in your possession.


Wrecker Costs: This is when the junk yard does a hidden fee tactic. You negotiate the price for the car or truck and they don’t tell you that there is a charge for the tow. The tow truck driver will show up and give you the negotiated price minus the cost for the tow. Often they will not state this up front when you negotiate over the phone. This tactic is most commonly used when your vehicle is inoperable and you don’t have the option to drive it to the scrap yard.


Value is Zero:This is a strong arm tactic used to low ball you in negotiations. The salvage yard will tell you that your vehicle has zero value, but they will pick it from you and take it away as a favor. Remember they are going to sell it for parts and scrap metal…it has value to them. If they tell you that your imported car or truck is worthless, call another junkyard.


Administration Dues: This is when you get a bill in the mail after the final sale has occurred. They send you an invoice for returning your plates and canceling your registration. If you don’t pay the invoice, they report you to a collection agency. The best way to mitigate this risk is to perform all these admin tasks on your own.


For other negotiating tricks and scams read more here.

Used Automobile Parts in Scrap Yards

Cheap Import car parts

The Advantage of Used Parts at Import Salvage Yards

An import salvage yard will be the best place to save money on used parts. You can find almost any part imaginable in one of these lots. Not only will you save money, but you can often acquire original manufacturer assembled parts. This is ideal for a restoration project or if you don’t want after market parts at your local auto store.


Another perk is that some import scrap yards will offer the option of getting a warranty. Most yards will sell you a warranty for between $10 and $15 per part. This will give you 30 days to assess the part and make sure it works. In the even there is an issue, you can return it for an exchange or credit.


For our best tips on pulling parts, click here,

Disadvantages of Buying Spare Import Parts from the Junkyard

Quality of the part is always the biggest detriment. No matter how well you inspect it or even test it, you don’t know how much life is left in the piece. You also have no idea how hard the previous owner might have beat on the vehicle. This is what for any used car part you feel is expensive a warranty is a good idea.


The other disadvantage of used car parts is simply finding them. If the auto salvo isn’t arranged in some logical way, you could spend the entire day looking for the parts you need and never find them. The best thing to do is check online first to see if they have a searchable database or call ahead.

Import Salvage Yards Near Me Conclusion

If you need used parts cheap for your import, an auto salvo is your best option. There are specialized businesses that deal with only imports, but even more specifically you may find places that only carry one manufacturer such as BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, VW, etc. Any standard auto junkyard though should have a nice size section for imported vehicle manufacturers.


If you are in the market to junk your imported vehicle, its important to properly assess its value, prep it before selling, and know the negotiating tactics. Not all junk yards perform shady business practices, when negotiating, but its good to understand before you get involved. That’s my experience from the Import salvage yards near me.