California has many great places to pull used auto parts. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of junkyards in the state, and I will call out a few of my favorite yards and share tips on pulling auto parts and dealing with junk cars. I’ll also recount my own experiences with automobile junkyards in California.
Map of Junkyards in California
For “Junkyards in California” or “Salvage Yards in California”, see the map below…
How Does a California Auto Salvage Work?
California auto salvages are privately owned businesses that operate under the same tax laws as other local businesses. That means you will pay state tax on purchasing used auto parts.
These yards need a state issued dismantelers license to operate. If they sell vehicles with salvage titles, they must also have a dealers license. Environmental statutes regarding pollution and waste control of hazardous substances must also be followed.
Just like other US yards California salvages specialize in acquiring vehicles, such as cars, trucks, and SUVs that are junk. They sell off the used components from unwanted cars at affordable prices to various companies or individuals.
These yards typically source their inventory from insurance companies, tow services, and salvage auctions. Depending on the junk cars condition, it may be repaired, auctioned, or sold with a salvage title. If the automobile is behind repair, it finds its way to a junkyard, where customers pull auto parts off the junk car and reuse them.
Every yard follows unique rules and regulations based on its business model, but they all play a vital role in the state’s auto recycling industry. The major yards also belong to the California Auto Dismantlers Association (SCADA).
Processing of Junk Cars at a CA Auto Salvage
Prior to sending a vehicle for dismantling, several preliminary steps must be taken. This entails draining all hazardous fluids and extracting specific high-value parts to maintain their condition and value.
Fluids like gas, oil, and coolant are all drained. If the liquids are still clean, they will be rebottled and resold at low prices.
Most yards will remove various auto parts, including the battery, alternator, starter, and even engines and transmissions in some instances. Most of the parts that get pulled are what can be found on a standard price list that most yards have. These are the auto parts most commonly shopped for and by pre-pulling them, the yard can ensure they don’t deteriorate out in the hot Cali sun.
Once the junk cars are all stripped of parts, the yard will rid of it by selling it to a scrap metal location. That makes more space on their property and allows them to get a little more cash for the junk cars.
Types of Junkyards in California
California alone boasts a staggering 281 specialized enterprises dealing with a wide of salvaging businesses. These are companies that deal in used auto parts, auto dismantling, recycling, scrap, or cars for cash.
Various Salvage Yard Models in California
Salvage yards come in various flavors across different states. Some embrace a self-service or full-service approach, while others are hybrid enterprises or exclusively online warehouses.
- Used Part Warehouses: Businesses that disassemble old vehicles and sell their parts either in-store or online. They prioritize organization and accurate labeling of inventory, which may lead to higher prices due to additional labor costs. You can often find the most reliable parts at these shops.
- DIY Auto Yards: In self-service salvage yards, customers get the chance to pay a small entry fee and personally pull parts from vehicles. While these yards generally hold older, lower-quality vehicles, they provide budget-friendly choices. The level of organization may differ by location. You can always find a great price at these yards and save the most cash.
- Full-service yards: these offer assistance to customers or perform the work on their behalf, providing services at a higher cost. This option is ideal for those lacking the skills or tools needed for part removal and often offers higher-quality inventory.
What Kind of Auto Parts Can I Find
You can find almost any part needed for cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs in a junkyard, from small components like door handles, panels, seats, and tail lights to larger parts such as motors and transmissions. If you can pull it, you can buy it.
In my experience, fresh cars usually arrive on Tuesdays, which means you can be first to the parts if you get there on Wednesdays in the morning. As the week goes on, the junk cars get more stripped down.
Some yards specialize in certain types of junk cars like a specialty yard for BMW, VW Vans, a yard for Corvettes, or something more general like vans or heavy equipment.
However, it’s always best to call ahead or search their online database for available inventory before making the trip.
Not all yards offer a guarantee on parts, but some yards allow you to purchase one. It is usually just a few bucks and allows you 30 days to return or exchange the part. Even if you pay cash though, it is never cash back, it’s always credit.
Also Read: The Advantages of Second Hand Vehicle Parts
Popular Auto Junkyards in California
When choosing a salvage yard in CA, there are numerous factors to take into account that can influence your experience. Factors such as the level of customer service, a free quote on a junk car, availability of tools like wheelbarrows, location, inventory, quality, and price should all be considered. Don’t forget to also consider a guarantee or return policy when conducting your search.
In my experience the better yards are in SoCal as the temperatures lend themselves better to preservation and less rust.
Here are a few popular junkyards with 4.5+ star ratings in California:
- California Auto Wrecking: 9365 Glenoaks Blvd, Sun Valley, CA 91352
- A-Best Auto Wrecking: 535 Gallardo St, Los Angeles, CA 90033
- Main St Auto Dismantlers: 15503 S Main St, Gardena, CA 90248
- West Coast Auto Wrecking: 4007 State St, Montclair, CA 91763
- iPull uPull Auto Parts: 1560 E Mission Blvd, Pomona, CA 91766
- Brian’s Salvage and Junk: 2580 Green Island Rd, American Canyon, CA 94503
- Crown Auto Salvage Inc: 1450 Magnolia Ave, Corona, CA 92879
- So-Cal Cars for Cash: 1537 W Olympic Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640
- Motor City Auto Wrecking: 750 N Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90033
- LA County Auto Dismanteling: 739 Alpha St, Irwindale, CA 91010
California is also the location of two highly popular junkyard franchises.
Selling Junk Cars in California
If you’re selling a junk car or truck in Cali, here is what I would do. First I would evaluate my automobile to see if I could sell it privately first. A private sale will get you more cash.
If the car is junk, then I would phone a junkyard and get a free quote on what it’s worth. Also, find out if that quote will include towing it from your driveway or property. Get all of this agreed upon before you are paid.
Salvage companies typically assess the value of cars and trucks based on their scrap metal value. However, you can negotiate for a higher price if you believe your car has additional value in used auto parts. Factors such as a running engine or expensive aftermarket parts can increase its value. Make a compelling argument to justify the higher value. The more details you can provide the better chance you have of getting more cash. You don’t have to accept their offer, you can call more yards and find your best quote.
To effectively dispose of a vehicle in California, you’ll need to possess the title. Once you have the title, you can transfer ownership of the car to the salvage yard and ensure compliance with all state regulations.
California Procedure for Transferring Vehicle Ownership
If you’re in California and looking to sell a junk car, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out:
- Fulfill the title assignment on the title certificate and furnish a bill of sale and odometer disclosure, if relevant.
- Complete the vehicle title application form.
- Find the location of a California DMW and drop off your paperwork and payment.
Buying a Salvage Car in California
Curious about snagging a car with a salvage title in California? Here is the basic process…
- When purchasing the vehicle, you’ll be required to shell out for California state sales tax.
- Arrange transportation for the vehicle at your own expense.
- Once you’ve completed the payment for the vehicle, the junkyard will transfer the title to you, granting you the ability to register it.
- Before vehicle registration, it is important to have a certified inspector evaluate its safety. This is a crucial step in transitioning from a salvage title to a rebuilt title.
- To register your salvage title in California, simply bring your salvaged title, photo ID, and inspection report to any DMV location.
- Share your VIN, fill out the required forms, and make the necessary payment.
TIP: Don’t pay cash, this way there is a financial record of the transaction.
Also Read: How to Find Junk Cars For Sale By Owner
What to Know About Salvage Yards in California Before You Go
Take into account the time of year and make sure you’re prepared. Winters in California can be tough, so dress accordingly and bring the necessary tools to make the task easier.
These are my suggestions for exploring auto salvages in CA.
- Dress for the weather conditions.
- Remember to stay hydrated and keep spare water in your car.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Remember to put on sunscreen, especially for Southern California.
- Spin and put on mechanic-style gloves when removing parts.
- Always wear steel-toe boots.
- Be prepared for winter by keeping deicer readily available, especially for Northern California.
- Spin a battery-operated fan during the summer.
- Be sure to have the required tools and consider getting help when dismantling engine components.
Checking Junkyards in the Neighboring States
If you reside near a state border, chances are there’s a plethora of junkyards in the vicinity just waiting for you to seize the opportunity!
Junkyards in California Conclusion
California junkyards provide a great chance to find used auto parts and to save money. In my experience, not all of them have excellent customer service, so focus on the highest rated yards that I listed above. Know the locations, understand your needs, look for fresh cars on Wednesdays, be familiar with the buying or selling process, and don’t pay cash for junk cars. You can also search neighboring states if necessary. Start exploring junkyards in California for quality used parts!