Illinois offers some great options for used car parts, and below we will discuss how the state’s junkyards operate the best yards in Illinois, and tips for part salvaging. I will also share my experience with automobile junkyards in Illinois.

Map of Junkyards in Illinois 

For “Junkyards in Illinois” or “Salvage Yards in Illinois”, see the map below…

How do Auto Junkyards in Illinois Operate

All Junkyards in IL, privately owned unlike landfills, operate like other local businesses and are subject to the same tax laws; for example, you pay sales tax on used auto parts.


To operate a junkyard in Illinois, the business must be state-licensed as a repairer, rebuilder, or auto parts recycler. If the yard not only salvages parts but also sells vehicles with salvage titles, then the company must follow the state of Illinois Vehicle Code. Furthermore, they are predicted to satisfy particular environmental statutes about pollution and waste control of perilous substances.


Just like any other American junkyard, Salvage Yards in IL operate by purchasing broken-down vehicles such as cars, trucks–you name it. These vehicular components are then sold to various companies or private owners. Typically, these yards acquire their inventory from insurance providers or businesses that manage tow truck services and salvage auctions.


Depending on the condition of the vehicle, it will either be fixed, auctioned off, or sold with a salvage title. If the car is too damaged to fix, it will be brought to a junkyard where people can pick parts from it.


There are different rules and regulations for each yard based on its business model but they all play an integral role in auto recycling within the state.

Processing of Vehicles at an IL Junkyard

Before a vehicle is sent to be dismantled, some basic processing must occur. This includes emptying all hazardous fluids and removing certain high-selling parts to maintain both their condition and value.


Potential parts that could be taken are the battery, alternator, starter, or in more extreme cases – the motor or transmission. If clean enough, some fluids like windshield wiper fluid or antifreeze will simply be rebottled and sold again.


Tagging and labeling vehicles with information like make, model, year, etc. makes it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for on your website.

Types of Junkyards in Illinois

While scouring the state for reputable and reliable auto-wrecking yards, I was astounded by the number of businesses that salvage, dismantle, recycle, or are simply affiliated with some type of junker yard. To my last count, there were over 156 businesses spread out all over Illinois specializing in different types of import autos, RVs, boats, airplanes, and more.


The state also features many scrap yards and cash for car buyers, so there are plenty of opportunities to sell a junk vehicle. You can shop around and try to get the most money possible.


Various Salvage Yard Models in Illinois

Although salvage yards may have different business models depending on the state, some of which are self-service or full-service, some hybrid businesses and warehouses sell online only.


Used Part Warehouses: These types of businesses scrap old vehicles for parts which are then sold in-store or online only. They’re well organized and label their inventory accordingly, so prices might be steeper than in other places because upfront labor is added to the price.


Self-Service Yards: At a self-service salvage yard, you pay a nominal fee to walk around the property and extract any parts you need from vehicles on site. These types of yards usually have older, lower-quality vehicles but they are cheaper compared to other options. The level of organization at these places can vary depending on the specific location.


Full Service: Full-service yards are similar to self-service, except instead of the customer handling all the work, yard employees do it for you or at least provide assistance. This quality costs a bit more than if you were to do it yourself but often means higher quality inventory is available. If you don’t have either the skills or tools needed to remove parts, full service may be ideal for you.

Popular Auto Junkyards in Illinois

Several factors can affect your experience at a salvage yard, such as the quality of customer service and/or the availability of tools like an engine hoist. Other things to look for when choosing a salvage in IL include location, inventory, quality, and price. Be sure to also consider warranties and return policies before making your final decision.


Here are a few popular junkyards with 4.5+ star ratings in Illinois:

  • BC Automotive, Inc 2809 Damascus Avenue, Zion, IL 60099
  • Victory Auto Wreckers 710 E Green St, Bensenville, IL 60106
  • Broadway Auto Salvage & Towing 3014 S Broadway Rd, Braceville, IL 60407
  • LKQ Pick You Part 551 E Lincoln Hwy, Chicago Heights, IL 60411
  • Easton’s Auto Salvage Windsor, IL 61957
  • Valley Auto Wreckers 610 Hill Ave, Aurora, IL 60505
  • Hitchcock Scrap Yard 22501 N, IL-78, Canton, IL 61520
  • Tiger Auto Recycling 406 217th St, Chicago Heights, IL 60411
  • Watson’s Auto Wrecking 4148 East Faries Parkway, Decatur, IL 62526
  • Mullins Auto Salvage 324 East St, Taylorville, IL 62568
  • Bill Smith Auto Parts 400 Ash St, Danville, IL 61832

The state of Illinois is also home to two super popular junkyard franchises:

Junkyards in illinois

Selling a Junked Vehicle in Illinois

If you have a junk vehicle in Illinois that you would like to receive money for, your local junkyards will be an option. Considering a private sale should be your first step, and going to a junkyard second.


Many salvage companies will initially offer you the value of your car based on its scrap metal. If you want to negotiate for a higher price, try explaining why it’s worth more than that. Running or not, expensive aftermarket parts–these are all examples of elements that could increase the value beyond scrap level. You have to make an argument for why it’s worth more.


To properly junk a vehicle in Illinois, you’ll need its title. You will then have to transfer ownership of the car to the salvage yard and follow all state regulations.

Illinois Procedure for Transferring Vehicle Ownership

If you’re in Illinois and want to sell your old, junked car, follow these steps:

  • Complete the title assignment on the title certificate, and provide a bill of sale and odometer disclosure (if applicable).
  • Complete the vehicle title application form.
  • Visit any ILDMV office near you.

Learn more about transferring a title on the Illinois DMV website.

Buying a Salvage Vehicle in Illinois

Are you interested in purchasing a car with a salvage title in Illinois? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know…


  1. When you purchase it, you will pay Illinois state sales tax.
  2. You will need a way to transport the vehicle and your own expense.
  3. After you pay for the vehicle, the junkyard will sign over the title to you so that you can register it.
  4. Before you register your vehicle, make sure to have a certified inspector check it for safety. This is how you move the vehicle from a salvage title to a rebuilt title.
  5. To register your salvage title in Illinois, you’ll need to take your salvaged title, photo ID, and inspection report to any IL DMV office.
  6. Provide your VIN, fill out the forms, and pay the fee.

What to Know About Salvage Yards in Illinois Before You Go

You must take into account what time of year you plan to go and prepare for it accordingly. The winter and wind in Illinois can be brutally cold, so dress appropriately and bring along tools that will help make the job easier.


My recommendations for IL auto salvages are

  • Clothing choices based on the time of year
  • Water and even have extra in your car
  • Sunglasses and a hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Mechanic-style gloves for pulling parts
  • Hand warmers and winter gloves for winter
  • Boots, preferably steel toe
  • Deicer for winter
  • Battery-operated fan for the summer
  • Tools and someone to help you if you are pulling engine parts

Checking Junkyards in the Neighboring States

If you live close to a state border, there are likely many junkyards in the area that you can take advantage of.

Junkyards in Illinois Conclusion

Illinois junkyards are a great way to find used auto parts and make some extra money. The key is to know where the junkyards are, what you need from them, and understand the procedure for selling or buying salvage vehicles in IL. You can also choose to expand your search by going into neighboring states if necessary. Now find your favorite junkyards in Illinois and pull some used parts.