If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to get used car parts, look no further than your local auto junkyard. Iowa is home to some of the best junk yards in the country, so whether you’re looking for a specific part or just browsing for deals, you’re sure to find what you need. In this guide, we’ll discuss how junkyards operate in Iowa, share some of our favorite Yards in the state, and provide tips on how to get the most out of your salvage experience. I will also share my experience with the auto junkyards in Iowa.

Map of Junkyards in Iowa 

For “junkyards in Iowa” or “Salvage Yards in Iowa”, see the map below…

How do Auto Junkyards in Iowa Operate

Like any other business, Junkyards in IA are privately owned and must follow the same state tax laws; this is why you pay sales tax on used auto parts.


Yards that only salvage parts IA must have an Iowa Motor Vehicle Department vehicle recycler license. If the yard does more, like selling salvage title vehicles, then they also need an Iowa used dealer’s license in addition to adhering to environmental and hazardous materials laws.


Salvage yards in Iowa purchase junked vehicles- such as cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans- and sell the usable parts. They operate just like any other US auto parts junkyard.


Salvage vehicles can come from a variety of places, like insurance companies after a vehicles been totaled, private owners, businesses, tow truck companies, police impounds, and salvage auctions. Most vehicles are sent to junkyards where people can pick parts off of them. Some though may be repaired and put back on the road and sold with a rebuilt title.


Every business model for vehicle recycling is a little different, but they are all vital to the industry and environment in this state.

Processing of Vehicles at an IA Junkyard

Before a vehicle can be sent out to the yard to have parts pulled, it must go through some basic processing. This includes draining hazardous fluids and removing the best selling parts.


Fluids like antifreeze, oil, and gas all must be drained and properly handled to avoid seepage into the ground.


Parts they almost always pull are the battery, the alternator, and the starter. In some cases, the motor and/or transmission will be rebuilt and resold with a warranty.


Some car yards will then tag and label their vehicles so they can input the data into an online database. This makes it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for in the inventory.

Types of Junkyards in IA

There are over 152 auto-wrecking yards in Iowa, some with their specialized focus, such as foreign autos, Jeeps, motorcycles, and more. Others are general yards where you can find a bit of every popular make, manufacturer, and model.


If you have an old or unused car taking up space in your garage, consider selling it to a scrap metal yard or a “cash for car” company. IA is home to plenty of those. By shopping around, you can ensure that you get the most money for your junked vehicle.


Various Salvage Yard Models in Iowa

IA salvage yards Business models can vary, from self-service to full service to hybrids. Some only operate online while others sell via a warehouse. Each has its pros and cons.


Used Parts Warehouse Salvage: These businesses purchase used vehicles and then sell the parts in a store or warehouse. In many instances, they will also offer their services online or via eBay Motors. These companies are well-organized and label the parts accordingly. Because they do all of the work to pull and label the parts beforehand, prices are usually higher across the board.


Self-Service Junkyards: These are salvage yards where you pay a small admin fee to walk the yard and then remove the parts you want from the vehicles. As the name, self-service suggests, you bring your tools and you do all the work. Depends on the yard will depend on how organized they are. In my experience with junkyards in Iowa, these yards have lower-quality older vehicles but have cheaper prices.


Full-Service Junkyards: At full-service yards, you don’t have to pull the parts yourself or provide your tools; the staff will do it for you. This means that there is often a higher quality inventory available, but also that prices may be slightly higher. These places tend to have newer inventory in better shape. They are a good option if you don’t have the skills or tools to do the part removal yourself.

Popular Auto Junkyards in Iowa

There are many things to consider when looking for salvage yards, such as the location, inventory, quality, price, and customer service.


Iowa is also home to a national brand of Auto salvage yard called U Pull It, which are popular in many states.


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

  • Ace Auto Recyclers Inc 2752 S Riverside Dr, Iowa City, IA 52246
  • Bill’s Auto Salvage 2552 IA-70, Conesville, IA 52739
  • New Deal Auto Salvage 2405 Hawthorne Ave, Waterloo, IA 50702
  • Jerry Carney & Son’s Inc 1816 SE 5th St, Ames, IA 50010
  • Sandhill Auto Salvage 1981 Highway E64, Tama, IA 52339
  • Quandt Auto Salvage Inc 18829 Kittyhawk Ave, Carroll, IA 51401
  • U Pull It 1600 NE 44th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313
  • Phillips Auto Salvage 6634 Union St, Ackworth, IA 50001

Junkyards in Iowa

Selling a Junked Vehicle in IA

Junkyards aren’t always your best option when you want to get rid of an old car. In Iowa, it’s often better to sell the vehicle privately or part it out. A private sale will always net you a higher profit from a junked vehicle. Still, there is a time when selling it to a junkyard is the right move.


Many IA’s will offer you scrap metal value for your vehicle, but it is possible to negotiate a higher price by explaining the car’s worth. If the engine still functions, that’s a great starting point. Even if it doesn’t run, there might be expensive parts that you can make a case for. You need to present your argument to get the best price possible. A hybrid vehicle with an intact catalytic converter, for example, would raise its value beyond the scrap metal price.


Iowa law requires that you have the title to your vehicle when you junk it. You will need to transfer ownership of the car to the salvage yard, and then follow all state guidelines. If you don’t have a title, read this.

Iowa Procedure for Transferring Vehicle Ownership

If you’re looking to get rid of a junk car in Iowa, you’ll want to 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 IowaDot MVD office near you.

Learn more about transferring a title in Iowa.

Buying a Salvage Vehicle in IA

You might be considering purchasing a car with a salvage title in Iowa. Here is some useful information for you…


  1. When you purchase it, you will pay Iowa state sales tax.
  2. You are responsible for transporting the vehicle.
  3. Once you have paid for the vehicle, the junkyard will give you the title (which is necessary to register the car).
  4. Take your salvaged title, photo ID, and inspection report to any Iowa DMV to register your salvage title.
  5. Provide your VIN, fill out the forms, and pay the fee.
  6. Once you have fixed the vehicle up, a certified inspector must inspect the vehicle to ensure it is safe to register. This is how you move it from a salvage title to a rebuilt title.

What to Know About Salvage Yards in Iowa Before You Go

An Iowa self-service salvage can be fun to visit, but you should plan and prepare depending on the time of year. For example, if you’re going during Iowa’s hot summer months, remember to pack appropriately not only in terms of clothes but also tools.


My recommendations for Iowa 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 reside close to a state’s border, take advantage of the junkyards in those regions.

Junkyards in Iowa Conclusion

There are plenty of junkyards in Iowa to choose from, but remember to do your research before you go. Junkyards can be a great place to get affordable parts for your car, but you need to know what you’re doing. Check the salvage yard’s hours and give them a call ahead of time. Bring the right clothing and tools for the job, and be sure to have your vehicle’s title and registration with you. With a little preparation, you can find everything you need at an Iowa junkyard. Now find your favorite junkyards in Iowa and pull some used parts.