Military salvages are the best way to save money on replacement parts. While in my experience old military jeeps are the most prevalent vehicle you can find junked planes, tanks, hummers, and other vehicles. There are different styles of military salvages and some are not open to the public. In the article below I will share where to find one near you, how they work, and my experience with the military junkyards near me.
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How Does the Military Junkyard Near Me Work
There are a few different styles of Military junkyards. Some work like a self service pick and pull, some sell parts online only, and then some yards, like the Mojave Airplane Graveyard has military sections closed off from the public.
Military salvages that are publicly accessible are not government run. They do have certain regulations they need to adhere to for both environmental and of course for weaponry. Many of these yards take in used military vehicles and then sell off and repurpose the parts to the public for reuse.
How Does a Military Salvage Yard Get Vehicles
Salvage military vehicles come in from different sources. Some from government auctions, others directly from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and others from the public who already own a surplus military vehicle.
There are many regulations around the buying and selling of military equipment. Though typically once a vehicle has reach the salvage many of those regulations and requirements have already been met.
How Military Junkyards Process Vehicles
When a junked vehicle reaches the yard it most go through some processing first. Common things like ensuring weaponry and ammunition is not active is critical. Similar though to a car junkyard they will do some basic maintenance for environmental protections. This includes draining major fluids like gas, oil, diesel, antifreeze, etc.
Next they will pre-strip parts. This includes pieces like the battery, fuel cell, wheels, tracks, hydraulic components, transmissions, and engines. Some pieces will be sold online and others will be placed in a warehouse for sale. Certain pieces like a transmission or engine may be rebuilt.
How the Military Junkyards Near Me are Structured
I have a few different military junkyards near me and they are all structured different. One is a military surplus that carries junked vehicles, which are mostly jeeps, hummers, ATV’s and the licks of off road equipment. There are a few small planes and helicopters, but they are in really bad shape and not salvageable. At this yard there are sections by vehicle type, where each section of the yard is exclusive to one style of vehicle.
What Kind of Used Military Parts Can You Find?
You can find a lot of stuff at these yards for various vehicle types, but it will depend on what you are looking for. If you are trying to restore Huey helicopter, you aren’t going to find much at your local army salvage yard. That is often to specialized and will require you to look online.
The most common vehicles you find are Jeeps, hummers, ATV’s, HMMWV’s, JLTV’s, LTATV’s, Buffalos, Cougars, etc. For these you can get all types of parts like seats, doors, armor, trim, gauges, tires, axles, motors, trannies, etc…
What Happens When the Vehicle is Stripped?
So when a military vehicle at a salvage gets taken apart, what happens to it? Since these vehicles have a lot of metal some yards will sell what’s left as scrap metal. This serves two purposes. First it creates more space on the salvage for junk vehicles. Second the junkyard can get the last bit of profit out of it, by selling what remains for scrap.
In my experience not all military yards are really well run. Many of them leave the rusted vehicles rotting on the lot. This of course makes it harder to find what you need as a consumer.
Buying Used Military Parts at a Junkyard
The Pros of Used Military Parts at a Junk Yard
There are a lot of advantages to getting Military parts form a salvage, but here are a few:
- Saving Money: Getting parts a military salvage is cheaper then getting them from military surplus.
- Reselling Other Parts You Find: You can find parts and sell them online yourself as a side hustle.
- Find Original Parts: Getting original parts is better then after market prices.
Cons of Cheap Parts
With the good comes, the bad, here are a few negatives:
- Quality: Some parts may be used and abused. They are at their end of life and you can’t trust them to perform.
- Most Yards are Disorganized: Trying to find what you need by just walking around can result in endless walking and looking.
- Rust: Many yards leave the frames uncovered and rust and corrosion run deep ruining parts from ever being re-used.
Does a Regular Auto Salvage Carry Junked Military Vehicles
At the auto junkyards near me, there are no military vehicles. I have been all over the US visiting junkyards and honestly finding military equipment is pretty rare. These vehciles are exclusive to military salvages.
Now with that being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t find interchangeable parts at a standard auto salvage. If you know who manufactured the military vehicle or know where the government sourced parts from, you can use a regular auto salvage to find parts.
Military Junkyards Near Me – Wrap Up
Military junkyards are great places to save money on parts. They are also fun to walk around and look at all the equipment. In many cases if you are doing an old restoration, these yards may be your only option for finding parts. The trouble you run into is finding exactly what you need. I find for these yards it’s best to call ahead or check online before just showing up and hoping for the best. Many times even if they don’t have what you need, they can point you to someone who does. This is what I have learned from the military junkyards near me.