Parts You Shouldn't Buy From a Junkyard

On this blog we spend a lot of time talking about all the benefits of junkyards. From saving money on used to parts to the environmental benefits we are always singing the praises of auto salvages. There are however parts that you should never buy from a junkyard. No matter how good these parts look or what condition it is in, it is better to go new for certain pieces. So today we have a short list of parts you should never buy from a junkyard.

Parts You Shouldn’t Buy From a Junkyard

Some parts wear out at different rates then others. Then certain parts are more difficult to inspect and check for quality. While you can ask about warranties, these parts are likely not worth the cost savings and you are better of getting new.


Belts are inexpensive and their quality after sitting out in the elements can’t be trusted. You don’t know how many miles are on the belt and how long it’s been sitting in the yard exposed to the sun. Depending on what belts you are pulling they can also  be difficult to get to. It’s just not worth the effort, since you really can’t properly until it is off the vehicle.

Brake Pads

This is an another part you should never buy from a junkyard. Similar to belts you can’t fully inspect them until they are off the vehicle. With the tires off they are more exposed to the weather and the sun. You should never put your safety at risk with used brake pads.


Hoses can look good on the outside, but you can’t see what is happening on the inside. The way hoses sit they can saddle liquid inside that sits in one spot and deteriorates the rubber. Add some hot sun and that liquid bakes the rubber inside the hose. Hoses are really cheap and are worth getting new. You can grab clamps, but not hoses.


It may seem like a good idea to grab a filter like an engine air , oil, or cabin air, but I suggest you pass on these. Filters are meant to get dirt and debris out. When a filter sits in a dirty junkyard, you don’t know what kind of micro particles are sitting in them. You can’t see them and you don’t want the dirty air in your engine components or floating around in the cabin. Don’t get used filters, always buy new ones.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are another part I would avoid buying second hand. These are affordable and one of the easiest things to replace when doing a tune up. If you are getting used spark plugs, it’s like replacing them with the same ones you just took out to replace. Don’t skimp and buy used sparkplugs at a salvage yard.

Old Spark Plugs

Parts With Corrosion or Rust

Now some parts with corrosion or rust can be ok. A battery with corrosion on the terminals can be worked with a steel brush to remove it. A steel panel with rust on it can be worked to restore it. Some parts are just not worth the effort and time it takes to remove them. The longer a vehicle has sat out in the yard the more weather, rust, and corrosion you may need to deal with. This makes the parts unsafe and more likely to fail.

Save Time and Money By Avoiding Certain Auto Parts

Going to your local auto salvo is about saving money and supporting the environment. Any part that is unsafe or has the potential to be unsafe is not worth any money I don’t care if it is offered for free. You don’t want to trust your life on some cheap brake pads.

Additionally the junkyard should be about saving time. Spending over an hour to get a timing belt that goes for $25 – $50 new is not worth the hassle. Plus after you remove the parts blocking your access to the engine timing belt cover, you might get in there and find the belt is shot.

Never Choose a Good Deal Over Safety

Junkyard parts are cheap and often fully functioning that is why we love them. Sometimes it is the only place you can find a part for a vehicle that is no longer manufactured. Regardless of how good a deal may be, if the part looks unsafe, it’s a hard pass. Just put it back. Your vehicle needs to be safe and by throwing a part on that is cheap may cost you more in the long run and possibly your life!

Parts You Shouldn’t Buy From a Junkyard – Final Thoughts…

While you can get a warranty on many salvage yard parts, no yard will offer you a warranty on these parts. Additionally if you have used parts to sell to a junkyard, they will not buy these second hand. These parts don’t offer any value on the second hand market because of how they deteriorate.

When buying used parts, if you ever feel unsure of the condition, quality, or safety, it’s better to pass it up. Save your time and save your money. Focus on removing parts that will work and last a long time. That’s my list of parts you shouldn’t buy from a junkyard, pretty much anything else is fair game.


James is an avid junkyarder and mechanic. He has visited Junkyards in every US state and has restored over 30 makes and models of vehicles. He has several automotive and recycling related blogs that generate over 150K views a month.