Michigan auto junkyards are a treasure trove for those looking for cheap used parts. While the state is large, some yards stand out above the rest. In this article, we will discuss how Michigan salvage yards operate, share some tips for part salvaging, and give you a run-down of the best salvage yards in Michigan based on our experience.

Map of Salvage Yards in Michigan 

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

How do Auto Salvage Yards in Michigan Operate

Unlike landfills and public dumps, which are state-owned entities, all salvage yards in Michigan are privately owned businesses that comply with the same tax laws as any other business in the state. Consequently, you’re charged sales tax on used auto parts purchased from a junkyard.


In order to operate a junkyard in Michigan, the business must meet several state requirements. These include being licensed by holding a permit issued by the Michigan Transportation Service Center. If the yard sells salvage title vehicles, then the owner must also have a dealer’s license from the state. In addition to these requirements, there are laws regarding protecting the environment and handling hazardous materials that must be followed.


The way MI salvage yards operate on a day-to-day basis is no different than any other US junkyard. They purchase junk vehicles, such as cars, trucks, SUVs and vans. The used parts are then sold off the vehicle.


These types of businesses get their stock from numerous places like insurance companies or private owners who have damaged vehicles. In some cases, these vehicles can be repaired, auctioned off, or resold with a salvage or rebuilt title depending on the severity of the damage.


After a vehicle’s life comes to an end, it is customary for the various parts of the car to be picked and reused. This process usually happens in a salvage yard where people are free to come and pick whatever they need. The business model differs depending on the state, but nonetheless, this system is integral to recycling vehicles.

Processing of Vehicles at a MI Junkyard

Before a vehicle is sent to be dismantled, some processing must happen first. This includes draining any hazardous fluids and removing parts that would sell for a high price to prevent them from deteriorating or losing value.


These parts could include the battery, alternator, starter, and in some cases the motor and/or transmission. Some fluids like windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze will be put into new bottles and resold if they are clean enough.


Once a vehicle enters the yard, it will be tagged and labeled so that all information can then be entered into an online database. This makes searching for specific vehicles much simpler for customers.

Types of Junkyards in MI

As you might know, Michigan is a large state with all sorts of different types of auto-wrecking yards. According to my last count, there were over 313 businesses in the state that salvage, dismantle, recycle, or scrap.


Due to the presence of many scrap yards and cash for car buyers, selling a junk vehicle is easy in this state. If you want to get the most money possible, shop around and compare offers.


Various Junkyard Models in Michigan

There are a few different ways that salvage yards in Michigan operate. Some places are self-service, while others offer full service. Some hybrids and businesses sell online only or through a warehouse.


Junk Part Warehouses: These businesses are still known as “junkyards,” and they disassemble vehicles to sell their parts from a store or warehouse. In many cases, they will also sell these parts online via their website or sites like eBay Motors. These businesses tend to be well-organized and have good labeling systems for their parts. Because they do the work upfront to pull and label the parts, prices usually tend to be higher than average.


Self-Service Yards: At a self-service salvage yard, you pay a small fee to walk around the lot and then take the parts you want from the vehicles. The name self-service suggests that you bring your tools and do all of the work yourself. How organized each yard is depends on the business. I have found that in my experience with yards in Michigan, they tend to be lower quality but cheaper overall.


Full Service: Full-service yards are like self-service, except they have employees who remove the parts or, at minimum, provide help. This usually means a higher quality inventory is available, but prices will also be slightly more expensive. These places tend to always have newer inventory in better shape. If you lack the skills or tools needed to do part removal yourself, then these kinds of yards might be good for you.

Popular Auto Junkyards in Michigan

At a salvage yard, you should take into account many different factors which can create disparate experiences from one to the next. It’s not simply about finding affordable used auto parts – though that is important – but also how you’re treated by the staff, the return policy in case of faulty products, honest pricing, and whether or not they have tools like an engine hoist on site. When searching for salvage in MI (or anywhere else), keep these details in mind to ensure you have the best experience possible.


Here are a few popular salvage yards with 4.5+ star ratings in Michigan:

  • Taylor Auto Salvage 16211 Pardee Rd, Taylor, MI 48180
  • Davison Auto Parts 5625 E Davison St, Detroit, MI 48212
  • Swain Junkyard 7605 Lake of the Woods Rd, Bellaire, MI 49615
  • Fair Salvage Yards 2731 E Grass Lake Rd, Clare, MI 48617
  • R&W Auto Sales 1836 S Huron Rd, Kawkawlin, MI 48631
  • Fender Benders 9330 Knapp Rd, Houghton Lake, MI 48629
  • Wolverton Auto LLC 2295 Roseburgh Rd, Alger, MI 48610
  • Micky’s Sleds and Snowmobile Dept. 1675 S Schrieber Rd, Midland, MI 48640
  • Pils Auto Parts 17991 197th Ave, Big Rapids, MI 49307
  • Padnos 1111 Leeson Ave, Cadillac, MI 49601

Junkyards in Michigan

Selling a Junked Vehicle in MI

You can get money for your old, junk car by taking it to a local junkyard in Michigan. However, you may be able to earn more money through a private sale.


Most salvage companies will only offer you the scrap metal value for your vehicle. You will have to try and negotiate a higher price by explaining why it is worth more than just scrap. For example, if the car still runs, that is a good start. Even if it doesn’t run, there may be expensive parts still on it that you can remove and sell separately. You have to make your case and convince them that your car is worth more than just its weight in metals.


You’ll need the title as well as transfer ownership of the vehicle to the salvage company you’re going with. Lastly, just follow some simple state guidelines and you’re all set!

Michigan Procedure for Transferring Vehicle Ownership

Getting money for your old, beat-up car in Michigan is just like trading in any other used vehicle. Just follow these steps:

  • To finish the title certificate, signthe title assignment and include a bill of sale as well as an odometer disclosure (if necessary).
  • Complete the vehicle title application form.
  • Visit any DMV at a Secretary of State office.

Learn more about transferring a title on the Michigan.gov.

Buying a Salvage Vehicle in MI

If you’re looking to purchase a car with a salvage title in Michigan, here’s what you need to know…


  1. When you purchase it, you will pay Michigan state sales tax.
  2. You will need a way to transport the vehicle from the salvage to your location.
  3. The salvo will sign over the title to you which you will need to register the vehicle.
  4. A certified inspector must check the vehicle to make sure it is safe to register if you are ready to move the vehicle from a salvage title to a rebuilt title.
  5. Register your salvage title by taking your salvaged title, photo ID, and inspection report to any Michigan DMV.
  6. Provide your VIN, fill out the forms, and pay the fee.

What to Know About Junkyards in Michigan Before You Go

A visit to the salvage yard is a great way to spend an afternoon, but if you’re going in winter make sure you dress appropriately for the weather. A self-service junkyard means you’ll be doing all the work, so pack accordingly and bring gloves, boots, and any other tools you might need.


My recommendations for MI 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 Salvage Yards in the Neighboring States

If you live near a state border, take advantage of the salvage yards in that area.

Salvage Yards in Michigan Conclusion

MI offers many yards that you can find to get used parts for cheap. Many salvage yards in the state will pay you cash for your junk car. The process is easy, and you can get a decent amount of money for your old car. If you’re looking to purchase a salvage car, make sure you do your research first and know what you’re getting into. And finally, don’t forget to dress appropriately for the salvage yard weather! Now find your favorite junkyards in Michigan and pull some used parts.