School bus parts can be expensive especially when you are operating within a tight budget. This is where a school bus junkyard or used part depot has its benefits. These places offer used bus parts at heavy discounts. Unfortunately, these yards are fairly scarce and it can be difficult to find the year, make, and model you need. Below I will share how the school Bus salvage yards near me operate and help you find one closest to you.

Map of School Bus Salvage Yards Near Me

For “School Bus Junk Yards Near Me” or “School Bus Salvage Yards Near Me”, see the map below…

If your results seem limited, alternatively your local auto junkyard may have school buses, which could be worth looking into. Also since these qualify as a form of work truck, you can try a heavy duty truck salvage yard or a Freightliner salvo.

Operations of School Bus Salvage Yards Near Me

These specialized salvage yards run like any other local privately owned business. The business model is similar to that of a thrift shop, except, here they buy scraped buses and then sell them off for used salvage auto parts.

Some vehicle salvage yards do carry school buses and will have a section, but the selection is pretty limited. Your best bet for used school bus parts is finding a specialized junkyard. Some of these yards will have buses on them from: Thomas Built, General Motors, Blue Bird, Van Con, Collins, Starcraft, Micro Bird, and other school bus manufacturers.

School Bus Salvage Yards

How a School Bus Ends Up in a Junkyard

There are various reasons school buses end up on these lots. The two most common reasons are because they were in accidents or the costs of repairs were deemed too expensive. If the bus was in an accident, the insurance company will junk the bus for cash in order to offset paying out an insurance claim.

With the size of these large vehicles, junkyards can’t stack them. They either arrange them in rows, elephant tail them together in a line, or tightly pack them into a section of a yard. Some salvos will inventory their lot so they know what they have and where. Other salvos may even pre-strip the buses of parts and then sell the used school bus parts online.

My best advice no matter what style of junkyard it is, is to call ahead and ask if they have what you are looking for. If they have it you can either order the used part or go down and pull it. If they don’t, most places will know where you might be able to find what you need. That’s what the School Bus salvage yard near me does anyway.

School Bus Salvage

Junked School Bus Prep for Salvaging

When a school bus arrives at a scrap yard, it isn’t sent straight out for pick and pull. There is a variety of mechanical prep work that gets done first. All fluids are drained, some of which are recycled and others of which may be resold. A newer battery will be pulled and sold, an older battery may be sold to a recycling facility for the cost of the lead in it. Certain wrecking yards will pull the engine and sell it to a 3rd party vendor who will rebuild it and resell it with a warranty.

If it’s the type of salvo that pre-pulls used parts, most of them will be the parts that degrade first. These are parts that are generally the most expensive and are subject to rust and corrosion. Whatever is left will be sold off for scrap metal. Some school buses can pull in a decent scrap metal price given their size and weight in reusable metal.

School Bus Salvage Yards Near Me

Old school Bus at a bus wrecking yard

What Kind of School Buses and Used Replacement Parts Can You Find

Some yards will have parts for popular engines such as Mercedes Benz, Cummins, Caterpillar, G.M., Ford, and International.

You can also find air conditioners and wheelchair lifts. Popular things people strip from junked buses  are seat covers, seat foam, camera surveillance systems, Safeguard STAR Child Restraints, wheelchair tie-down systems, safety equipment, and mirrors. Then there is the standard auto stuff like alternators, starters, exhausts, mirrors, driver’s seats, lights, etc…

The Benefits of Used School Bus Parts From a Scrap Yard

The best parts of used parts at a school bus graveyard is of course the price. You will find heavily discounted parts that are often in good condition depending on the reason the bus was junked. Additionally, the type and variety of parts you can find is pretty endless.

Many of the parts you find will be original manufacturer installed and assembled. This beats getting after market replacement parts.

Here is a list of tools I suggest taking to the salvo with you.

Disadvantages of Buying Used School Bus Parts from the Junkyard

Quality and durability are always the biggest concerns for any used parts. Even a good visual inspection or even a test of the part doesn’t always guarantee quality. The thing about the nature of school buses or any heavy duty truck is they are meant for hard work. School bus parts may have thousands of hours logged on them, pulling heavy loads under duress. You really can’t know if the part you are pulling is at or near its end of life.

The other issue is that, unlike a standard auto junker, most school bus scrap yards don’t offer a purchasable warranty. The used school bus parts are sold as is.

School Bus Junk Yards Near Me Conclusion

School bus junkyards are a great place to save money on used parts. They serve both the people looking for parts and the people or schools looking to junk a bus. They also serve the recycling community because functional pieces can be removed and reused on working vehicles. Where would all these junked and broken down buses go if it wasn’t for a salvage yard.

That’s my experience with the school bus salvage yard near me. There aren’t many of these exclusive lots around, so if you have one take advantage. Even if you don’t it is possible your local vehicle salvo or heavy duty truck salvo has broken down school buses on their lot. If you are not sure, it’s at least worth a phone call, they may be able to point to another yard that does carry junked school buses for salvaging.


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.