Do you want to find cheap auto parts for your van? A van salvage yard is the ultimate place for finding used parts at heavily discounted prices. These businesses buy vans and then sell them off as individual parts. Even if you don’t have an exclusive van salvo near you, your local auto junk yard may have some vans on the lot for you to pull from. In this article I’ll share my dealings with the van salvage yards near me and guide you through buying used parts and junking your van.

Map of Van Salvage Yards Near Me

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


If your set of results looks limited, you can try searching for “used van parts near me” or “cheap van parts near me”. An alternative option might be to look into truck junkyards or junkyards for your specific van make. If you are looking for “mini van salvage yards near me”, these yards may have mini vans in addition to transit and commercial vans.


Some of the popular auto salvos that have vans on the lot that aren’t considered van salvages are Mercedes, GMC, Dodge, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Chevy. Lastly you can also try your luck at your local auto junkyard and see if they carry vans.

How the Van Junk Yards Near Me Work

A junkyard operates just like a local business. These aren’t state run institutions, but they do adhere to many government regulations. These businesses operate on both sides of the coin, meaning they buy and they sell. What they buy is junked vehicles and what they sell is used automotive parts.


When they buy a vehicle it primarily comes from one of two sources; the general public or an insurance agent. If a van comes from the general public it is because an owner deemed the van unfixable or the cost of repairs is worth more than the van. If a van comes from an insurance agent, its because it was in an accident and they are selling the van to offset the cost of paying out an insurance claim.

What Happens To a Van When It’s Junked

When a van arrives on the lot, it is normally not sent straight out for pick and pull. First it goes through a little bit of basic stripping in order to get the most value from it.


At most yards they will drain all the major fluids so they can resell them. This includes fluids like anti-freeze, gasoline, and wiper fluid. Fluids such as oil get containerized and recycled according to state requirements.


Some van salvages will extract the battery, test it, recharge it and resell it. In some instances they may even extract the engine. When this occurs they send it away to be rebuilt and resold with a warranty.

How a Van Junkyard is Structured

This varies from business to business. In an ideal world you will find vans arranged by make, model, and year. the truth is no place is really that organized. Typically you get vans placed in rows by make. Some scrap yards have no organization and vans are randomly placed all over the property.


A well maintained auto salvo may have an online database that lets you search for make, model, and year. This type of automated system makes finding parts for your van much easier. Some salvos actually have databases where you can search by part. The more organization they have, the better it is for you. If the van salvage yard near you doesn’t have a searchable inventory at least try giving them a call. You will save your self a lot of time and effort.

What Happens After a Van is Stripped

When most of the parts have been removed and the van is left with little value the junkyard will either scrap it or rust it. A good yard will sell what remains for scrap metal, which gets the last bot of value out of it and makes room for more vans on the lot. A bad yard will leave the van and let it rust wherever it sits on the property.

Selling Your Van to a Salvage Yard

used van parts cheap


If you think its time to sell your van to a salvage yard you should determine the following first…

  1. How much is your van worth now>
  2. How much will it cost to get fixed?
  3. How much is the van worth with the repairs complete

Answering these questions should help you determine your best option among the following choices:

  • Fix it and keep it
  • Fix it and sell it yourself
  • Don’t fix it and sell it yourself
  • Fix it and sell to a junk yard
  • Don’t fix it and sell to a junk yard

If you have determined that you are going to junk it for cash, do the following:

  • Remove all of your personal belongings
  • Return the license plates to your Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Cancel your registration and insurance policy
  • If you have a full tank of gas siphon it and keep it for yourself
  • Find your title because you need it for the sale
  • Look up the value of your Van in Kelly Blue Book

When you are figuring out what your van is worth, make sure you do an honest assessment of it. You will need to be transparent about the issues and condition of the vehicle. If you are negotiating a cash price over the phone, they will likely ask you to email pictures of the van in its current state.


Before you start the negotiation process with the salvage yard, be familiar with a few of the tactics they may use…

Negotiating Tricks Junkyards Use

Not all Van salvage yards are honest, some of course are, but don’t take this for granted. Here are a few tactics that are commonly used by auto junkyards to get leverage on you when you junk your vehicle for cash.


Delayed payment: You negotiate a price, they come and pick up the van (without paying for it), they inspect it on their property, and renegotiate the agreed price. Never let them take your van until you have money in hand. Never sign over your title unless you have money in hand. Once the van is out of your possession you lose alot of your negotiating leverage.


Cost to Tow: You agree on a sale price and then they subtract the cost of towing without speaking to you first. They may do this in two ways. One way is they send the tow truck driver with the agreed price minus the cost of towing. Second way is they send you an invoice after the fact. If you don’t pay the bill they will report you to a collection agency. This trick is most commonly done when your vehicle is undriveable.


Your Van is Worthless: They literally tell you that your van has zero value. They will do this to either make sure they get you at the absolute lowest price or try and get your van for free. Remember they are a junk yard they are going to sell this off for parts. No matter what your van has value to them.


Administration Fees: You get an invoice after the sale for administrative fees. This occurs when you don’t turn in your plates, cancel your registration, or cancel your insurance. They will do it for you and bill you. To avoid this make sure you close out all your paperwork and turn in your license plates yourself.


For more darker negotiating secrets, read this article here.


Van Junkyard Near Me

1958 Chevy Apache Delivery Van

Used Van Parts in Scrap Yards

Pros of Cheap Van Parts at Salvage Yards

The first pro of course is saving money. You can get tons of used van parts at heavily discounted prices. Some examples are alternators for $18, batteries for $12, and a rear door for $75.


Another pro is that some salvage yards will sell you a warranty. This is usually about $10 to $15 per part. If you need to return the part for any reason you can get an exchange or credit. Most places give you 30 days to return.


Lastly you will find lots of manufacturer assembled parts. This is ideal if you are doing a van restoration project. Also its better to get factory assembled parts than after market, auto store, or custom fabricated parts.


For a list of tools That I carry to scavenge for parts, click here.

Cons of Buying Spare Van Parts

Quality is always the first concern. When you buy used parts for your van you don’t really know how much life they have left in them. Even a good inspection or test doesn’t tell you how the previous owner abused it. This is why its a good idea to ask about a warranty for any part you feel is pricey.


The next issue is simply finding the used van parts that you actually need. If the junkyard doesn’t have some organizational structure you could walk the yard all day and never find your make and model of van. To avoid this issue you can either call ahead or see if the van salvage near you has a searchable inventory online.

Van Salvage Yards Near Me Conclusion

If you need used van parts, a van salvage yard is by far your best place to look first. You can find cheap parts and possibly manufacturer assembled parts. Even if you don’t have an auto salvo exclusive to vans, other junkyards may have what you need.


If you are looking to junk your van, then you need to assess its value, prep it properly, and understand auto salvo negotiating tactics. Most yards will negotiate in good faith, but you should assume nothing. Your goal is to get the most value for your vehicle. That’s my experience from the Van salvage yards near me.