If you haven't bought used auto parts from an auto dismantling or recycling business before it can be intimidating. You may have some preconceived ideas of what dealing with an auto dismantling business or junkyard might be like. Maybe you are thinking of a gruff man with a bad attitude and smoking a cigar while a mean dog in the background is barking at you. Then the man points to a scrap yard full of crashed cars and tells you the part is "out there" and you have to find it and pull it from the vehicle.
The description above may have been accurate years ago and maybe there are a couple places left like that, but for the most part the industry has progressed to the point where you can have a good experience buying used parts from professional auto recycling businesses. With that said, I think it would be helpful to many people to have some information about how you can get the parts you need for a good price and fix your car for much less than other options. Over the next few postings to this blog I will address some information that I have gathered in my 30 plus years in the auto parts recycling business.
First its best to start by figuring out what is wrong with your car and what part that your need to solve your problem. There are a couple ways to diagnose the problem. One way is to take your car to a mechanic and ask them to figure out the problem, which is probably the best option if you don't have mechanical experience yourself. There are mechanics that will use used parts, but some are skeptical about it because of the warranty that a used part may or may not have and they don't want to get caught in the middle of a problem (more about that later). The other option is to figure out what the problem is with the car by yourself. There a many forums on the internet and YouTube videos that can help with just about any issue with cars. Many of these do it yourself options can be found by searching on the internet through google and other search engines.
Once you find out what the problem is with the car then you can arm yourself with good information when you call or email the auto parts recycling business of your choosing (next post on the blog). Now that you have narrowed down which part is bad, now you will have good information when you call to get your part. Most auto dismantling businesses have some working knowledge of cars, but for the most part they are not highly skilled mechanics that repair cars on a daily basis and almost no one can diagnose a car problem over the phone.
Any part number or specific name of the part can be a great help to recycling business to find you the correct part. Most auto dismantling places, even specialized ones, have thousands of different parts in their inventory and only about half of them can be inventoried and put in their computers because of some limitations in the computer program that is used. Most places are professional and will take the time to help you, but if you don't have the information needed they probably can not quote you a price or give you information about availability. An easy request would be something like "I have a 2001 Audi A6 with the 2.8 V6 engine and my alternator is bad". Providing the most information that you can up front will save you time and multiple phone calls.
I'm Vince FaGalde and I've been in the auto dismantling businesses since I was 15 working for my father pulling parts on the weekends and after school. Since then I have worked in every position in the industry and have owned three different specialized recycling businesses.