Let's face it; the cost of everything in our daily lives is going up, including car parts. The days of cheap and quick fixes are long gone in an automotive world dominated by electronics and computers. What used to be a $50 fix just 20 years ago can cost hundreds of dollars now. So when it's time to have the car fixed one of the questions many consumers find themselves asking is whether or not they should buy used parts from a salvage yard.
On the positive side, parts from a yard can usually be had at a price averaging half what a new part costs. Also, in an attempt to compete with new parts stores and other salvage yards, a large percentage of modern used parts sellers have gone the extra mile to be the best in their area. That includes pre-stripping cars and warehousing parts, computerizing inventory, and even linking up electronically with other yards around the nation. While the old pick-and-pull salvage yards still exist, their numbers are shrinking. That's good to the extent that it usually means higher quality parts for the buyer.
If you're looking for body parts like bumpers and doors, the salvage junk yard is an excellent place to go. Non-mechanical body parts are really "what-you-see-is-what-you-get"; there aren't usually many failure issues with them. If you're purchasing mechanical parts, or those directly linked to car safety, be very cautious about using salvage part yards. As an example, it's probably not a good idea to buy used parts for your braking system. Water pumps and radiators also deserve caution.
Finally, if you're restoring an old classic, a salvage junk yard may be the only place you'll be able to find parts. In this case you don't much have a choice. But if you're mechanically inclined enough to do a complete restoration, you probably also possess the knowledge and skill to make sure any used parts you buy are up to the task. At the end of the day, the yard can be a gold mine if you know what you're looking for.