Finding a good scrap yard, for salvage metal, parts or even selling your own junk vehicle might seem like a good idea.

After all it is good for the wallet, good for the environment, and if you are carrying out a car restoration that is more like a labour of love than a chore it can be a huge amount of fun, especially when you find that rare part you’ve been looking for. But finding the right yard, with the right parts isn’t always easy.

Even though the rising cost of metals, and the return to a ‘make do and mend’ have made salvage yards a far more lucrative business these days, they can still be harder to find than you might think.

Be prepared to travel out of town, or further

It is entirely possible to find a good junk yard nearby. But it is rare to find one in the centre of town. After all who wants a huge salvage yard, with the noise and dust in their backyard?

And besides, a yard in the centre of town may not yield some of the exciting finds you are hoping for. Perhaps, you are selling a scrap vehicle instead and to shop around the find the best price. Whatever service you require, the chances are at some point you will need to look at yards that are more out of the way or in a rural setting, especially if this becomes a more serious hobby or your professions, rather than just a quick repair job on the family vehicle.

Do not restrict yourself to the yard you remember passing once when grocery shopping, do your research and see what is around. You will likely be surprised just how many options you have in a fairly close radius.

Start your search online to save time

Sometimes, you just need a part quickly to get yourself back on the road. Or you might know you have limited time for junk yard digging and want to get to the right place quickly. The your best option is to use an online search tool like

Simply by entering a zip code, address or city name it will show you all the yards across the US and Canada, and the ones closest to you. It can also be filtered to show only those that are open when you need it to be. After all you don’t want to go all the way across town only to find it a wasted trip. You may find that you even need to book an appointment to visit the yard.

Call ahead and check what services are offered

It is not just the opening times you need to check or to make an appointment. You need to find out what services are offered.

For example with a full-service, the yard crew will find your part, extract it and bring it to you at the desk, simple and easier. However, this is often a little more expensive due to the additional work.

The alternative, which is sometimes cheaper and more fun is to go to a yard that lets you loose on your own to find and extract parts (obviously having signed a personal injury waiver first!). If this is the case, you will need to know in order to bring the right tools. Unless you fancy trying to wrestle parts from derelict vehicles with your bare hands.

Don’t forget to check the stock and the warranty

Don’t forget to double check what type of vehicles the salvage yard specialise in.  You might find that the yard only works with scrap trucks or RVs. Or perhaps it is mostly popular and common domestic-brand cars. Useful for a car repair, not so great for a special item from an international or vintage maker.

A decent salvage yard should also offer some sort of warranty or quality assurance on the vehicle. Especially if you are buying a whole scrap vehicle to repair yourself. So ask them what type of cover they can offer you. You don’t want to be stung by a nasty surprise later.

Finally, ask about price, whether buying parts or selling. By comparing the offers you can be sure to find the best deal, and make sure you are not paying over the odds for something that can easily be found cheaper elsewhere with a quick online search and a phone call.