Save money on car repairs at the junkyard

Visit junkyard for bargain car parts
Visit junkyard for bargain car parts

If you can assemble IKEA furniture, you have the skills to save yourself a lot of money on car maintenance. One strategy to maximize your savings on car parts is to visit your local junkyard.

How much can you save? I talked with David Edison, president of Edison Automotive, a large yard in Columbus, Ohio. He told me that his customers pay $35 for an alternator that might cost $125-$175 new or rebuilt from a parts store. An air compressor that he sells for $15 might cost $200 elsewhere. During my visit, I found a replacement for the missing hubcap on my 1995 Dodge Caravan for $5. The same from eBay motors would have cost me $30 with shipping.

Who uses junkyards? Edison said his customers are typically people who fixed their own cars, rather than car repair shops. These people drive cars 8-15 years old, the approximate age of the cars in his yard. If you have a newer car, you won't find parts here. However, as Edison said, "A driver with a 2005 Jag can afford to pay to have it maintained." Demand is highest for Japanese cars and pickup trucks.