Choosing Salvageable Body Parts
Buying new, OEM or aftermarket body parts can be very expensive. That is one of the reasons why visiting your local salvage yard can be an uplifting experience. Buying salvage body parts can save you as much as 70%.
But you might want to go beyond your local area in search of a salvage yard that has the parts you need. Why? Because some of the bigger ones have a staggering array of almost any type of body part imaginable.
You can choose from stacks of windshields and rear windows. Most dealers carefully mark the year, model and make on the glass so you don't have to guess.
In the United States, dealers specialize in entire front-end units. Make sure the one you take home has all of the trim, emblems, and detail that is hard to find and add to the unit otherwise.
When choosing a bumper, make sure it is free of dents, scuffs or bends. Also check for pitting through the chrome and corrosion. Salvage yard dust and dirt can often hide such flaws.
Sometimes you can find even an older body panel that has no rust on it. Or a body panel may have been replaced but a small amount of welding will make it like new. Either way, you have a real find. But be prepared to bargain with the dealer - they usually know what they've got.
You can find doors of all kinds, including side doors for vans, and liftgates for station wagons and SUVs. These body parts, often damaged in minor accidents, can cost a small fortune to buy new. Remember new doors come totally unfinished, with no hardware. Buying used from a salvage yard can save you the refinishing effort and they can save you money because doors available at salvage yards are ready to mount. Tip: carefully check these body parts for rust in damp climates.
Auto restoration specialist will find salvage yards especially useful for those hard-to-find small body parts. Search for these on wrecks that have been almost completely stripped.
In addition, you can find hoods, including all the hardware and accessories needed to install them; grilles so you can lose that "grandma's teeth" look inexpensively; rocker panels and quarter panels that you can use immediately; and fenders that have protective undercoating and plastic shielding, plus lights attached.
So think used when you need a body part. You can save a lot of money when you do. And don't forget: dealers are always there to help you find parts and answer questions. They have years of experience and are happy to share their knowledge and expertise.