Learning how to do your own car repairs and maintenance is essential when you are living on a budget, and it makes you look awesome when you can fix your friend's broken door handle with the twist of a few screws. As you begin to tackle more do-it-yourself projects, you will quickly discover that visiting your local scrap yard is the perfect way to save even more money, and in some instances, it is the only way to score hard-to-find parts. Before you head into the jungle of forgone vehicles, brush up on these tips that will keep you safe and help you avoid looking like a total newbie.
Know Where You Are Going
To a beginner, it may seem that all scrap places are alike. However, some will let you go in and pick your own parts, while others prefer for you to call ahead and tell them what you need so they can have it waiting for pick up. You can also find yards that are designated for a specific make of car, and it will do you no good to show up looking for a window crank for your pick up truck when the yard is filled with foreign sports cars. Check with your preferred salvage yard beforehand to make sure they have what you need in stock. This way, you don't end up hunting for hours to no avail or showing up without the required tools.
Pack What You Need
Speaking of tools, you will need to come prepared with everything you need to remove the part safely if you visit a self-service yard. While you want to be prepared, you also must balance that with having to carry everything you pack. Think of it as being like a camping trip. Tools that serve multiple purposes will serve you well. It is also smart to leave those just-in-case items in the car while you explore. Pack a few essentials, such as a pry bar, ratchet set, and combination screwdriver into your bag. Then, add extras such as cardboard for on-ground work to your trunk so you can retrieve it only if you need it.
Practice Junk Yard Etiquette
Grease monkeys may be known for being pretty chill about a lot of things. However, there are some rules in place that ensure both safety and the preservation of the vehicles in the yard. When you arrive at the yard, you may be asked to review the safety provisions they have in place and leave your name at the desk. While it is sometimes necessary to cut through things like wires to remove a part, the general consensus is to only destroy what is necessary since you never know what someone else will need to use. Finally, have fun. Salvage yard aficionados will tell you that this is the ideal place to pick up a few extra pieces that you can take apart and put together as you learn new auto repair techniques.
A trip to the local junk yard is always an experience, and you can pick up new knowledge while saving on auto parts for your repairs. While you want to arrive prepared, have no fear about letting your salvage guy know that you are new there since they can point you in the right direction. Then, get ready to explore and pick the parts that will make you look like a superstar on your next auto repair.