Self Service Junkyards: How It Works

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Self Service Junkyards

If you have an old car that’s taking up space in your garage or driveway, you might be wondering what to do with it. Selling it to a junkyard is a common solution, but have you ever heard of a self-service junkyard? In this blog post, we will explore what self-service junkyards are, how they work, provide examples of self-service junkyards, and answer some frequently asked questions.

What is a self-service junkyard?

A self-service junkyard, also known as a scrap yard or salvage yard, is a type of junkyard where customers are allowed to enter the yard and remove parts from the vehicles themselves. Unlike traditional junkyards where the staff does all the work, self-service junkyards give you the opportunity to find and remove the parts you need at a lower cost.

How do self-service junkyards work?

Self-service junkyards operate on a simple premise: you bring your own tools, pay an entrance fee, and then you are free to roam the yard and search for the parts you need. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how these yards typically work:

1. Entrance fee

When you arrive at a self-service junkyard, you will usually be required to pay an entrance fee. This fee can vary depending on the yard and location, but it is generally a small amount.

2. Sign-in and safety briefing

Once you’ve paid the entrance fee, you will need to sign in and receive a brief orientation on safety rules and regulations. This is important to ensure everyone’s safety while in the yard.

3. Bring your own tools

Self-service junkyards do not provide tools, so it’s essential to bring your own. Basic tools such as wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers are usually sufficient for most tasks. It’s also a good idea to bring gloves and wear appropriate clothing for the job.

4. Locate the vehicle

Once you’re inside the yard, you’ll need to locate the vehicle that has the parts you need. Most self-service junkyards organize their inventory by make and model, making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.

5. Remove the parts

Once you’ve found the vehicle, you can start removing the parts you need. It’s important to follow safety guidelines and use proper techniques to avoid injury. If you’re unsure about how to remove a specific part, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from the yard staff.

6. Pay for the parts

After you’ve successfully removed the parts you need, you’ll need to pay for them. Self-service junkyards usually have a checkout area where you can pay for the parts you’ve taken. Prices for parts in self-service junkyards are typically lower than what you would find in traditional auto parts stores.

Examples of self-service junkyards

There are several self-service junkyards across the country. Here are a few examples:

  • Pick-n-Pull: With over 50 locations in the United States and Canada, Pick-n-Pull is one of the largest self-service junkyard chains. They have a wide selection of vehicles and offer competitive prices on parts.
  • U-Pull & Pay: U-Pull & Pay has locations in several states and allows customers to bring their own tools and remove the parts they need. They also offer a searchable online inventory, making it easier to find the vehicles you’re looking for.
  • Ecology Auto Parts: Ecology Auto Parts has multiple locations in California and Arizona. They have a large inventory of vehicles and offer a customer loyalty program that provides additional discounts on parts.

Are self-service junkyards only for experienced mechanics?

Self-service junkyards are open to anyone, regardless of their mechanical experience. However, having some basic knowledge of cars and how they work can be helpful when searching for and removing parts.

Can I return a part if it doesn’t work?

Most self-service junkyards do not offer returns or refunds on parts. It’s important to inspect the parts before removing them and make sure they are in good condition.

Are self-service junkyards environmentally friendly?

Self-service junkyards can be considered environmentally friendly as they promote recycling and reusing of parts. By salvaging usable parts from old vehicles, self-service junkyards help reduce waste and the need for new manufacturing.

Can I sell my car to a self-service junkyard?

Some self-service junkyards may buy cars, but it’s best to check with the specific yard beforehand. If they do buy cars, they will likely offer a lower price compared to what you might get by selling it privately.


Self-service junkyards provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for those in need of car parts. By allowing customers to remove parts themselves, these yards offer lower prices and the satisfaction of finding parts on your own. Remember to bring your own tools, follow safety guidelines, and enjoy the treasure hunt for the parts you need. Click here to find self service junkyards near you.

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