Most drivers buy parts from salvage yards to support the basic operation of their vehicles, such as rods from the undercarriage, panels from the body, components from the cabin, parts from the wheel area, pieces of the engine, and, sometimes, the whole engine.
The idea that some parts might not be suitable to purchase simply because of what they are doesn't enter the equation.
There are, however, some car parts that - while they aren't necessarily bad to purchase from salvage yards - should be purchased with great caution. Before you buy any of these parts, be sure to inspect them carefully. If necessary, ask the advice of a parts specialist at the junkyard before you pull the parts and transport them to the payment counter.
2/32" is the minimum acceptable tread depth for a car tire. As TireRack.com explains, "Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Lincoln's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32" of tread depth remaining."
Shallow tread depth isn't the only Achilles Heel of a tire. The metal bands that hold tires together can start to wear through. And tires that have been garaged for a while can become dry rotted and cracked. But you often find reusable tires at junkyards. Just be sure to measure the thread and watch for for silver bands in the rubber.
2. Engine Belts
All cars have an accessory belt (a.k.a. serpentine belt). Some cars have a timing belt, too, if they don't have a timing chain. In assessing whether either of these belts is worth removing from a junker, remember that accessory belts and timing belts are manufactured to last roughly 100,000 miles and 150,000 miles, respectively.
3. Brake Pads
Brake pads are some of a car's most used components, yet they hold up a long time. Depending on what the pads are made of, they could easily last over 30,000 miles -- and that's a conservative estimate. In addition to checking how much of the pad is left, observe the wear pattern of the pad. If it is worn at an angle or in another uneven contour, look for a different pad.
Tires, engine belts, and brake pads. Not exactly auto parts you think someone would buy from a junkyard, but head down to your local junkyard, and you're likely to find these parts in good condition on a variety of cars. If you're interested in these parts, call a salvage yard today.
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