A car in the auto salvage yard isn't always completely useless. The engine may be damaged or the axles bent, but the component you need for your car may be available—and cheap—inside that wreck. If the part you need is no longer in production or you're looking for more affordable used auto part sales, keep a few search and safety considerations in mind. 

Searching For The Right Vehicle Means Research

Not all car parts are from the same manufacturer. The make and model of your car means a lot when it comes to finding the right parts, but there could be a completely different make, model and year with the same part that could make your search easier. With a little research, you can expand your available parts and make the search a little less desperate.

The first thing to do is find out the exact model information of the part. For example, you need to look up more than just a water pump or alternator for a specific make and model; the part number, size and other details of that part can make it easier for you to get the same part in another vehicle.    

Cross reference that part number by searching for the vehicles that use it. A simple search engine question such as "What cars use Part X Model Y?" can lead you in the right direction, and any further questions can be answered with the help of a mechanic or an auto salvage yard professional.

Once you have the information ready, simply as the used auto parts or salvage yard professional to search for the vehicles or the part. Both details can be used to search through inventories to either get you directly to a part of the vehicle that may have the part.

Be Safe During The Search

If the auto part professional is getting the part for you, all is well as far as safety is concerned. If you're visiting a "pick and pull" salvage yard that allows you to search for and recover your own parts, you'll need to prepare yourself for optimum safety.

First, you'll need to know how to get to the part. Removing a part isn't as mechanically-challenging as fixing a vehicle or troubleshooting, but it can be difficult. Be sure to search for videos or documents explaining the best way to get to a part if you're mechanically inclined. If tangling with technology and physical hardware isn't your desire, ask a skilled mechanic to take care of the part removal for you.

With any salvaging, be mindful of dangers that may cut, stab or crush an unwary victim. Wear tear-resistant gloves if you plan on working inside metal areas and long-sleeve clothing if you need to get your arms deeper into the vehicle. If working in a salvage yard that is in a grassy area, be wary of snakes, wasps, bees and other natural dangers.

Contact a local auto wrecking professional (such as one from Bob Karl's Auto Wrecking) with parts available for search and sale to find the part you need.