A lot of cars, especially imports, can have very expensive parts. As a general rule, the more expensive the car: the more expensive the part. In some cases, such as old cars being restored or particularly rare cars, the part may be impossible to find at all. For some auto restorers or mechanics this can be where Salvage Auctions come into play. We talk to people everyday, who don’t care if the car is parts-only or Certificate of Destruction because they are only buying it for the parts. Salvage auctions can be a place to get a good deal on a car, but for a lot of people they are a good place to get a great deal on parts.
Think about it like this: you own a diesel truck. For some reason your particulate filter breaks. The part alone on a diesel particulate filter replacement can run you up to 3 or 4 thousand US dollars. It is possible to find the same model of truck that was totaled for pretty cheap. In many cases, even with shipping, buying the car just for this part could be cheaper than buying the part new, especially if you do the labor yourself anyway. And you could always keep other parts that were in good condition for the next time something breaks on your truck.
Before you go shopping around an auto auction like SalvageBid looking for parts, the most important thing to know is that you have to move the entire vehicle. Even if you just need a single part, when you buy a whole car at auction you have to take possession of the whole car. This means that you need to plan on shipping a whole car away from the auction location. Remember that even if the car is badly damaged you should still aim for a vehicle with 4 wheels and a two working axles because it will be cheaper to ship and unload.
Getting a whole car when you just need parts is not necessarily a bad thing. One thing to remember is that if you need an expensive or rare part for a car someone else probably needs one too. What better way to make some money than selling off other parts of the vehicle? This is in addition to the money you can save on your own repairs. There are specialists who make a whole business out of chopping up salvage vehicles for the valuable parts that others need. Then when you’ve gotten all the parts you think you can use, there are usually even buyers for the frame or people who just want the metal.