The kind that make pacific northwesterners cringe and quickly move out of your way when you drive a narrow street. That is Rosie, she is the definition of a BEAST. The problem with my truck is it was made in 1987, so finding parts for her is like bringing back something from the dead.
When looking for essential things like oil filters and wiper blades–I have no trouble. That is a quick trip to pretty much any parts store or gas station. It’s when ‘the beast’, parked on those narrow streets, gets hit by a careless Ballard driver that makes for a challenge. In this case, they took out my side view mirror. It seems like that would be a common part to replace or find for any vehicle, but when your car is 26 years old things are complicated. Car manufacturers no longer make parts for your dinosaur sending the message, ‘buy a new one already’.
So the search begins, and this time looking through Amazon prime listings isn’t going to help me. First, I had to figure out what cars have the same style of body as mine and start looking around for parts from those models. This takes me to ebay. This option is a decent one, but I hate dealing with auctions. I would much prefer getting something at my convenience when I’m thinking about it. Waiting for an auction to end requires time that I don’t have in my day-to-day life.
This leaves ancient car owners with another option….the salvage yard. For first timers this might sound intimidating, to me it is convenience. To have a second hand part in my hand that I can compare to the old one is priceless and usually the prices are pretty good. In addition, there is no waiting for auctions and although there might be a little sketchiness when acquiring the part it is far better than your average Craigslist interaction.
The infrastructure of salvage yards like ‘Pick ‘n Pull’ is pretty simplistic and relatively old school. They have the sophistication to allow you to look up a year/make/model of a car at a given location online, but if they could somehow get the individual parts online making it more convenient for the tech savvy consumer they would increase their business. In addition, if they offered a service for people willing to pay a premium where they would ‘pick, pull and ship’ for you they could make a lot of money. I would prefer to buy body parts from a parts store, but until I have a car less than 10 years old I will stick to the salvage yard.