Need a spare part for your car? Try a local scrapyard

It may be the end of the road for these cars but before recycling they are stripped of reuseable par

It may be the end of the road for these cars but before recycling they are stripped of reuseable parts, which can make a thrifty alternative to buying new. Picture: JERRY TURNER

At one time, when your car needed a little TLC or a replacement part, chances are you’d head to a local scrapyard for spares, pull out your Haynes manual, roll up your sleeves and get on with the job yourself.

That’s certainly what I remember my dad doing when I was a child, as long as it was nothing too complicated or involving brakes.

And because the cars he owned had invariably clocked up a few miles before they found their way to him, trips to our nearest scrapyard, at Brettenham, were fairly common.

Nowadays, cars, like much else, have changed. Not only are modern vehicles too big to fit in most domestic garages, they are so mechanically complicated that the enthusiastic amateur can often do little but scratch their head in confusion after lifting the bonnet.

So much so that when it comes to regular servicing, we either pay a garage to do it for us or, increasingly it seems, don’t bother to get it done at all. According to the AA, half of the 3.4 million call-outs it attends each year are caused by poor maintenance.

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I do still get my car professionally serviced, but for any annoying little niggles that need replacement parts, my first port of call is always my local scrapyard. And it hasn’t let me down yet.

My most recent visit was for a replacement glove box. The ‘catches’ keeping mine closed had long been dodgy but an encounter with a pothole finished it off completely and it fell open, never to close again.

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I looked at several online forums for ideas to fix it. Some advocated taking the box unit out, prizing apart the sealed door unit and tightening the spring inside. I tried, but after half an hour was getting no-where. So rang the scrapyard instead. They had a replacement glove box for £15, almost half the price of those being offered by distant online sellers.

My ‘new’ glove box is actually from an older car but the catches are far more sturdy than the original. Sturdy enough, I think, to withstand anything a pothole could throw at it, which is probably a good thing, as there are a lot of potholes about.

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