Are U-Pull-It junkyards getting too greedy?

Apr 27, 2010
Suburban Washington DC
I’m referring mainly to experiences with LKQ Pick A Part so maybe the independent ones are different. I can accept the $3 admission fee as they have a nice online inventory search function which you have to pay people to constantly update, as well as the convenience of the portable toilets. But it’s the individual parts prices that make going there less appealing.

I need an alternator and a/c compressor for an older car, both are seized up. The P.A.P. prices are $55 and $78 respectively. That includes the core charge and $10 and $16 for a warranty I normally would decline, but still, I found the same parts on Ebay for $35 and $31 respectively, shipped to my door. Didn’t have to spend half the day in cold windy weather and gallons of gas to get it either.

Not all parts are like that. I’ll be looking for a subframe next. That is $110 total, or $75 after core and without warranty at the P.A.P. Ones on Ebay are $350 to over $400 with the shipping. Regular junkyards also have them for $75 - $100 but are an even longer drive away. Not complaining, just making an observation
Yes those prices seem high, though some of it may be regional.

My local P&P prices have risen a little over the years but just checked and alternator $29, core $8, environmental fee $3... plus $3 admission fee.
Yes I would say your yard is hosing folks. A local U-Pull-It chain near me is charging $21.14 with a $5 core for an alternator. A/C compressor, $23.90 and $5 core.
I went to a large family-owned yard in Graham, TX a few weeks ago, took $240 with me thinking that was overkill. Didn't have enough money to get a grille, a totally sun bleached center console with a disintegrated armrest pad, right front fender and liner, so I used the fantastic plastic. Seemed exorbitant, but when you need it, and you don't want to mortgage your house to pay the shipping from somewhere else....
It sounds like your local market is quite different than where I live. I just checked prices at a very nice pull-a-part near me. They want $37 for an a/c compressor, with no core charge. And $20 for an alternator, plus a $5 core charge.
Pick n pull is what we have over here and the $3 entry fee doesn’t bother me because I’m sure it covers the little stuff people steal but some of the pricing on bigger parts does. And the $40 used batteries are a ripoff IMO.
And the $40 used batteries are a ripoff IMO.
Nearly $50 at this place with environmental fees and 90 day warranty. But for $10 more you can get a 1 year Walmart battery. If it's a name brand larger battery that's less than 20 months old, I'll take a chance with no warranty.
LKQ Keystone has gotten more and more expensive for collision parts to the point where they cost as much as OEM in some cases. Sure you'll get an extra bracket or trim piece but they have figured out their parts pricign to be close to OEM. I have gone with OEM many times on collision estimates after getting quotes.
It likely depends on the vehicle. LKQ uses flat rate pricing for everything. So a starter for my Nissan is the same price as a starter for a Benz - if they have one.

Also, I assume they know parts delivery sucks - so you may have no other choice.
Not greedy just staying open. The reality is some of the eBay sales might be junkyards pricing for market internet prices.
I see your point but it's a bit different for them to have to post a listing, pull and clean the part (internet buyers are more picky about that), pack and ship it. That's a double-digit value-of-time expense by itself. I guess it makes more sense if the yard has grunt kids they can task to do it since they don't want to get their hands dirty anyway. ;)

Regardless, supply and demand. Vehicles get more complex, cost of new repair parts go up, cost of used parts goes up too. That's what all this amazing tech has given us, a higher than ever cost to go from point A to point B, unless you're in the niche group that drives so many miles that you save on gas from better fuel economy.

That's the sad thing about the fuel economy mandates, that they punish those who were the least polluters all along from driving fewer miles, and reward those that were the worst polluters, due to fuel savings from driving enough miles to break even on higher repair costs.