Junkyard Lingo

By George Nenadovich

Here are some common terms used at the junkyard / salvage yard with some interpretations to help you understand them and when to use them.

1. Scale Car - Car arrives at the yard with no engine, trans, bumpers, fenders, doors etc. This is what some club members do with cars once they are done with them. This is also known as a crusher. The car gets processed -- remove gas tank, tires, valuable metals such as ac condensor, radiator and catalytic converters and then placed in the crusher.

2. Processing Area - This is where cars are prepared for placement in the u-pull-it area of the yard. Catalytic converters, gas and gas tanks are removed as well as all fluids such as engine oil, brake fluid, radiator fluid, power steering fluid, tranny oil, rear gear oil and of course Freon.

3. Core Charge - This is when the yard charges a small fee to help you decide to return the bad parts you are going to replace with the ones you just bought. This is also known as Let s charge the customer some more money. 

4. Yard Crawler - When you need to get under the car in the dirt/mud to remove some parts and do not want to get filthy laying in the dirt. The best yard crawlers are the trunk carpets from full size cars such as Cadillacs, Electras, Bonnevilles, Olds 98 etc.

5. Trunk Treasure - Goodies you find in the trunk such as power tools, hand tools, auto chemicals such as carb cleaner and small Freon cans, never used orig spare tire, uninstalled auto parts etc. Most commonly found in cars that someone started to fix and gave up so they loaded everything in the car and called the yard to come haul it away after realizing they do not know what they are doing or they ran out of money before they got started.

6. Glove Box Gold - Like new owner s manuals you find in some four door cars that are in excellent condition and are junked for obvious reasons - wrecked, blown engine or not so obvious reasons - abandoned vehicle, impound car.

7. Grease Bomb - Describes the engine compartment and front under carriage of a car that looks like the front six feet were submerged in a vat of grease. This usually results from leaky valve covers, oil pan, timing chain cover and other unknown forces of the automotive environment.

8. Carcass Car - Describes a Skylark after one or more club members have pulled all the good parts off a car such as front clip, doors, bumpers, interior and drivetrain. The only thing left is the rear clip and frame although these parts have been known to disappear. See #1.

9. Universal Trunk Opener - Also known as a large flat blade screwdriver. It is used to pry out the trunk lock cylinder and pop the trunk when no keys are found in the car. It is also used in some states to operate the ignition to get a free parts car.

10. Ford/Chrysler Tools - You use these tools to remove parts that you can not remove with normal hand tools. Usually occurs when the parts are rusted, welded in place, have stripped fasteners and/or you forgot the right tools at home. You have to use a hammer and chisel to remove the part. These tools always seem to remove the part and they can be used on all parts.

11. Custom Drop Top - Aka four door convertibles the factory never made. Just before a four door ends up in the yard, someone decides to make a convertible out of it by cutting off the roof. Also called a parade car by some individuals.

12. Serious Yarder - Someone who is known by all the yard personnel and is on a first name basis. Also, refers to someone who brings a generator to the yard to operate power tools and may also have a gas powered metal chop saw to cut up the salvage car. Several club members qualify for this title!

13. Locking Lug Nut Removal Tool - aka #10. Three pound sledge hammer and large chisel. You never find the locking lug nut key in the car so you need to use the three pounder to break the stud or using the chisel, slowly rotate the locking nut with mild hits and at unusual angle.

14. Parts Quandry - This occurs when you run across a part and do not know if you have a spare or extras at home. After buying the part and putting it away at home, you realize you already have three others and they are in better condition.

15. Heartbreak Car - This is a car you find in the yard that is in excellent condition and is in better condition than the car you are trying to repair. This term also refers to the car you have been trying to buy for some time for a decent price only to find it in the yard knowing the owner got $100 or less for it.

16. Posi-tively Not - this is your chance of finding a posi rear or 12 bolt rear in the yard.

17. Five minutes won t make a difference? - The question you ask yourself after finding someone else in the process of removing parts you need after arriving five minutes after the yard opens.
18. Junkyard Gold - The rare parts you find once or twice a year that are worth their weight in gold such as rust-free core supports and passenger side fenderwells.

19. Parts Frustration, Part bad luck - Related to #14. Occurs when you find a part this week you needed last week when you had to buy a new one which costs five times the used part. Also occurs when you decide you do not need the part then realize next weekend you need it. So, you go back to the yard thinking it is still there and you only find #8.

20. Tool Time - No, this is not related to the TV show Home Improvement. This occurs when you check the car you worked on and immediate area to make sure you did not forget any tools. You would be surprised at how many tools you will find if you look hard enough. This is also a good way to find some tools left behind by other yarders.

21. Hide & Seek - Occurs two weeks before the all-you-can-carry sale for $30. You bury, hide, stash, disguise, dismantle and/or relocate to another manufacturers section i.e. GM parts in Ford section. Clearly evident prior to the sale with a lot of yarders removing parts but no one leaving the yard with any parts. When the sale occurs, you try to remember where the parts are located and sometimes learn that someone else found your parts and took them. This is part of the risk with the hide & seek method.

22. Yard Engineering - Occurs during the all-you-can-carry sale. You have to carry the parts ten yards. An infinite number of ways to carry parts will be tested, some with success. This is an excellent way to test seat belt strength which are used to carry heads, rims, short blocks and disc brake set-ups.