The Car Boneyard

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Do you know why the Air Force maintains one of the biggest storage facilities for aircraft in the world? Other than to reduce its operational fleet of planes as per arms reduction treaties, the Air Force uses it to store surplus airframes and parts. Any country looking to buy aircraft from the U.S., particularly second-hand ones, will come from the preserved units in the “boneyard.”

The automotive market also maintains their own boneyard, namely dealerships of used auto parts. Old cars come in to these facilities to be stripped of parts that can be resold as second-hand parts. Of course, these auto parts are checked for integrity and performance. It’s expensive for both the consumer and manufacturer to open a new line for making out-of-production parts.

You may ask yourself: “What parts can be reused?” One word sums the answer: dozens. You can find bumper assemblies, axle shafts, fuel tanks, windshields, seats, taillights, mufflers, and other parts that can still be used as replacement parts in other vehicles. Some of these parts, notably the fenders, don’t get worn out as fast as engine parts.

So long as people find reasons to dump their old rides, these car boneyards will keep on filling up with usable parts which other car owners and dealerships can buy to replace damaged car parts. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

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