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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Salvage yards do big business as people keep cars

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Salvage yards do big business as people keep cars

BY STEVEN COLE SMITH

THE ORLANDO SENTINEL

A socket wrench in one hand and a greasy red rag in the other, Roy Meyers worked under a junked Ford Taurus, removing its air-conditioning compressor.

"It's Florida," the Apopka, Fla., man said, "and you have to have air-conditioning in the summer."

His wife's 10-year-old Taurus needs some work, so Meyers is spending this particular Saturday afternoon at U-Pull-&-Pay, a self-service salvage yard near Orlando International Airport.

He's pulling parts from one of several Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable carcasses propped up on old, bare wheels.

He'll pay $35 for the compressor. New from Ford, the compressor would cost $373.32.

As budget-conscious consumers keep their cars longer in the struggling economy, salvage yards across the nation have reaped the rewards of more business.

A study conducted last February by AutoMD.com, a California-based auto repair information site, found that 56% of respondents planned to keep their current vehicle "until it dies," and another 13% planned to keep their current vehicle until it has at least 150,000 miles.

"Not only are consumers holding onto their vehicles for years longer but, more significantly, for miles longer, opting to repair and maintain rather than purchasing new," said AutoMD.com President Shane Evangelist.

Mike Philpott of Heathrow, Fla., considers himself typical. He drives a 1999 Ford pickup, and his wife has a 1997 BMW.

"The total cost of ownership for any new car or truck I'd be interested in far outweighs the maintenance and operating costs of my 1999 truck," he said.

Rachel Rigsby Lare, whose family owns Rigsby's Auto Salvage in Zephyrhills, Fla., has seen a steady uptick in the junkyard business.

Lare, also vice president of the Maitland-based Florida Auto Dismantlers and Recyclers Association, a statewide trade group for salvage operators, said for the first four months of 2010, her business was up by about 900 sales, or more than 8%, over the same period from 2009.

"And this trend has been going on for some time," she said, adding that the FADRA has 35 member salvage yards in central Florida alone.

Lare said that the fact people are driving cars longer has not made it substantially harder to acquire more vehicles.

"Most of ours are the result of collisions," she said. Her lot has more than seven acres of vehicles -- typically from 1,000 to 1,200 -- awaiting recycling.

"Automobiles are probably the most recycled item on the planet," she said. "We reuse everything. And I mean everything."

Terry Thompson, president of the FADRA and owner of Ole South Auto Salvage in Lake Placid, Fla., said he has seen an increased demand for mechanical parts such as engines, transmissions and air-conditioning compressors.

"Those are parts that you need to keep a vehicle on the road -- basic transportation from point A to point B -- and not so much the parts you need to just make a car look better," he said.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100529/BUSINESS01/5290358/1210/BUSINESS01/Salvage-yards-do-big-business-as-people-keep-cars

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While I know it's not good for the automakers, it is good to see people being less throw-away and instead of putting themselves deeper in debt, spending money smartly and keeping what they have.

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I now plan to keep the Cobalt until it dies or is no longer appropriate for my life situation.

If you asked me back in 2005 when I bought it if I still would have it in 2010 I probably would have said no.

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Never underestimate the good will that do-it-yourself-ism can buy a brand with the consumer base. Likewise (tho not the case) with affordable replacement parts.

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While I know it's not good for the automakers, it is good to see people being less throw-away and instead of putting themselves deeper in debt, spending money smartly and keeping what they have.

Bingo, we have a winner...

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I plan on keeping my Mercedes for a bit longer, I've driven it hard & have not been great about preventative maintenance but she's still 100% roadworthy with 217,000 miles.

I'd like to squeeze 250,000 miles out of the original engine/trans. and if possible drop in a diesel inline-6-turbo from a 300SEL.

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I have no intention to ever get rid of the Intrepid (my baby) or the Prizm (old faithful).

Intrepid is currently at 200,800 miles

Prizm is currently at 199,900 miles

The Grand Marquis is at 192,000 miles

The Shadow which is in storage right now is at 214,000 miles

So between them more than 800,000 miles. Not bad. Junkyards and parts stores (and sometimes the steelership) are my friends.

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I have no intention to ever get rid of the Intrepid (my baby) or the Prizm (old faithful).

Intrepid is currently at 200,800 miles

Prizm is currently at 199,900 miles

The Grand Marquis is at 192,000 miles

The Shadow which is in storage right now is at 214,000 miles

So between them more than 800,000 miles. Not bad. Junkyards and parts stores (and sometimes the steelership) are my friends.

I'm in the same boat... going to be hoarding my Pontiacs... as there are going to be less and less from this point on.

200K is nothing, though... they start getting real hard to keep together after 300K+

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I plan on keeping my Mercedes for a bit longer, I've driven it hard & have not been great about preventative maintenance but she's still 100% roadworthy with 217,000 miles.

I'd like to squeeze 250,000 miles out of the original engine/trans. and if possible drop in a diesel inline-6-turbo from a 300SEL.

Love that plan!

No doubt, I personally know a man with 500,000 miles on his 300M, I'm aiming to catch up to that. :P

Join the SCCA or NASA, come do some on track events, and you can reach that 500,000 just THAT much faster....:neenerneener::neenerneener::neenerneener::neenerneener::neenerneener:

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