Finding Professional Salvage Yards in Denver and Online

What to look for when comparing professional salvage yards to junkyards.

By Ben Silver - April 20, 2022

Salvage Yards vs Junkyards - Finding a Professional

The used auto parts industry is a much scrutinized one due to a past history of businesses that operated outside of the professional norm.  There was plenty of "fly by night" salvage yards and even "junk yards" that just didn't operate professionally or ethically.  Over time, many states and even national organizers have created associations in an attempt to separate the "Professional Automotive Recycler" from the "Junk Yard".  Sure, we're all selling used auto parts, but there can be a large gap in professionalism between parts dealers.  This is a summary of associations nationally and specifically in Colorado that are in place to regulate and certify salvage yards.

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Colorado Automotive Recyclers Association

“The Colorado Automotive Recyclers Association (CAR) is dedicated to providing support for the automotive recycling industry and consumers in the State of Colorado. Our members are local business owners that provide honest service and value to Colorado consumers and help to protect our environment by reducing the number of cars that go the landfills.” 

CAR is a solid organization in the State of Colorado, serving salvage yards in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins, and employs a relatively thorough membership application process.  This process is in place to determine, A) Is the interested company, in fact, an automotive recycler. B) Are they legitimate business with all necessary certifications and permits, and C) are they a lawful, ethical, and safe automotive recycling organization.

If you are looking for used auto parts, engines, transmissions, or any other parts for your car or truck, I would start with a CAR Member if you’re in the state of Colorado.


Automotive Service Association – Colorado

“The Automotive Service Association of Colorado advances professionalism and excellence among its members through education, representation and member services.”

“The Automotive Service Association of Colorado (ASA-CO) is an affiliate of ASA, the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind serving automotive service professionals. Since 1951, ASA has been dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. ASA's membership base includes numerous affiliate, state and chapter groups from both the mechanical and collision repair segments of the automotive service industry. Members of the association perform mechanical, auto body and transmission repairs and strive to improve the image of the automotive service industry by committing themselves to quality repairs and the best possible service at a fair price.”

“MISSION - The Automotive Service Association of Colorado advances professionalism and excellence among our members through education, representation and member services.”

ASA-CO is an association for service providers (Auto Body Shops, Garages, Etc.,) but Salvage Yards can join as “Associate Members” in support of these companies.  If a Salvage Yard is a member of these types of organizations, it shows their commitment and support for their customer base.  This is a good sign that you are dealing a professional used parts dealer.


BBB Denver/Boulder

“The Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau is dedicated to promoting and fostering the highest ethical relationships between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence.”

It’s no secret who these guys are or what they do.  They’re the preeminent association for businesses to be recognized as ethical and upstanding or shady and underhanded.  They have a very thorough process of vetting automotive recyclers, junkyards, and  salvage yards, while handling complaints, and grading companies based on their reputation and actions.  It’s not horribly difficult to be an “A+” member if you are professional and ethical in your sale and sitrinution of used auto parts.  I would look to these “A+” used auto parts dealers first.  You can search the website specifically by industry like, "Salvage Yards", "Junkyards", or by "used auto parts".  You can also identify the city you want to look at, like Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins.


Automotive Recyclers Association – CAR/Gold Seal

“Since 1943, the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is an international trade association which has represented an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of automotive parts, and the safe disposal of inoperable motor vehicles.” 

“ARA services approximately 1,000 member companies through direct membership and over 2,000 other companies through our affiliated chapters. Suppliers of equipment and services to this industry complete ARA's membership. ARA is the only trade association serving the automotive recycling industry in 12 countries internationally.”

“ARA aims to further the automotive recycling industry (salvage yards) through various services and programs to increase public awareness of the industry's role in conserving the future through automotive recycling and to foster awareness of the industry's value as a high quality, low cost alternative for the automotive consumer. ARA encourages aggressive environmental management programs to assist member facilities in maintaining proper management techniques for fluid and solid waste materials generated from the disposal of motor vehicles.” (4)

ARA is a great organization, especially on a legislative level.  They are a very active organization in Washington to protect the interest of automotive recyclers and salvage yards.

Certified Automotive Recycler - Established in 1994, the CAR program was created to produce a set of standards for salvage yards best practices as well as environmental and safety issues and to provide guidance for member facilities in adhering to these standards. This program is one of the cornerstones of the ARA as the facilities participating strive to provide quality service and parts for the professional automotive recycling industry.”

Gold Seal - The ARA Gold Seal program, available only to those ARA members who have completed CAR certification, ensures excellence in customer satisfaction through improved customer service, quality used auto parts with accurate descriptions, reliable on-time deliveries and written product warranties.” 

The above programs are designed specifically to separate junkyards and certify the most professional sellers of used auto patrs and truck parts.  Great salvage yards  are generally “Gold Seal” Certified, URG800 Accredited, or both.


United Recyclers Group – URG 8000

“Established in 1995, United Recyclers Group, LLC was created through the efforts of three dynamic auto recyclers. Their goal was to obtain more control over their parts data, and bring to the marketplace an inventory management system that was created by auto recyclers and salvage yards.  Today, the vision of these three used auto parts providers has formed the largest progressive group of auto recyclers in North America. With over 375 partners throughout the U.S. and Canada, URG has created one of the most proactive organizations for the professional salvage yard.”

Mission Statement - “To provide superior products and services to our partners, to connect all parties within the auto salvage industry to our members, and to help our members through cooperative buying, advertising, software programs and information services.” 

“To improve the quality of used auto parts and service, URG has created a set of standards called URG 8000. These standards are fashioned after the ISO 9000 certification program.”

The “URG8000” program for salvage yards is very comparable to the “Gold Seal” program from ARA.  The salvage yard or junkyard that is applying for the certification or accreditation has to go a thorough process of documentation, best practices implementation, and physical audits before they are in the club. Salvage yards in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins can apply for these certifications, so check there credentials in this regard.


Team PRP – Premium Recycled Parts

Team PRP is a national network of over 100 independent used auto parts distributors united in providing top quality replacement parts, exceptional warranties and personal service to the professional repairer.”

Team PRP was developed and designed to create a network of the best salvage yards in the country.  This allows trade of high quality used auto parts between the best salvage yards to occur at a lower cost and faster delivery. My belief is that Team PRP is the cream of the crop.  Generally speaking, they are the longest standing, most decorated and professional recyclers in their region.  You will not find any junkyards in this group.  Look for the Team PRP logo if you want to assure yourself that you are buying from the best.


Blog written By Ben Silver, CEO/Owner –Central Auto Parts (Former President of Colorado Automotive Recyclers, Associate Member ASA-CO, URG8000 Accredited, BBB A+, and Proud Member of Team PRP)

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