Business

Poulsbo's Yank-A-Part cleans up with eco-friendly approach

Yank-A-Part Auto Wrecking is sporting new owners and a refreshed yard for auto parts. The 10-acre scrap yard changed ownership several months ago. - Brad Camp/Staff photo
Yank-A-Part Auto Wrecking is sporting new owners and a refreshed yard for auto parts. The 10-acre scrap yard changed ownership several months ago.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

POULSBO — There are Chevrolets. There are Hondas, Fords, Nissans and Toyotas. Rows of them sit, some with wheels, others still emblazoned with bumper stickers and window decals. They line 10 acres, many of them facing one another with their hoods ajar, seeming in mid-gulp. This is Yank-A-Part, a self-help wrecking yard that bucks the go-to cemetery metaphor. Instead it appears like a well-kempt candy store for car hounds, where faded machines sit ripe for the picking, sorting and sifting of usable parts.

From trucks and sedans to mini-vans, more than 550 retired autos currently comprise the Yank-A-Part catalogue, said owner Brad Johnson. That’s a larger number than the yard has boasted in years, and it’s not the only change since Johnson, his brother Mike Johnson and business partner Dave Ellis took over 10 months ago. With a bigger, more varied selection of cars, Johnson said Yank-A-Part is now shifting into sustainability gear, making sure its operation is eco-friendly. That’s no easy task when dealing with vehicle remnants, but Yank-A-Part’s managed to fill the recycling bill in a number of ways.

“The big green thing is what’s really important right now,” Johnson said, referencing a recent kudos given by health department inspectors who said the yard looks cleaner than ever. Yank-A-Part has existed under the watch of other owners since 1962, but Johnson said it is only now the place has truly made efforts to keep its surroundings healthy.

“We’re working our way up the step ladder,” he said.

Once a car enters Yank-A-Part, it’s assessed to see if it can possibly be turned loose on the road once more, or if it should land in the Crush Pile, a hill-sized scrap heap where dated sets of wheels are sent when they’ve reached the end of their usability. From there they’re crushed, shredded and often shipped overseas to be melted into new form.

But if a car’s innards are still motor-worthy, it becomes a part of the wrecking yard, which is organized by makes and models. Before it is sent there, it is stripped of its tires and drained to the very last drop, protecting Yank-A-Part’s soils.

“If we see oil spilt anywhere, we’re on it,” Johnson said. All fluids — anti-freeze, gasoline, oil — are recycled or sold at a discount. The oil, for example, is used to run the office heating system during the winter.

Yank-A-Part isn’t steered by the types of cars and trucks that come to it. “If the telephone rings and we don’t have the part, the telephone’s telling us what to buy,” said Johnson, adding they’ll purchase certain cars specifically to part them to meet customers’ needs.

And in essence its customers are what Yank-A-Part’s all about. The only self-help yard in Kitsap, anyone looking for an automotive part can peruse the grounds and pull parts on their own; it’s a system Johnson said is good for shoppers, as parts come cheaper when no labor costs are added. Yank-A-Part offers assistance to those who’d like it at an hourly rate. He said the staff members are focused on accommodation, and are happy to go out of their way to help.

In fact, Johnson said the most difficult aspect at Yank-A-Part is simply finding it (it’s located on Stottlemeyer Road, at the end of a gravel driveway that passes between a few homes).

“(Customers) come up and fix their own car to make it last, so they don’t have to buy a new one,” he said, adding vehicles made in 1990-95 are now starting to reach their golden years, needing replacements here and there. Yank-A-Part also keeps a collection of specialized pieces for older cars being restored.

For those looking to unload an old vehicle, Yank-A-Part offers free pickup services, and depending on the case will offer some reimbursement. Due to the polluting ban imposed before the Beijing Olympics, Johnson said steel prices have cut in half, as there’s an overload of the substance waiting to be melted in the United States and overseas. Though it could be months before the chain reaction settles, Yank-A-Part is still looking to keep its yard well-stocked.

For more information, call (360) 779-3344 or visit www.yankapart.net.

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