KGUN 9NewsLocal News


Pandemic pushing used auto parts demand into higher gear

Cars and parts are in high demand at Jeff's Auto Parts and other salvage yards across the Tucson area.
Posted at 9:40 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 08:49:17-05

SOUTH TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The used auto parts business has sped up since the pandemic began.

More people are looking for parts to keep their cars running, with COVID-related supply chain issues sending new and used car prices soaring.

Sometimes, salvage yards are the only place where people can find what they need.

Shawn Sherman at Jeff’s Auto Parts in South Tucson noticed the demand rev up in 2020, which ended up saving the business.

“It was touch and go, things were getting pretty tough out there. We were hurting pretty bad,” he said.

That’s no longer the case for one of the area’s smallest salvage yards.

“Before, we just didn’t get that many calls,” Sherman explained. “Now we’ve got calls a lot more. And people seem a lot more ready to buy than they were before… It’s enough for us to be able to stay in business. As small as we are, and as bad as things looked, we’re gonna be ok it looks like. Especially if it continues like this.”

But that doesn’t mean these yards are on cruise control.

There are more customers but also more competition, from other yards in town and online sellers.

“We have to make it a point to sometimes price match, which is difficult,” said Patrick McGoldrick, who also works in sales at Jeff’s. “The profit margins really are just bare, razor thin. So you really have to watch everything you’re doing. And that’s the toughest thing.”

It’s also becoming more expensive to source used parts, many of which come from cars sold at auctions after they have been wrecked.

Sherman says it’s become even more important to be resourceful. He ordered a 2011 Jeep Patriot transmitter from Kentucky, which he says carried the best price in the country and saves customers at his yard about $700.

“I’m able to save ‘em money and make a little bit of money and still, it kinda works out,” Sherman said. “So we’re very thankful.”