Salvage parts market booming

News Jason Cannon November 27, 2012

In an effort to weather a tight economic climate, owner-operators are looking at every reasonable option to keep their trucks moving and keep cash in the bank.

Aside from fuel, maintenance can be one of the most profit-zapping expenses to a one-truck owner’s bottom line.

In an effort to save money and keep trucks operating safely, many are turning to used and refurbished parts.

“All truck owners, not just owner-operators, are seeking alternatives to running new expensive trucks that do not have the engine life, or as well of fuel mileage performance, as some of the older engines,” said Jimmy Kitchens, President of American Truck Parts, Inc. “Truckers are keeping trucks longer and repairing or rebuilding in order to compete in a tough industry.”

Aside from the cost, having readily available parts, Kitchens said, is another driving factor in the influx of new customers to the market, which has been an economic boon to the Douglas, Ga.-based operation.

“(This year) will be our largest year since opening in 1997,” Kitchens said. “We have seen our customer base expand from primarily owner-operators (in the) loggers and construction market to small and large fleets seeking used and rebuilt parts to extend the life of their equipment.”

A brief survey of other salvage yards around the country reflected similar statistics, with one Stockton, Calif.-based company reporting revenues “30 to 40 percent over last year alone.”

Feedback and demand from customers seeking reduced-cost parts forced American Truck Parts to expand product lines even further while fine-tuning their own expertise.