Like so many other industries, the recycled-parts business is going through consolidation and modernization as regulations and competition forces changes. Gone are the days of wandering among acres of wrecked and rusted-out cars, looking for a straight control arm for a Pontiac J2000 that was the victim of a late-night off-road excursion. Nowadays, you walk up to the counter and enquire about the availability of a component, just like at the local parts store (and AutoZone now offers used parts). The larger yards often have online searchable databases, and of course there's sites such as that link together thousands of recycling yards. The upside of this is reduced hassle and a greatly-decreased chance of getting crushed by precariously-lifted cars; the downside is the loss of father-son time spent while looking for those last few parts for the latest project car. 

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