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What Is a Motorcycle Wrecker?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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A motorcycle wrecker is a dismantler or a salvage yard with a focus on motorcycles and motorcycle parts. Inventory is commonly purchased from individuals, insurance companies and auctions, and then a motorcycle wrecker removes all of the valuable components and pieces from the damaged or parts motorcycles. The parts are cataloged in an inventory system in order to be resold to customers.

As the wrecker often buys operational motorcycles simply for parts, the typical motorcycle wrecker does not sell complete motorcycles. The motorcycle wrecker sells parts and pieces to repair or restore a motorcycle with less expensive used parts. On the rare occasion a wrecker does sell a complete or nearly complete motorcycle, it is commonly a very rare or vintage example that cannot otherwise be purchased on the open market.

A motorcycle that has been involved in an accident has often received damage to the extent that the motorcycle cannot be ridden without the replacement of major components. If the motorcycle is more than a few years old, the parts can be nearly impossible to obtain through a dealer. This is when the motorcycle wrecker becomes a valuable friend to the motorcycle owner. By stripping good and useable parts from motorcycles to be sold to the public, the motorcycle wrecker is able to supply the parts required to return many damaged or broken motorcycles to the road.

Often sold on an exchange basis, the motorcycle wrecker ensures that there will always be some type of stock in the salvage yard. Many parts that are of no use to one owner may be very valuable to another, and might be the final piece to a long-term restoration or refurbishment. Most soft parts, such as tires, seats and drive belts, are removed and stored inside to avoid damage by being exposed to the elements. Engines and transmissions are commonly stored inside so they are out of the weather as well.

Some of the larger motorcycle wrecker services offer parts and service online in the form of an online parts store or an auction-type website. Others have a call-in service where an employee will take an order and search the yard for the parts. Once located, the motorcycle wrecker will return the call, offering descriptions of the parts including condition, color and any damage found as well as the price. If satisfied, the buyer can pay for the part or have the employee set it to the side for pick up.

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