If you have an older car whose “recycled” parts cost you as much as dinner at Bestia, you'd be amazed how easy it is to remove, rather than install, an auto part yourself. Take your tools, gloves and sunscreen and head to LKQ Pick Your Part in Sun Valley, a huge DIY salvage yard in the wastelands of the north San Fernando Valley. It's a treasure hunt in which most hunters are Latino mechanics. The selection is haphazard, so check the inventory list online to be sure they've got that 1980s Audi before you cough up the $4 “premium” fee to access the rare-car side. The cars are set up like operating room patients, a few feet in the air, so you can extract things from underneath and safely clamber inside to rip out seats — or entire doors. Be sure to look at those price lists at the front entry — not every item is a bargain.
Credit: Jill Stewart