Published on May 1st, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Revival Of Malaysian Car Junkyards Is Here
We used to love visiting car junkyards before marriage.
My early journey into the automotive world included regular visits to the ‘potong kereta’ (car junkyard) to improve and upgrade my very first car. Thirty-eight plus years ago the potong kereta business in Malaysia was already a thriving business ready to cater for Japanese cars that were selling faster than sliced bread.
We were lucky we had a childhood friend that was in the junkyard business with his older brother and we managed to get some choice parts every now and then for our Daihatsu Charade and also Honda Civic.
It started as an easy way to tune and modify your ride for more power and better handling as tuning shops were few and after market performance parts suppliers were not established at the time in Malaysia. The Sunway tuning hub in Klang Valley had not yet started up.
So bigger engines were the easiest way to get immediate more power which was followed by bigger turbo’s. This was a time when Puspakom was not in existence and the road transport department (JPJ) was very relaxed in their rulings and enforcement.
So, as the years moved on, road transport enforcement got better and tuning shops opened up to cater to a growing trend in car tuning. Designer brands like Hamman, BRABUS, MUGEN, TRD and Nismo arrived and with it came a dozens of little known fake versions as well to ‘cheat’ unsuspecting young car owners who had parents with thickly padded wallets.
Then the market opened up to dozens of new and exciting tuning brand and performance parts and many car owners with padded wallets and generous parents provided for new millionaires in the tuning business. There were many who were cheated over and over and others who got the best money can buy.
It was then we saw the slow decline of the car junkyard business. Or maybe, we had just not travelled further away from the city to see them as most of them had moved to commercial areas with lower rents and easier access to car workshops in the area.
With more car buyers seeking new and exciting models and car warranties being utilized, it is the secondhand, third and fourth hand car owner who needs these car junkyards more than ever before.
Why? Well, cars in the last decade or so have become so complicated, their parts pricings have moved upwards to silly levels. Used 4-cylinder European turbocharged engines cost RM5,000 upwards. Double-clutch gearboxes cost more than RM4,000 and a front fender can cost more than RM1,000.
To add to the problem. Car accidents are on the rise, especially minor fender benders and many authorized Insurance panel workshops use secondhand, undamaged panels sourced from car junkyards over brand new panels to keep costs down. Many times, the insurance companies insist on this as the used panels and parts are not damaged, just used. So sanded down and painted over, they will work and look like new. Side windows and windscreens are also sourced from car junkyards.
So, if you are a young car owner (car enthusiast) and have never thought of visiting a car junkyard, take a trip, have a look at what is on offer. You can even find in-car entertainment units, alloy wheels, used performance suspension and exhausts and some fancy cabin bits that just needs a little cleaning at a sensible price.