Hunting the Toyota Mammoth

Luckily Toyota's don't attack when speared

Luckily Toyota's don't attack when speared

Every now and then Homo-erectus left the safety of the cave to hunt. My hunting and gathering expedition was determined by the events of the previous week which saw the front of the car in a nose-to-tail bender – the bonnet, grill, headlights and radiators being written off in the process.  The panel and paint shop estimated cost to fix the damage at $3500, unfortunately the faithful Toyota is worth less than the cost to fix it.

Sensing the primal hunting urge, I left the sanctity of the man-cave to pursue the elusive parts at local wreckers – the challenge, to get the best parts at the lowest cost.  And by hunting down the parts and doing the work myself I expect to save at least $3000.  To be honest the work will be shared, like most hunting rituals there’s a tribal and community aspect to the hunt and my mechanically minded brother-in-law has joined me on the project.

Our choice of hunting grounds at Pickapart allowed access to a wide range of wrecked cars and their parts. Instead of paying a wrecker to strip the parts, at Pickapart the parts are heavily reduced for the simple fact you have to find, strip and gather the needed parts yourself.

The open spaces at Pickapart is reminiscent of a scene from a Discovery Channel documentary, with oily packs of men in overalls, armed with tools roaming the wrecking-yard stalking their prey –  the mortally wounded vehicles to be finished off, dissected and taken home to provide for others.

Photo By Michael Pickard www.flickr.comOur hunt for the Toyota parts was successful resulting  in three cars of the same model being tracked down, each one yielding a valuable and usable part.  It was surprisingly easy to get the parts we needed, if fact we got everything to replace the damaged parts for $245.  I’ll admit the cost will go up with the need for a radiator and air-con specialists, but by doing the work ourselves we look set to bring the project in under 500.

There has been a few lessons gained from this hunting expedition. Firstly hunting in pairs is far more effective and rewarding for the time spent searching, it comes with the obligatory male (or female) bonding experience of working on a car.

Secondly I’m no mechanic, but by doing the work ourselves, there’s some substantial savings to be made.  In fact, word is that more people are doing this instead of buying new cars as the current global economics have a greater effect.  Credit has to go to organisations like Pickapart for encouraging people to work on cars themselves by making parts accessible and affordable. It also has an environmental upside with less car waste with non recyclable materials.

Lastly hunting isn’t always about catching the game, there’s the thrill of the chase – and this expedition out of the man-cave has been fun.

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