Theresa’s Top Five Thoughts on Parts Grading

With the increase in parts brokering, we really need to talk about how often there is inconsistency in part grading. When you broker another yard’s parts, you need to know that the part grading is consistent and that a part’s condition is “as described” by the yard. They also need to know that about your parts.

1. Inconsistency Report – Every yard on Car-Part has access to a Part Grading Inconsistency Report. This report will help you find inconsistencies between your ARA damage codes and objectionable words in your part descriptions. If you need help finding this report, give your Car-Part technician a call and they can give you the link.

2. ARA Damage Codes – The Automotive Recyclers Association has come up with a comprehensive list of damage codes for body parts that describe the location, type, and size of the damage. They also have a formula that uses the model year and mileage to calculate the ARA grade for mechanical parts. You can get a copy of these from the website ( or from the website ( I know that a lot of shops still don’t understand these codes but if our yards don’t get consistent with them, how can we expect the shops to learn them?

3. Objectionable Words and Downgrade Words – This is probably the number one thing I see when checking a yard’s Part Grading Inconsistency Report: A yard has given a part a damage code of “000” but the part’s description says “scratched” or “parking lot ding” etc. A lot of yards think that entering a damage code of “000” will result in an A Grade, but if an objectionable word is entered in the description, even if the damage code is left “000,” the part’s condition will be downgraded. However, if you enter the correct damage code (for example: 2D1), this could still be an A Grade part! Then any shop would know that in location 2 there is a dent the size of 1 credit card.

4. Grade your parts! – Some yards think that not grading parts will force shops to call them for parts and they can then describe the damage to the shop. In reality, shops that use Car Part Pro can filter out ungraded parts and a lot of shops using tell me that they skip right over ungraded parts. This is also a good place to note that every repair shop, body shop, used car lot or rebuilder I have ever spoken to says, “Can you please make yards put prices on I skip over the parts that say $CALL.”

5. Be consistent! – I cannot say this enough. Make sure that your parts’ physical condition matches what is indicated in your inventory management system so that your broker partners know exactly what they are getting when they buy from you! We all know that things happen in a yard where a part gets broken or run into with the loader, but if we make sure that the majority of the time, our parts are sent out in the same condition that they are inventoried, it would make everyone a lot happier!

Theresa Colbert is a public speaker who goes to state association meetings, at no charge, to give classes on cores, brokering and much more. She offers on-site support to salvage yards in many areas and has been an on-the-ground representative for for five years. Prior, she worked at Nu-Parts Automotive Products for 10 years, was a manager at Winter Auto Japanese Engines in Glendale, Arizona, and at AAA Economy Auto Parts in Phoenix, Arizona. With 23 years of industry experience, Theresa has seen the auto recycling world from almost every point of view. When she is at home, she loves to spend time with her family, play with her dogs, cook and watch football.

Have a great month! As always, if you have any questions for me, please email me or call/text my cell at 859-802-2382.