H&H in Sussex

Paul Dvorak at work at H&H Auto Parts in Sussex.

Photo: Cliff Leppke

Paul Dvorak is a matchmaker. Like a dating service, he answers phones, checks profiles and arranges connections.

Unlike eHarmony, though, he doesn’t pair people with people. Instead, he mates salvaged car parts with those who need them.

He’s a busy man.

Every few minutes the phone rings and the auto dating service begins. His people skills are just as important as his knowledge of cars, vehicle dismantling and inventory methods.

Dvorak works at H&H Auto Parts in Sussex. You dare not call the place a junkyard.

H&H’s niche is late-model car parts from domestic and imported vehicles that are about 10 years old — the age of most cars on the roads these days. In contrast, worldwide LKQ Corp. focuses on the newest cars.

H&H provides the retail or service-shop customer an alternative to expensive new parts, and helps them find difficult-to-obtain items.

How this salvage yard reclaims parts, and evaluates, lists and supplies them to their consumers is more fascinating that speed dating.

It’s also far more sophisticated than you might expect.

H&H’s David Hietpas says many salvage yards went out of business due to the cost of reducing the environmental impact of their operations. He says H&H avoided that fate by improving water management on its yard, which abuts a quarry. Oil, gas, and refrigerant don’t get into the soil, because those chemicals are removed from vehicles. Ground cover also is employed to maintain clean water.

Salvage yards must meet state department of natural resources and EPA rules. This means — among other things — recycling all vehicle fluids.

The process

Most of the vehicles H&H processes come from insurance companies and owners who want cash for their clunkers.

After a vehicle arrives at H&H, it and its parts are identified, graded, stored and put into an inventory database. Often key components are cleaned. Code numbers for the item and its condition are painted on the part.

H&H uses the salvage industry’s Gold Seal Standard to grade parts and provide the customer a means of determining the condition of an auto part. For example, besides providing an inventory number that indicates what car and which item, it’s graded. If you see 7R1 on a car door, the first digit indicates location (lower lip), damage (rust) and estimated time to repair it (an hour).

H&H uses Hollander software to create a parts ID inventory. Folks often discover what’s in that inventory via the internet. This, according to Hietpas, is a mixed blessing, as people also have access to the online competition. That’s where good customer service makes a difference.

If you want to pull parts from cars at H&H’s yard, you can. But you must get permission and confirm what you’re buying is on H&H’s database.

How do you arrange a date with H&H?

Call Dvorak at 262-246-6400 or go to handhautoparts.com.

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