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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A junkyard’s a junkyard, right?

Wrong, say U.S. military officials on Okinawa, pointing to the island’s new on-base junkyard service, which was relocated.

The old site, on Camp Lester, was being returned to the local government.

The new facility occupies two fenced-in lots on Camp Foster.

“It’s much more service oriented,” said Tom Jarvis, director of Marine Corps Community Services auto services.

The Auto Recovery Center now sits next to Foster’s Auto Hobby Shop. Patrons no longer have to drive several miles if they’re working on their cars and need new parts, or to return one that was a wrong size or model.

The new facility also includes a covered building that allows safe drainage of auto fluids without endangering the environment.

The old junkyard was on an isolated plot of ground on Lester surrounded by tall weeds, piles of dirt and broken asphalt. It had no “hazmat-proof” building, Jarvis said; its drainage system consisted of buckets placed under vehicles.

Jarvis said workers at the center also strip vehicles, keeping a stock of high-demand auto parts. Customers might be able to save big bucks by checking whether the site stocks used parts they need, he said.

For instance, a used alternator costs $30 if a patron removes the part from a vehicle in the yard, or $40 if it’s a stocked item workers removed.

Savings are considerable, Jarvis said, given that a new alternator can cost $400 or more at a Base Exchange auto parts shop.

The center also has a return policy. Customers have up to three days to return a faulty part, Jarvis said: “That way, a person isn’t stuck with the part the moment he leaves the lot.”

The recovery lot is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., including lunch hours. Call 090-841-65647 or 645-7169 for directions.

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