In this extensive guide, we journey into the world of scrapping cars for profit, drawing on insights from a six-part YouTube video series hosted by Tom. These videos cover various facets of scrapping, from understanding how auto wrecker yards operate to safely disassembling cars and maximizing profits by reselling or recycling valuable components.
Each part of the series delves into specific aspects, and we will provide you with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the key takeaways, practical steps, and essential tips. This guide is designed to help newcomers and seasoned scrappers unlock the full potential of this industry.
Steps We Cover Scrapping A Car:
- Part 1: What Is an Auto Wrecker and How Does It Work?
- Part 2: How to Remove the Shut-Off Switch from a Hybrid Car’s Battery
- Part 3: Cutting Catalytic Converters the Right Way
- Part 4: Draining Car Fluids Safely, Including Oil
- Part 5: Removing Tires, Rims, and Wheel Weights
- Part 6: Overview of Gas Engine and Scrap Parts
Part 1: What Is an Auto Wrecker and How Does It Work?
Demystifying Auto Wrecker Yards
Auto wreckers are facilities where vehicles are dismantled for recycling or resale. These yards are treasure troves of valuable materials, and understanding how they operate can be a lucrative endeavor.
Exploring Auto Wrecker Operations
Auto wreckers are fascinating places where seemingly unusable and discarded vehicles are transformed into a source of valuable materials. These yards serve as the first link in the chain of automotive recycling, playing a crucial role in reducing waste and promoting resource sustainability.
- Labeling and Organization: At the heart of every successful auto wrecker operation lies an efficient labeling and organization system. This meticulous approach ensures that no valuable components go to waste, as Tom demonstrates in the video.
- Safety First: Safety is paramount when visiting a scrap yard. Always keep an eye on forklift drivers and avoid making assumptions about their awareness. As you navigate through the yard, understanding and adhering to safety protocols are non-negotiable.
- “Not-so-Premium” Models: Vehicles like F150s, Civics, and Corollas are highly sought after in scrap yards due to their ubiquity. The demand for parts from these vehicles is consistently high.
Part 2: How to Remove the Shut-Off Switch from a Hybrid Car’s Battery
Unlocking the Potential of Hybrid Batteries
Hybrid vehicles contain many valuable components, and safely removing the shut-off switch is the first step towards removing the batteries and hopefully making a sweet profit when reselling them!
Handling Hybrid Car Batteries
The heart of a hybrid vehicle is its battery, which is always a scrap item to have a lot of. In this part of the series, Tom takes us through the intricacies of hybrid car batteries.
- Safety Protocols: Handling hybrid batteries requires a high level of safety consciousness. Always wear electrical-resistant gloves to ensure that you are safely removing the shut-off switch (sometimes called an inertia switch).
- Switch Removal: The shut-off switch plays a crucial role in the function of the car’s battery, preventing the risk of electrical shock. Tom provides detailed insights into the tools and techniques required for its safe removal.
- Orange Switches: Keep a keen eye out for orange switches on hybrid vehicles. These are valuable components and should not be overlooked.
Part 3: Cutting Catalytic Converters the Right Way
Mastering Catalytic Converter Removal
Packed with precious metals, catalytic converters are a jackpot in the scrapping world. This video provides a step-by-step guide for their removal and a deeper understanding of exhaust systems.
Demystifying Catalytic Converters
Catalytic converters are an integral part of a vehicle’s exhaust system. These devices are responsible for reducing harmful emissions, making them a critical component in automotive recycling. As a scrap item containing many precious metals, It has been popular with scrappers for some time.
- Sawzall Mastery: Learn how to safely cut off a catalytic converter using a Sawzall for clean and safe removal. Tom’s meticulous approach ensures that no damage occurs to the valuable components within.
- Valuable O2 Sensors: Catalytic converters are not the only valuable components in the exhaust system. O2 sensors, often found nearby, are equally lucrative in the scrap market.
- Check Converter Type: The type of catalytic converter, whether OEM or aftermarket, significantly affects the selling price. Tom stresses the importance of identifying and categorizing them correctly.
Part 4: Draining Car Fluids Safely, Including Oil
Fluid Handling Expertise
Properly draining and recycling vehicle fluids is not only environmentally responsible but also a financially rewarding practice. This part guides you through the safe removal of various car fluids.
Unraveling the World of Car Fluids
Vehicles house a variety of fluids, each with unique properties and recycling requirements. Recycling is a central theme in the world of scrapping, and this applies to vehicle fluids as well. Tom and Christian explain how all the oil collected from scrapped cars is carefully gathered and recycled. The same exact process applies to transmission fluid and diesel gas. Surprisingly, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid are often recycled together to reduce environmental impact. Even old gasoline is divided and processed, with stale and unusable gas being recycled while fresh gas is retained in the yard. Understanding which fluid can be recycled together and which needs to be sorted and separated is vital for safety and profitability.
What to do with Freon
The video also covers the machine used to drain Freon from a car’s air conditioning system. This refrigerant recovery process is vital for safety and environmental responsibility. The three most common refrigerants found in vehicles are R12, R134A, and R1234YF. Depending on the application, it may be necessary to sort and store different types of Freon separately.
- Fluid Basics: To be an effective scrapper, you must understand the different types of fluids in a car and why each needs specific handling. Tom provides a detailed breakdown of engine oil, transmission oil, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and gasoline.
- Safe Drainage: Christian demonstrates how to properly drain engine oil, transmission oil, and antifreeze into containers for recycling. The emphasis is on safety and eco-friendliness throughout the process.
- Special Cases: Different fluids require distinct handling procedures. Tom provides insights on how to handle windshield washer fluid, gasoline, and Freon, including the use of specialized tools for draining Freon from air conditioning units.
Safety and Gloves
Tom places a strong emphasis on safety, and the use of gloves throughout all of these videos highlights how crucial a practice it is to keep up. While gloves are essential, he recommends fabric gloves for this particular task over rigid rubber gloves for increased dexterity. Whether you’re scrapping a car or working on it, gloves are your best friends.
Suggested Reading: The Best Gloves For Scrapping
Tools for Efficiency
Throughout the videos, you see how critical a role tools play. The power of having the right one for the right job is everything when it comes to pulling items apart efficiently and safely. Whether it’s an impact drill to remove bolts on the radiator or the right size bits for your ratchet, all these items are essential for scrappers looking to streamline their operations.
Part 5: Removing Tires, Rims, and Wheel Weights
Uncovering the Value of Wheels and Tires
This part of the series explores the hidden profits in car wheels, tires, and their components, which can yield higher profits when extracted and resold properly.
Aluminum Rims and Tire Retreading
Tom touches on the potential of selling old or used rims and tires instead of attempting to scrap them. Many auto wreckers have the capability to re-tread tires, allowing them to be sold for more than their material scrap value. Before opting to scrap, consider whether there’s a market for reselling tires and rims, especially if they’re still in good condition.
Tire Air Removal and Rubber Recycling
Removing all the air from a tire before disassembling it makes the process much more manageable. Additionally, Tom highlights that many auto wreckers send the rubber from tires to recyclers to reduce environmental impact. Recycled rubber is often repurposed in various applications, including playgrounds and running tracks.
- Bead Breaking Machine: This machine operates on both electric and air compressor power, making it efficient and safe for scrappers. While not something you will typically have at home, this certainly makes taking your rims to an auto wrecker more appealing.
- Tire Removal Techniques: This video shows how to clamp the tire down and use a tire removal arm and crowbar to pry the tire from the rim. This method eliminates the need for any cutting.
- Valve Stem Removal: To complete the tire disassembly, Tom guides us on removing the valve stem from the rim. This step ensures that all tire components are separated and ready for resale or recycling.
- Tire Pressure Sensors: One often overlooked but valuable component is tire pressure sensors, particularly in newer cars. We advise against throwing these sensors away, as they can be resold for more money rather than being scrapped.
- Specialty Tools for Lead Wheel Weights: Specific tools are designed to make removing lead wheel weights more manageable. We suggest having these tools on hand to maximize your profits when scrapping.
Part 6: Overview of Gas Engine and Scrap Parts
Navigating the Gas Engine Vehicle
This video provides a detailed tour of the inside of a gas engine vehicle, highlighting the parts that can bring you the most profit.
Make Sure You’re Valuing Your Time!
We stress the importance of balancing working hard while scrapping and valuing your time. In some cases, it may not always be worth scrapping or pulling something apart for a few cents more. If a job will take you an hour or more and you’re only making a few bucks, it may make sense to pass on it. In the case of this battery and radiator, it’s a win because the cost of the battery and radiator alone will outweigh the time it will take you to remove the pair of them.
- Locating Profitable Parts: Identify the parts with the best resale value, including the battery, radiator, starter, and alternator. Tom provides detailed insights into each of these components and their potential worth.
- Battery & Radiator Removal: The video covers the removal of the radiator, which is a crucial part of a vehicle’s cooling system. Tom explains how to unscrew necessary bolts and safely cut or remove any lines attached to them. He also advises having a drain pan to catch any leftover fluid underneath the vehicle.
- Hidden Gems: Tom points out often overlooked parts, such as windshield wiper motors and windshield washer reservoir pumps, which can yield good profits if handled correctly.
Expanding Your Scrapping Endeavours
Scrapping cars for profit is a practical and responsible way to ensure these items stay out of landfills. The six-part video series presented here offers a comprehensive and in-depth guide, enabling you to navigate this industry confidently. Whether you’re an experienced scrapper or new to the game, we hope you got something new from this series that you haven’t seen before.