How-To: Recycle Scrap Auto Parts

scrapping aluminum rims

Scrappers and scrap yards have their own scrap specialty divisions that they work in. Some examples are, ferrous or non-ferrous metals, focusing only on electronic waste, or dealing with alloys and high-end metals. Another specialization through the industry is automotive or salvage scrap. For someone new to scrapping, auto parts and other materials from cars could be confusing and overwhelming.

Break It Down – Different Auto Parts for Recycling

There are many pieces of a car or vehicle that can be recycled for scrap metal. Here is a list of some of the basic and most common items that many people will come across while they are scrapping. They are in order of the average scrap value from lowest to highest (per pound).

how to scrap auto parts
  1. Whole Cars – The mother of all salvage scrap is the whole vehicles themselves. While they mostly consist of steel, you can ask many scrap yards and auto wreckers to come by to pick up your car for scrap. If you are able to drive the vehicle to one of the locations and drop it off, it may save the trucking costs and put more money in your pocket. Sometimes you can sell the car for parts for more money than you would get at scrap price.
  2. AL Engine Blocks – Many scrappers may come across an engine block that has no life left so it must be scrapped. The engine blocks usually consists of aluminum with steel running throughout it. Scrap yards may be able to pick this up from your location, but you will always make more money if you can bring it to them yourself.
  3. Lead Wheel Weights – On the inside of wheels of vehicle there is usually a piece of lead a few inches long that help balance out your car while driving. They will usually go for a little less than a base Lead price at most scrap yards because of the steel clips attached to them.
  4. Car Batteries – Car batteries should always be recycled properly. They can be scrapped at most scrap yards. They are easy to remove when installing a new one and due to their heavy weight you can get a good handful of cash when scrapping these. Some places where you buy your new car battery will take a deposit on the new battery until you return the old one.
  5. Starters/Alternators – Not very common items to come across while scrapping, but if you are scrapping vehicles, these items will add up quickly. Consisting of mostly copper, starters and alternators should be separated before going to the scrap yards or salvage yard.
  6. AL Rims – Aluminum Rims are going to be worth a higher aluminum price when scrapping these. They are common on most cars and can be around 25 pounds each. With a set of four from a car they can really add up to some good scrapping cash. Make sure to ask your scrap yard how to dispose of the tires the right way.
  7. Catalytic converters – They are the highest paying single scrap item on a car. Ranging from prices between $15-$200 each, catalytic converters are worth a good deal of money due to the platinum, rhodium, or palladium inside of them. When scrapping a whole car, if you can cut the catalytic converter out of it to make more money.

Not all scrap yards will accept auto scrap, so check with them before you head into their facility. If you are looking for auto wreckers in the area you can use the new feature on the iScrap App to find auto wreckers from around the US & Canada.