How To Scrap Dirty Copper Radiators

Aluminum copper fins or radiators are everyday items found when scraping. They are commonly taken apart before bringing it to your scrap yard. There are different kinds of radiators from various sources, and it’s essential to know how to separate and clean them to get the best price at the scale. Below, we have a guide to recycling your copper radiators.

What Are Radiators?

Radiators are units that are used for cooling a variety of appliances and machines. In the scrap metal industry, they can be called ACRs, aluminum/copper radiators, copper fins, Brass rads, and some other phrases. Radiators allow engines or machines to cool or push cool air by passing through a cooling agent inside the unit.

Different Kinds of Scrap Radiators

A few different kinds of radiators will come through scrap yards. You will find a few different kinds of metals in radiators and slightly different ways they look.

Aluminum Copper Fin (ACR’s)

  • Where It Is Found: Usually found inside air conditioners and refrigerators.
  • What It Looks Like: Aluminum on the outside (silver-colored metal) and copper tubing running throughout.

Car Radiators

When taking apart cars, there are some significant parts that you can salvage or scrap before scrapping the whole car. Usually found towards the front of the car’s engine, the radiators can be bulky and look like they aren’t worth much, but that’s not the case. If you remove a radiator from a car, you can bring it to the scrap yard and get some good money for it, as they usually can get anywhere from $5 to 30 each, depending on the car and type.

Aluminum Radiators

  • Where It Is Found: Most common radiator from a car, trucks, forklifts, or other vehicles.
  • What It Looks Like Usually has black plastic ends and will be aluminum throughout. Use a file to make sure it’s silver in color.

Suggested Reading: Essential Tools Every Scrapper Needs

Brass Radiators

  • Where It Is Found: Less common radiator pulled from a car or vehicle.
  • What It Looks Like: It will be dark yellow and much heavier than an aluminum radiator. Use your file to make sure it’s yellow and will commonly have steel ends.

How To Take Apart Scrap Radiators

If you have the right tools to cut off the radiators’ steel or plastic ends, you can get more money for them. They will be considered “clean” and generally get a better price of around $0.10 more per pound. If you don’t remove the ends from the radiators, they will be considered “dirty” at the scrap yard, must be separated, and will be valued less.

Tools Needed:

  • Sawzall
  • Power Cord (if Sawzall is electric)
  • Safety Glasses
  • Gloves
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1. Sort Your Radiators Based on Materials

Determine what kind of radiators you have and check them with your file to ensure the aluminum and brass ones are separated.

2. Cut Your Radiators & Remove Steel

When you have your Sawzall ready and the proper safety equipment, cut down the edge of the radiator to remove the end of the radiator. Remove the aluminum or brass as lightly as possible and get close to the steel or plastic end.

3. Separate the Ends & Clean Fin

After you have removed the ends from the radiators, we suggest piling them up separately and selling them to your local yard. Generally, scrap yards will pay a special price for ends off radiators.

4. Scrap Your Clean Rads

Now that you have removed the ends, you can scrap the radiators as clean material. Keep brass radiators separate from aluminum or aluminum/copper ones. You can also scrap the ends of the radiators as well. Usually, yards will pay for them at a slightly better than steel price.

Be sure to use all safety equipment when using any equipment and machinery.