How To Junk A Car

How To Junk A Car

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  1. With an increasing demand for parts from old cars, yet an out cry from environmentalists to curb the use of salvage yards, what do we do with our old worn out cars? Typically even severely wrecked cars still have some useful parts on them. Do we just load them up on a trailer and have them crushed?

    Many do, loading the trunk and cabin with all of the metal parts they can to get more load weight per car for a better price. Do we have more economically sound, as well as environmentally sound ways to junk a car?

    The answer is yes. It just takes more time than the simple loading up on a trailer.

    Levels Of Recycling

    The typical car has steel, aluminum, glass, foam, plastics, rubber and sometimes much more. A radiator has a decent amount of copper and many times on older radiators, brass! Also, do not forget all of the coolants, lubricants, fuel, and refrigerants that go into a car as well. Some of these are detrimental to the environment.

    So the question is: How far do you want to go with this project? The seats and dash plastics are worthless to the recycling center. But, does that 1992 Dodge Neon speedometer still work? Would you like to know what one just sold for on EBay? I will just say, more than you will get for the whole trailer load at the salvage.

    It may take more than one posting to sell it, but in the end someone needs that part, somewhere. And you were about to throw it away. How about those Captain’s Chair seats out of that 1978 Econoline Conversion Van? Or that center console out of that wrecked 1984 Z28 Camaro?

    It may not be feasible for you to tear down the engine for those aluminum heads and intake, or that aluminum transaxle. But it would not take long, buying a junk car and parting it out to make all the money you would need for more complex projects. And my previous paragraph mentioned a Camaro. Do you know how many dirt track racers around the country are looking for even a badly wrecked Camaro for a start to their new race car chassis?


    If the interior is salvageable by any stretch of the imagination, start by taking it apart first. Mostly because the windows are next and if this is to be an outdoor project, you really do not want your decent interior getting water damaged by rain.

    Next remove all the trim from the car. This would include any head lights, tail lights, grill assembly, bumper skins, mirrors, badges – basically anything that you might wish to save for an EBay or Craig’s List purchaser.

    At this point the car should just be body and mechanical. You can stop here and load it on the trailer. Or you can continue.

    Parting out a car is a delicate balance of sensibility. You do not want to spend too much time on something pulling the car apart, but some things are worth more individually. In fact, it is all worth more individually.

    For instance, just pulling the Vortec heads from a 350 cubic inch engine now has three differing levels of worth. Still on the motor, you are stuck with simply selling the complete assembly. Spending thirty minutes tearing them out of the 1997 GMC Sierra that they are sitting in gives you two more options. Sell them for the aluminum, or sell them to a Chevy guy for twice what you paid for the whole truck. Not bad for thirty minutes worth of work.

    Proper Transporting

    Should you decide that removing the important parts of the car is not what you were shooting for, you still have that option of loading it on a trailer and hauling it to the nearest metal collection facility.

    Proper loading of the car should be handled very carefully. A simple load shift could drop the old car in the middle of the highway. You really do not want to find out what the fine for that is!

    Wenching the car onto the trailer is not hard but it will likely be a two or three man job, especially if any wheels or axles are missing. Once the vehicle is on the trailer, secure it at the back end of the trailer, then use your wench or other ratcheting device like a Come-Along to pull the frame tight to the surface of the trailer, or as tight as possible.

    All mounting points must be on secure locations on the vehicle to be towed. A plastic bumper cover or even that thin metal bumper on most cars, just is not enough. The best location is usually an axle or some other suspension component that is tied to the car underneath the body.

    While not something that the average housewife would want to tackle, junking out a car is not a hard process and can be worth looking into as a supplement income. Junk cars can usually be bought very cheaply or even given away just to remove them from property. What does not sell in a couple of attempts can still always sent to the recycling center.

    It is not hard to calculate your time invested, but you can actually use this time to connect with a son or step-son who might not otherwise think you are very cool. That my friends, is priceless.

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