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What to do with...


You know how it is, that familiar problem where the car* has failed its MOT test or has mechanically malfunctioned or in some way (eg. engine come to pieces) or otherwise got into that classification of "knackered", then there is this problem that it often doesn't look good as a garden ornament, and yet is unsaleable, and not of any value to scrap merchants. In fact I have even heard of scrap metal companies charging the customer money to take it away!

Well, don't worry, because there are some sensible solutions. The first thing is that the reason scrap dealers don't want to pay you is that they have to pay to get rid of the rubber tyres! Indeed it is the negative value of the tyres that reduces the positive value of the scrap iron, which is always of some worth.

The other thing is that anyone else with that type of vehicle (especially if it is of that same age) will be looking for spares for their machine, and will be having trouble with places trying to charge them too much money! If they knew you'd got a scrap car they'd be offering you cash for a few bits off it!

So, here is the solution to WHAT TO DO WITH SCRAP CARS:

First, take the car to pieces. You don't need to be a motor mechanic to do this - even if you only get the lights and the control knobs and a few choice bits that have come off the engine it's still worthwhile! However, the more of the pieces you can get off the car the better. Getting volunteers in to help is usually a good idea. Breaking up a car is a good excuse for a party, even if the volunteers are expected to do it carefully so the spares are actually worth something after they've been extracted!

Store the bits. Put free adverts up and sell for a reasonable price. Remember that each part is worth a sensible amount such that it will save someone paying full whack at a manufacturer-approved place!

The wreck should most importantly have the TYRES removed. The wheels will come off relatively easy and can be made into plant pots or something. If there's any tread worth having on them, the tyres can be sold - preferably as a set! Again, remember they're worth a proportion of the new price, not just a nominal figure because they're just old tyres.

The ideal solution to the wheels/tyres is to leave the wheels on and undo all the nuts and bolts on the suspension etc so that when the scrap merchant uses a crane to lift the wreck up and onto a truck, the car wheels and axles come off and are somewhat comically left on the ground. This also means you can sell the constant-velocity joints, back axle, differential, etc for a decent price.

After you have got as much of the useful stuff off the car stored away, now comes the bit where you make it even more valuable and recyclable. The problem with a scrap car, from a scrap-dealer's view, is that it is big and yet doesn't weigh much for its size. The industrial solution to this is normally to mash it up or squash it. But neither of these solutions are practical at home. Instead, FILL IT UP. Over a period of a few weeks if need be, fill it up with various metallic items. Cat food tins, bits of washing machines, anything iron. All this makes the ruined car much more valuable, and perhaps more importantly, more likely that someone will come along and take it away and pay you for it. Add IRON and any metal to add to the weight. Don't add concrete, glass, brick, or other non-metallic stuff, and DO NOT fill the petrol tank up with water to make it weigh more - that is not ethical! However, leaving the wreck out in the rain - that is permissible. Also see Having Your Own Scrap Heap

Meanwhile, the spares will continue to sell for a long while. People will thank you for giving them a bargain in the future, because if you hadn't saved the bits, they'd have had to pay the sort of price you had to pay when the car was still running! This is more than recycling, it is re-use! Also see Cardboard Boxes in Shops and The Merits of being a Hoarder

Other notes: It is surprising how much good Feng Shui is generated when a scrap car is removed from the grounds of a house. In fact, the therapeutic wellbeing factors of not having a scrap car on the garden are so good it's a wonder it doesn't catch on!

Useful? Interesting? There's loads more fascinating stuff at this site! [take a look]

* the term "car" in this review equally applies to just about any motorised vehicle. Vans and trucks are even better on this method as they can be filled with even more scrap, and the spares can be more valuable.

Car spares, car parts, bits and pieces, are worth something. New or secondhand. For lots of interesting car links, please visit our Car Accessories Page. Also see Car

In answer to a question put to me (the e-mail bounced when I tried to send it to New York City YWCA)...

Hi Cheryl,

Well I wish you luck with dealing with the scrap car. The problem with "moving" is that it may be that you need to get rid of the car quickly, in which case I'm afraid it's difficult to get a lot of money for it. It's a matter of looking up in directories such as "Yellow Pages" for companies in classifications such as "Vehicle Dismantlers" (not Scrap Metal dealers).

The more profitable option, though it takes longer, is to take the car to pieces and sell the components to car owners who will gladly pay you for each part, as per

I hope some of this helps!




Interestingly, this page about Scrap Cars was one of the early Lucky Pages