Recycling steel from old cars and auto parts is a big business. Junk cars can be used for two things. Either their parts can be salvaged to be used in another car, or their steel can be salvaged and recycled. In fact, on average 14 million tons of steel is made from dismantled cars. Below are several terms associated with recycling auto parts.
Salvage Yard – These can also be called pick and pulls. Basically they are junk yards where cars are usually brought by a wrecker service when they no longer work. Their parts can be dismantled and sold.
Resale –Selling of used car parts after they have been stripped.
Classic Cars – A car between 20 to 40 years old. While it can be difficult to find parts for classic cars at traditional auto part stores, there are often a lot of classic cars in junk condition at salvage yards that still have their parts.
Vintage Cars – A car older than 40 years. Because steel rusts after a certain period of time, you will have difficultly finding used car parts for vintage cars.
Stripping – The process of removing all parts of the car, such as doors, engine, wheels, etc. Once a car is stripped only the shell, or basic steel body is left behind. This process is used when recycling scrap cars into steel.
Shredding – The final part of turning cars into recycled steel. Shredding cuts up the body of the car into metal pieces. In fact, the largest shredder in the world belongs to Sturgis iron and metal and is used to render cars into pieces for recycling.
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There are various types of companies that provide services related to automobiles. Some will offer new and used parts to replace old ones in the car, truck, or van. Other companies will dismantle the parts in a car and recycle them right away, or give them to salvage yards to be eventually used again.
Vintage cars that are not in working condition can be found for sale in salvage yards. From there, old scraps and other replacement parts can be bought in order to fix the car back up. Classic cars that need replacement parts may take a while to be finished, due to the amount of searching that may be needed in order to find the correct Japanese, European, or American part type.
When cars are totaled on the road, but still have usable parts, salvage yards or other automobile companies may buy the car in order to dismantle the engine, door, or other part of the car and sell it to those who need it. Replacement tail lights, door handles, steering wheels, and others that are bought used instead of new can save the owner a lot of money without taking away from the car's performance.
Foreign vehicles will need different components compared to American cars. Some salvage yards may only sell imports, while others will have all different types of parts that can be recycled.
To find more information on a local salvage yard, calling and seeing what parts they have available can help answer questions you may have. Visiting the yard will also give you a good idea on if they have parts for motorcycles, heavy trucks, or cars.