Recycling a Vehicle: What Happens to a Car When It’s Recycled?

Since companies have become more environmentally conscious about their business practices, auto recycling has been one of the most talked about topics related to the automotive industry. However, the process is often discussed without providing an explanation of what recycling a vehicle entails. In this entry, we take a look at each step of the auto recycling process to show you precisely what would happen to your end-of-life vehicle if it were professionally recycled.

Vehicle is Sold or Donated

Step one for recycling a vehicle is selling or donating it to a junkyard that participates in auto recycling, or selling or donating it to an auto recycler. Because end-of-life vehicles can be worth hundreds of dollars to a junkyard for their reusable parts, many drivers sell them to junkyards.

Fluids are Drained and Recycled

Step two is draining the vehicle of fluids that could contribute to soil and water pollution, such as gasoline, engine oil, and transmission fluid. Many fluids that are removed can be recycled. Non-recyclable fluids may be disposed of through special, eco friendly chemical processes.

Salable Auto Parts Are Removed

Step three is removing usable auto parts, including the engine, the transmission, and the wheels. If you sell an end-of life vehicle to a junkyard, these parts, as well as many others, will have been removed and purchased by consumers before the car is delivered to a recycling outfit.

When usable auto parts are removed by a vehicle recycler, they are often sold to auto repair garages that use high-quality, pre-owned parts to help lower the price of repairs. In one way or another, someone else will repurpose most of the usable parts from your end-of-life vehicle.

Non-Salable Parts are Recycled

Whereas junkyards sell practically every usable part from a vehicle before sending it to a recycler, some auto recyclers choose to recycle certain parts instead of reselling them. These parts include: airbag cartridges, mercury-based switches, lead parts, and catalytic converters.

The Vehicle Frame is Shredded

Step five for recycling a vehicle is shredding the frame using machinery that is designed to demolish car frames and other sources of recyclable metal. The shredding machine reduces the car frame to golf ball sized pieces of metal to make the metal easier to melt before it is reformed.

The Scrap Metal is Repurposed

Metal from recycled automobiles can be used for new car frames and new auto parts, as well as a variety of other products not directly associated with the automotive industry, such as: sheet metal, cans, parts for residential appliances, and steel construction materials, to name a few.

Need to Recycle Your Vehicle?

Each year, almost 100 percent of end-of-life vehicles that are removed from the road are recycled using the six steps above. At Wrench-A-Part, we contribute to the vehicle recycling process by selling usable, pre-owned auto parts from end-of-life vehicles, and then liquidating the mostly empty frames to professional auto recyclers. If you would like to sell or donate your end-of-life vehicle to us, call one of our Texas locations in Austin, Belton, or Lubbock today.


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