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Common Scrap Car Metal Types that are Valuable

car metal

When it comes to scrap cars, there is one important maxim that you should bear in mind: One man's junk is another man's treasure.

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It's tempting to consider a car that has driven for hundreds of thousands of miles as being “worthless.” The engine has probably developed an incessant knock, the interior is peeling away like burnt skin on a sunny day, and the paint has faded to a tone unrecognizable from the factory finish.

But if you can look past these problems, there's still a fantastic opportunity to make money from your scrap vehicle. Exchanging your cars for scrap could be a fantastic option for you because it allows you to take advantage of the rising demand for car metal in the US.

Many of the key components within your vehicles are made using uncommon and sometimes rare metals. These are in short supply globally, meaning that you can make some money by scrapping your vehicle to a reputable dealer.

If you would like to learn more about the valuable metals within your vehicle and why they are so coveted, continue reading.

car metal

1. Steel

Strong, light and durable, steel has been one of the most common materials used in cars for decades now. It has a unique set of characteristics that make it invaluable to the global building industry.

For this reason, you can make good money scrapping your car, as the steel within it can be recycled and used by construction companies.

One of the main components of a vehicle made from steel includes the chassis of the vehicle. The chassis is one of the most critical components of the vehicle, as it holds your car together and forms the majority of the crash structure that protects you in the event of an accident.

Many of the body panels, such as the doors and the rooftop, are also made of steel. This means that on average, a typical family sedan contains about 2,400 pounds of steel!

2. Copper Wiring

It cannot be emphasized enough how important copper wiring is in several applications. Whether it's used in microprocessors or supercomputers, coppers have spectacular conducting properties.

This makes it perfect for use in all of the electrical components of your vehicle. You could say that the copper wiring of your car represents the veins that provide power and energy that keeps everything running smoothly.

For this reason, the average American vehicle contains approximately 55 pounds of copper wiring. If you are scrapping a larger vehicle, like an SUV, you can expect it to have even more copper inside it, raising the amount of money you will earn for your scrappage.

Another emerging market for the use of copper is in electric vehicles. This means that if you send your car in for scrap, you could be directly contributing to the next generation of cars on our roads.

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3. Plastic

Although plastic may not provide you with the same level of monetary remuneration as some of the metals in this list, there is another important reason why you should ensure your vehicle's plastic is reused.

With more than eight million tons of plastic entering the ocean every single year, the world stands at a crossroads in terms of protecting the environment.

Evidence suggests that many fish that are commonly eaten across the world now have large quantities of plastic within their stomachs. Surely it is only a matter of time until this plastic makes it's way back into our stomachs.

It is currently unknown what effects this will have on health in the long-term. However, it's unlikely to be a positive one.

The plastic within cars is not a major contributing factor to this pollution. However, each bit counts, and scrapping your car is a guarantee that more plastic pollutions will stay well away from our vital waterways.

4. Rare Earth Metals and Platinum

Whether your car is a Ferrari or a rust bucket Chrysler from the 1980s, it has got something truly precious lurking deep inside its engine.

One of the most crucial parts of any vehicle's engine is the catalytic converter. Put simply, a catalytic converter transforms several of the pollutants produced within a vehicle's engine into carbon dioxide, as well as water vapor.

They have been used regularly on most vehicles since the mid-1970s, and are now, in fact, a legal requirement on vehicles, because of their positive impact on the level of emissions that vehicles release into the environment.

A catalytic converter can perform this important function because it's made up of a complex mixture of precious metals, many of which are incredibly valuable.

The main three precious metals that you will discover within the catalytic converter are platinum, palladium, and rhodium. As they become hot (due to their proximity to the vehicle's engine), a chemical reaction begins, which purifies the most harmful gases that are released by the engine.

Platinum, palladium, and rhodium are among the rarest metals on the planet. The amount of platinum found globally in history would only fill a few swimming pools.

This means that by scrapping your vehicle you can make good money, as you'll be returning the rare metals inside of your catalytic converter.

Make sure to extract full value for these key components when you scrap your vehicle. To not do so would be a major mistake.

car metal

5. Lead

Although wheels can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, there is one thing that is consistent between all of them: the use of lead.

The tires of your vehicle are one of the most important factors in the driving experience. If they are unbalanced in any way, it can lead to a highly dangerous situation for the driver.

Unbalanced wheels could cause the vehicle to move excessively to the left or right, which could lead to an accident or fatality.

For this reason, every vehicle manufacturer places lead within the tires, to ensure all four wheels are perfectly balanced.

The battery of every vehicle is also made primarily out of the lead. This means that there's plenty of it for you to sell when your vehicle is scrapped.

Even if your car is damaged from a crash, it should be possible to make plenty of money scrapping components like the lead and aluminum.

6. Aluminum

Known and beloved by manufacturers for its lightweight properties, aluminum is now commonly found in most vehicles.

Unlike iron and steel, aluminum is strong but does not carry significant weight. This means that aluminum has been a popular material for sports cars and other high-performance vehicles for the last decade.

However, it's still used in many regular vehicles. Engine components such as the pistons, cylinder heads, and radiators are usually made of aluminum. Also, wheel rims are often made out of aluminum.

7. Electronics and Other Materials

The metals listed above make up the majority of the valuable metals that you will find within your vehicle. That said, there are plenty of others within your car that can make you some money as well.

As well as the copper wiring mentioned above, your vehicle contains thousands of meters of circuitry. These various circuits allow the car's different components to communicate with each other and maintain the performance of your machine.

A good example of this is the engine and oil temperature checks.

All of these circuit boards will contain trace elements of valuable metals, such as gold and palladium. This means they have a certain degree of value when you try to scrap your vehicle.

Other components will also have a surprising amount of value, even at the end of a vehicle's life. The air conditioning unit, for example, has several valuable materials that can be recycled into something useful.

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Car Metal is Worth More Than The Sum of its Parts

You may have had a crash, or inherited an outdated vehicle from a relative that's in poor condition. In these scenarios, it's easy to feel helpless, like you've had a useless item forced onto you.

This could not be further from the truth. Many people do not realize that there is plenty to be happy about in these scenarios.

The vast majority of the public is unaware of the value of car metal. Those in the know, however, can make a great deal of money from selling non-functioning vehicles to a reputable scrap dealership.

As long as you follow the tips for scrapping your vehicle, and use a reputable dealership such as ours, you will walk away from the deal very happy.

Globally, the value of metals is rising as global supply lines continue to tighten, and the trading situation between resource-rich countries remains complicated.

You should take full advantage of this situation to free yourself of an older vehicle and make good money in the process.

What is your experience of scrapping vehicles? Comment below with your thoughts and experiences.

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