Auto Recycling Glossary

Company News, Glossary, News & Events

Automotive Recycling

The efficient, ecological disposal of inoperable motor vehicles and reclaiming reusable parts and components. C.A.R.

Certified Automotive Recycler

A designation awarded by ARA to recyclers who meet a set of standards for general business practices, and environmental and safety issues.

Car Salvage Value

The amount of money a junk, wrecked or total loss vehicle is worth to a seller or the value of the parts and recycled metal to a vehicle processor

Dismantle | Dismantled

To take a used vehicle apart for the purpose of reclaiming usable parts. Dismantling takes place in a dismantling bay.

Electronic Parts

* In late-model vehicles. Includes electronic fuel or ignition systems, computer boards

Fluid Recovery System

* The system the automotive recycler has set up to collect and recycle or dispose of the fluids remaining in salvage vehicles in an environmentally-responsible fashion.

Junk Car Removal

A term commonly used to locate a company who will tow your junk car away for processing

Junk Cars for Money

A term commonly used to locate or describe a business which pays people for junk and salvageable vehicles


see also Junk Yard A term commonly used to describe a business who’s main operation is the dismantling of vehicle into components to be sold as used parts and/or scrap metal.

L.K.Q. Parts

* Like kind and quality. Describes replacement parts that are of the same quality as the original prior to an accident. LKQ parts can be new, OEM replacement, or recycled parts.

Parts Car

A car dismantled into usable parts to be sold or reused.

Recycle Car

*The efficient, ecological disposal of inoperable motor vehicles and reclaiming reusable parts and components.

Remanufactured Parts

* Used hard parts that have been reconditioned to the same quality as new.

Salvage Yard

A facility which processes vehicles for salvage.

Scrap Cars for Cash

A term commonly used by the public to describe a business which pays money for vehicles which have reached the end of their life and have little value for their hard parts and are therefore sold for the vale of their metal contents.

Scrap Value

Similar to scrap prices – the worth of a vehicles metal contents.

Totaled Vehicle

* A determination made by an insurance company when the cost of repair plus the salvage value is greater than the car’s Blue Book value.

We Buy Junk Cars

A term commonly used to locate a company which pays cash for junk and salvageable vehicles.

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How To Scrap A Water Heater

Company News, How To Scrap

The Scrap Gas Water Heater

Gas Water HeaterGas water heaters are usually pretty good scrap items. I find them pretty often, and I’m happy when I do.  They are a home appliance, and classified as a light-iron/shred/mixed-metal/tin item when whole. But, there is usually a decent amount of non-ferrous scrap metal that you should first be able to pull off.

At the cap part of the heater, there may be one or two Copper pipes that sticking out, or possibly a brass connector. With a magnet, check to be sure they are copper or brass. If it sticks, then the pipe is simple iron. If not, take them off with a pipe wrench. If they are too corroded to come out, then either break them off by repeatedly hitting with a hammer, or cut off with a sawzall.

With a pipe wrench, twist off the valve sticking out of the tank towards the top. This is a mineral deposit stick, and in my experience is often copper in the gas models.

Every gas water heater has a gas regulator that is set near the base of the tank. These are made of a combination of brass and cast zinc/aluminum and have some brass knobs on them.

My yard has a special price for these gas regulators (you also find then on scrap gas grills and scrap ovens and stoves) and they are worth pulling off as they are worth at least 2x shred price, up to 4x shred steel. They are expensive to replace, so they may be worth reselling if you have the know-how.  An example regulator is pictured left, and you can see that it is quite valuable, almost 1/3 of the price of a new heater!

To remove these gas regulators quickly, all it takes is a few heavy whacks with a sledge hammer.

The Scrap Electric Water Heater

The electric water heater is less commonly found in my experience, but good for scrap none the less!

Electric water heaters don’t have gas regulators, because they don’t have use gas. (duh.) But, electric water heaters use heating elements to heat water instead of gas.

The electric heating elements are usually made of zinc plated copper or stainless steel sheathing around a nichrome wire. They are located inside of the water heater and need to be pulled out by disassembling through access bays located on the side of the appliance.

Water heaters also have what is known as “anodes” which are there for the sole purpose of getting corroded away, thus keeping the steel container from getting corroded (self sacrifice if you will). These are often made of magnesium/aluminum, and will be very corroded if you want to try pulling them out. It is my preference to not even bother.


  • Don’t bother trying to fill these with water in order to trick the scales. You will only make about roughly $30 extra, and it is so easy to catch this trick. If you are caught, your scrap yard will (or should) press charges.
  • Don’t pass up fittings. Some brass fittings may be very corroded, and can therefore be hard to distinguish, and/or hard to remove. Be sure to check all fittings with a file. And if you can’t seem to get the fittings off with a pipe wrench, then I recommend setting the heater on the ground and pulling out your sledge hammer. Most brass fittings will break of after a few good hits.
  • Don’t get caught with your pants down! Some Water heaters are made of very valuable metals (copper, brass, etc) more often then not if they are very old.
  • DON’T forget to check everything!

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Links for Students

Company News, Recycling for Kids

Here are some great links that will engage children (and adults) to think about waste reduction and recycling and resource conservation.

Global Warming/Climate Change

Nature/Natural Resources

Environmental Education/Get Involved


Water Resources


Endangered/Threatened Animals

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