Scrap Metal Types Looking At ELV’s

The metal within any End Of Life Vehicle in theory should have a value and will be recycled in a ways so it can be reused in other products such as washing machines and pretty much anything that will use the same types of metal in the manufacturing process.

pile of crushed metals from old vehicles

But even though we are aware of the different brands and models, we may not be aware that different types and grades of metals are used to create body shells, engines, gearboxes and other parts within the assembly of a typical motor car.

History has seen cars first made with wood and then on to steel, which has continued in many models today. Typical steel is created using iron ore that can be bought from the UK but recent low prices from China, may mean it can be imported too. Most cheaper models will be fabricated from steel using modern weather protection and holes to drain moisture and prevent damp spots. This does mean most modern vehicles are protected from corrosion better than they ever were. Older models, especially classics never has this type of design, so older models were prone to rust.

This is an important point as more and more vehicles are less likely to be taken off the road because of bodywork and more likely because of high mileage or undesirability.

More expensive models, especially high performance types are more likely to be fabricated using aluminum or similar compounds. Aluminum has the advantage of being lighter, just as strong and will not rust. Of course this metal type is more expensive to buy, create and weld together, making fabrication harder. The recycling process may be more expensive also.

scrap metals ready to be recycled

How To Tell If Your ELV Is Made Of Steel Or Aluminum

Well steel and iron is classed as a Ferrous metal which means it is magnetic, aluminum is not. So a simple test is to use a magnet on the bodywork to see if it is attracted to the bodywork or not. It is important to remember, that other parts of the interior or wheels could be still made from steel.

Other Alloys

An easy answer to this are the wheels. Often sold as alloys, they are made from non ferrous alloys, that make them light, strong and safe from corrosion.

Does This Make A Difference To My ELV Value?

Well yes it can do. Metal prices rise and fall each dy, just like the stock market and those wishing to buy your End of Life Vehicle, they will factor in the “weighing in price” after all useful parts have been removed.

High End Parts

There are examples of titanium and magnesium being used on specific parts within high performance cars, but these are the type of models that are unlikely to be written off, unless damage is really bad. These parts are also very likely to be acquired for use on another vehicle.

Low End Parts

There is often lead within batteries and mercury within dials and switches.

Responsibility Of Take Back Service

Every manufacturer has to offer a take back service, to ensure a high percentage of the models them manufacture are recycled in a responsible way. Some have targets of up to 90% of all materials are recycled.

So a key responsibility of the “treatment facility” is to recognize the types of metals within each vehicle presented to them and then follow the correct procedure to process.