How to Dispose of Alternators

Written by arthur barnhouse
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How to Dispose of Alternators
Recycling the scrap metal in an alternator can help the environment and provide extra pocket money. (a blue recycle symbol image by wayne ruston from

The alternator is a vital piece of equipment for virtually all modern cars and trucks. Qithout a properly functioning alternator, an automobile will not be able to sustain the battery or the vehicle's electrical system, thus making the vehicle inoperable. Of course, like any other mechanical component, alternators can break down and need to be replaced. Do not simply chuck a broken alternator in the trash, though. Because it's made of copper, aluminium and steel, you can recycle the alternator and make a little cash at the same time.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wrench set
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Penetrating oil

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  1. 1

    Search the yellow pages of your phone book for local scrap metal dealers/recyclers or auto salvage yards. If you can't find a scrap metal recycler or dealer in your area, a salvage yard may be able to dispose of the alternator for you or inform you of disposal alternatives.

  2. 2

    Remove the outer metal casings of the alternators if you have multiple alternators, then separate the copper from the inner mechanism of the alternator. You will be able to get more money for a large amount of clean copper than if you simply turn in the whole alternator. You can also recycle the outer casing, which is often either cast aluminium or steel.

  3. 3

    Drop the alternator or disassembled parts off at the scrap metal recycler. Usually, the dealer/recycler will give you a flat sum for whole alternators. If you've disassembled alternators, the recycler will weigh the copper and other parts separately and pay you a base rate per pound.

Tips and warnings

  • Due to the time involved in disassembling alternators and separating the copper, you may simply wish to turn the alternator in whole. This may prove more worthwhile if you only have one or two alternators.
  • Disassembling alternators may require a variety of different techniques and tools depending on the makes and models of the alternators. Generally, you will need a wrench set, a screwdriver and a hammer in order to break down the alternator. You may also require some penetrating oil to loosen rusted screws or bolts.

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