Precious metal recyclers like us “prowl” the concrete jungle looking for renewable scarce resources like platinum, palladium, rhodium and even gold from everyday objects in that have reached the end of their useful life.
In addition to end-of-life computers, mobile devices and other electronics, your vehicle is also an excellent minefield of precious metals that can be extracted, refined and returned to the supply chain.
Here’s a list of recyclable parts, and knowing what they are may literally pay off for you.
1. Spark Plugs
Spark plugs produce an electric spark to ignite the fuel-air mixture within the engine cylinders, converting fuel energy that propels the vehicle. Platinum and Iridium are commonly used in spark plugs due to their superior conductivity.
2. Oxygen Sensors
These sensors uses gas-permeable platinum electrodes to determine the level of oxygen in the post-combustion exhaust, then sends the readings to the car’s computer, or the ECU. The ECU then uses these readings to adjust the air-fuel mixture. Oxygen sensors can sometimes be found near the catalytic converters.
3. Catalytic Converters
Depending on the make and model, vehicles can have one or more catalytic converters. Usually found between the engine and the muffler, they are used for converting cancer-causing gases into their harmless counterparts. To achieve this, converters usually use a mix of platinum, palladium and rhodium as catalysts for the chemical reaction.
The concentration of platinum group metals in a catalytic converter can be more than 100 times higher than in naturally occurring ores? This makes recycling far more efficient and environmentally-friendly than mining.
Probably the least known to most people, airbags contain small amounts of gold. However, due to their volatility, recycling airbags may prove more dangerous than rewarding. Airbags are found within steering wheels, and sometimes on the passenger side of the dashboard too.
5. Engine Control Unit (ECU)
Also known as the Engine Control Module, the ECU is a computer that acts as the ‘brain’ of the car. It governs everything from air-fuel mixtures, ignition timing to even idle speeds. The ECU uses gold for its electrical conductivity, and can usually be found behind the dashboard.
6. Other Components
Aside from the those mentioned, many other vehicle parts contain small amounts of precious metals. These parts include fuel sender, accelerator position sensor, throttle sensor, fuel injectors… just to name a few.
Although the amount of precious metals contained in a single car may not be much, but together with the rest of the vehicle population, every city has a rich urban mine with infinite resources.
If you are an aspiring urban miner looking to recycle your scrap vehicle materials, the key to your success is in finding a reliable recycling partner. At BR Metals, our clients choose to work with us because we pay reliably, are prompt in service while offering competitive prices.
Do reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d be happy to chat 🙂