Preparing Your Radiator for Scrap Metal Recycling

Radiators are common items that often end up in scrap yards when they fail or need to be replaced. Their copper and aluminum materials can be quite valuable as scrap metal. If you have an old radiator to get rid of, it’s easy to prepare it for recycling and receive some cash in return. 


At Action Metals Recyclers, we offer the best prices on all scraps and are ready to help you make the most of your old radiator.


Coming in at $1.84 per pound for clean brass radiators, following these steps to ready your radiator for the scrap yard can give you the great feeling of a full wallet when you leave our facility.

Drain Out All Fluids

The first step in preparing a radiator for scrap is to thoroughly drain it of any automotive fluids it may still contain. These fluids include:


  • Engine coolant
  • Motor oil
  • Transmission fluid


Make sure to have a drain pan ready to catch any liquids that come out when you open the drain valves or disconnect any hoses. 


The fluids should be captured and disposed of properly rather than dumped down a household drain. Drainage holes are often located on the underside of the radiator.


This process helps register your radiator as “clean.” Failure to do this can result in a much lower sales price at the end of the day.

Remove Rubber Components

A radiator contains various rubber hoses, gaskets, and sealing components you’ll want to remove before taking it to a scrap dealer. These rubber pieces are not useful as scrap metal and need to be disposed of separately. 

Clean All Dirt and Debris 

Once the fluids are fully drained and the rubber pieces removed, thoroughly clean your radiator. Use soap and water to wash off any accumulated dirt, bugs, leaves, or other debris on the outside of the radiator. Also, rinse the interior to remove any sediment or deposits. 


This lets our Dallas scrap metal recyclers more easily assess the item’s component materials.

Straighten Any Bent Fins

Auto radiators contain rows of thin cooling fins that can easily get bent up over years of service. Before recycling, try to straighten any mangled fins using a screwdriver, butter knife, or other tool. While not essential, straightening bent fins allows more accurate weighing at our Dallas scrap yard.

Remove the Radiator Fan 

If your old radiator has a fan assembly attached to it, go ahead and remove this before taking the item in for scrap. Fans contain iron components that may be weighed separately from the aluminum radiator itself at some yards. Weighing your metals separately helps you make even more money in your transaction. 


Unbolt or unscrew the fan from the radiator body and set it aside for recycling as well.

Transport with Care

When transporting your radiator to the scrap yard, cushion it by wrapping it in a moving blanket or layers of cardboard. This prevents any damage that could decrease the value of the item once it is weighed for recycling. Also, transport the radiator upright and brace it securely so it won’t shift around and bend any cooling fins.

Classify Metal Components

When you take your radiator to our scrap metal facility, identify what types of metals it contains. Most radiators contain copper tubing and headers along with aluminum cores. 


We can pay slightly more if you have these metals already classified when you turn the item in. Photos of the different internal metals may help with identification.

Make Cash Off Your Radiator Today with Action Metals Recyclers

Prepping an old radiator doesn’t take long before it’s ready for the scrap yard. Just be sure to drain all fluids, remove rubber pieces, straighten any bent fins, and loosely identify what metal types are present. A cleaned radiator can bring in a nice bit of cash as metal recycling values continue to climb worldwide. With scrap metal prices fluctuating daily based on demand, a little time invested in dismantling old items like radiators can pay off.


Contact Action Metals Recyclers today to schedule your next radiator drop-off or pick-up.