What Materials is a Car Made From?

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What Materials is a Car Made From?

junk cars

Everyone is familiar with how a major thoroughfare will close down after a fully-loaded tanker truck or semi-truck flips over.  It contents often are strewn across the expressway or highway necessitating detours for drivers.  But hand-in-hand with those detours is often the need to declare a hazmat situation.  “Hazmat”, as you know, is the common term to describe hazardous materials.  A fuel spill, followed by a nasty quick-starting fire, could close down a busy thoroughfare for hours, if not days.

But surprisingly, hazmat situations on the highway are not limited to fuel haulers or large trucks that have lost their load.  A violent crash of two passenger vehicles can just as easily cause a hazardous materials situation.

If this fact surprises you, you will also be astounded to know that the average passenger vehicle is comprised of approximately a dozen, or more, very hazardous components, among them:

  • Batteries which contain corrosive liquid (sulfuric acid)
  • Engines which contain fuel, vapor or residues
  • Shock and struts which contain hydraulic fluid and compressed gas
  • Paint, adhesives and sealants which contain flammable solvents
  • R-134A refrigerants for your vehicle’s air conditioner which contain non-flammable compressed gas
  • Brake accumulators which contain high-pressure gas
  • Fuel system components which contain fuel
  • Driver-side air bags and passenger–side airbags which contain non-flammable compressed gas, and seatbelt pretensioners which contain propellant
  • Speakers which contain magnetized materials
  • Stay dampers (hood, truck and tailgate stays) which contain non-flammable gas
  • And don’t forget the most obvious hazardous material – gasoline. 

Wait, there’s more

As if that long list of hazardous substances in your vehicle was not bad enough, every few years a story resurfaces about how that “new car smell” which is really a potourri comprised of  a multitude of chemicals, among the worst offenders being PVC vinyl, flame retardant materials and lead.  The chemicals are unregulated as to their use in car interiors, thus, there is no escaping these harmful chemicals from the minute you enter your vehicle.  You are immersed in harmful chemicals by virtue of the components which people are most likely to touch, such as the steering wheel, dashboard, armrests and seats.  The car seats include a brominated flame retardant a/k/a a chemical called “deca-brominated diphenyl ether” which is in the process of being banned in a number of states in the USA and abroad.

While we may joke about “new car smell”, what is not a subject worth joking about is that the high content of PVC vinyl in any vehicle is what may contribute to health problems down the road, including fertility issues or cancer.  Did you know that the seats you believe are leather are really comprised of a mixture containing vinyl, more specifically polyvinyl chloride, or PVC.  It is this PVC that often causes “fogging on the inside of your car windshield.

Collectively these chemicals have a number of negative impacts on your health.  Short-term problems include headaches and nausea; long-term effects may be memory loss, cognitive, nervous and immune system problems, hormone and reproductive disorders, as well as cancer.

Well…. Gulp.  The average American spends over 1.5 hours in their car daily… add those hours up over a lifetime, immersed in all those fumes.

Yikes!  Reading this list kind of makes you want to abandon your vehicle and ride a bicycle going forward doesn’t it?

So, now you know why car recycling is a lucrative business.

Here’s Car recycling

When it is time to say bye to your buggy, we now know why recycling the car is an environmentally friendly decision.  But, is there any other benefit to car recycling?  The biggest benefit is not crowding landfills because they take up so much less space.  Sending your vehicle to a recycling company causes it to be crushed, then any recyclable parts are cherry-picked out, then the vehicle will be shredded up.  It is a lucrative business because the sale of reusable salvage from old vehicles is a valuable step of auto recycling.  Some 65 percent of a junked car is made from steel (the balance is comprised of other metals plus glass, rubber and upholstery).  The price for scrap steel and iron, varies by state or region, but can go as high as $250.00 per ton.

Here in the United States we must keep up with other countries’ demand for recycled scrap steel.  For example, expanding economies in Asia have led to greater demand for scrap steel, bolstering the market worldwide.  With some 14 million tons of steel from cars being scrapped each year thus contributing to an industry-wide total of 76 million tons of recycled steel and iron, you know why the auto recycling business has become a multi-billion dollar industry.

If you needed further belief as to why you should take your ready-to-expire vehicle to a company that specializes in car recycling in NJ, here is your final proof.  A NJ car recycling company will be able to ensure that your car does not damage the environment in its afterlife.

Besides the importance of looking toward a greener and cleaner Mother Earth, recycling metal uses about 74 percent less energy than making new steel, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  And, besides using less energy, recycled steel is cheaper as well, since new ore doesn’t have to be mined to produce it.  Today, all steel produced has as a component, at least 25 percent recycled steel, and some products are made entirely from recycled steel.  So, in addition to the obvious economic and environmental benefits, recycling cars is a vital link in the world’s industrial infrastructure.

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