Recently I a replaced and installed a new radiator in a van. After I had the new radiator installed I realized I had this old radiator and was trying to figure out what to do with it. It can be a bit of dilemma for someone who does auto repair at their house. Auto part stores don't want it is not a rebuildable core, so they can't get any money for it. You could throw it out, except an aluminum radiator is worth something in scrap metal.
I usually find I always have this issue of what to do with used auto parts like this radiator. You can take it to a metal recycling center and they will give you a little money for it. Most of the time I don't bother with taking used auto parts anywhere as it just piles up and I never remember or get around to taking to exchange it for cash. Also I'm pretty sure if I left the metal in my car I'd waste gas having it the car. I'd likely keep forgetting to take the metal to a recycling center for cash and then it would become a cash drain.
Luckily for me today I was close to a metal recycling center with the old radiator in my trunk, so I decided to stop-by and exchange it for some money. What did I get for it? A nice $2.40, which is better than nothing but not enough for even a fast food meal. (Not that I encourage eating any fast food.)
While I'm not knocking the $2.40 in hard cash I got, it made we wonder…is it even worth the time and gas to turn in scrap metal like this radiator? What about the gas? The metal recycling place was about a 1-mile-and-half out of my usual way.
My opinion is if I had made the trip specifically for the old radiator I'd say, “Nope!” I would have wasted too much gas and my time for the $2.40. Since I was already in the area it was sort of a no brainer. However, if I had the radiator in my car for two weeks or something I would have likely wasted more money in carrying it around then actually getting money for it. A lot of factors to think about for a used auto parts like this.
I'd love to hear shadetree mechanics and the DIY auto repair community's opinions and thoughts about this. Would you take this old radiator if it was separate trip or do what I did? Try to cluster it around an errand or where you usually drive. How do you usually handle old auto parts? Do you have way to get the more money for them and to maximize your time and gas?