Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Saturday 22 August 2009


Car broke down yesterday, very busy Friday afternoon, the RAC were brilliant, they couldn't repair the vehicle so the got me and the car the 110 miles home, and then collected the car again today and took it to the garage for the repair, I cannot fault them!
It appears that the fault is the Fuel Pressure Regulator, a known problem, hopefully the repair will be quick and I can get the car back early next week.

Thursday 6 August 2009

The US scrapyard!

During my recent holiday in the US, enjoying ‘gas’ at $2.50 a gallon (approx 40 pence per litre!), I took some time out and visited Nordstrom’s Automotive in South Dakota ( - thanks to Benji Steffs for showing me around.
So many differences between their operation and the UK, Nordstrom’s rely mainly on their local customers for business, either through their sales teams based in the office or travelling locally, or their ‘u-pull-it’ facility, where customers come in, pay a flat rate and remove the parts that they want for their vehicles.
Difference to the UK, well many salvage parts operations can be up to 70% mail order, in some cases delivering worldwide - so have limited local customers.
The US also does not have the stringent environmental requirements that apply in the EU, no End of Life Vehicle regulations there!
They still have legal requirements to keep the land clean, and ensure that their hazardous waste (tyres, batteries etc) are removed to specialised operators, gas goes into their own tanks for re-use in their vehicles, and when the tanks are full each member of staff gets 10 gallons for their own vehicles. Oil keeps their heating system going in the winter.
Working conditions outside are very weather dependant, hot and dusty in the summer, cold and snowing in the winter. Consequently they have large indoor working and storage areas giving a working environment than many UK operations could only dream about!
Vehicles come from many sources, mainly insurers, and Nordstom’s make the decision on what they do with the vehicle – scrap it, use it for parts, or sell as repairable. They do not have restrictions like the Association of British insurers Code of Practice, so they can re-sell non-deployed air bags (under strict guidance), and they can section vehicles and sell these parts to body repair centres for insurance repair. I saw a front end section from a Honda Accord that had been cut at the base of the ‘A’ pillars and across the floor and sent to a body repairer, the repairer had then expertly removed the section of the front wheelhouse that they required for the repair and returned the rest of the front end section to Nordstrom’s for further sale/sectioning, paying for the parts that they removed.
The different standards in auto recycling is highlighted by my experience in the US, the standards set in the UK are much tougher, especially around the removal of unsafe vehicles and vehicle documentation, areas currently not mirrored elsewhere in the world. ELV regulations mean that the EU is leading the world on environmental and recycling targets, and the US show the benefit of using ‘green’ parts in automotive repair.
I believe that there will soon be a time where a global standard in auto recycling will begin to appear, taking the best of the UK, Europe and US standards and bringing a lasting benefit to the whole auto recycling industry.
This may take a few years to develop and bring to fruition, maybe start with a European Salvage Code and then work forward; as usual comments and ideas are welcome from all.