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What They Do

Insider Info

Automotive recyclers are also known as auto salvagers and auto wreckers. Automotive recyclers buy cars from insurance companies, auctions and private owners in order to take them apart and sell the usable parts. These cars are often older vehicles, cars that have been in accidents or cars that are no longer fit for the road.

Automotive recyclers have to make sure they drain all the liquids, such as washer fluid and oil, from the vehicle and properly dispose of the fluids. Many of these fluids are toxic and harmful to the environment.

There are a few different areas within the field of automotive recycling. Auto recyclers can work in the yard, as drivers, as inventory takers, as salespeople (also known as countermen) or in the management division.

Those working the yard are required to be outside, sometimes facing the elements.

Auto recyclers who work in sales and management can be found behind the counter or inside the office. They deal with the general shop traffic as well as the hundreds of customers that can flood the phones. They also sell parts and accept orders through e-mail.

"It's a very varied job. It goes all the way from ownership management down to the lowest level, which would be a yard man that's taking the parts off," says Tim Donovan. He is the executive director of an automotive recyclers association.

Automotive recyclers often own their own yard or work within one of the various divisions of the business. Many who are business owners today started off in the yard and worked their way up.

"There is room for growth in that industry," says Donovan.

Work hours in salvage yards are fairly regular. Many are open during normal business hours during the week, and a few are open on the weekends.

The physical requirements will vary depending on the division the person is working in. Those working in the yard and in the inventory department will often be required to do some heavy lifting.

At a Glance

Make use of old parts

  • Auto recyclers in Canada and the United States recycle more than four million motor vehicles each year
  • Recyclers generally run their own auto salvage businesses
  • No formal education is required, but courses in auto mechanics are always good


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