Processing End-of-Life Vehicles: A Guide for Vehicle Salvage
Profit and Safety in the U.S.-Mexico Border Area
Important Waste Components
Always remove these three waste components first.
Waste Batteries	Refrigerants
Remove the battery from a vehicle first. Doing so allows
for the safe handling of other materials. Stack batteries
no more than two high and place cardboard or plywood
between each stack. Be careful not to crack the battery
casing. Store batteries in a dry place away from moisture.
Next, refrigerants are recovered using a portable pump
and tank. Pumps come in all shapes and sizes, but one
thing that is common to most types is the hoses that
connect to the vehicle are color-coded to distinguish the
inlet hose from the outlet hose. (See legend below.)
Waste batteries stacked two rows high on pallet.
Waste Fuel
Waste fuel removal pump and
containment tank.
Then remove fuel in a well-
ventilated area using a
suction system specifically
designed for fuel removal.
Do not use plastic hand
pumps, as they can build
up a static electrical
charge and cause a fire or
explosion. Store waste fuel
separately in clearly-marked
Left: Refrigerant removal pump
and containment tanks.
Right: Removal system connected
to salvage vehicle.
Hose connecting refrigerants pump to
» Outlet hose connected to refrigerants
e> Inlet hose connected to refrigerants pump
Waste Fluids
Waste oils include many
fluids, such as engine,
transmission, power
steering, differential,
and brake fluid. These
fluids can be combined
and stored together
and should be clearly
labeled. Antifreeze
and windshield washer
fluid must be stored
separately and should
also be clearly labeled.
Waste fluids can be
stored in a metal or
plastic container with a
secure lid.
Left: Waste oil containers.
Bottom Left: Waste antifreeze container.
Right: Worker removing waste fluids using hand pump.
Lead is used in wheel weights
and battery cable ends. Keep
lead wastes separate from
other waste components.
Lead parts have value. You can
sell lead parts to a smelter or
Left: Lead wheel weight.
Right: Lead battery terminal.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
^	;;—Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery
SEMARNAT	EPA530-R-15-007
Anti-lock Brake
ABS g-force sensors consist
of two or three mercury
switches embedded in a
plastic case. The sensor
modules are about 2 to
3 inches long and 1 Vi to
2 inches wide. They are
mounted with two or three
screws. The sensors can be
found in many places, but
are often found on the drive
tunnel, below the rear seat
on the floor pan, and on the
left frame rail directly below
the driver.
Modules Containing
Examples of anti-lock brake modules and graphic of automobiles showing
where they are commonly located.
Mercury Convenience Switches
Most vehicle model years before 2003 contain mercury convenience switches.
Workers need to look for them under of the vehicle hood or trunk and in the
passenger side vanity
mirror. The mercury
is usually contained in
a metal capsule. Audi
and Volvo models have
fragile glass switches
that require special care
when handling.
Left: Typical size of a mercury containing capsule removed from switch.
Right: Glass-type mercury switch.