Welcome to Scrap Metal Junkie, the ultimate scrap metal recycling resource on the web! I’ve been getting a lot of suggestions and feedback about the new site, and it looks like everybody really likes it! I’m going to remind my readers to check out the Forum if you have more specific questions!
Old lawn mowers and small engines are a great source of scrap aluminum and steel. Unfortunately, it is far too time consuming to take a whole small engine apart to separate into non-ferrous metals (using the magnet test). The trick for those of us selling them for scrap metal, however, is getting a fair price for the value of the metal.
A number of scrap yards have a problem with lawn mowers; there is too much contamination for them to pay anything other than general scrap prices. (they would love to buy them from you, but only at the lowest grade possible) The thing is, we all know there is more metal value than just light iron in a small engine, even if there happens to be a little oil and plastic coming along with it. For one thing, there is always a large amount of aluminum castings.
So if we know that scrap yards don’t like them, and we know they are more valuable than scrap, why do scrappers constantly sell them to scrap yards?
A broken or failing lawn mower can be sold to a small engine mechanic as is. Don’t scrap it if you can help it!
Small engines mechanics have a great knack for salvaging useable parts from a real POS lawnmower. It just takes a few local connections, and you will be able to make 2 or 3 times as much by selling a lawnmower to somebody for parts than you would if you sold it to a scrap yard.
I suggest posting ads on craigslist saying things like, “selling many broken lawnmowers for parts, extra cheap!” and that will draw in perspective buyers. If you just have a single lawn mower and don’t plan on getting more any time soon, then a simple “broken lawn mower for parts” should work ok.
Once you realize that selling a lawnmower for parts is the only worthwhile option, then the rest of this article may seem meaningless to you… until you start buying scrap back from the mechanics you networked with!
That’s right: a beautiful symbiosis can be formed: you sell them broken lawnmowers and they sell you their scrap metals.
Here is what to look out for:
Small Engines and Transmissions
These are engines from weed eaters to lawn mowers. The aluminum castings in these whole engines are dirty and very contaminated with steel. That is why small engines are almost always considered “aluminum breakage.” (remember, every scrap yard is different with their categories. Some may call this “irony aluminum” but the price should be about the same.)If you have some time, you can try pulling out the more valuable non-ferrous, but be aware that it will be time consuming! The aluminum breakage is worth ~.3¢ per pound. So a motor from a lawnmower would be worth ~$4-$8.
How To Remove a Scrap Lawnmower Engine
Small transmissions and differentials can also be found in the mowers with self propulsion, or on riding/tractor mowers. These parts are also aluminum breakage. (But like I said these parts are all worth much more to someone as parts)
Scrap Aluminum Castings and Scrap Aluminum Lawn Mower Decks
A simple magnet test will show you which parts of the mower are aluminum. Don’t make the mistake of throwing a lawnmower with an aluminum deck into the shred pile! A small aluminum deck is usually worth about ~$5 when separated from the mower. Of course, if you are willing to separate the whole aluminum deck from the mower cleanly (without breaking) then you can easily sell the deck for 4x scrap cast aluminum price. Some scrap yards will buy the whole mower (if it has an aluminum deck) at aluminum breakage price.
- Don’t sell a lawn mower to a scrap yard unless you have no other way to sell it. The mowers and parts are worth so much more than scrap price (especially plastic pieces that are virtually worthless as scrap)
- Don’t sell a mower to a scrap yard without first pulling the aluminum breakage engine first!
- Don’t forget to check to see if the mower deck is cast aluminum
- Don’t let oil and gas pour out all over your work area!
- Don’t Sell the mower without first pulling out the gasoline!