Owning a classic car can be extremely rewarding — but older vehicles come with their fair share of care and maintenance. And while you could find a local mechanic you trust to keep your classic car in shape, you may prefer to do it yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Caring for your classic car can be a hobby of its own. But if you’re going to tackle your vehicle maintenance, there are some things you need to know about how to dispose of classic car parts responsibly, safely, and legally.
Remember that the information shared in this post is general, and specific laws and regulations may vary by province or jurisdiction. With this in mind, you should always check with your local jurisdiction before disposing of these materials.
If your classic car is due for new tires, the easiest way to dispose of your old ones is usually through the tire shop where you purchase your new ones. Even if the tire shop isn’t handling the installation of your new tires, most retailers offer a recycling program for old tires where they will dispose of them for you. These services are usually free with new tire installation—but if you’re tackling your installation, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they’ll do it for a nominal fee.
If you want to avoid going through a retailer, you can recycle tires by following the regulations set forth by your provincial government. In British Columbia, for example, you can recycle used tires at drop-off locations or through the scrap tire pickup program.
Recycling Scrap Metals
Ending up with miscellaneous scrap metal is inevitable when working on a classic car. If you’re changing out brakes, you’ll have scrap rotors and/or drums. If you’re replacing parts (like starters or alternators), you’ll probably have some aluminum and metal scrap on your hands. So, what do you do with it?
Depending on the type of metal, you can sell it to your local scrap metal yard. This is especially true for metals like copper and aluminum, for which you can get paid based on the weight of the metal itself. You can get your buyer to come and pick up the scrap metal for you, which saves you the hassle of transport.
It’s important to properly recycle vehicle fluids, such as motor oil, transmission fluid, and antifreeze. It would be best to never dump used fluids down a drain or sewer, as this can cause dangerous chemicals to leach into the water table and potentially affect the water supply.
Most vehicle fluids are recyclable, though the exact guidelines for handling these may vary from one jurisdiction to the next. In most provinces, you can drain used motor oil into a clean plastic container with a lid. From there, you can take it to a local auto parts store that will collect, filter, and recycle it for free.
Recycling can be more complicated with fluids other than motor oil. Coolants, lubricants, and other fluids may need to be taken to a dedicated location for proper recycling, though you can still drain them into a clean container with a secured lid. In British Columbia, for example, there are more than 500 drop-off locations for recycling fluids like antifreeze across the province. You can find a location near you by visiting this link.
Take Care of Your Classic Car Responsibly
Knowing how to recycle car parts (including tires, scrap metals, and fluids) comes with the territory of a classic car owner, especially if you enjoy handling your maintenance and repairs. Fortunately, many auto and tire shops offer free recycling services that make responsibly disposing of these items easy and convenient. Likewise, government programs and drop-off locations are also available if you prefer a more DIY approach. Most importantly, you’re disposing of these items responsibly to protect the planet for future generations.
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