CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Disposal of old struts

Couldn’t beat the economy of buying quick struts over the cost in materials and time to rebuild the old ones.

Now the prospect of disposing of the old ones has me concerned for the safety of anyone coming in contact, especially unknowingly if they are buried in trash down the road, and having them come apart and hurt someone.

One tool I don’t own is an external spring compressor for strut springs. I always borrowed that from the parts store. Have an internal though.

Obviously, I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time to get the compressor and disassemble the strut. Defeats some of the advantage of going the quick strut route in the first place. Thought I’d ask the group here- had to deal with this? What did you do?

I would ask the people that sold the struts on what or how is the best way to despose of your old struts.

Scrap yard pays 10c/lb for assorted ferrous scrap.

Given that they buy cars, all day long, they certainly have the expertise and equipment to safely handle those struts.

My towns dump/transfer station has an area for metal. In fact the town actually makes a little money selling it a scrap yard.

Marc, I don’t think Amazon has any expertise in recycling old struts :wink:

We have curbside trash pickup that will take them. They would be off to the side at pickup but I am more worried about someone not understanding the risk and mixing them in with the rest of the co-mingled recycling where they may be hidden from view.

Thanks for all the comments, some things to consider…

I throw old scrap metal in a bin that I bring to the recycler once in a while. They weigh it and then give you beer money.

I go to the dump and the guy there says “put them in that big bucket over there”.

Give them to a wrecking yard.
tell them what they fit…there’s two good springs on there…and let them disassemble.

Yep, just take them to your local junk yard. You won’t get anything for them prolly but they’ll take them off your hands and recycle them. That’s what they do all day long.

Same position as mountainbike. On my regular trip to the dump I just add them to the dumpster, my only option. Let’s not puzzle the poor attendant.

In my neighborhood a day or two before our weekly curbside trash pickup, two or three different guys in old pickup trucks come around looking for scrap metal. I give my scrap to them (not including cans, etc. that the city wants for their recycling program). As for struts in particular, I have a spring compressor so I always just replace the strut and reuse the spring but any scrap metal goes to these guys.

We have “pickup” also, but they won’t pick up car parts. I could bury them in a trash bag, but our guys are pretty cool and just trying to do their jobs well, so I’m happy to work with them and bring the parts. It actually gets thrown into an over-the-road trailer with all metal refuse and sold by the ton for recycling.

It’s good you want to remove the tension on these first. I wouldn’t just dump them at the dump or put them in the metal recycling bin and hope. You must despring them first in my opinion. That’s the only ethical thing to do. I think the retail place that sold you your new ones is the first place I’d ask. They might be willing to take the old ones off your hands gratis. They’ll de-spring, and sell them as scrap. It’s a dollar maybe profit for them to do this for you perhaps. If that doesn’t work, I expect most inde or even big box automechanics would be thankful for your intensions, and also like the dollar. Ask a few. I expect either they’ll take them and recycle them for you, or at least despring them gratis.

With respect, I’ve watched the machines they use to move, grind up, and seperate metal at the “yard” for recycling, and a simple compressed spring won’t even be noticed.

Take your steel parts to any shop that does auto repair and ask if you can add to their recycle bin. The more scrap in that bin, the wider the smile on the face of the recycler.

Tester

This shouldn’t really be an issue if you are just scrapping them, but if it would make you feel better to decompress them, the easiest and safest way I’ve found to do this is to slice the coil in the middle with a cutting torch. I used to do this to make my job easier and safer if I had a cheap customer with a broken coil spring who didn’t want to buy new struts or Quick Struts, meaning I had to reuse the old ones. It will make a pretty loud noise when it breaks at the cut, but since it’s still contained by the strut, rod, and mount, it won’t go anywhere, and the spring tension will be gone. Just don’t put your hands on or near the coil while doing this (should go without saying).

Mark- that’s what I ended up doing. Didn’t feel comfortable throwing them out compressed. Cut plenty of springs on old cars I’ve parted out. This required more consideration to be very careful to avoid heating up the shock on the strut. First time anxiety but it was no biggie they came apart easily.

I normally like the slow approach- instead of an abrupt slice if you’re careful it sags and then breaks. Makes it less shocking :wink: when it goes. But because of the (maybe still) gas charged shock I just blew straight through them.

Thanks everyone for contributing and all the great suggestions!

I have a company here in my town that will pay cash for any and all scrap metal. All I have to do is drive the six miles into town and give them the metal and they give me cash for it. You could try to see if you have one of these places near your home it might be worth the short drive to safely dispose of these and pick up a little cash for doing it.