Repurposing old car parts

Has anyone here engaged in this pursuit? I haven’t, but such a thing seems possible. Here’s a couple of ideas, but there must be more. Might be done just for a high school student’s science fair project.

  • A carburetor choke-coil-spring ass’y should make a serviceable thermometer.

  • A MAP sensor would make a pretty good basis for a barometer or altimeter.

  • A compact spare tire could be used for compressed air storage.

  • Headlight bulbs with only one good filament – so no good for car use – can still be used as a large-current load test device, for load-testing a circuit.

42 Simply Brilliant Ideas On How To Recycle Old Car Parts Into Furnishings (

15 Creative Ways To Repurpose Old Car Parts Around Your Home (

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Good links @weekend-warrior . Proves there are a lot of clever diy’ers out there. I particularly like the engine-coffee table designs, and the coil spring mail organizer. The idea to turn an old car hood into a building’s roof extension is something I see the need for all the time for public buildings in these parts.

Automotive furniture in man caves and shops is a great way to repurpose old parts…

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I see all these ideas as a waste of time and effort.

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Good point. While the coffee table/engine combos look like a pretty good conversation piece, their weight may make that idea impractical.

I just keep a box to throw all my old metal parts in to take to the junk yard when it’s full. I remember turning over a good $400 injector pump once and was sure to tell the guy what it was. But he just threw it in the dirty aluminum bin anyway. Nobody wants this junk.

I have thrown air tool, lawn sweeper and other stuff out for junk. I was ready to throw my perfectly working air compressor out too, but my hvac guy took it off my hands.

When I was a teen, I found a Rambler hubcap on the side of the road.

For some reason, I picked it up and saved it. A couple of years later, my folding wood ruler…
… broke.

So, being bored one day, I decided to make a roadside warning device by mounting a fairly large red reflector inside the hub cap, in the center, with radial stripes of reflector tape emanating from the center reflector. Then, I attached 2 sections of the broken wood ruler, and used them to create a stand for my homemade warning device.

I actually kept this crude little thing in my trunk for a few years, until I decided that it was just more junk that needed to be discarded.

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The hubcap roadside-warning seems like a pretty good idea. Flat, takes less space in the trunk better than one of those orange cones. Some jurisdictions probably require a roadside warning device be kept in the car at all times. My dad used to carry flares, but those always seemed to kid-me a fire hazard.

Thank you
I also thought it was a good idea, but the problem that I had with it related to the wind/drag of big trucks on the highway, which would inevitably topple-it over. My homemade folding stand simply didn’t have enough stability to be able to keep the thing upright.

Someone with an entrepreneurial business sense (not me, at that age…) might have thought about doing a redesign of the original concept in order to make it more practical, and then patenting it. If it was made from a circular piece of sheet metal, with a rolled edge (instead of a hubcap) it would be pretty cheap to fabricate.

How about whole cars. Spindle (sculpture) - Wikipedia Spindle.

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Anyone who has driven on Rt. 1, in the area of Edison, NJ, should remember this one:


When I was in college, I worked at a ATV/motorcycle/jet ski place in the summers. They had a pile of old engine blocks that had been warped/destroyed. I asked the owner if I could have one of them; he said sure. They were just junk to him. I’ve kept it with me the past 25 year or so; so far I’ve not ever found a real “purpose” for it, other than it’s a memory, and just kind of cool.

The problem with this kind of “repurposing”, though well intended…is you do eventually end up with piles of junk that you can’t do anything with. If you live on a farm or out in the country…that may not be a problem. But if you live in a nice neighborhood and/or have a wife… that pile of junk is going to turn into a problem real quick.


Then the paradigm shift with four way flashers