Do old radiators have scrap value? Certainly, and you may find scrapping old radiators to be well worth your time. However, there are important things to know that will affect the scrap value of your old radiator. In this article, we discuss how much you can expect to receive for your scrap radiator, how to get the most money for your scrap radiator, and where to find a scrapyard near you that will pay top dollar for your scrap radiator.

In This Article

How to Scrap a Radiator

Find a Scrapyard

The first step towards scrapping your radiator is to find a scrapyard near you. One of the best online directories is the iScrap App. On both the app and website, users can report current prices at local scrap yards. This means you can sometimes get current prices at your local yard without even having to call. Some other, smaller scrapyard directories include Scrap Monster, Scrap Metal Network, and Junk Metal.

Call your nearby scrapyards for quotes on the prices they pay for various types of scrap, like radiators. Just by calling around you may be able to find locations paying higher prices than others. You should also ask them whether they have any requirements for scrappers. Because of state laws meant to prevent thieves from making a profit on stolen goods, some scrap yards have to ask for your ID and aren’t allowed to pay cash for scrap.

Prepare the Radiator

Next, ensure that the radiator is properly prepped for the scrap yard. There a couple things you can do to get the most money out of a scrap radiator:

  1. Remove any fluid from the radiator. Most scrap yards won’t accept items full of any type of fluid.
  2. Remove plastic and steel ends and covers from the radiator. If you are able to strip down the radiator to just valuable metal parts, you may be able to scrap the radiator at “clean” or “prepared” prices, which are much higher than the price given for radiators still with attached material that cannot be scrapped.
  3. Organize your scrap metal by the type of material. This will help ensure that a clean radiator is not weighted with radiator end scraps or other less valuable material. Scrap yards also usually frown upon people taking a lot of time to sort items at the scrap yard. If you’re well organized,  you may even be able to negotiate a higher price with the scrapyard.

Before heading to the scrapyard, it may also be worthwhile to check any specific laws regarding scrapping material in your state.

Radiator Scrap Value by Metal

Old radiators certainly have scrap value. However, a radiator’s specific scrap value will depend on the metals it’s made out of. Sometimes, the body of the radiator will be one metal while ends or other pieces will be another metal. Separating these before you go to the scrap yard will maximize your value and ensure you’re paid full price for the more valuable metals. Below we cover the different types of radiators, how to identify the types of radiators, and the value of each.

Aluminum

Aluminum radiators are most commonly found in cars, trucks, forklifts, and other vehicles. Aluminum radiators will be silver in color throughout, without any copper color. If the radiator is dirty, use a file to clean away the debris to verify the metal is silver in color. If you uncover darker metal, it may be copper or brass, which have higher scrap values.

As of December 2017, the scrap value of aluminum radiators was $0.47 per pound. Remember these prices are constantly changing, as you can see with the recent scrap prices for aluminum radiators on ScrapMonster.

Want to learn more about scrapping aluminum? Read our article Aluminum Recycling Prices: Aluminum Scrap Price per Pound + More.

Aluminum Copper

Aluminum copper radiators, also known as aluminum copper fin radiators or ACRs, are used in home and business air conditioning units and refrigerators.

Because these radiators have copper tubing inside, they’re worth much more money to scrap. As of December 2017, the scrap value of aluminum copper (AL/CU) radiators was $1.13 per pound. However, these prices fluctuate daily. Scrap prices for aluminum copper radiators have been between $0.97 and $1.77 per pound during the last year. You can find more up to date prices for aluminum copper radiators on the ScrapMonster.

You can read more about scrapping copper items in our article Scrap Copper Prices per Pound/Ton/Ounce/Gram.

Brass

Large trucks and heavy construction equipment may have brass radiators instead of the aluminum ones common in smaller vehicles. Brass and copper may look alike, especially if the object is dirty, so it’s important to find out what you have. There are a couple ways to determine if your radiator is made out of brass or copper:

  • Some brass alloys may be magnetic, while copper is not magnetic. So if a magnet attracts to the pipe, it is likely a brass alloy.
  • Brass is much harder than copper. If you’re easily able to bend the metal in the radiator, it is likely copper.
  • Copper usually has a reddish color, whereas brass has a yellow, gold, or orange hue. You can compare the color to a penny, which is copper-colored, to help. (Pennies haven’t actually been made out of copper since 1982, so an old penny will be better for making an accurate comparison.)

Brass radiators are large and very heavy but can be very valuable for scrap. Brass radiators have a higher scrap value than aluminum or copper radiators. As of December 2017, brass radiators had a scrap value of $1.20 per pound. This price does change over time and depends on your location. Prices in 2017 fluctuated between $1.12 and $1.25 per pound.  You can see up to date prices for brass radiators on the ScrapMonster.

You can read more about scrapping brass items in our article Scrap Brass Prices per Pound, Ounce, Ton (Yellow Brass, Red Brass, etc.).

Cast Iron

Cast iron radiators were common in old homes and other buildings, particularly on the east coast of the United States.

Unfortunately, the value for scrap cast iron is low. As of December 2017, prices were $130 per ton, or around $0.07 per pound. These values will vary over time, and depend on your location and the condition of your scrap cast iron as well. You can find up to date cast iron scrap prices on Recycleinme or see what scrapyards near you have offered others for their scrap cast iron on sites like iScrapApp. While the price per pound is low, since iron radiators are often very heavy (as you probably noticed if you have one), they can still be worth your time to scrap.

There are some scenarios where it doesn’t pay to scrap a cast iron radiator. Be sure to look in the When Not to Scrap a Radiator section below before you commit to scrapping your old cast iron radiator. You can read more about scrapping cast iron in our article Scrap Iron Prices per Pound, Ton.

Steel

While radiators aren’t made of steel, they can have steel parts. If your radiator has steel covers or ends, bring that to the scrap yard in a separate pile as you’ll likely be able to scrap it as well (but at a lower price than your “clean” radiator). As of December 2017, radiator scrap ends had a scrap value of $0.55 per pound. You can see more up to date numbers on radiator end scraps on ScrapMonster.

When Not to Scrap a Radiator

If your radiator is still in good working condition, you may find that the radiator’s resale value is higher than the scrap value. This is most likely to be the case if your radiator is made of cast iron. A search for cast iron radiators on sites like eBay and Craigslist finds old cast iron radiators selling for hundreds of dollars! Old cast iron radiators may also have historic and collectible value as well. You may find it to be worth your time by first trying to resell your old cast iron radiator.

If you don’t want to scrap your old radiator, you can also use one of these sites to search for a recycling organization:

Depending on the type of radiator you have and your location, these organizations may be able to pay you a small amount for your old radiator. Some just offer free pickup, which still saves you the hassle of going to a scrapyard and carrying a heavy radiator.

In Summary

Whether you’re taking apart an old car, house, or building, don’t just throw away those old radiators! Radiators can be scrapped for change, though value depends on what metal they’re made of. Most radiator materials, including brass, aluminum, and copper, have a high enough value that they’re worth the time to scrap. Cast iron radiators often have a low scrap value, but if yours is in good shape, you might be able to resell it. Finally, you have recycling as a last option, if you can neither scrap or sell your radiator, but still need to get rid of it.