Aluminum Cans

Most beverage cans and some food cans are made of aluminum.  If a magnet sticks to them, they are steel cans and worth very little.

Aluminum beverage cans are one of the highest-priced grades of aluminum scrap, but the food cans are a different alloy and have to be sold separately at a lower price.

Pop can tabs are the same grade as the rest of the aluminum can, so don’t pull them off expecting to get more money.  Instead they are cheaper when loose, and have to be boxed and sold to a different smelter for less money.  The companies that melt beverage cans require the material to be baled and do not accept loose items in boxes.

To get full value for beverage cans, make sure they are empty.  Even a little fluid in the bottom can weigh almost as much as the can.  When we detect fluid, we deduct enough weight to make sure we won’t come up short after the cans are baled and the liquid runs out.

Also take care to keep cans separate from your trash at home so everyone in the family knows which is which.  If we get a bag with trash in it, we will make a significant weight deduction or reject it and send it back home with you to be sorted out.

When calling us for prices, keep in mind that large loads pay a higher price.

Aluminum Doors and Windows

Aluminum doors and windows have value if you remove the glass prior to delivering them to the recycling center.

To get the best payback, disassemble them until you have nothing but stripped-out frames. Remove screws, fittings, weather-stripping and corner pieces, making sure there is nothing left but aluminum, and you will get a much better price.

Windows from stores are sometimes welded at the corners, in which case there is no need to attempt disassembly beyond removing glass, weather-stripping and attachments.

In some cases, the window frames have been filled with a type of foam to better insulate your building from summer and winter temperature extremes. These are known as “thermal break windows” and there is no practical way to remove the foam, so the frames sell at a much cheaper price.

Aluminum from Automobiles

Cars and trucks today have several parts manufactured from aluminum.

One of the most obvious applications – you see it every time a vehicle drives by – is the wheel.  Unless your ride is extremely old, it has aluminum wheels.  Remove the tire, valve stem and wheel weights and you have one of the higher priced grades of scrap aluminum.  Wheels with a chrome finish pay less, as do wheels clad with plastic.

Transmissions and transaxles are usually built with an aluminum case which is full of mostly steel parts.  Obviously if you strip them down all the way, you will get better money for the “cleaned” aluminum case, which is made from cast aluminum, one of the cheaper grades.

Sometimes engines, or just the heads, are cast aluminum as well, needing to have the steel parts removed to maximize the price.

Alternators have an aluminum housing, but also copper windings inside, so they are bought in the same grade as electric motors.

Radiators and transmission fluid coolers are usually aluminum.  Removing any plastic and steel that is attached will raise the value of those items.

In rare cases you may find a car has an aluminum hood or fenders.  Any time there is a doubt, use a magnet to test the piece of metal – it will stick to steel, but not to aluminum.

Misc. Aluminum

There are a lot of different grades of aluminum that have not already been mentioned on this website.

Boat motors are usually cast aluminum with steel parts inside, just like lawnmower motors.  These are bought as “Breakage”, meaning they will need to be broken into pieces or smelted to separate the metals.  If you have spare time and hand tools, you can usually strip it yourself.

Many pots, pans, skillets, and other cookware are partially aluminum.  The trick to getting a higher price is whether you can remove plastic, rubber, heating elements, etc.

Sometimes structural shapes are aluminum instead of steel, like pipe, angle, channel, square tubing, and flat plates.   Other items can include screens, grills and sheets.

Some machine shops generate aluminum turnings – the trick there is to be careful no other turnings (like steel) get mixed in, and the cutting oils get drained out so we don’t have to deduct weight.

Some electrical cable that brings power into your home or business is made from aluminum wires with a steel wire down the center to give it strength.  It may or may not be covered with plastic insulation.  Aluminum wire yields its highest value when there is no steel or plastic attached.

As always, you can use a magnet to sort metals – it will stick to steel, but not aluminum.

Areas We Serve

Fusselman Salvage serves North-Central Missouri including Moberly, Columbia, Jefferson City, Kirksville and many others. If you’re within a 100 mile radius of our store, you’re in a great place to make some money off your aluminum. Give us a call to see if it’s worth the drive! (660) 263-6811.