How are cars recycled?


Today is America Recycles Day, and we thought you might be interested in learning how cars are recycled.

What happens to cars when they no longer run?

When a car has made it past its lifetime it is usually stripped for parts and then recycled. Even if an owner chooses to go through the car donation process for a favored charity the car will often be put through the same process.

Have you ever wondered what the process is by which cars are turned back into the core materials that make up a vehicle? Metals, plastics, and glass can be recycled and reused in a variety of different ways.








Volkswagen put out this amazing video about their recycling method called the Volkswagen-SiCon process, most of these steps and methods are used by all recycling centers. What happens to old cars when they’ve reached the end of their usefulness, let’s walk through this fascinating process together.

Battery Removal

The first step in recycling a car is removing the battery. Most of the batteries found in cars are almost fully recyclable.

The three main components of a car battery are lead, plastic, and battery acid. The batteries are crushed and then the components are separated, purified, and the raw materials are then shipped back to the manufacturers. Read an in depth article from our friends at Earth911.

Video of battery recycling:

Video of plastic bag recycling, this is not the exact same process as the one used for the battery cases, however it is similar enough to get a general idea.

Tire Removal

There are 275 million tires stockpiled in landfills across the United States. Recently there have been many improvements in the area of tire recycling and today 80% of all tires are recycled used for things like rubberized sidewalks and playground surfaces.

This video on tire shredding is a bit outdated but enlightening just the same:

Drain Fluids

Before crushing the vehicle all fluids, hazardous and otherwise, must be removed.

Any competent mechanic will be able to easily remove all of these fluids and dispose of them in a safe environmentally friendly manner.

Remove Catalytic Converter 

The Catalytic Converter is removed for recycling of the metals found inside.

Air bags ignited/disarmed

The air bags must be ignited before the vehicle can be safely recycled.

Removal of parts that are in good working condition

Many parts can be reused. One of the most important parts of the car recycling process is stripping out the parts that can be reused. Check out this fascinating video where a group of mechanics demonstrate how quickly it is possible to strip all removable parts off of a car.

Crushing the car

Now the real fun begins. First, what’s left of the car gets crushed.

This is a video of the Australian police crushing cars confiscated from drunk drivers or drivers caught speeding excessively.

Shredding the car

Huge shredders tear apart the car into small pieces. The massive strength of these machines is absolutely awe inspiring.

Separate the materials

Using magnets or other cutting edge processes, the metals are separated out from the glass and plastic for separate recycling.

Now the raw materials can be melted down for reuse in a myriad of products.

Now you know how cars are recycled, pretty cool isn’t it?

For more info check out this great article from Earth911 or this Infographic on How many cars were recycled last year.

Flood Damaged Car Tips From Kars4Kids

Helpful Tips from Kars4Kids

Post-Hurricane Sandy Flood Damaged Car Tips 

Hurricane Sandy has left a tremendous amount of devastated cars in it’s wake. From flood damaged cars, to cars suffering from tree damage, or cars suffering any kind of damage at all. Cars suffering from flood damage have been the most common kind of damage we at Kars4Kids have been seeing, although there are way too many of the others as well.

We’ve created this resource for those of you unfortunate to be dealing with a flood damaged car or the like.


List of insurance companies phone numbers for filing claims

Allstate Insurance: 800-547-8676 or online at
GEICO: 800-841-3000 or online at
Liberty Mutual Group: 800-225-2467 or online at
Nationwide Insurance: 800-421-3535 or online at
Progressive Insurance Group: 800-274-4499 or online at
State Farm Insurance: 800-732-5246 or online at

If you don’t know your insurance company call 888-379-9531 or visit and they can pull it up with your name and zipcode


In heavily damaged areas, contact, (800) 621-3362 for government assistance.


Roadside assistance


Check your insurance policy or credit card benefits, as many will offer free roadside assistance


Car tips

  • Don’t try to start the car. If there’s water in the engine, transmission or fuel system, you’ll just compound the damage.
  • Disconnect the battery ground strap first
  • You need to clean out as much liquid and mud as you can and dry out your car as soon as possible
  • Assess the damage ; if water got into the interior and  mechanical systems that can be dried out or cleaned with a lot of labor, but the electrical systems usually cannot.
  • For the seats and carpet -Use a carpet cleaner or a wet-dry vacuum to bring up the water, then use a towel to dry as much as possible. Put down baking soda after the carpet is dry to remove odors.


Ways to Tell a Car has been Flood Damaged

If recent history is any indication, a number of seriously flood-damaged vehicles will wind up on used car lots and sold to unsuspecting consumers.

  • To protect yourself from buying a flood victim, rebuilt wreck, rebuilt stolen vehicle, or a salvage vehicle make sure you have a pre-purchase vehicle inspection done by a trusted repair shop and conduct a title history report through a reputable company such as CARFAX. Flood damage information is reported to CARFAX from all 50 state DMVs and, as a service to consumers everywhere, is available for free at Following these guidelines should help steer you away from a potential flood victim or any other vehicle fraud.
  • Water or condensation in the headlights or taillights could be a tip-off to flood-related problems.
  • A musty odor in the vehicle, which may be from moldy carpeting or padding. If possible, pull up the carpeting to see how far water may have risen in the vehicle, and also if any moisture remains.
  • Mud in the seat belt tracks or seat belt tensions.
  • Water in the spare tire well in a vehicle’s trunk.
  • A sagging headliner, particularly on a late-model vehicle.
  • Corrosion in the vehicle’s undercarriage, such as on brake lines or around the fuel tank.

And remember, possessions are replaceable, the most important thing is that you and your family stay safe.

Safety first!


How to make a Roger cake

The makings of a Seomoz Roger cake – see original post, Roger Roger Everywhere, for full background details

This is all the supplies you’ll need:

Chocolate sheet cake – (any plain brownie recipe will do) icing, black food coloring, three color piping red, white and black, piping tips, sharp knife, 11×14 print out of Roger and spatula

Cut out your roger printout.

Place the roger shape over the cake and use it as a guide to cut the cake

You will need two shades of gray icing. Make a large bowl of the light gray and a small bowl of icing a darker gray

Smear the light gray icing over the entire cake
Using your print out as a guide, make lines of where you will need to shade the cake
Use the dark gray icing for the shading
Using your tips and colored icing, color in the rest of the cake Now pipe the entire cake in black

And there you have it – an edible Roger cake!

Then give it to your kids to enjoy!

Roger Roger Everywhere


The Kars4Kids SEO team has long been fans and subscribers of SEOmoz, the premier SEO software company and community.

So when SEOmoz announced a contest inviting subscribers to draw their mascot Roger, the Kars4Kids team saw this as the perfect opportunity to waste time, ahem, to promote inter-departmental cooperation and team building.

Yesterday the Kars4Kids Roger contest was in full swing with entrants spending most of their working time designing and implementing their Rogers.


So without further ado, we present the entries, please vote for your favorite in the comment section:

Roger Mosaic:

A Roger Mosaic created out of pictures of our campers having a blast in our summer camp TheZone! Roger times good healthy fun? That’s awesome squared! Click through for the full version.

roger-seomoz Mosaic06

Roger cake:

This is so awesome that we’ve written a post on how to make one of your own, but for now just drink in the beauty that is a Roger Cake. Chocolate cake, num num!


and of course, as soon as we were done oohing and aahing over it, we handed it over to our in-house babysitting for the cutest little kiddies in the world!

Or check out the embedded flickr set or view it on Kars4Kids flickr set

Post-it note Roger:

Who wouldn’t want to be made out of post-it notes? Roger definitely wants to be. So we made him out of post-it notes. Here is the video and some pics of the finished product.

Kars 4 Kids Creates Roger from post-it notes – Time-lapse from Kars4Kids on Vimeo.

2012-10-23 17.52.42

2012-10-23 13.28.12

2012-10-23 13.45.39












Astro Roger:

It’s constellation Roger! Who wouldn’t want to be born under this horoscope?

roger in the sky - less stars


Duct Tape Roger Bag:


Which one do you like the best? Let us know in the comments.


Ten Tax Mistakes You Simply Can’t Afford


Updated for 2012

With the 2012 filing deadline closing in, many of us are scrambling to get in before it’s too late. Preparing your tax documents too fast is a dangerous proposition often resulting in costly oversights and errors. Here is a list of some of the most common mistakes people make when filing. Here’s hoping it saves you from a headache or two!

1. Forgetting to claim a car donation deduction:

If you donated a car in 2012 to a reputable car donation charity, you don’t want to forget to claim that deduction. Not sure if you are eligible or what information you’ll need to provide? Kars4Kids has created a handy Accountants Guide to Car Donation which is easy enough for the average person as well.

2. Forgetting the stamp on your envelope:

Thousands of people every year completely forget the stamp when mailing out their return, or they remember the stamp but use insufficient postage. Luckily, a return that’s a little late will usually incur no more than a small penalty. From Investopedia’s, Personal Income Tax Guide.

3. Forgetting to sign your return:

Another common mistake is forgetting to sign your return. Unsigned returns are considered by the IRS as if they were never submitted, and the IRS may not notify you for a month or more. By then the penalties and interest may already be adding up.From Investopedia’s, Personal Income Tax Guide.

4. Green Appliances and Home Improvement:

There are many home improvements that are eligible for a tax credit. Things like energy efficient new windows, roofs, HVAC systems and many other improvements may be eligible. Don’t forget to file for this credit. See Energy Star for more details.

5. Filing correctly for those home improvements:

If you will be filing for home improvements, Houselogic warns that some items can be very complex to file for, after you’ve come this far you don’t want to lose out on this credit because of a simple filing error. Read the directions carefully.

6. Environmentally friendly vehicles:

Tax breaks are available for those who purchased an electric vehicle or a plug-in-hybrid in 2012, don’t forget to maximize the benefits of being a good friend of the planet. From

7. Federal student loans:

Payments made on federal student loans last year may be eligible for a tax deduction using Form 1098-E. Students of the world, this is your big chance, don’t blow it! More info at

8. Private Mortgage Insurance:

If you bought your house with a down payment of less than 20% you were probably required to purchase private mortgage insurance. If your adjusted gross income is less than $109,000 you may be able to deduct those payments, which can add up. Source and more info at Houselogic.

9. Political Tax Credit:

States like Oregon allow you to claim a tax credit for contributions made to a political group. Check if this credit is available in your state as well. If it is, it’s like free money.

10. Save money with free online filing:

If you want to save more money, file online for free. Two of the more popular tools are Turbo Tax, and H&R Block.

Accountants Guide to Car Donation


It’s that time of year again! The time of year when your clients are calling you trying to dig up any possible tax deduction they can before 2012. For many people car donation will be a wonderful option to ease the pain a little when filing. Kars4Kids has prepared this handy simple little guide to get you the answers you need fast. Feel free to download, print, share or even embed this guide on your site. To read the guide visit the car donation guide pdf or just click on the image below. Then, use the social sharing buttons above to spread this great reference, print it out for your clients (feel free to add your company logo), and copy the embed code below for your blog or website.

Accountants Guide to Car Donation

Or, embed it on your site for your client’s convenience
<div style=”text-align: center;width:500px;”>
<h3>The Accountants Guide to Car Donation</h3>
<a href=””><img src=”” title=”Accountants Guide to Car Donation” alt=”” width=”448px” height=”299px” /></a><br/>
Guide produced by the Kars4Kids <a href=””>car donation</a> program

Special thanks to Gail Perry of Accounting Web, James Edward Maule of Mauled Again, Nicholas J. Pennewell of Tampa Bay CPA, Tom Selling of The Accounting Onion, Trish McIntire of Our Taxing Times, and a special shout out to W. Michael Hsu of DeepSky, for lending their time and advice to help create this guide. Thanks!

How many cars were recycled last year? [Infographic]

November 15th is America Recycles Day. In that spirit, we’ve created this beautiful Infographic to illustrate some statistics about car recycling in the US.
Millions of cars are recycled every year in the United States, the metal, plastics, tires, glass, and other materials going to create thousands of new products. Did you ever wonder how many cars are recycled every year, what materials are recycled, and what can be made out of those materials? This handy Infographic is all you need to learn everything you ever wanted to know about car recycling. Check it out and then grab the easy embed code.

Cash for Clunkers versus the car donation industry

When the Cash for Clunkers program was first announced by the Obama administration in 2009, many news sites, blogs, and car industry related websites, wrote articles predicting the effect the program might have on car donation charities.

Two years later, we’ve gone back and dug through our data to answer the question. The results are pretty dramatic.

Did Cash for Clunkers have a negative effect on donations of vehicles to charities?

In order to accurately portray the numbers, it is important to point out that car donations have been dropping dramatically in the last two years as a result of two important factors. The first is the downturn in the economy. Consumers are holding on to old cars a little longer, perhaps spending a little more at the mechanic and a little less at the car dealer. The second factor is rising metal prices which causes people to sell their car directly for parts or for recycling rather than donating it.

We have taken the top ten cars cashed in for the Cash for Clunkers program and calculated the percentage of those vehicles for total donations in the years 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 up until September 23rd.

According to U.S. News the top ten cash for Clunkers trade ins were:

  1. 1998 Ford Explorer
  2. 1997 Ford Explorer
  3. 1996 Ford Explorer
  4. 1999 Ford Explorer
  5. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  6. Jeep Cherokee
  7. 1995 Ford Explorer
  8. 1994 Ford Explorer
  9. 1997 Ford Windstar
  10. 1999 Dodge Caravan

Because the program took place in 2009, we would expect donations of these vehicles to begin to drop off in 2010, the next year. However, as can be plainly seen from the following chart, 2010 showed only a very small drop of less than .004%, statistically – zero.

Cash for Clunkers car donation year to year chart

But one important number does stick out. Donations are expected to rise as these cars age. In fact, in 2011, the percentage jumped by almost .3%, a pretty substantial amount. And in 2009, we saw a jump of over .2% in the percentage of donations of these specific vehicles.The 2010 numbers are not significant because of what happened that year, but rather because of what didn’t happen. 

More importantly, after running some numbers on the trade in vehicles report, which can be downloaded here, we’ve calculated that almost 85% of trade ins were domestic made cars. And our numbers clearly reflect a severe drop off of domestic car donations in 2010 and even deeper in 2011 to date.

Percentage of American made cars donated

These numbers show a clear dramatic drop in car donations as a direct result of the Cash for Clunkers program.

Car donation experts

Car donation. People are always looking for good information on the topic, and trusted sources that can tell them what they should be looking for and what they should be asking before they donate their car.

Here is a list of trusted writers that Kars4Kids recognizes as industry experts on  car donation, along with the articles they’ve written.

1. Jerry Edgerton Jerry Edgerton

 Jerry covers cars and money for . He is also the author of Car Shopping Made Easy  – How to get the car you want at the price you want to pay. He has written this great article called Car Donations: Beware scams and Tax Pitfalls.

2. L James JohnsonL James Johnson

  L James Johnson is the primary writer for the High Gear Media website His book HELP! I gotta sell my car NOW!: New rules for selling your vehicle online is described as “The only comprehensive guide for selling your car online”. He has written an excellent article about car donation entitle Donating your vehicle to charity.

3. Lauren Fix Lauren Fix

  Lauren Fix, also known as ‘The car coach’, has appeared on many TV shows, written two books, and won enough awards to sink a small ship. She is an expert in all things automotive, she provides solid information on safety, and a wide range of automotive topics and issues. She has written a seminal post along with a video on the topic of car donation.

4. Laura T. CoffeyLaura T. Coffey

  Laura T. Coffey is a writer, editor and producer for, writing  a column called 10 Tips for keeping your money in your wallet. In 2008 she also wrote this great article entitled How to donate a car or boat to charity.

Car donation – Why I did it

Our 2003 Buick Century was never what I would call a beautiful car. Dark blue, almost purple in fact, with enough dents to make it look like part of the design scheme, “bumpy style” I called it, it wouldn’t win a ribbon in a car show. It probably wouldn’t even be allowed in a car show. The taped over shattered back light with the peeling tape probably wouldn’t help either. After 5 years together though, we were quite attached to Herbie, as we called him, after THE Herbie which for some reason we felt was appropriate – something about the Century just hearkens back to that original Volkswagen Beetle, and parting from him was somehow sad. Not that we would miss the loud grinding noise from the gears when putting him in reverse, or the stuffed vacuum cleaner – reverse jet engine like crescendo that rose from the car if you dared push on the gas pedal, we would not miss that at all. We will miss Herbie though, as our first car, he has a lot of memories in him, encrusted on the carpeting in the form of cheerios from that family trip we took to Detroit, as a sticky fruit punch stain on the back of the drivers seat from that great Philadelphia vacation, and as a pervasive odor of sickly sweet apples from that rear-view mirror deodorizer that we got in Washington DC. Come to think of it maybe I’m better off without those ‘memories’ infecting my life and my nasal passages.

Herbie has had quite a number of physical ailments recently. First his back light got smashed as I mentioned above. Smashed by a kid on a bike, rode right into the back, how embarrassing is that? He will be sitting in a junkyard somewhere and the tough ’89 LeSabre across the way will ask him where he got that nasty wound, and instead of grunting “nam, 57th airborne”, he’ll mutter “kid, on a bike, long story”. Ah, the difficult social conundrums of junkyard life. Then he’s had chronic issues with his catalytic converter, a part I didn’t know existed until I saw the bill for the replacement part. Ouch. Then the mechanic tells me that my car is ruining catalytic converters so it’s not his fault that it died again. Ha! Mechanics can get away with telling me anything. And of course there is the oil leak, transmission fluid leak, and a crack somewhere in the mysterious part of the car called by insiders “the shocks”.

Then there was the odometer episode. The odometer died. It had been kind enough to last until 100,000 miles, so I could snap a picture of the momentous occasion while cruising down the eighty (not recommended), but now it was dead. Kaput. No big deal, right? Wrong. I needed to pass inspection, I needed an odometer. So I bought a used one. That came with an extra 50,000 miles built in over the approximately 105 K that had been on the original. I guess it only would have been a big deal if I had resold the car, now that I opted for car donation, no harm done, huh?

In the end it was the oil leak that did him in. Too much to repair it, just not worth it. I could have sold him for junk or for parts, but I decided on car donation. Here’s why. I did a quick Google search for “junk car cash [my city]”, try it on your city, the results were truly scary. It was either some toothless vagabond in a beat up pickup truck with the metal tied down on top with some large rubber bands, or Vinny, yeah, that Vinny. Seriously, it was like a bunch of used car dealers got thrown out of the used car dealership business for being too sleazy and opened up scrap metal businesses. Like sleazy to the 10th power. So I donated my car, got free towing, quick and easy, and a tax deduction for the car donation. Plus I know that Herbie will now be responsible for bringing happy memories into the lives of others. And not the stick fruit punch stain kind.

Car Donation – The why’s, what’s, where’s and how’s

Testing, testing, one two three. Woot! We are live!

Welcome to the brand spanking new Kars4kids car donation blog!

And what better way to begin than with a break-it-down, nit-picking, deep digging explanation of car donation?

The Why’s

Why on earth would I donate my car?! I mean seriously! The truth is most people are just looking for a convenient and fast way to get that hunk of junk out of their driveway to make room for those shiny new wheels. Your options are limited. You could call the junk metal guys and hope that the guy who shows up isn’t a shotgun toting troglodyte in a broken down pickup truck held together by duct tape and wire hangers with a penchant for ‘forgetting’ to pay. Or a cousin in the mafia for that matter. Or, you could donate your car to a respectable charity, and have the vehicle picked up by a local, reputable tower, receive a receipt on the spot and a tax deduction in April. Now that will bring a smile to your face.

Well why do you want my broken down car anyways? And why on earth would you tow it for free? And why oh why does your logo have a kid driving a car? Woh! One at a time question asker guy! Kars4kids wants your broken down car because we can sell it and direct that money to our affiliated charities. Why would we tow it for free? Because we make money off of your car, why should you pay for us to make money? I mean if you want to…. Oh you mean Mikey! Yup that’s his name. He’s our mascot. Don’t try that at home kids.

The What’s

So what do we do with your car? It really depends on the age, model, and condition of the car. If a car is all used up, doesn’t drive, doesn’t turn on, doesn’t have a roof, etc… it will usually be sold for parts or for scrap metal. However, at Kars4kids we do everything possible to try to get the most value out of every vehicle we receive and that usually means selling the car at auction. We use large reputable auction centers around the country to resell many of our donated vehicles at the highest possible price, ensuring that our charities enjoy the maximum possible return from your donation and that your tax deduction is as large as it can possibly be.

What kind of donations do we accept? We accept vehicle donations, RVs, boats, trailers, motorcycle, jet ski, bus and snowmobiles. Basically, pretty much any machine that moves. Although we do not accept jet engine powered toaster ovens.

The Where’s

Well just about anywhere that’s where. We have a network of towers across the United States so with one call to our central headquarters in New Jersey we will have a local tower in your area pick up your car in a prompt and efficient manner. Often, people do not realize that car donation is not nessecarily a local-centric industry. In fact, many car donation charities can accept donations from anywhere in the United States.


The How’s

How? Call us. 1-877-Kars4kids. Or use our online car donation form.