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Auto recyclers – getting more from your core

With a wealth of experience in the auto recycling sector, Carrie Massey Cahill, National Account Manager at G-Cor Automotive, a core supplier based in the US, provides Auto Recycling World with her thoughts on why auto recyclers need to see the value in core.


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Carrie Massey Cahill

I have been in the recycling industry for over 15 years. Most of that time has been on the salvage side of the industry, running a small yard in upstate New York.

In July 2022, I made the transition to work as a vendor in the industry, taking a position with G-Cor Automotive based in Columbus, Ohio.

The world has been steadily moving in a direction that encourages recycling with a high value on how we affect the world’s carbon footprint. This is good news for the automotive recycling industry. While the public perception of recycling is that of the ‘old junkyard’, recyclers, by and large, have made huge advances in how they operate and sell themselves to the consumer.

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When it comes to automotive recycling, several facets make up the wheel of how the vehicle and its parts are recycled. For the purpose of this article, I am going to touch on the relationship between the salvage yard and the core buyer.

Building a strong working relationship is essential to the recycling process. As owners of the yards, we are continually trying to sell our image as that of a recycler but may not handle the core’s business image with the same emphasis. As recyclers, it is important that we continue the process by adopting a good core practice at our facilities; we know that by not doing so, is losing money.

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In my experience as a recycler, cores used to be considered the “gravy”, but today they are being added to the value of a vehicle when determining how much you are willing to pay. In our post-covid world, the cost of vehicles, auction fees, and tow expenses have skyrocketed, as well as labor costs going through the roof!  Now more than ever, we work to maximize every dollar out of the vehicles we buy and to do that, our cores should be added to the bottom line.

If we want to see value in our efforts, we should, as Pauly D (D’Adamo) says, “treat your core buyer as a customer”. We can’t send in junk and expect to get paid core value for scrap material. We should store our cores out of the elements and pack the material appropriately when shipping. Let’s not put a speedometer cluster at the bottom of a box with other heavy parts and expect it to be in one piece when the core rebuilder receives it. I say this because I have observed loads that have come in like this (funny? Not funny, right?)

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In order to see maximum profit from our cores, we should remember that these cores are being bought to be reused and remanufactured.

Understanding this helps us remember that if a unit has a hole in the block, doesn’t turn or is broken, the company cannot possibly give us full core value for the damaged units.

There are some core companies like ours that dismantle engines and transmissions for parts, which could lead to more value on units that would otherwise be scrap. In this light, consider your relationship with your rep from the company that you use. They can answer your questions about the value of questionable material and how you might be able to help maximize everybody’s profits.

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Another way to maximize your core return is to leave the plugs attached to your electrical units. Do this by cutting a small piece of harness when you remove the part. By doing this, you protect the pins and sockets in storage and when shipping the unit to your customer. Also, with some of the units, companies are asking for a piece of the harness, without which you will receive a deduction. Doing this takes the guesswork out of the equation. I would recommend adding this measure to your standard dismantling practice.

Another tip your facility might benefit from is, when inventorying the vehicle parts, add the part ID to the description. This will ultimately help you sell more parts to the consumer when they see the ID of the unit they need to purchase. When the time comes to core these units, having the IDs in your system will be a game changer.

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There is so much that I could write about having a good relationship between the two industries, but one last point I would like to make is that the value of cores is steadily increasing due to supply chain issues, making parts harder to get. Recycling your cores by selling to a core buyer ultimately benefits you and your business. You are seeing a monetary return when you sell your cores along with the money you make when you sell the remanufactured units to your customer.

Remember, that when choosing someone to do business with, choose the better partner who supports the industry and values the same practices you do. And finally, in this industry, we have many environmental standards we must abide by, so consider this the next time the person off the street, who does not have a license, permit, or follow regulatory standards in their business, wants to buy your material.

To find out more about G-Cor Automotive, visit

All images courtesy of G-Cor Automotive