Junk in the trunk means money in the bank for Ron’s Recycling

Vehicles wait to be parted out as metal is sorted for recycling at Ron's Recycling in Ilwaco.

ILWACO — Ron’s Recycling manages to find treasure among the clunkers that end up at the wrecking yard on Stringtown Road.

Ron Shivers and his daughter, Kristy, part out the cars that come into the yard. That’s the most profitable part of the business, she said.

The company opened in 2012. The business is working out so far, she said.

Truck parts tend to be more popular, especially Ford F150. She had four calls for an F250 transmission in one January week alone.

Back windows for Ford trucks are a common item. It goes in spurts, she said.

“Then Ranger people will come in, then Blazers, then a whole bunch of people will come in for Taurus, but it always goes back to trucks,” she said.

Repair shops in Long Beach send a lot of business to Ron’s. Auto body repair shops buy a lot of parts as well.

Buying used turn signal lenses, fenders, heater fans and windows offer substantial savings over original equipment manufacturer parts and even aftermarket supplies.

But it’s not just vehicles that pass through the yard.

Artists come in looking for stainless steel and flat sheets of steel, Shivers said.

The yard once took in a surf board with metal postcard racks attached. It came in and went out the same day.

“Old bikes are really popular, running lawnmowers are really popular, go-cart frames — oh yeah,” she said.

A boat builder looking for lead ballast stopped by in January. It can all be recycled or re-used.

The company buys and sells metal. Washers and dryers are OK. They’ll take refrigerators but not the compressors — they don’t want the hassle with the Freon refrigerant.

Sometimes people drop off cars just to get rid of them, Shivers said. More often they sell them. Ron’s pays $70 to $85 a ton, depending on how complete the vehicle is.

Whatever the case you must have the title or appropriate paperwork proving ownership.

“Right now prices are really down,” she said.

When she started, Ron’s paid $180 a ton for scrap metal; now they pay $55.

When the vehicles have been picked clean of usable parts it’s time to send off the leftover metal. Metro Metals of Vancouver comes in and picks up the scrap.

One of the concerns when Ron’s sought a permit from the county was keeping vehicle fluids under control. The oil, transmission fluid and coolant all end up in recycling bins. A company hauls away the fluids.

“They pay us a little bit for the oil,” she said. “Not much, but it’s better than paying to get rid of it.”

Ron’s also accepts uncontaminated oil from the public, but it doesn’t pay for it.

Money, clothing, CDs, oil and tools are among the items left behind in the vehicles that end up at the wrecking yard. Dryers often contain loose change (but not many socks).

“I got a brand-new car jack, a nice one,” Shivers said. “I was ecstatic about that. It was a floor jack. I put that right in my car before my dad got back…. We’ve found some pretty crazy stuff. No diamond rings, though.”

Ron’s Recycling owns 7 acres with 2 acres in use.

“We definitely need to expand,” she said. “Hopefully this summer.”

For now they’re stacking the vehicles and business looks good.

“We can pay the bills,” she said. “We get more and more customers for parts every day.”

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