Repurposing dead cars

If there’s one thing I expect to see a lot of in the near future, It’s derelict cars. People who can no longer afford their gas guzzling, and who can’t somehow unload the beasts, who simpy abandon them. Cars left behind after the owners move on. Hck, maybe it’s your own car that you simply can’t be bothered with as a vehicle anymore. In any case, for a long while we’re going to have to deal with the rusting carcasses of these beasts.

So I’m starting this thread to brainstorm possible uses for the dead cars we find. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

The tires have many uses, from cutting soles for shoes from the rubber to stacking them up as potato growers.

The alternator could be removed and repurposed into a wind generator, a water-wheel, or just a hand crank or pedal powered one.

The shell of the vehicle could be the beginning of a decent shelter.

The metal may be useful as scrap.

stripped off the frame, I think door panels would make great sheilds.

Any other ideas?

solar oven: lay a tire flat on the ground, put a dish w/ food in the center, lay glass on top. do it in the morning when clear weather is expected.

i’ve also heard of people making axes, but don’t know any details.

Remember farm implements and heavy machinery . too. Big pieces off those can be used as small anvils.

the leaf spring can be a great knife making material.
any wires could be used as a high tensile cord for lashing and snares
top of the roof can be torn off to make a shelter of some kind
the seats can be torn apart to make some nice insulating material
the hood can be used as a nice sled for pulling things through snow
any leftover gas or oil in the car could be soaked in rags and used for torches
oil could be used as a lubricant for the handhold of a bow drill
glass and car mirrors reflected in the sun could prove a useful signaling device
sharp bits, of course, could be used for skinning and light carving
wires attached to the battery could be connected to start a fire

[quote=“jhereg, post:2, topic:550”]solar oven: lay a tire flat on the ground, put a dish w/ food in the center, lay glass on top. do it in the morning when clear weather is expected.

i’ve also heard of people making axes, but don’t know any details.[/quote]

Do you mind if I copy this to Kitchen Technology?

Use the mirrors to start fires.
Use the tanks as water carriers (if you can get them clean enough).

[quote=“SilverArrow, post:5, topic:550”][quote author=jhereg link=topic=591.msg6615#msg6615 date=1196698756]
solar oven: lay a tire flat on the ground, put a dish w/ food in the center, lay glass on top. do it in the morning when clear weather is expected.

i’ve also heard of people making axes, but don’t know any details.

Do you mind if I copy this to Kitchen Technology?[/quote]

go for it

Gah, I can’t beleive I didn’t think of the seatbelts. I always need more webbing.

The jack:
Hydraulic press. Very useful tool.

The water pump:
It pumps water, of course. Lots of things to be done with that.

The oil:
Use it to quench steel during tempering.

Take the bellhousing off, attach props to the input shaft and with some work you have the basics of a grist mill.

The sheet metal:
Anything from mirrors (polish them) to reflectors to firearms receivers. Given an entire car and a torch I could probably make at least a basic blackpowder fowler.

The leafsprings:
Great steel here. Makes knives (like mentioned) but also bows!

Wheel weights:
Lead ball for muzzleloaders. The problem is the antimony in them. You’ll need to heat it up, cool it down a few times to get the antimony out or else it’ll tear up a muzzleloader barrel.

You can make a functional electrical spotwelder with the battery (whose lead is also useful, see above) and something to recharge it (see gristmill).

The copper wires mixed with vinegar and salt makes copper sulfate. Using the sulfuric acid from the battery and saltpeter makes nitric acid. Copper sulfate and nitric acid mixed with a bit of water and heated when applied to steel is “browning”. It basically protects the metal from rusting by applying a chemical rust to the surface.

You can MacGyver a lot of things from a modern automobile. ;D

leafsprings make fantastic crossbows, and ballistas…

This is only good if you still have a running motor and gas to run it with but the old time gippo loggers in Idaho used to make some great winches out of the running gear of old vehicles.
Axels bearings and wheels can be used for making trailers, carts, or wagons.

I’ve used car hoods for cargo sleds they work pretty good. I even pulled 400lb wood stove on bare ground by sitting it on an old Toyota hood and pulling it with a rope. I moved another one the same way but on snow and it was very easy to move by myself.

I had a friend who made a sled with the roof of an old stationwagon. He hooked it up so his horse could pull it. Had some low side boards on it. He hauled firewood in the winter from places he couldn’t drive to.

I almost forgot the one I use alot(mine are from bicycle innertubes).The innertubes make great lashing material. AND ORDEALS WITH A FOLDING PROA

Tim Anderson swears by it and claims locals of so called third world countries prefer it for lashing boats for its flexibility and strength etc.

Oh Yeah Grog! I use cut strips of inner tube for lasing quite a lot. It works really good for lashing poles together without the lashing loosening up and the poles slipping.
I always save inner tubes even if they have big holes or slashes just to make strips for lashing. My camping stuff always has a bag of giant rubber bands.

Just want to say, this thread is fucking awesome.

More on this…

With the spot welder (see above) and the sheet metal, you can make boxes! With nice steel boxes, you’ve got pretty mouse proof food storage.

I know a guy who uses old crankshaft oil to treat/protect the end grain of posts when building structures like woodsheds or workshops.

Using some metal coathangers to make hook you can make great bungees too with old bike tubes

Engine blocks, being basically a big friggin’ piece of hard metal with variously shaped surfaces, have reportedly made some decent anvils for metalworking. Various other metal salvaged from a car could be used to make the rest of a forge, especially considering that a metal pipe often works the best for supplying airflow to the fire. Carburetors from older vehicles might be good for this.

A few items not listed yet.

  1. The radiator when drained and cleaned with a strong salt water solution then placed under the windshield in direct sunlight can be used to create a hot water heater. The radiator fins need about 3 inches of air space between the bottom of the pit and the bottom of the glass to work effectively. Placing a black trash bag under the radiator will increase the heating capicity to the point that water can be heated to over 200 degrees on a hot day and well above freezing on a cold one.

  2. After removing the Tire from a wheel, and removing the drive axel from the engine reconnect then together and placing the wheel at an angle in a fast moving stream or water fall you can create the begining of an electrical sytem using the autos alternator and battery, a grist mill by placing the fly wheel agaist a hard piece of rock or heavy steel then letting grain slowly pour between the two. after several pases you can get corn meal or flour.

  3. With most cars today using a small bulb in the tail light, the glss bulb can be taken out and the case for the tail light can be used to create a funnel.

  4. With care a sparg plug can be used to start a fire by connecting it directly to a cars battery. Care must be used because it is going to create a strong electrical jolt/spark when grounded.

  5. Removing the valve covers and cleaning them with sand and then a strong salt water solution make great bread dough pans for camp bread. They can also be used for basic cooking needs.

  6. The lift rods on many vehicles are ready made arrow shafts needing only the notching of one end and using seat or dashboard vinyl as feathers head in plce with electrical wire.

As a former auto mechanic I can pretty much turn a car into a complete shelter that provides for immediate and long term shelter.

You can make sandals and boots out of tires. Elec wiring for snair wires. You can build a wind power station out of an altinator. Rubber hoses become cordage. windshields/windows become small seed starting greenhouses. Steel from the body becomes broadheads/knives/tools. Wheels make good pullies. Interior carpet becomes carpet squares for homes/teepee/wigs. Seats become… seats… why not the idea is not to allow waste? Tons of engine parts can be repurposed in a variety of ways. Engines have lots of springs. Wouldn’t a spring allow more types of traps to be built?

Post collapse will see the greatest spurt of creativity the world has ever seen. Leftovers of civilization will be repurposed much faster than many think.