In The Shop: Things You Should Never Throw Away

Published on: 18:30PM Nov 11, 2019

Hoarding is unacceptable behavior in a dealership shop. If each mechanic saves left over parts and salvaged treasures, before long the the shop and grounds look like a salvage yard. So the general rule is, if you won't use it in 30 days, don't keep it. But every mechanic has an illicit stash of salvaged treasures hidden somewhere in his toolbox, tool cabinet or under his work bench. My stash of "gotta keep" stuff includes:

-the screw-in plastic caps that come in the ports on hydraulic cylinders and valves. I've got a coffee can full of various sizes and designs. Very handy when capping off hydraulic lines to keep dirt out during repairs.

-hose clamps. A hose clamp has to be pretty well destroyed and unsalvageable before I'll let it escape into a trash barrel.

-hydraulic fittings, include flat-face, flare and o-ring. I never junk a valve block, hydraulic cylinder or hydraulic line without scavenging every fitting. My collection of used hydraulic fittings resides in a cut-off 5-gallon bucket that's got 3 inches of oil collected in the bottom, along with a hundred or more fittings of every size and design. I keep draining the oil, but every junk fitting I toss in there seems to add a couple ounces of oil.

-chunks of pipe, from 2" i.d. up to 5" i.d. I cut them off in lengths from 2" to 12", and use them for seal and bearing drivers.

-Empty 5-gallon buckets. Even though our mechanics use a bulk oil system, we still end up emptying about ten, 5-gallon oil buckets a week. The rule is, each of us is only supposed to keep 2 or 3 empty buckets around for draining oil, but I'll be darned if I can bring myself to throw away perfectly good 5 gallon buckets. Especially after I saw empty 5 gallon buckets being sold at box stores to city folks for $3.50 each.