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Understanding Junk Cars and Vehicle Recycling Programs

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In this article, we’ll delve into the world of junk cars and vehicle recycling programs. You’ll learn about the definition of junk cars, the criteria for categorizing them as such, and the different state programs aimed at recycling these vehicles.

What Are Junk Cars and Junking?

In simple terms, junk cars are vehicles that either qualify for recycling programs established by various government entities or have already been classified as junk due to their age or unsafe conditions. The regulations for identifying junk cars vary from state to state. Some states have implemented recycling programs, each with its own guidelines for the destruction of these vehicles.

For example, between 2003 and 2015, the Mexican government implemented a program aimed at renewing the fleet of passenger and cargo transportation vehicles. Under this initiative, a total of 41,949 units were taken out of circulation and destroyed, according to the Mexican Association of Automotive Distributors (AMDA).

Since then, different states have developed their own regulations. However, some areas lack comprehensive recycling programs, leaving private vehicles out of the equation. For instance, in Jalisco, there are 2.3 million registered cars, with 897,000 exceeding 21 years of age. This is mainly due to the absence of general population recycling programs and a lack of penalties for failing to comply with emissions inspections, which are not yet mandatory nationwide.

The benefits offered by recycling programs include the renewal of the vehicle fleet, leading to more modern and technologically advanced units. Additionally, these programs help reduce air pollution caused by older or poorly maintained vehicles, enhance public safety by encouraging the use of newer models with improved security features, and boost productivity in passenger and cargo transportation companies. Ultimately, the entire urban environment and the quality of life of its inhabitants benefit from the introduction of newer vehicles.

How Do Junking Programs Work?

Let’s take a closer look at how junking programs operate in different states across the country.

Mexico City:

Mexico City has implemented a Junking Program in its 16 boroughs, aiming to free up space occupied by abandoned vehicles. The Secretariat of Citizen Security (SSC) conducts operations to remove these vehicles from the streets and impound lots. Between 2021 and 2022, over 4,600 junk vehicles were removed from the city’s streets. Notably, some of the boroughs most affected during this period were Iztapalapa, Iztacalco, and Gustavo A. Madero.

The junking program in Mexico City consists of three stages:

  1. Identifying abandoned vehicles.
  2. Collecting relevant information, such as theft reports or owner identification, to issue notifications.
  3. If the vehicle remains in the same location after three days, it is towed to an impound lot, where fines and other fees are generated.

State of Mexico:

Since the end of 2022, the Secretariat of Mobility (Semov) in the State of Mexico has been announcing the junking of “abandoned” vehicles in different impound lots. The objective is to reduce overcrowding in these sites and address the public safety and environmental risks posed by unclaimed vehicles. Over 10,000 abandoned cars are estimated to be recycled, thus generating revenue for the state.


In Jalisco, a junking program targeted at transportation companies has been in place. However, due to the old age of the vehicle fleet, the state government is preparing a program that aims to recycle all vehicles over 21 years old. A budget of 42 million pesos has been allocated to create the vehicle renewal and junking program, providing support to people who lack the resources to participate. The government is currently in talks with German banks to secure financing for the junking of vehicles that fail emission inspections and to offer the necessary compensation, especially for utility vehicles.

How to Report Junk Cars in Mexico City?

If you live in Mexico City and come across an abandoned vehicle in your neighborhood or on the streets you frequent, you don’t have to wait for the SSC’s operations. You can report it yourself to initiate the necessary procedures for its removal, in accordance with the current legislation.

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There are several ways to report a junk car:

  • Visit the official website of the Secretariat of Citizen Security.
  • Reach out to the SSC through their Twitter handle, @UCS_CDMX.
  • Call the SSC’s Contact Unit at 5208-9898.
  • Contact emergency services at 911, as an abandoned vehicle may pose various types of emergencies.
  • Use Locatel, either through their official website or by dialing 56581111. Locatel operates 24/7, every day of the year.
  • Submit a written report at the corresponding Citizen Service and Support Center (CESAC) based on your borough. You can find the complete list on the official website of the Government of Mexico City.
  • Report through the AppCDMX, the official application of the Government of Mexico City, available for iOS and Android.

Regardless of the reporting method, you will need to provide your name, complete address, location of the abandoned vehicle, vehicle details (make, color, and license plates), and a description of its condition. Including photographs or videos as evidence is also recommended.

Upon making the report, you will receive a reference number to track the progress of the procedure. It is important to note that there is no cost associated with reporting, and a response can be expected within 40 working days.

After the vehicle is impounded in Mexico City, it can remain in the impound lot for up to 30 days. If the owner fails to claim it during this period, the vehicle will be sent to a recycling plant, where its metallic parts will be reused, extending the lifespan of its materials.

Authorized Junking and Scrap Yard Facilities

Several authorized facilities in Mexico are equipped to handle the destruction of vehicles and recycle their materials. Some of these facilities, as reported by the Tax Administration Service, include:

  1. Roca Acero, S. A. de C.V.

    • Address: Carretera a Colombia Km. 9, núm. 100, Col. Andrés Caballero, Escobedo, N.L.
  2. Comercializadora Ecodal, S.A. de C.V.

    • Address: Parcela 118, Z1, P11, Kilómetro 168, Autopista Querétaro-México, C.P. 76824, La Estancia, San Juan del Río, Querétaro.
  3. Ferrosus Group, S.A. de C.V.

    • Address: Calle de Pirul s/n, Municipio de Ecatepec de Morelos, C.P. 055069, Estado de México.
  4. Materiales de Reciclaje, S.A. de C.V.

    • Address: Cubilote 1302, Col. Zona Industrial, C.P. 78395, San Luis Potosí, S.L.P.
    • Phone: (444) 804-4440, Fax: 804-4444; (444) 804-4449
    • Email: a.aldrett@materialesdereciclaje.com, a.rodriguez@materialesdereciclaje.com
  5. Fierro, Recolección y Servicios, S.A. de C.V.

    • Address: Periférico Raúl López Sánchez s/n, Col. Centro Oriente, C.P. 27000, Torreón, Coahuila
    • Phone: 871 7333334
    • Email: ferresa@prodigy.net.mx
  6. Recicladora Siderúrgica de la Laguna, S.A. de C.V.

    • Address: Calle 49 Sur Núm. 199, Fracc. Los Ángeles, C.P. 27290, Torreón, Coahuila
    • Phone: 01 (871) 720-32-42, 720-16-32
    • Email: ecelayo@resilasa.com.mx
  7. Internacional Regiomontana de Acero, S.A. de C.V.

    • Address: Calle El Milagro número 202, Colonia El Milagro, C.P. 66634, Apodaca, Nuevo León
    • Phone: (81) 8196-9144
    • Email: laurazuniga@irasa.net
  8. Redisa Metales y Materiales, S.A. de C.V.

    • Address: Carretera Norias de Ojo Caliente, km. 1, Norias de Ojo Caliente 20196, Aguascalientes, Ags.
    • Phone: (449) 9 78 30 42
    • Email: redisametalesymateriales@hotmail.com
  9. Fedang de México, S.A. de C.V.

    • Address: Avenida Campos núm. 501-A, col. Cerro Colorado primera sección, 22223, Tijuana, Baja California
    • Phone: 01-800-2333264
    • Email: direcciónjuridica@Fedang.mx
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Should You Buy a Junk Car?

Purchasing junk cars is rarely a good investment, unless you work in the dismantling and selling of parts. Even in that case, it is essential to be aware of a vehicle’s status and whether it has been declared junk or is eligible for a recycling program in any of the states. Acquiring a junk car can lead to various problems, including compliance and contribution issues, as these vehicles are deregistered and no longer part of the official vehicle registry. Consequently, they lack updated documents, making it impossible to fulfill obligations and freely drive on public roads.

Furthermore, buying a junk car exposes you to the risk of purchasing a vehicle in poor condition or one that has been temporarily masked to hide its flaws. This makes it easy to fall victim to scams and deceptive sellers.

To avoid these risks, it is highly recommended to obtain a comprehensive vehicle report, such as the Autofact Report. This report provides crucial information about a vehicle’s history, including whether it has been listed for junking, ensuring a safe and informed buying process. The Autofact Report includes a checklist of document verification, information derived from the vehicle identification number (VIN), history of license plates, theft reports, traffic fines accumulated in different states, insurance validity, and market prices for specific models and versions.

Buying a junk car is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Conduct thorough research, consult reliable sources, and obtain a vehicle report to make an informed choice. Remember, your goal is to invest in a reliable and safe vehicle.

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