View Full Version : How do you get free or low cost wheel weights?
01-30-2007, 01:38 PM
Just like the title says. How and where do you get them? Do you only ask at a business that you do business with?
Do you pick an area of town and go up and down the streets asking every tire shop, garage etc? I'd really like to know how you find them.
I asked at the shop where I get my oil changed and they don't do tires. I'm gonna ask at a few walmarts near me. My wife works at one so I'm hoping that will be an in for me to get them.
I'm putting off buying all the stuff I need to start casting till I see if I can get the lead first.
Been reading here a lot since I found the site. A lot of good info here but I gotta find lead to get started.
01-30-2007, 01:41 PM
Yep, you visit every tire store and ask. Around here you get 1 of 3 replies: "Ain't got none," or "Yep, we got some," or "Nope, we make sinkers out of ours."
I agree with Junior. My technique is the same but I take some 5 gal buckets with me that have my cell phone # written on the outside with a sharpe brand marker. I have found they always want their bucket back and it is a pain to scoop them out of the back of the truck so I switch their bucket with my bucket. This works since they call me when the bucket gets full and I move that heavy thing out of their way. It also helps to toss the guy a $5 spot everytime you get some to help him remember to call you. I also take a hand truck with me because it make the trip to the truck a little easier.....
I take the attitude that it never hurts to ask.
I keep an old toolbox in the back of my pickup truck. It holds about 3 buckets worth when full up. When traveling (usually for work) I hit up likely looking places at random, time permitting. A lot of places it could only be a quarter bucket or so, but those add up, and you need to stop at all those places in order to find the occasional motherload. Not taking their bucket is a plus as far as they are concerned.
In my experience, Walmarts and large chain tire store are usually the worst places to ask. More often than not they already have made arrangements for a recycler to pick them up regularly.
I've found the best places to stop are the smaller tire shops in small towns off the beaten path. And at auto dealer service departments who, for some reason, aren't pursued as aggresively by the regular route recyclers, at least not around here.
01-30-2007, 07:25 PM
You being from a part of the rust belt like me check out the scrap yards.Better yet see if you can get in with the guys that feed the scrap yards.They are usualy one man operations that clean up scrap metal then resell to the biger places.I have goten big scores of lead by paying a couple cents ovet what the big yards give them.Regulations dont seem to bother them as much
You just got to be creative
01-31-2007, 12:34 AM
............Pretty good responses so far and they carry a common theame that all they can say is no. The 'No' word with chain stores usually comes with the explaination that their delivery truck picks up all the junk tires and wheel weights etc to be re-cycled.
Independants are usually the best source I've found, unless your uncle or bro in law manages the local Goodyear (or whatever). It's also easier to ask someplace if you're having some work done there or recently did. Then it might be to your advantage as it kind of puts them on the spot to reciprocate :-) Doesn't make you a bad guy for taking advantage of the situation, HA!
Also as No1 mentioned, leave a 5 gallon pail or 2 (if they need 2) with your phone number on it so it's easy for them to call. Also make it worth their while to police up the WW's. That means maybe bring in some donuts if you come in the AM or a 12 pack of beer or sodas if during or later in the day. A pail full of WW's is going to net you a solid 100 lbs of rendered lead, and around here that's going to cost you $0.40/lb. Of course that's usually already in some kind of ingot form as you're maybe buying from another caster.
However that does not deny the fact that 100 lbs of future boolits isn't worth at least a $20 bill if you want to look at it that way. If I had a solid source like that where you'd get a call every month or 6 weeks to come pick up a bucket or 2, I'd take REAL good care of those folks. I'd want them to be REAL protective of MY wheelweights!
Another way is by letting friends and folks at the range know you're in the market. If there is a bulliten board post a wanted add. Also have a price set for what you're willing to pay. If someone says, "Whatta ya give me?" tell then $0.20 a pound, which would be a real good price if already in ingots. However, if you really needed some. $0.50/lb is about the top going rate I've seen (for here in So. Cal). For lose wild undomesticated WW's $0.20/lb would be tops. At $0.50/lb you'd be paying a bit less then 3 cents each for 405gr slugs.
01-31-2007, 08:57 PM
I used to get mine from a friend at the Goodyear store & had 300lbs rat holed.
Now in Iowa you need A hazardous materials permit to get them. but my buddy still slips me a quart can or 2 when ever I have some work done on my pickup or the wifes car.
01-31-2007, 09:17 PM
All the above are as Buckshot stated...'good responses'. Currently I've about dried up the local market for a while. There just isn't that many tire shops and the recyclers are putting a hurt on the market here as well.
I live in area of Oklahoma where Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas are all in one close area...Tri-state you could say. I'll most likely be hopping state lines before long and seeing what's up for grabs.
There is one local tire shop I am eyeing that has a very nice pile of wheel weights....approximately 600-700 pounds from the looks of it. I guess the store manager has gotten 'hip' that there's $$$ in them wheel weights. He has them stored in those short, fat buckets that look to be about 3 gallon pails. Sadly...he want's $35 a bucket.
I figure I have 2 more chances at getting to that nice little pile of WW's at a lower cost. One, go over the managers head and hit up the owner....(this is small town country and everyone just about knows everyone). Option #2: Send in the deadliest weapon I can think of...*Miranda*. Miranda is 24 years old, strawberry blonde, 5'6'' tall, sweet as sugar & 'deadly'. She's my best young buddies 'woman' and she just loves me to death...*GRIN*. If SHE can't talk the guy down on the prices...guess I'll be giving $35 a bucket for THOSE WW's.
01-31-2007, 09:40 PM
I just picked up 3 of those 3 gallon soap pails full plus a partial. The Tire shop weighed them and charged me .10 per pound for 300pounds-90lbs per full bucket. When we loaded them I thought they were awfully heavy for 90lbs per bucket. My scale says I got 420 pounds total.(125 per full 3 gallon pail)
01-31-2007, 09:51 PM
My scheme is this and it works every time so far. I have some tin soldier type molds of cowboys and indians. I cast a bunch out and then when I have the time I take model paints and paint the figures up. When I am low on wheelweights I stop by a tire store with an empty bucket or two ( around here they use a white square type) and a few of the cast figures. I go to the service desk and explain that I like to make the figures and of wheelweights and give them to the person and ask if I can have some more. It works great. They get a some nice paperweights and I get free wheelweights. One time before I moved here, up north a shop gave me 6 or 7 buckets full. I got a lot of ingots out of all them and even drug them south when I moved. Probably near 500lbs of lead I hauled. I got my mold on Ebay and there was a lot to choose from back then, probably more now.
02-01-2007, 05:30 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas. KTW you were right about Walmart. I checked their today and they have to be desposed of through their waste hauler. None for me.
I'll try other places as I have the time and find them. I did get some 5 gallon buckets and printed out a label that they were used wheel weights my name and phone number and attached them to the buckets. They are in the trunk of my car. If I find a source I'm ready with the buckets.
If I find a source and they want paid for them I know the local scrap yards pay anywhere from 5 to 12 cents a pound here and you have to take them their.
If all else fails I'll call the scrap yards back to see if they will sell me lead and at what price.
I also considered an ad in the local paper.
02-01-2007, 05:56 PM
There may be less demand here in Australia, but all I did was think about the economics. The smaller the tyre store, the less practical it is to sell the tiny volume of WW they generate. About 8 months ago I dropped in at my nearest tyre store - a little place with three hoists, and just one other bay. They re-use the weights when they can, keeping a float of about 200 lbs of used weights plus a full range of new ones. They threw a few pounds of WW into the garbage each week, and felt badly about this as a way to dispose of a toxic material (this is a pretty upmarket area, where people care about such things). So, I just called in and explained what I wanted to do with WW. The assistant manager cross-examined me about whether it is legal to shoot lead bullets. (Yes, they had an assistant manager in a three-hoist tyre store.) I explained about wetlands and lead accumulation, and he was satisfied. Ever since then I drop in each three weeks and exchange an empty bucket for one with a few WW in it. Over the 8 months I've smelted about 230 pounds of WW from that source. Since that is way, way more than I've shot during that time, I haven't looked for another source. Yes, lead WW may cease to exist eventually - my source, being in a fairly upmarket area, gets a fair proportion of original equipment weights from imported cars, and a lot of those are steel. I just toss them in the garbage, emphasizing to the guys at the tyre store that sorting WW is my job, not theirs. I notice they have been reducing their safety stock slowly since they've had a way to dispose of the surplus WW - they are probably down to 100 pounds now. The amount in my bucket is slowly reducing as the level in their safety stock (kept in a milk crate) slowly drops also.
The point is, I could probably go to ten tiny tyre stores instead of one, and have more WW than I could shake a stick at, but I don't have a use for it. Somebody else can have the rest, I only take what I can use.
02-01-2007, 06:08 PM
I have had good luck with the tire stores I do business with. Anytime I get work done I will ask and try to make a connection. I sometimes have luck just stopping in and asking. I have found being friendly really goes a long way.
02-02-2007, 12:01 AM
There's a recycler around here that has the WW's tied up. You just about cant' get any of them from any of these stores, big, or small.
Seems he give's them a good discount on new WW's he makes from resmelting the scrapped stuff.
I've gone to bullet scrap, it's harder than WW's and free for the picking. I can pick enough pellets in a five gallon bucket in half an hour at the range I can't carry the bucket.
Then a few yrs ago I asked about getting some scrap from the indoor pistol range and they suckered me into a promise type deal.
"shovel out the basement and you can have all you want, BUT: you've got to clean the basement out".
OUCH!! Ended up with over four ton Yep, FOUR ton of scrap bullets.
Since then, they've talked the scrap dealer into buying the stuff for about a dime a pound every few months they haul about 1500# and sell it for $120-175 and think they've really done something.
Deal is, he melts it down into ingots, keeps the jackets seperate and makes close to $3 a pound on the copper jackets free for the melting.
Figure I get about 100-130# per bucket, plus about 40-75# of jackets IF it's kept clean of melt **** I can sell it for over Two bucks a pound.
Money maker when I feel like having a big meltdown.
02-04-2007, 01:32 PM
The very best source on a regular basis I've found are the Truck Tire shops. Not peecups but Big Rig tire shops. Those weights are huge! I found one small shop off the beaten trail that so far has THANKED me each time I come around.
Another mother lode was about 800lbs of X-Ray shielding. Of course, I have to alloy it with my own tin and antimoney/linotype and so on, but hey, for free, I'll make room for it.
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