The crusher at Brandon Auto Salvage crushes a salvaged car flat. 

By Brandon Henry

Broken cars, old and new, lay stacked on shelves, as if they were books at a library.

Unlike books however, the cars await their destruction at the hands of a giant crusher, to be flattened and sent overseas as recycled scrap metal.

“We have a facility to hold about 900 salvage vehicles,” said Steve Holland, co-owner of Brandon Auto Salvage. “We process about 750 cars per year.”

Holland explained the process of salvaging a wrecked vehicle.

“After an individual wrecks his or her car, the insurance company takes it to a salvage auction. We bid on them, buy them, and then bring them in,” he said.

Afterwards, the company processes the vehicle by removing all of the fluids out of the vehicle and recovering any useful parts the vehicle still has for resell.

“When we feel the process is finished with a vehicle, then it goes to the crusher.”

“Once the vehicles are crushed, they go to the Port of Tampa, where a shredder shreds the crushed vehicles into little bits and pieces,” said Holland.

Once the process is complete, the shredded remains of the vehicle can either be shipped out of the country or be used as rebar.

“It can go to China, it can go to Africa or it can go to South America- wherever it’s needed to be,” said Holland.

The crusher on location at Brandon Auto Salvage is not a permanent fixture, however. It makes its rounds about every three months. The crusher is actually owned by another company- Trademark Metals- headquartered in Tampa.

The crusher can crush up to three cars at a time and usually crushes 250 cars during every visit to Brandon Auto Salvage.

Brandon Auto Salvage has been serving the community for 41 years. Both Holland and his business partner, Ken Anderson, graduated from Brandon High School, along with their wives.

The business first got its start as a small salvage yard Steve’s father bought after selling his body shop. However, within a year of purchasing the yard, he moved to Tennessee.

It was then that Steve and his partner decided to buy stock in his father’s yard and built it from there to the business that it is today.

Brandon Auto Salvage is located at 3159 S.R. 60 E., Valrico. For more information, call 689-8131 or you can visit the Website at

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