86th FSS recycles, disposes of vehicles

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Larissa Greatwood
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
It's a rainy day in Germany and people are driving down the autobahn to work. Suddenly, a glimmer of light flashes on the dashboard; the check engine light. Continuing the drive can be dangerous, but a local towing service fee may not be in the budget. 

The 86th Force Support Squadron Ramstein Automotive Recycling Center, located outside of the east gate, offers their services like salvaging car parts, disposing cars and towing services, which are offered to all ID card holders and North American Trade Organization members.

"Our process saves our customers a step when it comes to disposing of their car," said Michelle Brown, 86th FSS operations clerk and detail supervisor. "Some cars may require towing, so we offer that service as well. If the car is registered in the customer's name, they bring it to us, or we tow it, we give them the release paperwork, they take it to vehicle registration to have their name taken off and they're done. If this was done on the German side, they would have to go through German customs."

Brown said the center was created to help prevent car abandonment. They abide by all German laws when disposing of the automobiles to include draining all fluids before allowing customers to buy the parts.

The recycle center's prices are comparable to those at off-base establishments. Tim Subocz, 86th FSS cashier, said buying a car door off-base will cost roughly 150 euros. At the Ramstein Automotive Recycle Center, a door runs $15.

"Our main reason for being here is so Airmen have a place to dispose of their vehicles and in return, we sell car parts for very low fees," he said. "We receive an average of 70 to 80 cars a month, so we have a lot of parts."

The center often receives automobiles that are still serviceable and may just need minor work. In these circumstances, the vehicle is placed in their bid lot.

"From the 1st to 15th of every month, we have between eight and 15 cars in our bid lot on average," said Subocz. "The minimum is $350, the customer receives a form and we log it in our book. They're allowed to place two bids on each car. Once the bidding is over, we call the person with the highest offer, and they have 48 hours to come take a look at the car and decide whether or not they want it. If they don't, we call the next person and so on."

The recycling center is not only convenient, but has an impact on other agencies. Squadrons like the fire department, the office of special investigations and explosive ordnance disposal all rely on the center's assets for training vehicles.

From Nov. 1st to March 31st, the recycle center is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tues. through Sat., and from Apr. 1 to Oct. 31, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The recycle center only accepts U.S. dollars or checks.

To contact the 86th FSS Ramstein Automotive Recycling Center, call commercially at 0162-619-5261.