• Jul 30, 2009
Cash for Clunkers can be a bit complicated, what with last minute rule changes and the multitudes of stipulations ingrained into the program. However, one aspect of C4C that leaves little to the imagination is what happens when a vehicle is turned in under the program: The engine is permanently wrecked, and the vehicle is destroyed.

The official process for killing the condemned engine sounds as simple to perform as it is deadly. A deadly cocktail of Sodium silicate, or liquid glass, is used to render the engine inoperable. Dealers are instructed to replace the car's oil with the solution, then run the engine at 2,000 rpm until the engine stops working. The process supposedly takes three to seven minutes, after which, the dealer is supposed to start up the vehicle again. If the clunker starts up, the process must be repeated until it's confirmed dead.

Once the engine takes a dirt nap, the dealer must add a sticker that reads: "This engine is from a vehicle that is part of the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). It has significant internal damage caused by operating the engine with a sodium silicate solution (liquid glass) instead of oil." The vehicle is then sent to a disposal facility that crushes or shreds the vehicle. Gruesome and kinda sad...

[Source: Car and Driver | Image Source: Theo Heimann/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I bet some dealers are figure out a way to go around this, and then the parts.
      I also think this is not very environmental friendly, many old cars need those spare parts to keep them running. This is very sad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A dealership in my area is showing off the "Clunkers" that have come in. One was a great condition 1987 Chevy Silverado Shortbed. Clean, original paint, no dents or rust. The interior looked just as clean. Every single time I drove by and saw the "Clunker" spray painted on the side I felt so bad, almost like looking at a older dog at the dog pound.

      It is so sad to know that these nice old cars are going to a dump and being destroyed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So, does the program still prevent the dealership or whoever, from harvesting the non damaged parts? Those parts could still be useful for someone, even if the entire block and valvetrain would be fried..
      • 5 Years Ago
      why is the motor destroyed? the engines, and all parts of the car, condition dependent, should be resold to junk yards, with the government keeping a flat, low, percentage of the sales thereof. god forbid, you know, our government makes some dough
        • 5 Years Ago
        The engine is what produces the emission. The government will never get a handle on the parts problem. With the rise in fuel prices the government is banking on everyone upgrading to a more efficient vehicle making the donor vehicle less likely to be used.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm thinking they might be. From the CARS.gov website:
        "The entity crushing or shredding the vehicles in this manner will be allowed to sell some parts of the vehicle prior to crushing or shredding it, but these parts cannot include the engine or the drive train."

        My guess would be the car is handing off to a junkyard who lets it get picked apart or picks it apart first taking any useful interior, electronics, etc bits before shredding/crushing it.

        Though that's just a guess from the wording on the sites faq.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm thinking of all the parts I could use for my Cherokee that are probably being ground into powder as we speak.

        Window regulator, rear washer motor, a good set of spoked alloy wheels, etc...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Agreed on the idiocy of this whole program/country. Would would have thought that dishonest people out there would intentionally mislead something that's designed to help people.

      Much like extended welfare based on how many snot nosed kids you can squeeze out - this does nothing but take money out of ALL our our pockets.

      I don't know about you guys - but I am tired of getting a bill for other people inability to manage money, hold down a job, or simply make common sense choices.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No thanks I'm a spitter. You right wingers really need to put a lid on it. Take your hatred to another site. This program is going to help us here in Michigan so your opposition to the political arrangement is not welcome here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lump it up righty.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Frank,

        I live in Michigan as well. Since you want to make this into a "right/left argument maybe you should be reminded that the "lefties" of Michigan aka UAW and Detroit politicans have helped bury our state. Dems are no more competent than Reps but they have been the group running our states largest city for since 1962.

        Don't think the unions have played a role in Detroit politics? Check out the picture with Detroit's longest tenured mayor (1974-1994) and note the sign in the back. It was the platform Young ran on.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ColemanYoung1981.jpg

        We in Michigan could help ourselves by becomming a right to work state and letting people choose to join a union or not. Right now we don't have that choice since the SEIU, UAW, Teamsters, and other unions spent tens of millions of dollars to mislead voters.

        I'm not a union hater, in fact I support skilled trades unions for carpenters and electricians and civil services. I don't support non-skilled labor unions which have played a major role in the decline of Michigan, most notably southeast Michigan.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Swallow it lefty.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We seriously need the aliens from Mars to come down and blow up Congress. Too bad my grandmothers died, it would be priceless to hear either one say that classic line from Mars Attacks!.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Shh, Saxxon, the Feds are reading!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am Ray and I don't know that movie.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a much better alternative to recycling those old parts, with the added benefit of robbing future do-it-yourselfers and hot rodders of raw materials.

      Way to go, government.
        • 5 Years Ago
        really? you tried to trade in a hotrod? my coworker tried to turn in his t-bird, it didn't qualify. Looking forward to your list of Post 1984 non-excluded "hotrods" to make your comment even moderately relevant.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Zamafir: He meant parts. Can you imagine the number of Ford Broncos with the great 302ci engine that are going to be destroyed? That's just one example, and I'm sure there are LOTS more.

        It's really a shame.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What actually happens inside the engine that destroys it? Could the engine be repaired?
      • 5 Years Ago
      wait six month and you,ll get them back as new chev and they find out the new motors freeze up beause the can,t grt all that crap out of the metel
      • 5 Years Ago
      I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if 22,782 cars suddenly revved their engines in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why the entire drivetrain, though? Transmission, differentials? What the hell? Why?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds worse then getting the electric chair.
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