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How The Government Kills ‘Clunkers’

You may have already seen this YouTube that has (as the kids say) ‘gone viral’ on the internet:

Purportedly it shows a perfectly fine-running Volvo being ‘disabled’ so as to fulfill for the government’s cash clunkers program – which is now called CARS.

Indeed, the government’s own CARS site, www.cars.gov, even tells how it is to be done.

From the CARS site (a pdf file):

(Click to enlarge.)

Engine Disablement Procedures for the CARS Program


Perform the following procedure to disable the vehicle engine.

1. Obtain solution of 40% sodium silicate/60% water. (The Sodium Silicate (SiO2/Na2O) must have a weight ratio of 3.0 or greater.)
2. Drain engine oil for environmentally appropriate disposal.
3. Install the oil drain plug.
4. Since the procedure is intended to render the engine inoperative, drive or move the vehicle to the desired area for disablement.
5. Pour enough solution in the engine through the oil fill for the oil pump to circulate the solution throughout the engine. Start by adding 2 quarts of the solution, which should be sufficient in most cases.

CAUTION: Wear goggles and gloves. Appropriate protective clothing should be worn to prevent silicate solution from coming into contact with the skin.

6. Replace the oil fill cap.
7. Start the engine.
8. Run engine at approximately 2000 rpm (for safety reasons do not operate at high rpm) until the engine stops. (Typically the engine will operate for 3 to 7 minutes. As the solution starts to affect engine operation, the operator will have to apply more throttle to keep the engine at 2000 rpm.)
9. Allow the engine to cool for at least 1 hour.
10. With the battery at full charge or with auxiliary power to provide the power of a fully charged battery, attempt to start the engine.
11. If the engine will not operate at idle, the procedure is complete.
12. If the engine will operate at idle, repeat steps 7 through 11 until the engine will no longer idle.
13. Attach a label to the engine that legibly states the following:

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.

So taxpayer money is being used to destroy perfectly fine automobiles.

All in the name of what? The environment? These cars will end up where?

And what is the environmental impact of pouring sodium silicate (which should not be handled without goggles and gloves) into the bosom of Mother Earth?

Moreover, what about the carbon and pollution it will take to replace these disabled cars – even ‘more fuel efficient’ cars.

This is the stuff of bad science fiction movies about some bizarre authoritarian future. A future we seem to be living.

By the way, will we someday soon be seeing a similarly helpful government manual telling us how to euthanize ‘geezers’?

(Thanks to Canary for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, August 3rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

38 Responses to “How The Government Kills ‘Clunkers’”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    OMFG ….. Sweet Babbling Buddha ……. Holy Mother of ….. these insane tards in the White House are CHANNELING science fiction!

    From Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi novel The Door Into Summer

    The job I found was crushing new ground limousines so that they could be shipped back to Pittsburgh as scrap. Cadillacs, Chryslers, Eisenhowers, Lincolns – all sort of great big, new powerful turbobuggies without a kilometer on their clocks. Drive’em between the jaws, then crunch! smash! crash! – scrap iron for blast furnaces.

    It hurt me at first since I was riding the ways to work and didn’t own so much as a Grav-Jumper. I expressed my opinion of it almost lost my job….until the shift boss remembered I was a Sleeper and really didn’t understand.

    “It’s a simple matter of economics, son. These are surplus cars the government has accepted as security against price-support loans. They’re two years old now and then can never be sold….so the government junks them and sells them back to the steel industry.

    You can’t run a blast furnace just on ore; you have to scrap iron as well. You ought to know that even if you are a Sleeper. Matter of fact with high-grade ore so scarce, there’s more and more demand for scrap. The steel industry needs these cars.”

    “But why build them in the first place if they can’t be sold? It seems wasteful.”

    “It just seems wasteful. You want to throw people out of work? You want to run down their standard of living?”

    “Well why not ship them abroad? It seems to me they could get more for them on the open market abroad then they are worth as scrap.”

    “What! and ruin the export market? Besides, if we started dumping cars abroad everybody we’d get everyone sore at us – Japan, France, Germany, Great Asia, everybody. What are you aiming to do? Start a war?”

  2. proreason says:

    What percentage of the cars bought with 4500 of our money will go to Japan and South Korea?

    How many 10 or 20 year old houses are destroyed to build new ones?

    Who is paying for the $4500 redistribution to people who would risk their family’s lives by driving dangerously old cars?

    Why does this philosoply not work just as well for cell phones, and tv’s? computers? air conditioners? clothes? and on and on.

    After the next billion or the next billion is gone, how will the auto industry be any better off?

    Why have people with clunker cars been singled out for more tax credits (effectively)?

    Why are hard-working people who have kept their families in safe vehicles not singled out for a $4500 lottery win?

    What is the racial profile of people who use this program?

    Why would anybody driving a car worth less than $4500 not be buying a late-model used car instead of a new one.

    What % of people who get the 4500 give-away will fail to make their new payments.

    Everygthing, EVERYTHING the government touches is toxic waste.

    • catie says:

      Pro, there was some gal on the local radio here WMAL on Friday yapping how wonderful it was that she got a $4500 freebie as she turned in her daughter’s Honda she bought 4 years ago, pd about $1500 for it and had at most another 1K into it and now she has a brand new car that she was able to get about 8K off with all the dealer incentives added in. She was “darn proud of herself” for being such a shrewd car buyer. Of course she also added in that part of that money was hers anyway so she was just again gettin what wuz hers.
      Yeah, I would venture a guess the repo business will be humming in about 6-9 months as well. And what about the “environment” that all these “clunkers” will be going into. Oh well as long as the Belle is stylishly dressed, who cares!/sarc

    • U NO HOO says:


      What Honda gets below 18mpg?

    • catie says:

      U No Hoo, I was thinking the same thing and was hoping those wizards-Fred Grandy AKA Gopher and the fill-in Bryan someone would ask, but the didn’t. This woman claimed that the particular car in question is the oldest year they accept.

    • U NO HOO says:

      I did a spot ccheck of 1983 Hondas, no mpgs below 20!

      I smell the contents of a krock.

    • Gila Monster says:

      I’m with you U No Hoo, I believe the gal at WMAL is blowing smoke up our skirts.

      The oldest car accepted by the CARS program is 25 years, thus it should have been an 1984 model, maybe an 83′ or 85′. From 1983 thru 1991, Honda marketed a total of four car models in the North American market, the Civic, Accord, CRX and the Prelude. The Prelude was the largest of the four with a 2.0 liter engine and a curb weight of roughly 2,800 lbs..


      The mileage numbers for the Prelude were on average 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway for a combined rating of 26 mpg. The CARS site lists the 84 Prelude with a “new”mileage rating of 23 mpg which is still far above the combined 18 mpg that qualifies a vehicle for the CARS rebate.


      The mileage figures for the other three Honda models are far higher than the Prelude.
      IMHO, 83′ to 92′ model Honda’s would fail to qualify for this ridiculously stupid gubbamint’ program.

    • pdsand says:

      I keep thinking about this cash for clunkers, and either it’s correct what I’ve heard on the Fox, that this is only giving a handout to middle class people, or this is definitely creating a “car bubble” that will blow up just the same as the housing bubble blew up. Because if this money is being used to subsidize people to buy a car they can’t afford then it’s creating a whole other problem in and of itself.

      You think about it, a person can’t afford a new car, so he drives an old beatup truck or van or something that gets horrible mileage. Suddenly the government offers money and the dealership offers incentives to buy a new car, so he’s enticed into making the deal. If that’s really what’s happening out there it’s a problem.

  3. RightWinger says:

    “By the way, will we someday soon be seeing a similarly helpful government manual telling us how to euthanize ‘geezers’?”

    The program is going to be called “SENIORS”


    The next thing is that some lefty will start thinking that the way of life in the movie “Logan’s Run” is a good idea.

    • EvaTheFrisbeeDog says:

      Soylent Green comes to mind

    • jobeth says:

      “By the way, will we someday soon be seeing a similarly helpful government manual telling us how to euthanize ‘geezers’?”

      The whole time I was reading this, this is what came to my mind. Wonder what wonderful stuff they have in mind for us? Are they going to be sending a hyper-saline solution into our veins until our heart gives out? (one of the perfered abortion methods) Possibly with a little extra potassium…?

      With the family gathered around with goggles and gloves and masks, just in case we barf on them?

      Ahhh, won’t Obalmy be proud of his legacy then?

      And…just for laughs….maybe, Obalmy can tell us what he has planned for us after the “Cars” program ends, to entice the rest of the lefties to fold and buy into.

      This whole thing is such a farce it makes me sick! I will proudly drive my gas guzzler until it dies of its own accord. It’s a matter of principal now.

      I would be interested in knowing what the ratio of lefties to conservatives who bought into this plan. As a conservative…I would be embarassed to know I was part of the problem by buy a car through this plan. My self respect and love for the best for my country weighs a lot more than any need for saving a few $$.

    • Gladius et Scutum says:

      S&L posters are too often scary accurate: The 7,700 authorized disposal sites for the ‘clunkers’ are called ELVS(end of life solutions) http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3585-218860–,00.html

  4. EvaTheFrisbeeDog says:

    This is insane. That Volvo wasn’t a clunker, It looked like a decent car. It didn’t look like a gas guzzler or some sort of high speed deathtrap. Aren’t Volvo’s safe cars that liberals like to drive?

    Throughout history one generation after another endeavored to make a better life for their children. Industry and commerce have added value from time. Our standard of living has increased exponentially and we have more free time to enjoy life away from work. Innovation, ingenuity and hard work have allowed this.

    Think of all the man-hours that went into building that vehicle, the ingenuity required to engineer that engine, the process innovations to manufacture such a complex piece of machinery at an affordable price, the utility that the owner received, the safety and convenience its passengers enjoyed, all the things we once valued, discarded and ground into dust in the name of what, environmentalism? This is progress?

    We really need to rethink this. Reminds me of that John Hyatt song “Perfectly Good Guitar”:

    “Oh it breaks my heart to see those stars
    smashing a perfectly good guitar
    I don’t know who they think they are
    smashing a perfectly good guitar”

    • catie says:

      Well they are safe, but not all Volvo drivers are liberals. They’ve been pushing their cars on the military for a few years now. When a service member is downrange they have these great deals (we have 12K worth of options on ours that came with the deal) and if the service member buys one there they get a good deal. I have an XC-90 and there were a few times I thought I was going to flip over when the car righted itself.
      I think there are plenty of folks who can’t afford a new car, are responsible and get a used car because that’s all they can afford which is what I did for years. I don’t get what the point of killing all these cars is for.

    • EvaTheFrisbeeDog says:

      Catie — In addition to reducing the number of affordable used vehicles available (think working poor, college students and single moms on a budget), this policy depletes the supply of re-usable parts for folks who cannot afford new cars, thereby increasing their costs. It’s a losing proposition across the board. How does any of this benefit a society that absorbs every bit of CO2 we emit?

  5. U NO HOO says:

    Lobotomies and JFK’s sister came to mind.

    Shock treatments.

    She had, wink, wink, a D&C…

    Japanese-American internment camps, in this case Volvo-American interment camps… Yes there is a difference.

    Will we look back and wonder, as we wonder about Viet Nam?

    Demolition Derbys are out of business…why go to the state fair?

  6. U NO HOO says:

    How did our grandparents make money during the Depression?

    They did each other’s laundry.

    See the analogy?

    We have a war, destroy things, against a UAW recession.

  7. beautyofreason says:

    Destroying perfectly good vehicles….it ticks me off. Beyond wasteful. Kind of like bulldozing empty buildings in economically depressed areas to make a city more “centralized” while being environmentally friendly. What a joke.

    Just another example that the government wastes and wastes…

  8. Liberals Demise says:

    “Obama the Used Car Salesman”

    It does have a familiar sound to it.

  9. Yarddog1 says:

    Great – now the “gubmint” puts out a how-to manual on vandalizing cars. I’ll bet the insurance companies are going to have a rash of vandalized vehicles with seized motors.

    This is just another case of the “O” Hole paying off some union debts. American manufacturers can’t compete because of the UAW so Mr. Socialism jumps in. Where’s the cash for the other companies failing? Banks and car manufacturers aren’t the only ones. I’m beginning to wonder if he’s afraid of the UAW (and not just for votes).

    • take_no_prisoners says:

      Obama loves this program. It’s a 3-or 4-dimensional win for him and his buddies. They not only get to look like they’re doing something for the environment, but they get an immediate boost in orders for new cars. Next up is the conservative christian looking for a good deal on a reliable used van or SUV for their large family–There won’t be any! So the union wins again when the family has to buy a newer one which presumably makes someone else buy a new car which funnels money into government motors and their union cronies. The next person up is the young person or the otherwise short on cash and immediate prospects person who is totally priced out of the market for a car as the floor has effectively been set at $4500. These folks will have to take public transportation, car pool with indulgent friends or even more desireable to the Obama crowd, walk or ride a bike! If you can’t afford a car you must live in the city instead of a suburb or out in the country. Concentrate the populace in ghettos, they’re much easier to watch and control that way. What’s not to like. I can see them sitting out back in the rose garden chuckling and patting each other on the back while they congratulate each other on their intelligence and devious mendacity.

    • take_no_prisoners says:

      And WTF!! The car in the video looks like it is practically brand new! There isn’t even any dust or grime in the engine compartment. It is fairly small and has nice looking contemporary wheels. I can’t believe that they couldn’t have gotten more than $4500 selling the car on the used car lot or parting it out if push came to shove. I can’t believe that a car like this would even qualify for the program in the first place.

  10. crosspatch says:

    Gold For Geezers!

    How it works:

    Bring in an elderly or disabled person for “End Of Life Counseling”.
    If they accept, you get CA$H!
    Up to $4500 depending on their “burden to society” score.

  11. canary says:

    Obama’s health care speech on impoverished Native Indians who forced to live on reservations have no transportation to make the long drive get to medical care, that their free medical care doesn’t cover.

    What about college students, single parents, elderly losing their medicare, that could use the cars.

    My auto repair man, said this is causing people not to be able to fix their cars, because parts dealers can’t get used parts even.
    Also, be warned, as far as buying a new car. Anytime, the government can make a law such as if you take it in to be repaired you find out they can’t until you pay them to put in a different tank. Obama has already said, the auto industry could make better tanks for only 100 more dollars a car. These new cars people are rushing to get may end up costing more down the road. But, what’s the problem, you got it at a discount. I will drive my old clunker til they haul it to China.

  12. Anonymoose says:

    This just really shows me that Washington hasn’t got a clue.

    Sure……it sounds good in principle, get a lot of old cars off the road and replace them with high gas mileage new ones that will increase the corporate fuel average and save the world….blah, blah.

    But in the end it’s just adding more gas to the fire of the gimme crowd. And here’s what I think is so WRONG with this:

    All this money is again borrowed from who knows where and is yet another check to come due. It’s artificially inflating new car sales the same way the “stimulus” is trying to prop up everything else. The house of cards has fallen, it’s time to start cleaning up rather than mortgaging the future to pretend it never happened. Anyone bet the last two years of the Obamasidency will be a nightmare of financial collapse that makes today look like a cakewalk?

    The energy, oil, and raw material needed to make the new cars is probably more than whatever is saved by getting the older cars off the road.

    The older cars would have ended up either as vehicles for people with meager means or a supply of spare parts that would have generated jobs and money. Now the salvage yards don’t want them except as pure scrap, and everyone has to finance even more to buy a new car, at least until the Repo Man comes and the next round of “Stimulus.”

    I looked at a new car recently, but it was a choice of either fixing my nearly worthless economy car or going into debt for five years or more with full insurance to buy a car that is almost identical save for age and 3-4 for miles more per gallon. Guess what choice I made?

  13. crosspatch says:

    oops, wrong thread …

  14. Rusty Shackleford says:

    As something of a minor auto enthusiast, I find this extremely wasteful. It’s foolish, inefficient and strives only to make a very weak point.

    From the aspect of auto dealerships that have now been forced to disable these cars, and now you have approximately 250,000 cars that are basically boat anchors and filling up the backlots of these dealerships the question now becomes, “Who will take these hulks?” Wrecking yards may not especially want them as replacement engines are extremely desirable and often one of the first things a wrecking yard will remove and put on the shelves in the warehouse. So that leaves the rest of the car’s potential value in interior parts, electrics and trim and body panels.

    However, doing the simple math, with a useless engine, the investment may not be worth it to most wrecking yards. Therefore, that leaves the GOVERNMENT possibly being forced to pay the yards to take them off the delaerships’ hands. In other words, more wasted money.

    This is to say nothing of the fact that although I get “they” want the cars off the roads permanently, what they are really trying to focus on is the gas-emitting engine. However, a Volvo of that year and model yields around 24 mpg. So, I’m not exactly getting the feel-good warm-fuzzy that this type of program should induce, to say nothing of any warm feeling up my leg.


    Like when a movie wrecks high-dollar or rare cars for “effect”.

    Now, I can see if it’s a 1990 Lincoln that really has run its days. And that it was traded for a uber-mpg roller-skate…then I get the impact. But dumping a 24 mpg car for a 29 mpg car and getting 4500 on additional trade “value” that really is a public subsidy…then I’m afraid the whole thing is lost on me.

    Once again the utopian idealistic liberals with a pipe-dream that not only ran out of money in one month, but was poorly planned from the outset, poorly implemented, poorly managed, and poorly funded, if it should have been funded at all.

    And these are the clowns who want to make healthcare “free” and “available” to everyone.

    What a huge steaming pile.

  15. wirenut says:

    The price of scrap is so low, that those who earn $250.000 a year or less can’t afford to kill their elders for “their” fillings.
    Aaahh! Unintended consequences with do-goiters, leads to such tragic events. Instead of term limits, let’s make it less lucrative to be a ca-rear public trough licker. Keep yer lousy $4500, I want my country back! No obamabubble car for me. Provide and pay for your own transportation,security, mailing,etc. JUST LIKE THE REST OF US. Live by the laws that you pass.

  16. Colonel1961 says:

    This can’t be right. That Volvo looks fairly new (e.g. clean, nice) and I would suspect the mileage is above the requirement.

    Even so, a moronic program of epic proportion…

  17. Yarddog1 says:

    Update – I heard that this program has been a real winner for Kia and Hyundai. Apparently not many American cars meet the mileage requirements. Well, well, well – now how do you like the program now you UAW members?

  18. sheehanjihad says:

    Two things…all of the “recycled” car metal is going to China, and it will be dumped in their uber eco friendly smelters belching billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere….yeah, real “green” of ya there, bark eater. Lets eliminate that nasty carbon “here”, and then make sure that the stupidity of the idea causes “their side” to replace it into the atmosphere. Bong water is not in short supply evidently.

    Secondly, that geezer elimination program. While I dont quite qualify for “geezer” per se… I aint far off. So to the people in charge of deciding to euthanize the elderly because they are no longer useful to “society”, just remember that trying to do it with me will result in massive lead contamination to the immediate surrounding area in one ounce concentrations. Eugenics experts will dub it the “Mossberg effect”. It will be prevalent throughout the country too, I suspect. A great side affect will be the rapid elimination of those whose mental make up causes them to act like drones for the collective.

  19. cookiecool says:

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  20. Nimblicity says:

    1987 560 SEL:

    Tune-up and other work to get it safety/emissions legal:

    Premium gas and a fuel additive average per month:

    Driving it to the bitter end just to spite exactly this kind of BS:

  21. bill says:

    Why do Democrats hate poor people?

    • Dangerous says:

      Because every poor man that somehow manages to claw his way into the middle class is a voter that might leave the ranks of democrat supporters.

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