Auto Scrappers Concerned About ‘Cash for Clunkers’

As you may have read, the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act (CARS), commonly known as “Cash for Clunkers,” requires that car engines be disabled prior to recycling, which is of concern to salvage yards because an engine can be worth $800 if re-sold.

The reason engines are being disabled is so that they won’t end up back on the road, since one concern of the CARS program is improving fuel efficiency – and much of this comes from the engine.


Did you know: Vehicles that would otherwise be left on the roadside or abandoned in empty lots can be legally obtained by licensed dismantlers and safely converted into reusable or recycled commodities. Photo:

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) estimates that a working engine and drive train account for 50 to 60 percent of the value of a scrapped auto, and considering it costs upwards of $700 to process a car for recycling, this significantly reduces the revenue of car recycling. Automotive recycling is currently a $22 billion industry in the U.S.

“The recovery, reuse and resale of these quality recycled parts must remain readily available to the consumer, who may not want or be able to financially retire their vehicle, and will require access to parts from these vehicles for their future repairs,” said ARA Executive Vice President Michael E. Wilson.

The process of disabling an engine involves removing motor oil and pouring in sodium silicate, a mixture of salt and sand, which disables moving parts such as pistons. Ironically, sodium silicate can be used in small doses to help engines by sealing leaks in gaskets.

One anticipated result of disabling engines is increased demand and higher prices for used engines. For car recycling programs that don’t utilize Cash for Clunkers, such as non-profits that tow away vehicles and sell off parts, this could present an opportunity.

Feature image courtesy ashley.adcox

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Trey Granger
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  1. C4C is severely hurting charity car donation because the amount of the voucher is so much greater than the tax deduction someone receives when they donate a car.

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