Do you think the "clunkers" will really be scrapped? (Not political, human nature thread)

Please don’t get into the wisdom of the plan or who benfits, etc.

My question is just this: Do you think the clunkers turned in will actually be scrapped?
The process I saw on the news looked like it was open to fraud. They pour a mixture of some sort of plasticy goo and grit into the engine, run it a minute, and it will die.
Seems easy enough to bribe the witnesses and just go through the motions, then sell the car to a chop shop.

Do you think the car dealers will succumb to temptation or be happy enough with the new car sales?

I’m sure somebody somewhere in this big country will try to commit fraud, but I’m assuming the penalties are severe. Plus, if the cars being turned in really are giant pieces o’ crap, then there’s not much value to be gained in selling them to a chop shop. A few hundred bucks each, for risking jail time? Hard for most folks to justify, especially if sales are already going like gangbusters because of the program.

I’ve heard from several sources on this issue. They said the feds come around to check. The dealers appoint a designated “executioner.” He drains the engine oil, replaces it with solvent, and runs it til it quits. An hour later, he tries it again to make sure. The rest of the car is turned over to a crusher yard. Non ferrous metals are yanked out and sent to a Chinese recycler to separate by hand. Rubber, upholstery and such is sent to land fills.

I know what you mean, though. Some guy wants to trade in a rara avis with no rust, there will be some serious temptation

There must be lots of parts of a vehicle that don’t consume oil and can be removed in five seconds or less with the appropriate tool. Ridiculous example due to my lack of detailed knowledge of the working of cars: suppose you had a '83 Vulcan Illogical. Attached to the engine is a Flux Capacitor. This part is anywhere from somewhat to downright essential to the car’s continued operation, costs an arm and a leg and is impossible to find new or in the used market. Who’s going to notice if one just happens to magically fall off a car that’s going to be crushed anyway?

I wonder how many people strip off any reusable thing before trading in their “clunker?” That’s what my husband did with his old Ford truck. When he got to the dealer, he parked in the back, changed the reusable tires for old flat ones, and replaced the working battery with a dead one. Heck, it didn’t matter if they had to move the thing on the rims and temporarily put in a working battery until the engine was dead. Who’s to say dealers – or salvage yards – don’t (or shouldn’t) do the same thing?

Heres a little thought experiment I’d like to propose regarding the “Cash for Clunkers,” program: would the economic stimulus program be more effective if we somehow increased the value of what was destroyed? What if we made a law that you couldn’t remove still-good air-fresheners from the car? What about a GPS unit you happened to have sitting on the dash? Why don’t we all throw in our wedding rings as well to be smelted down when the iron gets melted? Wouldn’t these measures increase the economic stimulus value of that program?

For that matter, why don’t we just pay people to start digging holes and other people to fill them back in? Oh wait, because it wouldn’t generate anything of value to human beings, in fact it would merely destroy wealth…

Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing if people extract the maximum possible resources in their most valuable form before prostrating our moderately valuable vehicles for sacrifice within the fires of the “Cash for Clunkers,” Temple of Doom thingy.

I have a truck with 165k miles on it that I’m considering turning in for the program, but I’ve grown rather fond of it over ten years (I bought it new). I feel like I’m putting down a pet before its time.

Can’t it be sent out to a farm to live out its days, like where my parents claimed Oliver went?

threemae, you’re sorta right. The recyclers/salvage vendors have been complaining that the massive influx of corpses that don’t run are hurting their business because engine & transmission account for 30-60% of a salvage vehicle’s value. With the engine hosed, then really all they have is a pile of sheet metal. They complain that they’ll only break even, if they’re lucky, once the car is moved & auctioned. From their perspective I can see lots of suck if they’re getting even less than they were expecting.

One thing’s for sure: if you’ve been looking for a replacement transmission or some sheet metal for your clunker (which you’re keeping because you can’t afford a new car payment), good delas are about to be had.

I just don’t understand this at all anyway… as a “lefty liberal” I really like a lot of government programs, but what I see is that people who can afford brand new cars get subsidized to buy one, (let’s face it even with $4000 or whatever dollars off of a $30,000.00 car, it’s still unaffordable for ordinary working stiffs) and their old trade-in, which the abovementioned working stiff might be able to actually buy, use and enjoy, is destroyed and forever taken off the market. Yeah it somehow probably encourages more environmentally friendly vehicles, but at the same time creates a vacuum where there is a real need to fill. Methinks there will be some heavy unintended consequences from this program.

I’m pretty sure the car needs to be in “drivable” condition (of course that’s a fairly loose term :)). And only the drivetrain (ie the engine and transmission) must be scrapped.

There is a whole lot of paperwork that goes along with this program. One of the forms is something like an affidavit that the dealer has seen the vehicle driven onto the lot.

At the dealership I quasi work for now, the salvage yard is paying enough for the vehicle to cover the cost of killing it, so the dealer neither profits from nor loses anything for taking a vehicle they would normally not deal with. The salvage yards can still use a variety of parts off the cars such as A/C’s, water pumps, brake master cylinders, axles, radiators, etc.

I read somewhere that the most popular cars being sold were cars like the Ford Focus. It seems that folks are for the most part, buying very inexpensive vehicles and this holds true to what I’ve witnessed firsthand. My boyfriend’s parent’s traded in a 1994 Ford Crown Victoria and got a 2008 Saturn Astra. With the Cash for Clunkers program and manufacturer’s and dealer’s incentives that were available last month, they saved about $9300. They would not have bought a new car without the program.

The program was intended first and foremost as an economic stimulus, and secondarily as a recycling or environmental program. I think it has accomplished it’s primary goal quite well as evidenced by the huge number of people that took advantage of it and the need for more financing.

Well, it is Cash for Clunkers, not Cash for Good Tires and the Radio.

As for “classic” or otherwise valuable/collectible cars that might be scrapped in this program, does anyone know if any such cars have been scrapped by foolish owners that didn’t realize their car is worth more than $4500 on the open market?

OTOH, what I have seen turned in is lots of crummy cars that would otherwise be advertised on Craigslist for $750 with the description of “runs and drives the motor has a blown head. the trans is good good body and inter” which is an actual current listing for a 1996 Mercury Sable being sold by someone who apparently doesn’t want or need to buy a new car even with the C4C discounts.

If someone tried to do that, wouldn’t the dealer choose to trade it in for $4500 and resell it?

Ugh…I just got a nasty vision of someone dumping Engine Death into a 1972 Corvette.

A 1972 Vette is too old for the CFC plan. Cars must be less than 25 years old, so 1984 or newer.

Yes, they certainly would. With the added benefit of a lot less paperwork.

I think the answer is here Driving Out of Germany, to Pollute Another Day
“Germany’s “cash-for-clunkers” program is being undermined as cars that were supposed to have been junked are finding their way to markets in Africa and Eastern Europe.”

The Germans have found out what we will find out. Only our clunkers will wind up in Honduras, where the stolen SUVs already go.

That’s interesting… as a somewhat libertarian/conservative type (more moderate than anything), I came to the same conclusion.

What we’re doing is absolutely killing some parts of the used car market- nobody’s going to do 3rd party sales to each other, if the car is worth less than $4.5k, and on top of that, we’re destroying so many cars that I suspect the parts market for those vehicles may be seriously driven up as well, which will make things hard on folks who can’t afford a new car even with the 4.5k bounty.

What had me wondering is that in many cases, the folks normally running the clunkers aren’t known for making the best decisions, so how many of them are going to buy cars they can’t afford?

Also… I suspect that the smart play may be to hold on to your clunker; in six months to a year, there may be a market for it that will pay considerably more than you’d have gotten at say… this time last year for a comparable vehicle.

I also am starting to believe that the powers that be have decided to pull a fast one on a big segment of their supporters (the clunker-buyers) and knowingly screw them in the short-term by manipulating the market with the intention of driving older cars out and leaving a market gap until the newer more efficient cars filter into the lower-end used market. (which is where they wanted them anyway).

It’s a brilliant plan in many ways, but it screws taxpayers (who are paying for it), and the typical buyers of the clunkers the most.

I think they should have a program where old 4x4 trucks can be turned in for cash, and then shipped off to Africa where they would be converted into technicals, light armored vehicles for irregulars and guerrillas. Seriously, with all the shit going on in Darfur, some of those villages would be able to hold off the attackers if they just had a technical with a mounted machine gun in the back. This is totally a hijack and I know it, but why isn’t anyone trying to help arm the villages in Darfur that are being attacked? I always see collection jars and stuff for them but where is that money going? Even if we send them food, the bandits will still keep attacking them and killing them if they can’t fight back.

An old Bronco, Land Cruiser or Blazer and a surplus 7.62mm machine gun should be sent off to every village in Darfur.

This is one thing I’m not clear on. I’ve heard that the engine and drivetrain cannot be re-used; but it also seems that the cars are almost immediately crushed. Is it legal under C4C to sell the sheet metal? For example, doors and fenders? What about tail lights? I see a lot of older cars with smashed tail lights, and it seems they would benefit from a supply of used ones.