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Cash For Clunkers CARnage

I figured this being a car blog it was somewhat necessary to at least give brief mention of the CARS Car Allowance Rebate System or Cash For Clunkers program. By now most of America is probably familiar with the deal. You readers as car folks also probably understand that upon turning your car in for a credit the car is scrapped, regardless of how much life is left in the vehicle. What I think is important to underline is that scrapped doesn’t mean the engine gets pulled out and parts reused. Jalopnik covered this issue. In this case the government insists the engines are destroyed using a sodium silicate solution (liquid glass), that is poured into the running engine after the oil is drained. This locks up the motor and makes salvaging it useless.

I don’t want to get preachy or go into more details here, there are plenty of other places online where you can do that, but I do find this program a shameful waste, full of economical, environmental, and practical pitfalls. I’ve seen a number of BMWs and Benzs meet their fate in this past week. Including several big bodied 500 series Benzs that easily were worth more than the credit given. The financial incentive has made less loyal car owners sacrifice fine automobiles or be forced into doing so by significant others. See this ad for a 1988 BMW M5 that needs saving for example.

Regardless of your own thoughts on the program or political views, below I give some examples of what this program has brought that should sadden you as gear heads and folks who are going to have to pay jacked up used part prices.

So pour out a quart of 40 weight for the fallen. If you find photos or videos of German vehicles to add to this hall of shame let us know.

I know this one isn’t German, I wanted to ease you into this post, give you a chance to back out in case you want to avoid the carnage. This does illustrate pretty well the nonsense of where tax payer money is being spent:

BMW 530i manual, so sad.

BMW 735i

BMW 525

1991 and 1992 525i

1986 Mercedes 300E

Fortunately their are some folks out there with good sense
Mercedes 1992 190E 2.3

There are many, many, other engine blow up videos like these from dealerships participating in the cash4clunkers program out on the net. Googler beware.



  1. Dan
    Dan August 4, 2009

    Good post Evan. Your issue with this program is the same as mine: drivable cars are being destroyed and so are the salvageable parts.

    Our 85 535i is a qualifying vehicle and in our case the trade in is higher value compared to private party value. But we couldn’t do it because there isn’t really anything wrong with our car, and the car that replaces it almost certainly won’t do anything better — except for the new car smell of course!


  2. Evan
    Evan August 6, 2009

    Just edited the post to add a new one. A rare 530i manual. It is a shame $2 billion more has just been given for this wastefulness.

  3. Scottie
    Scottie August 22, 2009

    This just goes to show you how arrogant Americans are. They destroy perfectly good cars just to get mindless consumers to continue spending money (finance actually – they probably don’t even have any mone) to buy cars they don’t need. We may as well throw away perfectly good food, or clothes or other goods in attempts to stabilize the markets. Oh wait…we already do that. It’s a shameful waste of our planet’s precious resources. Our government is a bunch of fools.

  4. Jim
    Jim August 25, 2009

    The cash for clunkers was copied from Europe. Old cloths and food does not hurt the environment

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