The Latest from Lola's Diner

Sunday, August 9, 2009

ca$h for clunkers

I haven't weighed in on Cash Allowance Car Rebate System aka Cash For Clunkers. I've been kind of lurking, reading articles.

The biggest thing that strikes me about this whole program is what a waste. What a waste of some perfectly good, running cars. And in some cases some even perfectly good looking, good running cars.

And if this isn't the biggest joke, my 2006 Honda Pilot 4WD qualifies. Why in the hell would I trade in and have shredded a perfectly good looking and running, like new, 2006 vehicle? That's insane! I love my Pilot! Even though I was seriously suffering through the gas prices last summer, I never considered parting with it. It does what I need, gets me where I need to go comfortably and stylishly.'s paid for. I could never even consider taking on a car loan at this point in time. I am sure I'm not alone.

I find it absolutely amazing that so many people have taken advantage of this program, considering the economy and the recent difficulties in obtaining credit. How can anyone consider taking on a car loan when they aren't sure they're not going to be part of their employer's next lay-off? Couldn't the government find a better way to stimulate the economy? And why is it that the automobile industry is benefiting yet again? What other things does the government have up it's sleeve to benefit the automobile industry?

All of the Cash For Clunkers vehicles are supposed to be disabled and shredded. Recycled. Cars are made up of 65% steel, but what happens to the other 35% of materials that make up a car?
  • Rubber from the tires and other parts
  • Hard plastics such as bumpers and dashboards
  • Leather, vinyl, fabric upholstery
  • Plastics used for safety, including super expensive airbags and seat belts
  • Carpeting fabric, typically nylon
Those items all go in the landfills. How is that earth friendly to be recycling only 65% of an item and dumping the rest in landfills? No parts are removed prior to shredding. (Those tires could be recycled and made into new tires.) This means that if you can't afford a new car payment (or new car lease payment) and must keep your 1989 Chevy Blazer a few more years and you need to replace a headlight, fender, bumper, or a door, you're going to have a helluva a time finding a used one.

How do they disable a vehicle?
The oil is drained. The chemical, sodium silicate solution (liquid glass) is added in it's place in order to seize the engine.

Oh, and what about all that smoke coming out of the vehicle before it finally seizes?

Many of my readers know I am a cynic. I can't help myself. But do you all seriously believe that every single Cash For Clunkers vehicle is going to be processed in the manner that Cash Allowance Car Rebate System aka Cash For Clunkers program prescribes? Are we really to believe that no one is stripping parts from these vehicles? (What about those air bag systems that thieves were once stealing?) Are we really to believe that each and every vehicle is going to meet the same demise and not picked over for valuable parts or not shipped off to Mexico or a foreign country for cash?

Oh, and I'm so tired of all the commercials. Who on this planet hasn't heard of the program? And what dealer on this planet isn't participating?

I'm just saying...there are always people that find a way around the rules. Why should this be any different?

Have any of you taken up the government on it's offer?

What do you think of the government's idea of recycling cars?

Lola's Diner


Stephanie B said...

I did this myself on my own before there was a problem. I save >$200/month in gas.

There are often trades in environmental choices. Right now, CO2 is a serious driver.

Em said...

You have to feel for the people who depend on well-maintained used vehicles to be their "new" vehicle. There is about to be a serious shortage of worthy used cars - pushing up the prices for the slice of America that really don't need it.

The only stimulus that I can see is the repo business in about 4 months when some new owners realize that a new car payment + higher car insurance premiums + higher tags and taxes = not such a great deal.

The nightly news had a segment on tonight about how some of the dealerships are a little concerned about getting their piece of the pie - they have to kill the clunkers to get the money, but no one has seen any money yet.

Don't worry though, I'm sure it will all work out in the end :-).

Lola said...

@ Stephanie B - I don't drive all that much because I can't work. So the amount of money I spent on a car payment would not be offset by gas savings.

@ Em - Exactly! What are those of us who cannot afford a new car going to do when it comes time for us to buy a used car? What about when we want to save money and buy used parts? There won't be any. And yes, the Repo Man is sadly going to have more business than they can handle. No dealers have seen any money? That's just like the government isn't it? The check is in the mail?

Diane said...

i have a 9 year old car that looks great and runs great. it's paid for. i have no reason to trade it in for a car payment.

now is the time to be owning outright any property you can, in my opinion.

Lola said...

@ Diane - Excellent point and I completely agree.

Kimberly said...

My 2001 Ford Windstar qualifies for this program.
I just had to have it smogged for registration last week. It failed the smog because of something visual. The operating of the engine passed. There is a program here that will pay $500 toward the smog repairs on a vehicle. When I went to Bureau of Automotive Repair, they kept trying to push the Clunker Program on me instead of the Smog Program. I frustrated them because I kept telling them no.
I am the original owner of my van that has 110K miles. I have maintained it very well and it is PAID OFF! I plan on driving it till it dies...or cost me more than $600 a month in repairs for an entire year.
No Clunker here..

Sallie said...

Thank for stopping by and commenting during the blog hop!! We went on vacation with family in town and I'm trying to catch up with all my comments.

We finally traded in our 13 year old van last year. I wish I would have hung on to it because I think it was better than my new one!! Hindsight is 20/20 I guess!

I think my great grandkids have enough of this country's debt to pay for as it is... this is just another millstone around their neck :-(

Be blessed!

Auntie E said...

Now here is my take on this subject...I have an Aztek, it would qualify however it is paid off I love it and will not turn it in for cars for $$ program. I can understand the need to help those go green and help the environment. So I feel if one wants to participate in the program, that's fine. I do not think we should of given any more money to it. When the Money ran out that should of be it. As far as the car being destroyed I think they had to do that to assure the cars would not go back out on the road. You do make a good point about the parts. So I agree with you on making the parts available for those who still have similar cars.

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