The Car Allowance Rebate System, also known as the “Cash for Clunkers” program now has a challenge, according to salvage yards, once a clunker is traded in, the engine is disabled and cannot be re-used. Cheryl Rash of Blue and Gold Auto Storage in Charleston says the program is keeping them busy.
“First of all, getting everything set up through the government has kept us real busy, but we have not started hauling in a whole lot of cars because the dealers are sitting on them until the start getting their money, and then their ready to release them. But, we’re getting some now and it’s keeping us busy,” says Rash.
Rash says although the program is good for new car dealers, and for used parts, it is also a shame in some ways because some of these “clunkers” are not what she expected.
“Oh, they’re beautiful! Some of our employees are looking at them saying, ‘Oh my gosh, why?’ because they are beautiful cars, they have beautiful interiors, they’ve been well-maintained, they don’t have a lot of miles on them, there’s some time. But, it does hurt our feelings when and we have to pull out an engine that have 70,000 miles on it and we know it’s got the potential of 200,000 miles on them. It hurts,” says Rash.
A vehicle’s engine makes up 60 percent of that vehicles worth. Rash says auto salvage yards, like Blue and Gold, are all about recycling parts of a vehicle from bumper-to-bumper, but with “Cash for Clunkers” that can’t be done.
“When you are disabling the engine like they are doing, of course, that stops the end of the life on that particular part, and at some point there’s not going to be an engine available for that car, and you’re not gonna be able to put it on the road any longer. You’re gonna have to produce a new car, but the production and the resources it uses up to produce a new car is much greater than recycling these parts, which is what we are doing in the salvage industry,” says Rash.
Blue and Gold has taken 13 cars so far from the CARS program. Rash says they do expect more in the next few weeks, but dealers are waiting for government payment.