Three days before launch, the Department of Transportation has finally released the rules [PDF] for car dealers participating in the federal Cash for Clunkers program. Dealers must disable the trade-in’s engine [official powerplant-killing technique after the jump] and then send the clunker to an approved salvage auction or an authorized disposal company, which will kill, crush and destroy (not to mention recycle) the remaining bits. The doc also contains a word to the wise: “The CARS Act specifies that while many parts of the trade-in vehicle are permitted to be removed and sold, in the end the residual vehicle, including the engine block, must be crushed or shredded. Therefore, the trade-in value of the vehicle is not likely to exceed its scrap value. Purchasers should not expect to receive the same trade-in value as they might if the vehicle were to remain on the road.” I wonder how many consumers will make that calculation, or how many dealers will help them in that regard.
Engine Disablement Procedures for the CARS Program
THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT TO BE USED BY THE VEHICLE OWNER
Perform the following procedure to disable the vehicle engine.
1. Obtain solution of 40% sodium silicate/60% water. (The Sodium Silicate (SiO2/Na2O) must have a weight ratio of 3.0 or greater.)
2. Drain engine oil for environmentally appropriate disposal.
3. Install the oil drain plug.
4. Since the procedure is intended to render the engine inoperative, drive or move the vehicle to the desired area for disablement.
5. Pour enough solution in the engine through the oil fill for the oil pump to circulate the solution throughout the engine. Start by adding 2 quarts of the solution, which should be sufficient in most cases.
CAUTION: Wear goggles and gloves. Appropriate protective clothing should be worn to prevent silicate solution from coming into contact with the skin.
6. Replace the oil fill cap.
7. Start the engine.
8. Run engine at approximately 2000 rpm (for safety reasons do not operate at high rpm) until the engine stops. (Typically the engine will operate for 3 to 7 minutes. As the solution starts to affect engine operation, the operator will have to apply more throttle to keep the engine at 2000 rpm.)
9. Allow the engine to cool for at least 1 hour.
10. With the battery at full charge or with auxiliary power to provide the power of a fully
charged battery, attempt to start the engine.
11. If the engine will not operate at idle, the procedure is complete.
12. If the engine will operate at idle, repeat steps 7 through 11 until the engine will no
13. Attach a label to the engine that legibly states the following:
This engine is from a vehicle that is part of the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). It has significant internal damage caused by operating the engine with a sodium silicate solution (liquid glass) instead of oil.