By on July 26, 2006

Hummer-H221.jpgIn 1988, Simon Bond published that seminal work, 101 Uses for a Dead Cat.   It pissed off cat lovers, became a best seller, and spawned a number of “101 Uses for (fill in the blank)” books and articles.  Today we’re faced with an even more haunting problem.  The streets are crawling with SUVs driven by rap star wannabees and soccer moms afraid they’ll get bogged down in a mall parking lot somewhere.  It won’t be long before the junkyards are overflowing with the rusting hulks of these once-proud symbols of excess and poseurship.  So the question plaguing mankind today is, “What do you do with a dead SUV?”

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52 Comments on “QOTD: Do All Good SUV’s Go To Heaven?...”

  • avatar

    Like popular culture – you recycle it.

  • avatar

    Yeah. Lot of good metal on em. You can probably recycle one H2 into about 3-4 yarises.

  • avatar

    give them to habitat for humanity to recycle into living spaces

  • avatar

    Don’t buy it in the first place. Gas guzzling tanks on the streets – this could only be supported for as long as American gas was overly cheap. The Europeans were already so much burdened with gasoline taxes, that the barely feel a price increas – the price of the natural product is only 25% of the final price anyway. So we drive nice smart cars, saving oil for the future, and still making our way comfortably – in any case more comfortable in a VW, BMW or Mercedes Benz with less gas than most of the GM and Ford cars/SUVs of today.

  • avatar

    Drain them of all fluids and remove any useful (if any) parts from them and drop them in the oceans for artificial reefs. That is what the government is doing with subway cars and other useless barges.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Drag ’em out to the desert, fill them full of propane and shoo them with large caliber weapons.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    How about compressing them into cylinders and giving them to the Air Force to use on practice bombing runs for B-52s?

  • avatar

    SUV’s need to be removed from the road, period.

    To the mother driving the Expedition, talking on her cell phone…

    To the woman that has no clue how to drive properly…

  • avatar

    It’s not so simple to just recycle them willy-nilly. Many of them are new or nearly now, what with GM, Ford and DCX putting money on the hoods in various ways to keep the metal moving over the past several years.

    People still owe money on them. They can’t just say “ok, take ‘er away and recycle it” can they?

    Also, how much energy does it take to crush a vehicle and recycle it? Will it be “more logical” to let the vehicles complete their life-cycle and then recycle them? I don’t know, but some smart mathematician might know. Of course, energy costs are a “moving target” so what might not be logical at $3 a gallon may make sense at $10 a gallon for gasoline.

    In the ideal world: we would see common sense, immediately cease production of these hugely wasteful atrocities, and then make every American go through a proper driver education program before they get their next drivers license renewed (because drivers nowadays are so selfishly idiotic that they are a menace to themselves and anyone else on the road)- and ban car phones (which makes drivers literally as dangerous as drunk drivers).

    But I fear none of those things will happen.

  • avatar

    Generations from now, people are going to look back on these behemoths and scratch their heads, much the same way we now look back on the bloated, befinned rides of the late 50’s.

  • avatar

    They’ll slowly phase out and sit in junk yards feeding parts to the people who continue to drive them for years to come. Same as the giant sedans of the past.

    Interestingly small cars tend to get crushed at the wrecker and turned back into materials a lot sooner. Often because their less expensive so people just buy new ones* and people don’t want to fix them because their hard to work on (cramped engine bays etc)

    * For some reason people think it’s cheaper to put $250/mo into a car payment than to put $1000/year into a used car to keep it running.

  • avatar

    Watch Top Gear and old Clarkson videos for inspiration.

    I, for one, would like to drive it on the front lawn of a Greenpeace activist, and burn it (with all fluids retained). Oh the irony….

  • avatar

    What does this response fishing article and the rising number of other 1 paragraph blog topic starters that are cropping up more and more on this site have to do with this mission:

    The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news.

    Granted they may be candid and unbiased, but they are neither news or reviews – they are just space fillers. I come here for news, insight, information or aggravation – these topics are just boring.

  • avatar

    Thank you, Stu

  • avatar

    I say bury those selfish, shortsighted jerks who bought them in the first place in them.

  • avatar

    I realize that most of the people on this board are strictly car guys, but really, there are legitimate uses for the SUV’s out there.

    I agree wholeheartedly with TireGuy and others that the clueless and poseurs should wise up and not just wander aimlessly in a 3 ton vehicle…

    However, if you’ve got something to tow, like your boat, your autocross car, all of your mother-in-law’s posessions in a U-Hell, an Elise isn’t going to get the job done. Admittedly, you won’t spend every weekend towing a U-Hell, but for the times that you do need them, they’re awfully handy.

    I think our biggest beef with the SUV as a whole are the clueless who drive and think of them as the status symbol they rarely are. Outside of the Benzes, BMW and Range Rover SUV’s that may have that cachet, they’re almost as common as taxicabs in NYC. They have also become the lightning rod for our environmental concerns, in some cases, justifiably so.

    However, the libertarian in me rears up and says: Who am I to condemn these people for their choices? It’s still a (relatively) free country, if they can afford to pay for it, more power to them! Please don’t start on environmental issues, it’s the type of owner we’re concerned with here. Environmental concerns don’t seem to be a consideration with the person who buy an SUV as a status symbol. The cold reality is, if we were so committed to conserving energy, we wouldn’t ever drive our cars for pleasure.

    I don’t choose to partake in the SUV phenomenon, but that’s my choice.

    I do like the idea about using them as military target practice, but only with the clueless driver IN IT.

    No, just kidding. Live and let live.

  • avatar

    I live in nyc as well. I had a good laugh the other day watching some fool try, in vain, to parallel park his Ford Excursion. After about 15 minutes he just gave up and drove off. The worst part was he had the room, just couldn’t see well enough to position it correctly. Seriously though, you really should have a good reason to get an SUV besides that you like the feeling that you are in an impervious fortress on wheels – you’re not anyhow, I’ve seen 3 roll over right in front of me on various occasions. One rolled over because it was hit on the side by a livery cab at probably less that 20mph. It flopped over and slid right up on a sidewalk. Luckily nobody was there.

  • avatar

    I drive in an older area in the north east and to be quite honest these cars should be put out to pasture. On the street I live on they park on both sides of the street. I can barely fit in my VW Golf when another car comes down the street. How ridiculous is this? People driving around in cars that are the size of a small buz. 1 person no less.

    Personally I dont understand the appeal of these things. They dont drive well, dont handle well and swill gas. I dont see the average suburbanite dragging home sheets of plywood to work on projects at their house. Maybe in the 70s that was true but the average home owner today barely knows which end of a hammer to hold.

    So just what do do with them? Anyone care to explain.

    Also as a side comment they are now pushing 7 passenger SUV’s. Just what is anyoone going to do with this when people usually have at most 2 kids.

  • avatar

    Recycle them? Hell, keep them running! Add a big “The Sierra Club Sucks” bumper sticker on the rear and tailgate Volvo’s wearing Kerry/Edwards 04 stickers on the interstate.

    Deranged Few M/C

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Syke’s comments suddnely make me realize how in the right Stu is.

  • avatar

    Amen, Stu. Let’s get back to more industry news and reviews. Can’t we liberate TTAC from all these holier-than-thou, I’m-gonna-try-to prove-I-more-than-you, bullshit-spewers who have now hijacked this site? RF is back, isn’t he? How about a GM Death Watch update?

    As far as this insipid stream goes, who cares? If you aren’t paying for it, it’s not any of your damn business what anyone else drives! Drive whatever suits you and leave me alone to conserve or guzzle fossil fuels as I have the means to support.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Use them for coffins for all the automotive executives in Detroit that created this mess.

  • avatar

    Geo beat me to the punch. I hate posers just as much as everyone else here, whether it’s a wanna-be-baller rollin’ on 24s in an Escalade or a bleach blond, overly-tanned, platic-surgery-whore in a Benz SL. But realize not everyone who drives a SUV is in it for the image.

    I’ve had smaller cars, and am now on my second straight SUV (an old ’97 Merc Mountaineer). I love sports cars, would love to get a Z or some other small, fun, more “environmental” ride but my lifestyle doesn’t allow it. The Merc is always packed with stuff, whether it is skis, surfboards, furniture for the home, etc. This doesn’t make me a “selfish, shortsighted jerk.” In fact, I actually use a 49cc moped to travel to and from work every day, weather permitting. So, flame on if you want, but realize it is you who is actually “shortsighted” and ignorant.

  • avatar

    Hmmm, how about loading some on the next space shuttle and using them to form parts for the International Space Station?

    All humor and technical hurdles aside, I have observed that there are fewer SUVs in the parking lot at my health club, and fewer in the parking lot at my place of employment.

  • avatar

    While Im the last guy on the planet who is going to give into PC BS, I have to ask the commenters here if they really want to get into a generalization game with the SUV crowd (the “clueless”)? The corvettes, BMWs, econoboxes and rice rockets will lose this war. And let us not forget, its the hollywood crowd that are the poster children for the hybrids-not exactly the camp I want backing my cause.

    Up here in snow country, the SUV is king, and in alot of cases, makes a hell of a lot more sense than a pickup for similar cash and operating expense.

    and Stu; ditto that.

  • avatar

    I tend to agree with Stu. These comment-eliciting topics were fine in RF’s absence, but they are already getting old. I visit TTAC to read thoughtful and insightful opinion presented in a professional manner by good writers, not the quick, unedited comments of us great unwashed readers.

    Blogs full of comments are a dime-a-dozen. There’s only one TTAC. I prefer to think of it as an automotive website not a blog. Let’s keep it that way.

    BTW, I have no problem with comments on reviews and editorials. I love being able to read and give feedback. It is only these “let the reader write the content” entries I take issue with.


  • avatar

    jschaef481 writes: “As far as this insipid stream goes, who cares? If you aren???t paying for it, it???s not any of your damn business what anyone else drives! Drive whatever suits you and leave me alone to conserve or guzzle fossil fuels as I have the means to support.”

    Without getting into political reasons why it is in fact my business that this country’s over-inflated sense of entitlement drives folks to buy gas-guzzlers, there are many other reasons, including:

    -I can’t see past your land yacht when I’m trying to merge into New England rotaries (though I can use you as a shield).

    -Large SUV’s are on truck platforms and handle like trucks. Many people who are jumping on this bandwagon aren’t accustomed to driving trucks. No need to explain why this is dangerous.

    -If you rear-end me in your land yacht because its brakes can’t manage to bring the barge to a stop, you will crinkle my modest-sized saab 900 into an accordian.

    -There is no doubt that an Excursion polutes more than a Civic. We all have to breath this air.

  • avatar

    Jesse’s right… it IS my business when you drive something that you can’t handle and is bad for everybody (for above reasons). That being said I also agree with GasGuzzler – you actually use your SUV for what its intended and therefore have every reason to drive one. Also, if you live in snow country by all means drive a 4×4. Of course you will probably be better off with a Jeep than with an Excursion, but hey, knock yourself out.

  • avatar

    I for one am very happy to see these SUVs on, and then leaving, the road.
    They are going to make GREAT vehicles for a demolition derby. =)

  • avatar

    I figure if you hold onto yours, just about the time Detroit (or what is left of it) switches over to small vehicles, gas will drop and everyone will want a bigger vehicle again.

    SUV’s came about due to govt regulation of CAFE ratings for automobiles – they are purely a result of finding a loophole in govt rules that prevented people from buying the type of vehicle they wanted.

    Law of unintended consquences.

  • avatar

    We should refurbish them and sell them to the ME in bulk. If not in general, the various PMC’s, security services, gov’t branches in Iraq probably have a use for them. The Hummers can replace the ones the US Army and Marines lose through attrition.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Quick Comment — For all of you who do not like this type of post (member participation), do not click on them and read.

    They are all very clearly labeled “QOTD — which stands for “Question of the Day.”

  • avatar

    It’s not that we do not like this type of post, we also like to read acutal content, like car reviews and editorials.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Well, as we have been doing, we post two items a day that are reviews or rants + a podcast or a QOTD.

    The QOTDs are not taking away from our writing or reviewing or anything of that nature.

    So… just don’t click on these if you don’t like them.

  • avatar

    “It???s not that we do not like this type of post, we also like to read acutal content, like car reviews and editorials. ” – Rocketeer

    How does having a question of the day detract from car reviews or editorials?

    The great thing about the web is that you can have stuff like this. Any fool can write about how terrible SUVs are. In a magazine you get one opinion/one argument. On the web you get not only the article/opinion from the author, but the collective opinions/experiences of the readers. The comments are usually at least as interesting as the article itself.

    Anyways, SUVs are ok if you use them and I know a lot of people who do. Of course, for everyone who does, there are ten suburban housewives driving Expeditions while talking on their cellphones. Also, for those of you who use them, could you do the same thing with a tallish station wagon? In my experience, you can.

    My biggest annoyance is my inability to see around them, especially in traffic where following distance isn’t that large.

  • avatar

    Jesse: It is folks like you (who presume to know what’s best for everyone else in this world) with the over-inflated sense of entitlement. A little econo-box doesn’t work for everyone and it isn’t up to you to decide who gets one and who doesn’t.

  • avatar

    Responding to the QOTD arguments, both for and against – I agree that most of us come to TTAC to read the insightful, witty reviews and articles. However, I also now come to TTAC to read the INSIGHTFUL comment threads, usually involving the article’s author chiming in as well. The comments are new to TTAC, but with the amount of intelligent car nuts that frequent TTAC they have been constructive conversations thus far. And I don’t want to move away from that. We don’t need flaming here such as “RICERS SUK” or “GMrulez, all otherz die” that you find on some other automotize blogs. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and to voice that opinion, but unreasonable biases and prejudices do not belong here. Go to the other autoblogs for that.

    TTAC is for intelligent, unbiased car discussion, and the QOTD can fulfill that as well. But we need to police ourselves in the comments to keep the community one of repute, and not devolve into potshots.

  • avatar

    As said earlier, these will go to the boneyard just like the monster sedans of the past — and serve the same purpose: providing overly large engines and hardened drivetrains for generations of hoons to come to stick in small, light bodies and drive the crap out of them…

    Just think of all those dodge ram hemis repurposed into tiny and otherwise clapped out econoboxes a few years from now…

  • avatar

    I’ve always wanted to build a big, block wall using crushed cars as the blocks. Maybe clear-coat it with acrylic; maybe plant a bunch of ivy around it and let it get swallowed.

    Hell, as long as I’m dreaming, how about a big hedge maze of ivy-covered crushed cars?


  • avatar

    So why exactly are sports cars, pick up trucks and vans being so mercifully excluded from your one sided skewering?

    So the Tahoe at 16mpg (city) is absurd but the Chry 300C, Buick Lucerne, Kia Amanti, Infiniti M45, Caddy CTS/STS, or Lincoln LS at 17mpg is not?

    The fact is some (most?) families have a need to carry more than 5 passengers regularly. If your taking issue with excess or people buying things you think they dont need just state that instead…

  • avatar

    What to do with them? Realistically, my guess a lot will sit in people’s driveway as an eyesore and a reminder of how upside-down they are on it, or just rot on dealers’ lots.

    I really don’t feel the slightest pity for these people either. It’s not like any of what is happening was somekind of secret 5 years ago…some people are just shortsighted and…well…dumb.

    Live and let live…I’m sure some people enjoy and maybe even need their SUV’s, that’s great, good for them – that’s definitely not most people though.

  • avatar

    I like the candid responses to the single paragraph question – but how about a QOTW if the daily routine ruffles too many feathers?

  • avatar

    Back in the good old days of the US oil shortages, people made do. There was such a thing as a big SUV back then, such as the 2 door Bronco and Blazer, the 4 door Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and Suburban. And they sold in smaller volumes back then, because gas was expensive and very few people actually need a big vehicle capable of simultaneously carrying an extended family, going off road, and towing big payloads. If you want to bring along 7 people, you get a station wagon or minivan. Going off road? small rockhopper i.e. Wrangler or crossover, depending on how far. Serious towing and people-hauling? That’s what crew-cab duallies are for.

    If you can’t afford to scrap your gas hog, ship it to Venezuela, Saudia Arabia, Iran, and anywhere else where oil is subsidized and obscenely cheap. It will get some love until the local well goes dry.

    I do pity our babysitter who lacked the foresight not to buy a guzzler, now can barely afford the gas, and can’t get rid of it.

  • avatar

    Recycle them. the metal’s valuable and sweet JESUS is there a lot of metal in those things.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t know where my ’89 Cherokee 2 door wide body with 4 inch lift and 158,000 miles would end up because I’ll hang on to it FOREVER.

    In my long somewhat prosperous life I went trough some 30 cars, motorbikes and trucks (so far). The Jeep struck a cord though. When life’s frustrations get to me, I keep on adding useless stuff to it and take it off road or camping not to mention hunting. It is not a PRETTY thing. I can park it in NY(!!) with the doors unlocked and find it in the same spot when I come back.

    The I6’er overheats on me at least twice a year and I go through the red KYB shocks like tooth picks. But that ugly duckling IS ALL MINE. Wifey has the choice between 4-5 cars any given time. But she’s scared of “Christine” as she dubbs the Jeep. One day, its all banged up, the next day it has brandnew chrome bumper/grill mounted.

    Iy might just be the ONE that they going to lower me in the ground with!!

  • avatar

    ???What do you do with a dead SUV????

    Rip out the engine and trans and install it in your resto-mod project.

  • avatar

    Tyler, you’ve been hanging out on the Grassroots Motorsports forum :)))

  • avatar

    Regarding QOTD, the readers usually post intelligent and interesting comments and it’s fun to read them, so just keep on doing it like this. We still get our reviews and GM death watches so that’s there too, maybe the structure of the web page could be modified a bit to differentiate where on the page can we see reviews/other stuff and where QOTDs, that would help people who don’t want to sift through them.

    About SUVs, Vans, Pick up truck and other morbidly obese cars that are on the roads nowadays. I hear the arguments from the snowbelt (yes, what is wrong with a smaller car with 4×4 and winter tires ?), the farmers and the guys who move (hey, there is U-Haul for that, even a foreigner like me noticed it) – do you really need these big cars with the big engines ? I mean really ? I have had a 29-year old car in europe that probably had 54hp in its glory days out of a 1.3 liter engine. All manual, small sedan-like car. AC ? Blah, the heating would not work properly in the winter. And that small car I did push to the limit. To the physical limits where the car would go (on and off road, you would be surprised). All I am trying to say is that most people have no idea what their car could do, they just have a way bigger, way stronger or (to please those who see sportscars being unfairly excluded from this chastizing) way faster cars then they’ll ever need. (That is why having a turbo is such a great idea, you don’t have the extra power/waste unless you are really asking for it). No disrespect for the farmer or building contractor who really needs a big car, but why on Earth does transporting a kid and a soccer ball needs a van or an SUV ???

    The thing that is really bothersome is not that there are SUVs and other monsters. But that people just keep buying them (well, yes, the incentives). If at least we would know that in 30 years or so the US car fleet will get better, will get leaner and more efficient – that would be great. But for that, the change in the thinking needs to start happening now. Because a car fleet is not changed overnight. As for me, I honestly confess to a way too big car (not SUV though, it’s just a way to big sedan, still gets 22 mpg), but I did get the message, and with my next car, fuel economy will be a deciding factor. (did I mention TDI ? 45 mpg ?).

  • avatar

    It’s interesting that the “defenders” of SUV ownership claim the same reasons:

    1) Big family
    2) Space hogging hobbies
    3) Regular offroading
    4) Extreme weather locations

    In reality of course we see yuppie execs and Moms with a single child on the Walmart or school run.
    I would judge that Reasons 1-4 above apply in various combinations to less than 5% of SUV owners.

    Previous posters forecast correctly that these dinosaurs will end up being cannibalised over many years for a new generation of pistonheads.

  • avatar

    Well, for my fist post on TTAC I will say that there is definitely a need for such vehicles, but a hallmark of our prosperous U.S. economy is that people often buy the biggest and best things they possibly can, for the few times it is necessary. You also see this with houses and appliances; can’t tell you how many newer houses in this area have whirlpool tubs in the master bath that are never used, or six-burner professional ranges that are used mainly to fry eggs or heat up canned soup.

    But it IS possible to live with a smaller vehicle, with few compromises. We did it all the time before SUVs and pickups became popular 20 years or so ago. And I disagree with the provious poster who said that today’s drivers are less likely to haul 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood than they were in the 70s…due to the plethora of “big box” retailers (and the disappearance of free delivery) I think we are MORE likely to haul big items.

    That being said, I used to drive full-sized trucks, as I have always lived in an old house with up to an acre or so of lawn and garden. I now have a job that requires me to drive quite a bit; when I needed to replace my truck a year ago I chose a Pontiac Vibe (made a better deal than I could on a Toyota Matrix). While I get a mileage allowance of 44.5 cents per mile from my employer, it makes sense to get something that’s inexpensive and easy on gas.

    In the last two weeks, I’ve suddenly had LOTS of full size SUV owners come up to me in parking lots and ask about the Vibe. One thing is that it has as much USEFUL space as most mid-size SUVs…I’ve unloaded co-workers’ TrailBlazers (long wheelbase) and Explorers that were packed with samples, and transferred everything into the Vibe. Granted, I had to fold the front passenger seat, but for work I rarely travel with anyone else.

    As for my Home Depot runs: The Vibe can pull 1500 pounds, so I will eventually spring $750 or so for a hitch and 5′ x 8′ utility trailer. In the meantime I’ve used HD’s delivery service ($25 or so) or borrowed a truck. Still less than the additional $10K or so that a full-size SUV would have cost me.

    As for big families: I don’t have kids, but I’m from a family of seven, and we never had station wagons back in the 60s and 70s; when we all wanted to go somewhere we took both of my parents’ cars. Even if you do this a few times a week, you still save more on gas than driving a mostly empty SUV. By the way, just a few days ago I five of us – ADULTS – went to lunch in the Vibe, with no complaints.

    The best part: I get 28 mpg in town, and 34 on the highway. As for off-roading, I don’t do it (as is the case with most SUVs) and for extreme weather, the FWD has pulled me through some fairly fierce snowstorms. By the way, traction control is also available in the Vibe, although AWD is being dropped for 2007.

    So it IS possible to live a full, happy life with a smaller vehicle…but up until recently there has been no reason to do so. Now that gas is up around (and sometimes above) $3 a gallon, the market (that is, Mr. and Ms. American) are looking at alternatives, which is exactly how our free market economy works. I’m just looking forward to seeing some other alternatives out there, as competition always seems to improve what’s available.

  • avatar

    Go to one of your local “pull a part” type salvage yards. Pay the “cover charge” to get in($1 or $2(to cover all the little things you pocket or so they can profit from the 100’s of people a day(most likely)). Walk around the yard and have a look around. You’ll be amazed at the amounts of certain types of vehicles in the yard(so that’s where they all went!), interesting crashed cars, cars that looked like they were still running when they were brought in, odd ball cars that don’t fit in with the rest of the cars, the various states of disrepair and dismantled conditions some of the vehicles are in. It’s well worth the money just to have a walk around to see the most unusual “parking lot” you’ve ever seen.

    Bring a camera so we can all benefit.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    as you know, in 1977 GM announced that the wretched excesses of huge 500 cubic inch v8’s twenty feet long would be relegated to history. The new 77 gm full sized sedans were a marvel 350V8s. smaller on the outside,roomy on the inside and more manuverable. Yes they sold extremely well and a new era was upon us, or was it? By the early 90’s suv’s were to replace the bloated sedan iron of the 70’s with big truck v8’s and all of the creature comforts, and for the first time in a generation 8 mpg would again be the norm around town. How many times can we cycle like this before the game is over? I think this $3.00 gas is here to stay and the present mix of products is soon gone.

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