The Cash For Clunkers law requires dealers to destroy the engines of the trade-in vehicle or face a $15,000 penalty. The government's step-by-step instructions as well as graphic video of a Volvo in seemingly great condition being destroyed below.
There were numerous suggestions given to the Department of Transportation for how to destroy a car turned in so the engine never pollutes again. Our favorite was "drilling a hole in the engine block" with, we're guessing, a giant diamond-tipped drill. As lovers of cars, the method they decided on feels far more cruel but is probably just as effective.
The prescribed and approved method of disabling a car according to law involves replacing the engine's oil with sodium silicate, more commonly known as liquid glass. When the car is run with a mixture of water and sodium silicate the liquid quickly evaporates and the solids are left behind, causing most of the oiled surfaces to seize and break.
As you can see in the video above, the results are fairly horrific. You can actually hear this car scream. In fact, if you watch all the way, you'll see it spout up its last bit of oil before it breathes its last breath. WARNING: this is only to be instructive and educational, do not try and do this before you turn in your car.
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.