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Dealerships wait on 'clunker' funds

FINGER LAKES—Area dealerships are waiting for the federal funds from the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), and so are the cars that were traded in.
Mike Learn, with Learn Motors in Watkins Glen, said while the engines have been destroyed with a “clunker bomb” (a chemical solution poured into the engine) the cars themselves are still in one piece.  As part of the CARS program (also known as “Cash for Clunkers”), dealerships are required to destroy the cars people trade in for the rebate on a new car.  However, Learn said that while the cars are at a salvage yard, they will not be destroyed until the funds for the program are available.  The final part of the requirement is that the cars be shredded or crushed.  He explained that Learn Motors sends the cars to Jayne’s Auto in Reading Center.
“It’s easy for us,” Learn said about the proximity of the salvage yard.
Vanessa Conklin, sales manager for Friendly Dodge in Penn Yan, explained that “clunker bomb” is a sodium silicate solution.  Learn said that two quarts of it are put into the engine and the car is run for three to seven minutes.  It then “seizes up” and the car is dead.
Friendly Dodge is doing even less until the funds are in.  Conklin said that none of the cars have been given the “clunker bomb” let alone taken to a salvage yard.  She explained that until the dealership has the funds from the federal government, the trade-in cars are just sitting out back of the building.  Conklin added she knows of other dealerships that are just keeping the scrap yard ready cars in a large dumpster.
Once the funds have come in, Conklin said the dealership will use the sodium silicate solutions on the cars before sending them off to a salvage yard in Geneva.  However, she said the dealership is still waiting the “seven to 10 business days” for the funds to be sent.  Conklin added that through the program Friendly Dodge ran out of cars.  However, the dealership is now letting people order vehicles and still get the rebate for turning in a “clunker.” 

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