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Junk Yards in Michigan and Cash for Clunkers

Updated on January 8, 2011
Junk yard - cars
Junk yard - cars

Junk yards in Michigan are nearly full

The junk yards in Michigan, like everywhere else in the United States, are filled to the brim with what the government calls "clunkers." These are simply cars or trucks that got significantly lower gas mileage than those they were traded in on. For this they will be destroyed, regardless of if others could get use out of them. Even the larger junk yards are having a hard time keeping up with the work.

Moving quickly and efficiently is all they can hope to do. In the state that is basically the home of car manufacturing in the United States, it's especially ironic that so much destruction is taking place. The few usable parts will be quickly hacked off the vehicles, the fluids will be drained, and the vehicles will be crushed, regardless of current condition, simply because their owners bought more fuel-efficient cars through the Cash for Clunkers program.

How does Michigan compare to the rest of the country?

Michigan has the second most vehicles being destroyed for this reason. President Barack Obama recently signed a bill authorizing another two billion dollars for the program, and officials estimate that the program will continue at least through Labor day, possibly longer if another bill is signed further extending the program.

As more and more vehicles are traded in, the amount of cars destroyed will continue to rise, and the  Michigan junk yards will continue to fill. Junk yards that used to take in 30 to 40 vehicles in a week are now trying to stuff over 200 per week into the same area.

Automobiles in salvage yards
Automobiles in salvage yards

What do junk yards in Michigan do with these "clunkers"?

Many of these cars have plenty of money in them, even if they are destined to never again be driven on the road. Catalytic converters, of not sold whole, contain precious metals, and batteries and tires have components that can be sold for recycling. The engines, however, cannot be reused, as the government has mandated that they be filled with a liquid-glass solution and ran until they die. Then the vehicles are crushed.

From there, they are taken to a shredding company which will feed the flattened vehicles into an enormous grinder and reduce them to pieces smaller than your hand. Those pieces will then be smelted and reused as metal.

Though some of the smaller establishments are overwhelmed, most junk yards in Michigan are seeing this program as a boon for their business.


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