The Cash for Clunkers program that was run by the U.S. government this past year seemed to be a big hit with consumers. It swayed people to trade in their cars that were gas guzzlers for newer and more fuel efficient models. Those who opted to get their environmentally unsound vehicles off the road were offered money off of their new purchase. How much money they saved on their new car depended on how much more fuel efficient the new car was compared to what they were trading in. During and after the program ended, auto dealers and junk yards were left with quite the pile up of cars just sitting around. Due to the terms set forth in the Cash for Clunkers program, dealers could not resell the cars that were turned in by consumers. This meant that these cars were just sitting there with no where to go and most of them still ran. Auto dealers needed to find a way to disable the cars to ensure that they build small engine were never on the road again. What they came up with is a chemical that is normally used to kill bugs and seal concrete and that chemical is sodium Silicate.
Auto mechanics are not strangers to sodium silicate, as the chemical is also used to seal gaskets and cylinders on cars, but until recently, it has never been used to actually kill a car. The use of this chemical to kill a car’s engine has caused a severe spike in sodium silicate purchases. Suppliers were having a hard time keeping up with the demand and mechanics were having a little fun in the process.
In order to disable a car engine using sodium silicate, the oil is first drained and then it is filled back up with the chemical. The car is then ran and the chemical hardens, which causes the bearings and the car’s engine to completely seize up. Newer engines die off quickly, while it can take a little time to seize an engine of an older car. Due to this, mechanics and shop owners have been making a game out of guessing how long it will take for the engine to die.