Southland auto dismantler gets boost from Cash for Clunkers

The U.S. Senate voted to pour another $2 billion into the tank of the Cash for Clunkers program. The cash has certainly helped a lot of people buy new, more fuel efficient cars. KPCC’s Brian Watt says the clunkers are giving the used auto parts business a boost.

Brian Watt: When you trade in your old clunker for a rebate on a new ride, the clunker eventually winds up in the care of an auto dismantler – like Pick-A-Part with locations in Ontario, Monrovia, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Office manager Mary Miles has been overseeing the company’s acquisition of trade-in clunkers.

Mary Miles: The only thing we can’t sell on the vehicle is the motor block.

Watt: The federal program requires the dealer to destroy the clunker’s motor. The rest is fair game.

Miles: We can part that vehicle out for anything that they want, the seats, the tires, the doors, you know, alternators, some of the parts that come off the motor.

Watt: Miles says Pick-A-Part’s Monrovia location has taken in more than 100 vehicles through Cash for Clunkers, and most of them aren’t complete clunkers.

Miles: We are seeing a better quality and a better selection of vehicles that we’re going to be able to put out in our yard.

Watt: She says that’s good news for people who still can’t afford a new car, but are looking for cheap parts to fix up their old one.

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