Cash for Clunkers isn't final answer for car problems
The Cash for Clunkers program got another lease on life with a $2 billion infusion from Congress, after the first billion dollars disappeared in less than a week, resulting in about 220,000 new car sales.
While the program has achieved its goal of selling new cars, while removing older, less fuel-efficient vehicles from the roadways, it isn't the final answer for everyone who depends on cars for income or transportation.
While salvage yards will have a glut of cars to recycle, they won't have access to the most profitable parts -- the drive train -- because those have to be deliberately ruined by the dealerships.
Advocates for the disadvantaged see problems as well, with fewer servicable used cars available for purchase or donation to charities.
And, coupled with the struggling economy, the Cash for Clunkers program actually may exacerbate the problem of unsafe cars on the road.
With fewer low-price used cars on the road, lower income drivers may be forced to keep their real clunkers on the road longer, endangering themselves and those with whom they share the road.
Mechanics are reporting cars coming in with worn out tires, brakes and other items, drivers opting for minimal repairs at most, and continuing to drive dangerous cars because they feel they have no choice.
The Car Care Council reports that 80 percent of the vehicles on the road need repairs or service.
Government programs or no, good advice remains the same as in Ben Franklin's time: A stitch in time saves nine. Fix the small problems with your car now, and you'll avoid big expensive repairs later.