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Junkyard Owners Want More Time To Crush Clunkers.

Central Ohio auto recycling companies are getting crushed under a pile of trade-ins from the "Cash For Clunkers" program. Now, the salvage yards need more time to process the discarded vehicles.

About 500 cars, trucks and SUVs in the "Cash For Clunkers" program ended up here, at Buckeye Auto Parts on Columbus' west side. Vice President of the company, Scott Fine, says it requires almost three hours to take a vehicle apart.

"We dismantle the vehicle, drain the fluids and dispose of the engines and then we flatten the cars when we're done," he says.

Spare parts of the vehicles like doors, tires, front or rear axles are sold. Fine pointed to a stack of about 300 cars ready for crushing.

Business has been strong since "Cash For Clunkers" began in late July. The federal program offered up to $4,500 to car buyers who traded in gas guzzlers. Fine has hired three more employees. Under the program, the cars are required to be crushed or shredded within six months of the date when the vehicle is transferred from the dealership. Once the car is crushed, the metal is sold for scrap.

Fine says he could use more time to finish the job and he's happy the Automotive Recycling Association is pushing congress to get that.

" The six months is coming to an end and that's why our automotive recycling association is trying to get us more time so that we can still process these vehicles," says Fine.

On the east side at Wirthman Brothers Auto and Truck Parts, Bill Wirthman, says his business has jumped but he wouldn't say by how much.

" There's kind of been an influx of vehicles faster than what we normally take in and its kind of prevented us from taking in other vehicles other than that, but it's a good program," he says. "Its created a lot of work for us and hopefully it'll create a lot of business in the future."

Wirthman is optimistic he can meet the disposal deadline even though he is still picking up cars from dealers. The six month deadline to crush the vehicles never took into account the additional vehicles sold when congress expanded the program. The original $1 billion price tag tripled because of buyer demand.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.