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Cash for Clunkers - Good or Bad Idea?



  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I am going to "part out" a little on my own. A friend owns a similar minivan. I am going to see if he wants my good tires and my compresso (his has a bad compressor). I'll give for free if he wants to get them out of the car. I'll take the spare tire just for the rim as well.

    Van currently has a bad tie rod so I don't feel like putting the $200 into the repair, I'll just drive slowly when I get it to the dealer ;)

    I think this whole program is an environment disaster and waste. The best part of my minivan is the power train which has never given me a speck of trouble and is still going fine -- and that's the part that has to be destroyed.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    Actually the difference in $$ between the Rav4 and the Mazda is getting even greater. I keep getting offered better deals and the difference is now $3800. For teenagers, I am tempted to go with the Mazda. It's the same as the Ford Escape except it gives a better rebate -- $3000 verses $2500. The Mazda name unfortunately has a better resale than a Ford even though they are the same vehicle. OTOH it should still be the same cost to fix as an American car - cheaper than the imports since it is essentially a Ford.

    IMO this is probably one of the best values out there. The Mazda Tribute gets 23 mpg so I get the $4500 C4C instead of the $3500, the rebate is $3000, and they are dealing on the prices like crazy (bet they are redesigning it). With my C4C it looks like the automatic will cost $13000. Quite the deal.

    I know I will have to compromise and get the automatic. It became easier to do when I read the fine print on the Mazda site and saw that the rebate on the stick shift was only $2000 - not $3000 like the automatics have on them. So the difference between the auto verses stick is only $900 now. I know that the resale value of the stick verses automatic will more than make up for the difference.

    Good negative article on the C4C program: - - sh-for-Clunkers-is-a-Joke

    Good positive article on the value of the Ford Escape: - - July-2009
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,744
    why are you only considering the mazda, not the ford?
    it is probably a little cheaper.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The article is superficial at best and mostly wrong... point by point..

    1. A 'clunker' worth $3000 should not be traded in for a $3500 voucher. That vehicle should be sold at retail for $5000-$7000 by the owner. OTOH he admits that a clunker worth $100 is getting a windfall if he/she gets $3500 or $4500. Duhhh. Stupid pointless 'reason' in both cases. One's a no brainer and the other's a 'Duhhh'.

    2. This point is proving to be absolutely wrong because the proponents of the 'the poor have no right getting better vehicles' perspective ignore that this is a HUGE and wealthy country with millions - millions - of comfortable people owning trucks and SUVs from the 90s that have minimal value as tradeins but are definitely worthwhile as C4C vehicles. These people not only can buy but often are paying cash because they wait for these good opportunities.

    3. HUH? The program is voluntary. If someone needs his or her clunker for weekend work or camping or family vacations then those people can keep their older guzzlers. No one says that they have to participate. Another stupid pointless 'reason'.

    4. This 'future classics' argument is one of the stupidest ones yet. If it's a future classic then presumably it's being cared for properly. No vehicle I've seen yet being offered for this program is anything more than a piece of crap, rusted and falling apart, needing significant out-of-pocket expenses simply to keep it on the road. But again the program is voluntary...the MIB are not going around to garages and back fields and taking vehicles away from owners.

    5. This is the posting of someone so superficial and so ignorant of the entire project that his entire article becomes worthless.
    ..The program has already boosted traffic at the stores. Even the 'haters' are going to take advantage of it!! :surprise:
    ..Boosting auto sales is only one purpose behind the project but the intended scope is a 5-10% temporary boost. That's it
    ..Fuel savings are ignored
    ..National security issues are ignored
    ..Stimulation to a wide sector of jobs and employees is ignored.

    .....this article should be ignored. I would kill him in a debate. He has no facts just broad generalities.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I wish I could get the Ford but keep in mind that there are a few differences. The Ford only has a rebate of $2500. The Mazda has $3000.

    On Saturday I came from the Mazda dealer and went right to the Ford dealer. I'm standing right there with numbers from Mazda in my hand and they acted like there was no room for negotiation in their prices (idiots). When I hit the Mazda lots, the first thing they do is lop off between $1000 to $1800 off the MSRP, and then take the rebate off. The Ford salesman did nothing except the rebate.

    I wouldn't mind the Ford because they offer that SYNC. Would be great for teenagers because in spite of the fact that I tell them never to use their cell phone when driving, I would be naive to think they never will. The bluetooth integrated SYNC upgrade would be worth something to me but the Ford dealership behaves like idiots.

    Right now I have the Mazda Tribute down to $17,500 for the base automatic (w/o C4C). I'd pay $18,000 for the base automatic Ford Escape with SYNC. But somehow I don't think I'll get that.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    I know plenty of people that got bad Neons just like (or almost as bad) as mine. I also know they all experienced similar issues with adhesives oozing, trannies dying, head gaskets blowing, and AC compressors faltering.

    Your advice is actually very good advice indeed. Avoid the SOHC, avoid the 3 speed auto, and you'd probably be smart to buy one without an AC as well. Problem is some people live in CA where it is HOT and an AC is a necessity. The other problem is I know I'm not the only one that got the SOHC engine with the 3 spd. auto. The BIGGEST problem is that Chrysler and Dodge committed FRAUD by knowingly avoiding the necessity to provide that information to its customers back in 1994-1999. They didn't put a sign up that said "Avoid our 3spd auto as it fails after 60K miles or so" They also didn't provide a warning or caution that the SOHC engine had faulty head gaskets. If Chrysler would have warned about these errors on the Neon, and/or finally stood behind the product by covering the repairs, I'd have a different opinion today.

    P.S. I know of a friend today that has a late model Neon (2000 or newer) and they drive around with a miscolored red bumber that looks more pink than red like the rest of the car. Why do they drive around in a disfigured car??? Answer: Chrysler won't cover it under warranty and doesn't stand behind their shoddy products.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    That bad,huh?

    Yes, my American/Domestic vehicle experience happened to also be my "first car' experience.

    It was and will also be my last; that's how bad. It couldn't have been any worse really, there is no way the experience could have been much worse.

    Also, my Japanese and German car experiences have been light years superior. I can't figure out why GM & Chrysler didn't go bankrupt BEFORE 1994, are people just dumb?
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    Honda got caught and admitted to having their odometers run too fast. No wonder they would honor the warranty a thousand miles after expiration. The car was still actually under warranty.

    In my particular experience my Honda was 6,000+ miles past warranty, which was 36,000 miles at the time. I was at 42K and change. Therefore, unless you are accusing Honda of adding about 20% mileage error to their odometers, your excuse carries no weight. I've heard the error is less than 1% off on the odometers.

    Also, dealeriships have nothing to do with the quality of the vehicle FROM the factory, but they do have everything to do with your experience when something goes wrong.

    Either they can ignore the problem and not offer warranty help and tell you "parts just break down."

    Or they can step up to the plate, STAND behind their products, and tell you that you'll get a special extended warranty to cover this UNEXPECTED breakdown and repair.

    At the Big 3, problems are expected, at Honda and other reliable dealers, problems are UNexpected and even EMBARRASSING to the dealer and automaker.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    You need to read the "Honda Odyssey Transmission Issues" Forum.

    One of the best thing to happen to me back in 2000 was the inability to get an Odyssey fast so I had to "settle" for the Chrysler. All 3 of my friends who got the 2000 Odyssey had major issues. All 3 have replaced the transmissions, one was paid for by Honda, the other was beyond 105,00 and Honda wouldn't do it, the third had one tranny replaced by Honda, but it failed later and they wouldn'r replace it for a second time. My T&C shifts wonderfully with 194,000 on it.

    We need to get back onto C4C but you might want to read all the "satisfied" Honda customers on this thread:
  • 100chuck100chuck Posts: 145
    Well I located in Michigan and our unemployment rate passed 10% six months ago.
    I test drove a Focus and I would need to go on a diet to drive a car that small :0 Maybe that's part of the government plan :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Quick! Name ONE automaker who will warranty an automatic transmission beyond 100K miles with no strings or loopholes or service/inspection requirements or extra warranty expense.

    Answer: NONE.

    I think 105K is within the range of normal lifespan for an automatic transmission. I'm rather surprised anyone would expect factory help beyond that point. That's $2500 expense over 10 years of use or $250 a year in repairs. Not bad.

    re: "future classics" -- I have to laugh at that argument, too. As if people are trading in their Shelbys for a $4500 voucher.

    I think the media often confuses "classic" with "plain old car".
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    Having a transmission go out when it's 8 years old is far different than one going out at 4 to 5 years of age. I could live with 8 years of service.

    Not even Goverment Motors will cover a tranny failure at 5 years and 1 day even if you only have 1 mile on it. Now Hyundai, there's a real car company with a real Warranty; it would be covered.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's the miles that matter not the age; otherwise a 40 year old car with 40,000 miles on it would still have a warranty? Extreme case, but you see the point I'm sure.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    The initial offerings from Hyundai were so bad that they were forced to go with that warranty in a frantic effort to instill confidence in their product.

    Quality did improve and the decision to have that long warranty probably saved them.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,956
    I'm just pointing out that some of the complaints against Honda on that forum referenced earlier point to 1999-2001 model Odysseys. Well, best case scenario for Honda is that it is AT LEAST 8 years old. I don't think customers should expect too much help once it is 8 years old or more.

    I was pointing out that Hyundai covers it even up to 10 years old or 100K miles, so both mileage and age matter.

    Another extreme case, a car that is one year old with 100K miles wouldn't generally be expected to be covered.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I can say that if that were an American car with a transmission going out just after 105,000 everyone would be calling it is POC. Nonetheless, many people on that thread are having issues at far less mileages, and Honda is not looking very hard to help them out. Also they had to sue to get Honda to do anything. And the lawsuit only covered the 2000-2002 Odysseys. Many are failing at far less mileages and it is a nightmare for them, even if they have the models covered under the lawsuit. Many with 03's and 04's are having troubles too. I'm only pointing out that "goodwill" is a joke. And to be fair, it has to be or else everyone tries to take advantage of you.

    What I really want to know is that the Mazda salesman says he will hold the car I want and do the C4C on the 24th if I give him the title to the "clunker". If I don't sign the back of the title I can't get into any trouble doing this can I?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Boise had been pretty well insulated and enjoyed low (~5%) unemployment up until this year. Then we caught up with you with a vengeance, although rural Idaho has been dealing with lousy numbers for years now.

    The Focus is on our Clunker list too, but we really are thinking we need a hatchback. I have this mental picture of myself as being mostly of average height and weight, but maybe it's the minivan that's been fooling my self image. :shades:
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,550
    I think 105K is within the range of normal lifespan for an automatic transmission. I'm rather surprised anyone would expect factory help beyond that point. That's $2500 expense over 10 years of use or $250 a year in repairs. Not bad.

    Well, I'd be pissed if I had my automatic tranny go out at 105K miles, simply because I know they were capable of better than that 40 years ago. But I wouldn't expect any help from the manufacturer at that point. Still, if I went from a '68 Dart that blew its tranny around 242K miles only because the previous owner rebuilt and hopped up the engine, to a '79 Newport that needed a rebuild at 230K, to an '89 Gran Fury copcar that still had a good tranny at 118K when I got rid of it, only to have my 2000 Intrepid crap out at 105K, yeah, I'd be miffed. Thankfully I'm at 147K, and it's doing just fine.

    And I'll admit, I was mildly amused when the tranny on my Mom & stepdad's '99 Altima crapped itself at 35K miles. But Nissan covered it under warranty, and I think that car has around 300,000 miles on it now, so tranny #2 has more than made up for #1.

    Heck, even the crappy THM200C in my old 1980 Malibu was still doing well at 110,000 miles, and those things were infamous for early failure. The service manual had the cajones to call for a 100,000 mile service interval for the fluid, which is probably why many of them failed! We usually did that thing every year.

    Which makes me wonder...perhaps one reason automatics might be prone to failure these days is BECAUSE of those long intervals? My Intrepid specifies 100K for "regular" service and 50K for "severe" service (i.e., most types of driving). I just bite the bullet and do it every 30K.

    I've also had an '85 LeSabre that had 157K on its original tranny when we got rid of it, and an '86 Monte Carlo that made it to 192K when I wrecked it. Both of those were bought new by family members and passed down to me, so I know their history, and that they were on their original trannies. My '85 Silverado, also bought new by my Granddad, has about 130,000 miles on it.

    Oddly, the one premature tranny failure I had was in an '82 Cutlass Supreme, and it had the "good" tranny... a THM350C, rather than the lightweight 200. Even here though, it wasn't a total failure. It started holding the gears too long, and the shop said they could fix it for $150, but couldn't guarantee that the problem wouldn't resurface within a year, or just rebuild it for around $675. Well stupid me, I thought I'd have that car for a long time, so I went for the rebuild. And about 8-9 months later, the engine lost its oil pressure. :sick: And also in this car's defense, I bought it used, 11 years old, 61,000 miles, for $800. So for all I know, it could have been neglected, and may have never been changed! Heck, I have an old Nova brochure that mentions the service interval for the THM350 at 60K intervals!

    But in my limited experience, any transmission worth a damn isn't going to fail within 100-105K miles! I have heard that elsewhere though, that these days you really are lucky if you get 100K out of a modern tranny. They build them lighter and to tighter tolerances, in the interests of fuel economy, and so they sap as little power from the engine as possible.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think cars today are more durable than they have ever been in history.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I don't buy that for a minute. Run into a 1985 PU truck with a 2009 CamCord and chances are the new car will be totaled and the PU truck have minimal damage. Hardly a week goes by I don't see a fender bender where the new car has to be towed away. Most of the time a total loss. Makes for higher insurance premiums etc etc. Cars today may get a lot of trouble free miles so long as you do not go over a curb or have an accident. They fall apart on impact. That is not being durable. Give me a 56 Packard and I will take on any new car in a head-on collision.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Modern cars are way more safe than old cars. I don't think your POV is scientifically defensible.

    I'll definitely take the Camry, you can have the old Packard and I'll visit you as often as I can in the emergency room. :P

    New cars are supposed to fold up---that's the whole point. If the car doesn't absorb the energy, YOU do.

    It's no "accident" that people are driving far more miles than in the 1950s and with far fewer accident fatalities.

    What's more important. Your skull or your fender?

    Anyone who trades an old clunker for year 2009 safety features has my blessing.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That exact example is where you misunderstand the design of new vehicles. This new design may 'total' the vehicle but the occupants will simply open the doors and walk away.

    The occupant of the 1985 pickup will be bounced all over the cab and likely have severe trauma and head injuries. Do I want to be T-boned by an SUV in a modern CamCord or in a 1985 pickup? I'll take the CamCord in every case. Even the 1990's versions of the F-series had the cabs themselves fold up like an accordian in a frontal collision. It's amazing.. here are the pics from the IIHS done at 40% offset..

    After this result the IIHS recommended that no American ever ride in an F150 again until Ford corrected the horrible lack of strength in the frame. Ford did for the current generation. I'd seriously ( seriously ) be looking to dump my Ranger from that era.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    This new design may 'total' the vehicle but the occupants will simply open the doors and walk away.

    You go ahead and tell the family of the 86 year old man that got killed in front of our shop in his fairly new Saturn. He was hit broadside and airbags all deployed. I'll take the Packard thank you very much. You have both been brain washed to the max. Cheap thin sheet metal crumple zones are ok if you get in a wreck with the same size vehicle. Listen to the IIHS not the NHTSA. They are a clueless government agency, manned by over paid civil servants waiting for a fat retirement check.

    Read what happens when a Honda Fit hits an Accord. it is all physics. People want to risk their lives in an econobox, more power to them.
  • 100chuck100chuck Posts: 145
    Mary what state are you located in ? Mazda rebate here in Michigan is only $2000.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Sure, the larger the better, when it comes to a crash. But, are we all going to commute in loaded down 18 wheelers, so no one's at a disadvantage? An SUV is safer than a fit, but I don't think you should buy an SUV just for that reason. Then, it becomes a competition. I would rather drive the size car I need, and try to avoid the monstrosities.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    The context of this debate started with durability. A car that crumples to save the passengers is not as durable as the car with heavy steel bumpers and sheet metal.

    To your post, who goes first? When I drive around here in San Diego it is at least 50% big SUVs and PU trucks. Even the lowly Accord is pushing toward Crown Vic size. With not much better mileage I might add. The new Accord is only rated 22 MPG combined. Not many will have clunker cars that can qualify to buy. I don't like being down low looking up at the vehicles bling bling wheels next to me. I feel vulnerable in our Lexus LS400. Trading down to a Yaris or a Fit is marginal on mileage and a big step backward on safety.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I'm in Missouri, St Louis area. I plugged in some different zip codes and you are correct, the rebate changes. I'm beginning to see that I'm getting a pretty good deal. $1000 savings might be worth a trip for you. I wonder what the Mazda rebate is in Illinois.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Naturally, we have some reservations about any bill designed to facilitate wiping out—we’re sorry, recycling—any automotive species. And let’s face it, while there are a lot of bona fide clunkers out there, we’re afraid that a bunch of future classics will get caught in this roundup. We propose, then, that a certified auto enthusiast (paid, of course) be placed at all certified CFC dealerships to screen the cars that are brought in, returning the cool cars—including anything with T-tops—to the streets.

    Man this guy really is a moron or this whole article is a badly written attempt at The Onion style sarcasm.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Much more durable!

    People are griping because they need to overhaul their transmission after 100,000 miles! In the "old days" people would have been bragging that they made it that long!

    Remember valve jobs at 50,000 miles? Ring Jobs at 70,000 miles?

    Remember when every car leaked oil after a few years and nobody cared?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,550
    Well as someone who owns a 1985 Silverado, honestly, I wouldn't want to get into a serious head-on collision with a 2009 CamCord. At least, not at any significant speed. For one thing, there's probably less weight difference than you might think. My truck weighs about 4200 lb, according to the scale at the dump. What's a CamCord weigh these days? Maybe 3300-3400 lb for a 4-cyl? Now if were' talking my truck versus a 2200-2400 lb 1985 Accord/Camry, then yeah, gimme the truck!

    Some of the bigger safety factors on older vehicles, like my truck, include how far you sit back from the front of the vehicle, the location of the steering box, and how far away the dashboard is. Well, the steering box is located ahead of the front axle...VERY bad. In the old days, before collapsible steering columns, that meant it didn't take a very hard hit to drive the steering wheel into the driver, like a spear. As for how far back from the front of the vehicle, there's probably less distance between me and my front bumper than there would be in a Corolla, let alone a CamCord. Most modern equivalent trucks are about a foot longer than mine, and most of that is up front. As for the dashboard, it's a reasonable distance from me. Any of my old cars are better, but it's still better than my Intrepid. The down-side though, is that the truck's lower dash is all metal...not too good on the knees!

    Now, in such an impact, some things that WOULD go in favor of the truck would be its 800 or so lb of extra weight, and the crumple zone in the CamCord, which also benefits the truck, as it would become, in a sense, MY crumple zone. So, I'd be better off in a head-on collision with a 2009 CamCord than I would be with another 1985 Silverado. Still, I think the CamCord would do a good job at protecting the occupants, better than my Silverado.

    Now, in lower-speed impacts, the CamCord would get disabled long before my Silverado. So in a demolition derby yeah, bring it on! But in a high-speed head-on, say I'm out on the highway and a Camry coming the other way crosses the median and slams into me. Well, I wouldn't want to be in either car, but I'd say the Camry driver would have a better chance.

    Now in other types of accidents, the Silverado might come out better. For example, I'd rather be in my '85 Silverado, and T-boned by a 2009 CamCord, than be in the CamCord, and T-boned by a 1985 Silverado! Well, as long as the CamCord hits me below 73 mph, and I don't have explosives strapped to my saddle tank! :P Still, in an accident like this, the CamCord would have the benefit of side airbags, but the truck would have the benefit of a higher position and added weight. It wouldn't be a "fair" fight, because the impacts wouldn't be "frame-to-frame" level. The CamCord would be impacting a stronger part of my truck with a weaker part of its own body. The stronger part, where the bumpers/subframe/unit-body floor are, would be below the level of my bumper and frame.

    And in a rear-ender, well I've already experienced what it's like to be hit by a 2000 Infiniti I30-something (Infiniti's Maxima) at a good clip. The end result was $350 worth of damage to my truck and a sore head from smacking the rear window, while that Infiniti probably had about $4-5K or more damage done to it. My bumper wasn't even damaged, but one of the brackets got bent. So they replaced both brackets and the bumper.

    However, if I was to rear-end a CamCord (or said Infiniti) in my '85 Silverado, it probably wouldn't have been pretty, either. I'm sure my truck would've fared much worse. In a collision like that, BOTH vehicles probably would've fared worse, as I'm sure a hit like that would've buckled the rear of a car, right over the rear axle. Probably would've done a good little number on my truck, too.

    As for reliable versus durable, that's something totally different. But I agree with you, cars today aren't as durable. To me, reliable means that it doesn't break down unexpectedly under normal use, presuming you maintain it. Durable means that you can abuse it and it won't break. For example, when the tailgate on my Silverado doesn't close right, I kick it shut. That's durable. And DON'T try that on a modern vehicle! But, say, when the distributor crapped out, or the radiator, or the gas tanks, I'd say that's more of a reliability factor. Still, even there, it took 19 years for the distributor to crap, 20 years for the gas tanks (and my mechanic said that the gas tanks on the 1988 redesign tend to fail sooner!), and 21 for the radiator, maybe there is a bit of durability in there, too.
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