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Cash for Clunkers - Does it Work for You?



  • philliplcphilliplc Posts: 136
    i'm still not clear on what the rule means for the scrap value.

    i can understand why dealers would want to keep all of it to offset administrative hassle and don't necessarily blame them. but if it's up to the dealer whether any of it is even negotiable why is there a line in the rules stating that the dealer must disclose the scrap value and is "permitted" to retain $50? confusing.
  • 94gs94gs Posts: 59
    Plus about 60 more just at our store.


    The dealer told me to stop by on Monday. :(

    BTW, what number do you put down on the estimated scrap value line?
  • jjnshanejjnshane Posts: 13
    I am one of the ones left out of the program by just one MPG -- but that wasn't so until today! For the last month I have been diligently checking www.fueleconomy.gov to make sure that my 1997 Toyota T-100 2.7L 4 cylinder Automatic fit into this program -- no problem it got 18 combined MPG. I also knew that the Manual Transmission version of this truck with the same engine was listed as 19 combined MPG. That is until I went to a car dealership today to pick out a new car and suddenly the numbers had flipped and the Automatic was listed as 19 MPG and the Manual was 18MPG.

    However, there is something wrong with the EPA's math...

    The Automatic version of the T-100 is listed as getting 17 city and 21 highway. Using the EPA calculations of 45% highway and 55% city this comes out to 18.8 MPG. Okay, I understand rounding up, and I guess I could accept that if it were not for this little mathematical quandary...

    The Manual transmission of the same engine of the T-100 is listed at 17 city and 22 highway and the combined MPG as being 18. If you do the math the combined MPG actually comes out to 19.25. How exactly does 19.25 ROUND DOWN to 18?!?!?!?!?!?

    Is this some kind of New Math? Is there some other factor that determines the combined MPG that I am missing out on? I don’t know, but I am calling the number on the Fuel economy website and the CARS website tomorrow and will keep calling and emailing until I get an answer.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Is this some kind of New Math?

    Apparently! Let us know what they tell you.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • catbuicatbui Posts: 9
    I could see how a real clunker shouldn't get any scrap value, but what about a 2002 Mazda MPV? I am planning to trade that in and was just wondering what is fair for scrap value. I wouldn't mind giving the dealer half of the value for his trouble. The body is clean, no dent, paint is good except the bumpers are scratched up a bit. It drives fine except I already rack up 240k miles. I would think something like this should get a decent value if the shell is picked apart, no?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,461
    That is some strange math, but I think I know what's going on....rounding In the EPA's raw testing, the 1997 T100 2.7 4-cyl ratings were...

    automatic: 22/29, 24 combined
    manual: 21/30, 24 combined

    On the surface, those both look the same. However, for estimated fuel usage, they have the automatic listed at $857 and the stick shift at $900. So that's an indication right there that the stick uses a bit more fuel. So my guess is that, due to rounding, the automatic's combined mpg might have come in at, say, 24.4 combined, while the stick might have come in at 23.5 combined. Both would round to 24.

    Not even looking at the combined figure, the 1 mpg less in the city cycle is going to ding your average more than the 1 mpg more on the highway would help it.

    Somehow, when the raw numbers were rounded down for the window stickers, the discrepancy reversed itself, showing the stick as more efficient. The window stickers were 19/23 for both, but this time, the combined showed as 20 for the automatic and 19 for the stick.

    And it looks like that discrepancy is carrying over even worse with this new set of "double dumbed down" numbers. The EPA needs to work on that and get their story straight...especially since their own raw data shows that the automatic is slightly more efficient.
  • jjnshanejjnshane Posts: 13
    Wow, where do you find the EPA raw testing numbers? I knew there had to be more numbers involved in the EPS' "Mystical Math"!

    Where do you find those numbers for estimated fuel usage cost? The only cost for fuel usage I see when I pull up fueleconomy.gov is $1925 for the Manual and $2035 for the Automatic. Are they trying to say that the automatic costs more for a year, but gets better gas mileage? Does anyone know hoe the Carbon Footprint is determined? Does that play a factor in calculating the combined MPG, or does the combined MPG determine the Carbon Footprint?

    I am prepared to fight tooth and nail about this, but I am one of those girls who likes to have all of her information before making a complete jerk out of herself.

    Thanks for all of your help
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    You calculate the combined mpg like this:

    example with 17/22
    550 miles @ 17 mpg = 32.35 gallons used
    450 miles @ 2 mpg = 20.45 gallons used
    add the total gallons used in 1000 combined miles = 52.8 gallons
    1000 miles/52.8 gallons = 18.9 mpg

    (EPA probably uses more precise numbers, so 17 could probably really anything from 16.51 to 17.49 mpg)

    BTW, I'm not sure, but I think my 1997 Windstar had been listed at 18 and now is 17.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,461
    If you go to www.fueleconomy.gov, there is a link down in the lower left-hand corner, "Download EPA's MPG Ratings" in the blue bar. That'll pull up another page, with two columns. On the left side, there are a bunch of data files. They have to be downloaded and unzipped, but should open up in Excel, albeit with sloppy formatting.

    As for the carbon footprint, they probably just take some sort of formula, like how many pounds of potential pollutants are in a gallon of gasoline, multiplied by gallons used by a "typical" year of driving (their example of 15K miles per year, with 55% city, 45% highway)
  • jjnshanejjnshane Posts: 13
    Thanks Jeffyscott!

    I was using the much simpler mathematical equation of City x 55% + Highway x 45% = Combined MPG

    Your equation actually determines the combined MPG for my automatic to be 18.59375 instead of the 18.8 I was getting.

    AHHH... The Mystical Math continues!
  • seldenselden Posts: 22
    Thanks for the pointer to the new qualification form; it has the virtue of producing a single page table showing the trade-in/new car for qualification purposes.

    I'm expecting a bunch of news stories next week about people whose cars went from qualifying to non-qualifying on Friday. I really see no reason for information that's been out there for years to change overnight, and I suspect that some (albeit painful, time-consuming, and frustrating) protests may result in some reversals -- especially if people can produce printed evidence of the numbers that were posted before Friday.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    Chances are the money will be gone in a couple weeks. Even with all the flaws in the system. It will be the dealers pulling their hair out collecting from Barry. They will learn first hand what doctors have gone through with Medicare for years. With several different and conflicting MPG tables it will only add to the confusion.

    So sorry Mr. Toyota dealer. We just handed out the last of the money allocated. You are on the hook for the $4500. As the word gets around the money is all gone the dealerships will go back to morgue status.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,299
    You forgot about a copy of a clear title, proof if insurance for one full year, and if you live in a title holding state proof the lien is free and clear.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,299
    BTW, what number do you put down on the estimated scrap value line?

    We aretaking the per pound price for scrap X the vehichle weight.

    Before you all start saying that the car is worth more then that remember the first thing we do is ruin the engine.

    We are yet to do one that is even close to being worth anything, all of them have been junk
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    How much is that per pound, Joel?
  • greatlakesjrgreatlakesjr Posts: 109
    I'm pondering this deal with our '98 Grand Voyager which is right on the edge at 18 MPG. Just wondering if I took the two rear seats out would there be any resale value on them (or might just use them for seats in our basement)? Nothing says you can't remove items that aren't bolted down, as long as the car is driveable.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,299
    6 cents per pound is what we are using
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,299
    Hell as a finance manager I hate this program so far :cry:

    We have done about 15 of them and 14 have been cash deals no lien holder.
  • chunglauchunglau Posts: 48
    That's not bad. A 4,000 lb minivan can be worth $240 - 50=$190. Not great, but sort of unexpected.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    We are yet to do one that is even close to being worth anything, all of them have been junk

    That's not surprising. I figure I could sell my potential clunker for $2000-2500, so getting an extra $1000 is not enough of a bonus to make this worthwhile in our particular situation, an extra $2000 makes it a little more tempting. But if it was a craptacular pile that was worth $500 and I was going to get a $4000 bonus, I'd be pretty sure to jump in.

    Interesting that the one report is mostly cash deals, sounds like the non-typical buyers (people like me, who buy for cash and then go away for 10-12 years) are the ones going for this.
  • chunglauchunglau Posts: 48
    It's not surprising that the early C4C buyers pay cash. After all, the fact that they own clunkers for a while imply that they are not that young. I would say that very few young people, less than 30 years old, will take advantage of this bill. The older buyers are generally financially more able to pay cash so as to maximize the savings (from cash incentives instead of finance incentives).

    My dealer said that he has 15 C4C presold cars. I was at the office Friday morning closing my deal, and all the other people I met, 2 other buyers, are paying cash.
  • 94gs94gs Posts: 59
    Hell as a finance manager I hate this program so far

    We have done about 15 of them and 14 have been cash deals no lien holder.

    I think the first wave of buyers will be educated, frugal, wealthy mid-class buyers. They are well informed and cash-ready (and *document-ready*) once it is finalized. Most cars they buy are not that expensive (most bang for the buck kind of frugal cars).

    You will probably get less cash-deals as time goes on (e.g., the second wave and beyond).

    BTW, are dealers well informed about the program now?

    I heard that once a deal is done, the dealers (not the buyers) will be to blame if the deal fails to clear the government checks.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,299
    As well as you can be informed by the goverment. The instruction manual is 121 or so pages long. You are correct, burden of proof does is on the dealer. It will be a cluster I am sure. We tried to register 3 times yesterday and the site kept crashing, it is a long process to.
  • 100chuck100chuck Posts: 148
    I agree the only reason I finance my deal was because Ford was offering the three years 0% plus the rebate.
  • epatakepatak Posts: 3
    I have received conflicting information of when the state tax is applied to an all cash c4c new car deal. If I read NY state DMV regulations correctly it is considered a trade in and c4c is taken off the total price of the car before taxes are applied. Is this information correct or will the state consider this to be a different kind of transaction.
  • Salesman at John Howard Subaru in Morgantown WV said if I do cash for clunkers we are going on STICKER price ONLY!!!! Sticker Price was $24,434 for a 2009 2.5 i 4 manual transmission, which was about $5,000 more than the TMV from Edmunds of $19,324 - So Cash for Clunkers at John Howard will net you Negative $500 dollars on the deal if you get $4500 for your clunker!!!! Hmmm It was easy to pass on this deal as we were basically about $10,000 apart from 'Hello'. It will be curious to see if other dealers take the same tactic and jack up the retail value to screw the customer out of any incentive to buy. If dealers take this tactic there will be no new car buyers coming out of this program. Second place I went to had already given me a quote - now they say they haven't been able to get signed up - that it is a three stage process, that the NHTSA site crashed on Friday - Stalling or legit excuses?
  • greanpea68greanpea68 Posts: 1,996
    That's not a characteristic of the indigent owners you apparently see more of.

    Spider you are taking this to close to home. what Volvo is saying is that the "majority" of people who have these vehicles may ..... actually I am saying what I believe, don't really remember where Volvo was going with it....

    The "majority" of people who have these vehicles would have gotten out of them last year when gas was over $4 a gallon... The people that couldn't / didn't (profiling here don't take offense) couldn't for some reason or another.... You are obviously a regular "Joe the plumber" ;)

    Hope the program works for you,

  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,299
    Stalling or legit excuses

    See my post #384 we are having the same problem
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I bought last night and taxes were assessed on the price after the $4500 was taken off. Saved me a little bit. Live in Mssouri.
  • epatakepatak Posts: 3
    Glad to hear that happened. I have been reading that some deals are not happening this way.
  • pshooperpshooper Posts: 25
    It is not on the list, does it qualify? What category truck is it? It is my personal vehicle, can I use it as a clunker against a new car?
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Not sure--it's either Cat 2 or Cat 3, but I'm sure it would qualify. If it's Cat 2, then you can trade it for a car--if it's Cat 3 then you have to swap for another truck.

    Did you check cars.gov? I think they're updating info pretty constantly.
  • john1152john1152 Posts: 3
    We are also getting screwed.
    We own a 1993 Toyota Camry Wagon (V6). This is a car that when I get 18 MPG I am feeling pretty lucky.
    On July the 18th we heard about the CARS (Cash for Clunkers) program. Every day from 07/18/2009 thru 07/23/2009 the web page showed that our car was eligible at 18 MPG. Now on 07/24/2009 it is listed at 19 MPG – Brilliant.
    We had everything lined up, we had a couple car dealers that had verified our car qualified, and we were ready to purchase a new car this weekend. But it will not happen now because at the last second the EPA updated the information at their web page for a 1993 Toyota Camry Wagon (V6) from 18 MPG to 19 MPG.
    I have never owned a new car in my life, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
    We have taken time off work and spent a lot of time and money lining up the purchase of this new car. Now the EPA has just ripped $4,500 and possibly up to $5750 out of our hands. (One of the Toyota’s I was looking at had a $1250 cash back offer in place). When you include sales tax, that increases the rip-off from $4,815 to $6,065.
    I made calls to CARS and fueleconomy.gov to no avail. The only thing that I could find out was that fueleconomy.gov updated the web page on the 24th.
    (Rhetorical question) - How could they have revised a vehicle from 18 MPG to 19 MPG just as a program of this nature is being just implemented?
    They had to have known that there were many people out there like us that had all their ducks in a row to make their new car purchase using the information that had been on the fueleconomy.gov web page ever since the Cash for Clunkers program had been announced – it is just unconscionable.
  • jjnshanejjnshane Posts: 13
    Anyone else having a hard time getting anything to come up on the Cars.gov or fueleconomy.gov websites? The homepage for both comes up for me, but then when I try to look up a vehicle all I get is a white screen -- well, I get the frames on fueleconomy.gov, but nothing I click works. Maybe it is just everyone is out car shopping with a clunker today?

    I am hoping that when it comes back the mystical math will make a little more sense! Maybe????? :confuse:
  • pshooperpshooper Posts: 25
    Checked it, not listed anywhere... grrrr.
  • pshooperpshooper Posts: 25
    same problem for me at fueleconomy.gov, try using the site without frames, there was selection for that somewhere...
  • jjnshanejjnshane Posts: 13
    OOOOOHHHH! This really burns my bacon! Have you done the math on your own to se what numbers you come up with as a combined MPG? There is something funny going on -- and I don't mean in a "HA HA" sort of way.

    Of course, I can't pull up anything on fueleconomy.gov right now. Maybe they are changing the numbers again?
  • jfinlanjfinlan Posts: 5
    Same thing happened to me. When the law was first passed last month I looked up my 1988 Toyota 4runner and it was rated at 18mpg. Spent a month researching what I wanted and getting my things together and went into the dealership lastnight to go over final details and bam- your vehicle gets 19mpg it doesn't qualify.
    I do have a copy printed out where it say 18mpg combined, and none of the numbers other than the combined mpg changed. Other years with the identical drivetrain and bodystyle still list as 18mpg???? How do these ratings so conveniently change all of a sudden??????
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,461
    I have a feeling your Suburban is going to be listed as a work truck, "category 3", or whatever its called. The EPA does not do testing for any vehicle that has a GVWR or 8500 lb or more. If you look at the sticker in your driver's doorjamb, their should be a sticker that has the GVWR rating on it, as well as other info like tire pressure, standard tire/wheel size, etc. My guess is that the 3/4 Suburban is over 8500 lb GVWR, and has been for some time. I tried looking back through 1984, and even back then they didn't list a rating for a 3/4 ton Suburban.

    As 3/4 ton trucks got bigger and heavier, their GVWRs went up, and through the 1990's, some of them got heavy enough to break that 8500 lb threshold. As of 2009, I don't think there's a 3/4 ton truck, SUV, or van out there with a GVWR of less than 8500.

    Actually, shouldn't something like that, with 4wd and a 454, still have some real value left? I'd imagine that as long as it's not ratted out, you might be able to find a buyer who'd take it for $3500-4500. Sounds like it would be a great work truck/tow vehicle.
  • Just turned in a 93 Camry SE V6 5MT (18 mpg combined) for a 09 Cobalt LT 4DR 4AT (27 mpg combined). The Camry had 167,000 miles, ran great, but leaked gas, leaked oil, and was starting to rust out. Got a $3500 C4C credit. Add to that $1000 dealer discount and $2000 GM rebate. Sticker was about $18,500. Daughter got a pretty decent Cobalt for about $12,000 plus T & L.
  • pshooperpshooper Posts: 25
    MY GVWR is 8600. 100 lbs too much. This program is so messed up, I had my doubts about it from the start, but I figured at least I would get a little from it to offset the cost that will eventually show up in my tax bill. The truck runs great and is a superb towing vehicle, but its trade in value is at best $2500 and if I keep it it needs tires and brakes.Getting $4500 gave me a $2000 advantage when buying a new car, but $3500 gives me only a $1000 and it seems I might lose some bargaining edge with the dealer under this program too. It seems ludicrous that I could buy another Suburban but not a Ford Fusion hybrid or some other efficient vehicle. I guess the question remains, what new vehicles can I use my Suburban towards as a C4C? A small SUV like a Toyota RAV4? Or would I have to get a large SUV? Seriously, what can I get now?
  • 94gs94gs Posts: 59
    This sudden change of MPG ratings is the most unfair (maybe unlawful) of this program so far. The law is effective on July 1st. They cannot change the ratings on July 24th!
  • jjnshanejjnshane Posts: 13
    Anyone know if there are any news reports on this sudden change on the local or national news? The mysterious change and the "fuzzy math" that is being used is really troublesome and needs to be told to the greater public.
  • ollietkollietk Posts: 1
    Same thing just happened to me - 1992 SAAB 900S 2.1 Liter, Automatic - was 18 mpg on fueleconomy.gov two days ago - went to the dealer this morning, filled out the paperwork to buy my new Honda and the dealer tells me my car doesn't qualify - now shows 19mpg.
  • john1152john1152 Posts: 3
    We purchased the car used in April of 2004 and I have kept the mileage on every fill-up and I do fill-up every time I get gas. So this is a very accurate MPG for me – I repeat, for me. It is exactly 17.074 MPG. This is of course just one person’s data on this car and it does not really matter but I think it shows that the original 18 MPG was probably accurate enough. Thanks for your support.
  • Drove my 93 Bronco over an hour to the dealer. Bronco had 280000 miles on her and I was going to have to replace it. I would NOT have purchased a new car, but the CARS made the difference. I did my homework for over 3 weeks. found the best deal and the best dealer in the Atlanta area.. I was the first with proof in continuous 1 yr proof of insurance and clear title ( owned car for 8 yrs with No car payment). It did take the dealer about 1 1/2 hrs to figure out all paperwork and they valued the Bronco Salvage at 200. But they where great and I got a nissan Sentra FE 2.0 SL MSRP 21685.00 with dealer discount and Nissan rebate and CARS 4500 with no cash out of pocket. Financed $13000 (includeing sales tax, IS taxable in GA).. I consider myself one of the fortunate few that could do this deal.. I am extremely satisfied. It worked for me. BYW the finance man told me 5 others had been in, but none had proper proof of all documents for the deal to happen before me yesterday.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Congrats on the new car! I'll be making the trip on Tuesday, most likely for a Soul, a Fit, or an Elantra Touring.
  • Just be prepared to provide proof of insurance for the past year. My insurance company faxed over letter within 10 minutes to dealer and take your title and proof of ownership. My tag receipt showed how long i had owned the car. And happy shopping. Any of those cars are at good prices right now. Make sure you get any rebate offered by manfacturer.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I'd love to hear more about your experience with the dealership. You said the paperwork took about an hour and a half--was that just the C4C paperwork, or the whole transaction? Did the salesperson handle it, or F&I? Did they know what they were doing?
  • philliplcphilliplc Posts: 136
    was surprised to be able to complete deal (02 sedona LX for $4500 +$100 on Civic LX-S) and drive off this morning. did take 3 hours start to finish, but i got the impression that was more because they were swamped than due to extra paperwork. internet manager seemed to be dealing with us and 3-4 other buyers at once while we were there.
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