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Cash for Clunkers - Does it Work for You?



  • ldislerldisler Posts: 83
    Abouy hour and half, Traded in 1999 Mercury Villager for 2009 Mazda5 touring
    Mazda MSRP $21790, bought for $17900 - $4500 CFC -additional $150 scrap value. So $13250 plus Tax and tags. Dealer had registered this morning and had
    done 8 CFC deals today. Went very smooth but did have some extra paper work.
  • ldislerldisler Posts: 83
    Took about hour and half, Traded in 1999 Mercury Villager for 2009 Mazda5 touring
    Mazda MSRP $21790, bought for $17900 - $4500 CFC -additional $150 scrap value. So $13250 plus Tax and tags. Dealer had registered this morning and had
    done 8 CFC deals today. Went very smooth but did have some extra paper work.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    I cannot buy anything I want with my 99 Ford Ranger V6. I cannot replace it for the $3500 I would get on a new 4 cylinder Ranger. If the V6 is inadequate, I am sure their 4 banger would be useless. I did get an interesting email from one of the Toyota dealers I have contacted a couple years ago when I was looking at the Sequoia.

    You can call now for a VIP C.A.R.S Program Trade-In Review Appointment with our Internet Sales Manager B*************s to save you a lot of time (the program is on through Nov 1, 09 but experts are saying the funds allotted to the program will be gone in a week to 10 days) and effort in research. Schedule a 30 Minute appt. to save as much as $4,500.Call to schedule yours now.

    Just nothing I want bad enough to fight a crowd at the dealership. So I will keep my gas guzzling Ranger for a while longer. Maybe put in a high performance V8 so it will not be so under powered. Or a Cummins 4BT diesel as that is a popular engine swap now.
  • Salesman handled everything with C4C and that (being first one to do it) took about 1.5 hrs..... then went to finance and finished up... There the discussion about the extra maint pland and extended warranty took up some time cause I asked lots of questions... But I drove in at 2:30 pm and drove off car lot at 5:30 and that was after saleman took me to gas station and topped off the tank. So 3 hrs, but I already had quote on the car I wanted and all I did was test drive as soon as I got there. The price was already set via email on that car...
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Estimated scrap value is ~$100-$150 in our view. But this isn't our business, it's just our guess.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The answer to your question is on the NHTSA website. It has to do with a little know arithmetic principle that states that you can't average 'rates'. It creates inaccuracies. Here's a gross example..

    Two vehicles have ratings of 50 mpg and 20 mpg. What's the average rate of the two? It's NOT 35 mpg!!

    Here's why.
    The first vehicle uses 2 gallons to drive 100 mi.
    The 2nd vehicle uses 5 gallons to drive 100 mi.
    Together they use 7 gallons to drive 200 mi, so as an average together they get 200/7 = ~28.5 mpg.
    To get an accurate average rate you must first convert the mpg rates to usage numbers, then you can average those.

    So yes there is a different math being used. The correct math principle is being used. It's explained on the NHTSA site.
  • cyclone83cyclone83 Posts: 60
    After some research, I'm sure you are right. However, I was able to get the deal done today without any issues. I was honest and mentioned the change on the fueleconomy.gov website to my salesman and he was okay with it. I didn't get any scrap value for my car, but I wasn't about to push my luck, I didn't want them digging into things any deeper.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Those docs were givens and known already. It was the additional forms that I was referring to.

    Thanks for the concerns gagrice. If the plan is a raging success and the funds begin to run out then you can count on this...it will be extended. If the public voices its approval by beating down the doors of the dealerships all over the country in every Congressional distric in the US you can bet an extension will be easy to come by.

    REmember this program was originally foreseen to go 12 months and involve 1 million units and $4 Billion. It was cut back to fit into this Fiscal Year and this budget. Forget Barry. The auto industry is salivating over the boost.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yep this seems to be the situation we're seeing as well. The first 'approvers' are those who own the vehicles outright, don't need them and see an opportunity to get a more useful and more fuel efficient vehicle.

    Most are very very well off. No liens on the trade, no loans on the new purchase, just cash deals.
  • jojoschmojojoschmo Posts: 4
    1986 Suburban GMC Sierra k1500 4wd 350 eng manual 6100 gvw (cars listed 10 or 11 mpg) It is listed as a Cat 1 Truck It has two seats.
    Same year but pickup sierra k1500 , is Cat 2 Truck.
    Problem is I need a cat 2 new truck because I need 4wd for snow (hill) and larger because of tow also.
    CARS says NOT!!!!
    Why are suburbans (a 1/2 ton truck when I bought it) now not a truck?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    It seems ludicrous that I could buy another Suburban but not a Ford Fusion hybrid or some other efficient vehicle.

    You can buy a Fusion Hybrid or a lot of other vehicles, it's just that you'd get $3500.
  • birdie5birdie5 Posts: 4
    The Gov't really messed this one up. 2000 rated 19, 2001 rated 18. same engine, hp, transmission. How did they arrive at this? To bad.. was ready to get a new car
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Again we have to understand the genesis of this legislation. It was the auto industry itself that wrote the bill for its own purposes. If you end up getting a new Suburban rather than a Fusion or Malibu then the vehicle maker and the dealer are very very happy with that result.
  • jjnshanejjnshane Posts: 13
    Okay, so let me see if I have this right -- feel free to call me an idiot if I still don't get it. Math was never my best subject, in fact it was always my worst!

    If I go to www.fueleconomy.gov and look up my vehicle then switch the units to gallons/100 miles in the "Personalize" window I get this for my vehicle:

    City: 5.9 Highway: 4.8

    I add the two together and get 10.7. Then I divide 200 miles by 10.7 and get 18.691588

    Did I do that right? Under "gallons / 100 miles" does the 55% 44% come into play?

    Then I look at the same vehicle with a manual transmission and it is listed as having:

    City: 5.9 Highway: 4.5
    Add them together and get 10.4 -- 200/10.4 = 19.230769

    Does anyone know how the combined gallons/100 miles is computed? I'm still coming up with different numbers -- but I am using the 55% & 44% simple math. This is what is listed:

    Automatic -- City: 5.9 Highway: 4.8 Combined: 5.3
    Manual -- City: 5.9 Highway: 4.5 Combined: 5.6

    But when I take 55% of the city and add it to 45% of the highway I get this:

    Automatic -- 5.405 (100 miles divided by that is 18.501387)
    Manual -- 5.27 (100 miles divided by that is 18.975332)

    I still believe that the Automatic and Manual combined scores got switched!

    I am really sorry if I am driving everyone crazy with my problems and wacky math questions, but I really wanted to thank everyone for all of their help and equations on how to get these numbers. I have learned more math in the last two days than I have in the 17 years since high school!
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Dude, chill. Lots of us are regular folks who have vehicles we no longer need--in my case, an fifteen-year-old pickup truck I bought from a used car dealer just over three years ago when I was remodeling my house.

    We're not deadbeats, and we're not underachievers. I know for a fact that several of the people you've just slandered are educated, capable professionals who have done the right thing and managed their finances responsibly. Do some research, or at least read the rest of this discussion, before you decide to insult people you've never met.
  • The same thing also happens to 1991 Camry V6 Auto transmission. It was listed 18 mpg since June and I found today it's changed to 19 mpg. I have wrote a complaint to www.fueleconomy.gov site.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I hope this helps!


    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • jjnshanejjnshane Posts: 13
    Wow, this is very, very helpful helpful -- and it is also really interesting to see the rate of change as you go down the list.

    Thank you so much!
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    Yes I have noticed the change. I just looked at my 99 Ranger 2WD V6 auto FFV on CARS.Gov and it has gone from 17 MPG yesterday to 16 MPG today. CARS has the wrong engine size which is probably the screw-up. They list the engine as 4 L when it is in fact a 3 L. The mileage is still 17 MPG on:
    When you go to:
    It lists the mileage as 16 MPG.

    That would allow me to get a V6 Ford Ranger with 2 MPG improvement.
  • I showed up yesterday and our dealer said the gov't had changed things at the last minute on Friday, that we only qualified for $3500 not $4500. I was like, "Huh???" He said they aren't categorizing the mazda 5 as a cat 1 truck but as a car....

    NOTHING I read online says that.

    We are trading a 98 ford windstar 3.8 L that gets 18mpg for a mazda 5 that gets 23 mpg and EVERYTHING I find online says we get $4500 for the 5 mpg improvement.

    anyone else run into this? we are pursuing it, will see them again Monday morning... I had him double check it and he did but I still think we're being lied to (with a smile, of course).

    michelle in NC
  • to follow up my question, I've been reading over this document:
    link title

    this is the only wording that MIGHT categorize the mazda 5 as passenger, but it's so vague?

    Section 1302(i) of the CARS Act defines those categories largely with reference to statutory categories of
    vehicles subject to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards as follows: “passenger
    automobile” means a passenger automobile, as defined in section 32901(a)(18) of title 49, United States
    Code, that has a combined fuel economy value of at least 22 miles per gallon; “category 1 truck” means a
    non-passenger automobile, as defined in section 32901(a)(17) of title 49, United States Code, that has a
    combined fuel economy value of at least 18 miles per gallon, except that such term does not include a
    category 2 truck; “category 2 truck” means a large van or a large pickup, as categorized by the Secretary
    using the method used by the Environmental Protection Agency and described in the report entitled “Light-
    Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2008”; “category 3 truck” means a
    work truck, as defined in section 32901(a)(19) of title 49, United States Code. Under regulations
    implementing the CAFE program (see 49 CFR Part 523), “passenger automobiles” currently include all
    passenger cars and “non-passenger automobiles” include all SUVs, vans and pickup trucks up to 8,500
    pounds GVWR.
  • jackc146jackc146 Posts: 1
    Qualifying under cars rebate eligibilty 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity?
    Cars gov. site lists three choices for the 86 chevy celebrity S/W 2.8 V6 with automatic. Two with 19 MPG and one with 18. 8th Vin # X indicating carburetor on ours. How do i determine qualifying, from this selection process? Confused...
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    If you start at the link below and put in your proposed trade, it will show $4500 for the Mazda5. I'd print the page that shows that and bring it with you tomorrow.

  • that's exactly what i needed, thank you, I'd not seen this calculator on the official website before.


    let you know how it goes. I sincerely hope it was an oversight not an attempt to jip me of $1,000... I mean do they think we are stupid?
  • We're trading in our Town and Country for a Mazda 5. Pick up is scheduled for tomorrow. I'll let you know if we get the $4500. I sincerely hope so, it is what the government said we should get.
  • Check out the Mazda5 forum...several have rec'd the $4500 for the their clunker already on a Mazda5 purchase.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 158
    A question for those who have shopped/bought cars with C4C program.

    My clunker is 17 mpg and I can't find any new crewcab trucks (compact or full size) or medium+ SUV's that would have the mileage to qualify for the C4C program, other than Highlander or Escape hybrids. And yes, I actually calculated the mpg's to see what qualifies and what doesn't (don't trust dealers' math).

    A family friend traded in his clunker (probably 15 mpg) two days ago for a Toyota Tacoma Double cab with V-6, and the dealer supposedly value this C4C at $3500 (or $4500 I am not sure). This is in Albuquerque, NM.

    For the life of me I couldn't figure out how he can get C4C money on a new V6 Tacoma (not enough mileage improvements). So I am wondering, are dealers being honest about what new cars/trucks qualify and what don't? Like to hear from those who shopped using C4C money.

    Hate to have to bought something (with my clunker), only to be called back next week and be told that my new purchase does not qualify for C4C money, so I have to pay the additional money (or go to court to settle).

  • ldislerldisler Posts: 83
    I received $4500 on my Mazda 5 plus an additional $500 from Mazda. So either
    your dealer is lying or isn't bright, I'd bet they are lying. It clearly shows on CARS.GOV that the 5 is a catagory1 truck.
  • ldislerldisler Posts: 83
    When buying a truck a 2MPG improvement gets you $3500 and 5 MPG gets you $4500.
  • motorcity6motorcity6 Posts: 427
    The 3 worst nightmares of our life---the Government, Car dealer, and the Junkyard..Let's say this takes 900,000 vehicles off the road within the next 6 mos, big deal, for we normally scrap some 6 to 7 million annually anyway, so our govt is using our good old tax $$$$ again for another stimilius..Who is watching who in this grand scheme. The car dealer will strip any worthwhile parts from a junker and the junkyard owner will strip what ever he can get his hands on for resale to collectors who wish to retain their old truck or car for any worthwhile reason..

    To all the mechanics who keep these old vehicles running, the bad news you will be out of a job, however the govt will probably hire 100,000 bodies to monitor the program..More tax $$$$$s will be needed to run another govt scam..Good project for Acorn or Americorp since the Obama folks are sending them monies by the truckload to carryout their strong arm activities..so just another distribution of your monies to those unwilling to work..

    From reading a few of the postings, I see where the foreign car addicts are in heat for Hondas and other Asian offerings where the bulk of money returns to the homeland after they pay their willing associates at their stateside assembly plants the $15.00/hr for their skill in constructing these wonders of the world..

    Hey, keep your old piece of history that most likely originated in Detroit and remember the "Good Old Days" which are disappearing before our very eyes..

    Yep, the list of scams is growing---Global Warming, Cap and Trade, Govt Health Care, and etc,etc...

    Have a Good Day !!!!!!!

    This Junker Deal has lots of twists for scamming...It will make cheaper gas available for my 2 gas hog cars..a bright side, the down side centers around our sleazy car dealers, junkyards, and our Govt..Had lots of experience with cars, owned 43 to date, purchased 2 Porsches in Europe, and the balance were Big3 offerings...no Asian jalopies for me..
  • mitchfloridamitchflorida Posts: 420
    Mazda announced another $500 discount for C for C. Make sure they gave you credit for that.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,299
  • jojoschmojojoschmo Posts: 4
    It is now listed as a "special purpose vehicle", not a cat 1 truck. What's this all about?
    What is a special purpose vehicle. Just because of body type? It has two seats and can be used as a cargo with seats folded down.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,299
    After reading about all the MPG changes on the 24th I wonder how many of the dealers that started delivering cars before the program was finalized are going to get stung. Hyundai dealers may be screwed.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsPosts: 11,114
    No kidding. Even if what the gov't did was perfectly "legal," it is still deceptive and just downright rude. They must have realized that as soon as the program was announced, people who were interested in participating would be checking their potential "clunker" on the site. I'd be outraged if I were on either end of the now-impossible deal.

    What's really irritating is that in every instance reported in this discussion, the MPG rating for the vehicle changed by exactly ONE MPG - from 18 to 19. I'm personally disgusted.


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  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Lets see...

    Obama Check
    ACORN Check
    Socialism Check
    Americorps Check (you know that was something Bush embraced heavily right?)

    You got all the appropriate right wing scare tactic buzz words in there at least.

    What does this have to do with C4C again? Or is this just a way for you to make a post that is vaguely on topic and push some Agenda? Many of those asian cars you rail against, another agenda I am sure, are made in the US and those workers get paid a whole lot more then 15 bucks an hour.
  • dmdcashdmdcash Posts: 15
    2 things motorcity6, those asian cars are better---PROVEN by their CONSISTENTLY higher trade in values. SECONDLY--how funny you fail to mention how IDIOTIC the american car companies were paying uneducated people $30-$50 an hour TO TURN A FREAKING SCREW. NO wonder Honda/Toyota/Hyundai destroys us.....with AMERICAN workers, yet.
  • afooafoo Posts: 2
    I thought that my 1993 Toyota Camry wagon with 159000 miles would qualify for the C4C program. However, to my dismay it does not qualify because it gets more than 22 mpg. I had my eyes on a VW tdi wagon which gets 40 mpg. I guess I will be keeping my clunker. Foe all you folks with old vehicles that gets over 22 mpg you will not qualify either. Don't trust the dealer.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsPosts: 11,114
    OK, folks - this isn't the topic for debating import vs domestic automakers. This is the topic for people to ask questions and get answers about the (now even more confusing) C4C program.

    Further off-topic comments will be removed without notice - people need a "clean" discussion in which to get help.


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  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Neither engine in the Camry wagon gets 18 mpg or less combined so why would you think it would qualify? Unless the 1993 Camry was one of the cars that got "adjusted" recently.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    Trade-in is $400. 173k mi. on it. EPA rating is 19 mpg a month or two ago.

    I wish I could find a dealer doing the equiv of C4C for 'just miss' cars. I doubt the fact that I lost 4th gear in the tranny 2 years ago would qualify me. It knocks the EPA from 19 mpg to about 3/4 of that. My actual fell from 27 to 22 for my commute. $3500 off a new Malibu instead of $400 trade would be a tipper for me. I will recheck the mpg site for any changes.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I wonder if what happened is that the original adjusted numbers on fueleconomy.gov had been just quickly calculated from the previously rounded off city/hwy numbers? Just guessing that since those numbers did not mean anything in the past, that maybe EPA did not bother going back to the orignal more precise numbers, doing all the adjustments and then rounding off the final figure and instead just did the new adjustment starting from the rounded off figures that were on the original window stickers and then rounded them again. Thisa could certainly result in the rounding going the other way in some cases and changing the figure by one mpg.

    As I posted, I'm not certain, but I think mine went from 18 to 17.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I thought that my 1993 Toyota Camry wagon with 159000 miles would qualify for the C4C program. However, to my dismay it does not qualify because it gets more than 22 mpg. I had my eyes on a VW tdi wagon which gets 40 mpg. I guess I will be keeping my clunker. Foe all you folks with old vehicles that gets over 22 mpg you will not qualify either. Don't trust the dealer.

    The C4C law clearly states that only vehicles that are EPA rated at 18 mpg combined or less are eligible for the CARS rebate. Since that's been one of the most contentious issues associated with the C4C program, I'm surprised you didn't check it out for yourself before wasting your time.

    As with any automotive purchase, it's up to potential customers to become informed and responsible, because some salespeople are dishonest and others are ignorant (and some are both). That's why edmunds.com and other similar sites exist--to help customers find the information they need.
  • dmdcashdmdcash Posts: 15
    My 2002 Explorer went from 17 to 15. :)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsPosts: 11,114
    I can understand that. However, I think the fact that the calculations were adjusted JUST as the program went into effect makes it, viewed in the most generous of light, a very poor decision, especially from the POV of trying to establish or maintain trust in the government. If they'd planned to do that all along, there should have been notes in 10-foot high neon letters all over the website, from the day the program was announced, indicating that any numbers posted prior to July 24 were going to be adjusted on that date.

    If their intention in the timing of the adjustment was to create hostility and distrust, they've certainly gone the extra mile in accomplishing that goal.


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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsPosts: 11,114
    Interesting; however, that doesn't change your eligibility.

    I'd be curious to hear from anyone who went from NOT qualifying to qualifying under the adjustment.


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  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I agree, kirstie_h. I think another (related) problem has to do with the classification system--clearly it is in the hands of people who do not understand the difference between, say, a C1500 and K1500 Suburban, or an F150 and an F250.

    And what's with using wheelbase as the difference between a Category 1 and Category 2 pickup? GVWR would make a lot more sense as a differentiator.

    Oddly enough, NHTSA's implementation rule actually makes more sense than the language originally offered by Congress. Can it be that NHTSA actually gets it?

  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Oh, I completely agree and it is ridiculous...I've just been trying to think of what might be a logical explanation for this.
  • greatlakesjrgreatlakesjr Posts: 109
    My 1998 Grand Voyager 3.3 engine was at 19mpg a while ago but the 3.8 engine was at 18 so I thought I was ineligible. Now I see that the 3.3 is at 18mpg (making me eligible) while the 3.8 is not even listed. Don't think I'll go for it but it was interesting.

    I can see why the gov't needs a hard and fast rule (EPA estimates) rather than a "fluid" determination (individual results, modifications to their own engine, etc.). It would be pure chaos to allow otherwise without something set in stone.

    I'm not going to do it but I was wondering about, say your brother in law had an old car he was going to scrap but you had him do the C4C program for you (you give him the money) then he transferred the title over to you at a later date. Were there any clauses in the rules that definitely made that illegal?
  • cyclone83cyclone83 Posts: 60
    We did our CFC deal yesterday. Today, fueleconomy.gov updated the mileage for our old car and it no longer qualifies for CFC. We got it just in the nick of time, whew!!!
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