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Cash for Clunkers - Good or Bad Idea?



  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    A broken timing belt would kill a honda too. All of the Honda motors are still interference designs right?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,092
    That happened to my brother's un-maintained 1990 Accord. It wasn't babied anyway...but when that happened, he sold it for parts.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    People have to remember that this program is entirely voluntary, so we must give buyers credit for making their best economic decision regarding whether to hold or fold a clunker.

    Of course it's "cheaper" to keep fixing an old car than buying a new one. You'd be hard pressed to spend $25,000 on the worst used car--but that's apples and oranges. With a new car, you get years of warranty, a decided uptick on safety, comfort and gas mileage, and the prestige of a new car. It's not all foolishness after all.
  • tazzitazzi Posts: 23
    I've spent $5k in the last year on my car so I was going to be getting a new one soon anyway. This bill will push my date up a bit but the decision was already made.

    I think there are a lot of people like me out there. We've been on the fence, weighing the options of keep vs buy and this bill will move some of us into the "buy" column.

    If they had included used cars (say 2-3 years old) as options for people to buy, it would have had a better affect on purchases. It still would have helped the manufacturer's as well as the credit/banks. I'm sure many 2-3 year old cars are either coming off of a lease or have been repossessed. Or, someone will trade it in for a new one. Either way, revenue is generated which means taxes are collected which means local, state and federal governments make money.

    Now I just have to decide what car I want to get. :shades:
  • tucsondontucsondon Posts: 4
    I think there are a lot of people like me out there. We've been on the fence, weighing the options of keep vs buy and this bill will move some of us into the "buy" column.

    That's where I'm at. I purchased my '94 Mazda B4000 new in Sept '93, so it is nearing 16 years and 170k miles. I've had a couple major repairs (blown head gasket, replaced A/C), but otherwise it's been a pretty reliable vehicle. My original plan had been to hang onto it for a couple more years 'til my house is paid off, but the combination of Cash for Clunkers and the 2009 Sales Tax deduction has given me the incentive to accelerate my purchase plan. I'm looking at the Ford Escape for my new vehicle. I briefly considered the Escape Hybrid, to take advantage of the hybrid tax deduction that still applies for Ford vehicles, but can't justify the significant price difference between the hybrid and non-hybrid Escape.

    Hopefully in another 16 years, they'll have made greater strides in fuel efficiency or alternative fuels. ;)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Some not all.

    All of the 4 cyl's have used a chain and not a belt for some time now. The V-6's still use a belt. If people simply change it at 100,000 miles, they'll never have a problem
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    KIA requires a timing belt change on the 2.7 V6,but I'm not sure about the others.It is considered a required item at 60,000 miles.Thank God I have a 2.4 ,I4 engine.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    Andre ,you're a voice of sanity.Of course you're right.I would not be losing 4500,but rather saving 10,000 by keeping my old car , and 10,000 would buy a lot of gas.My Chrysler is getting it's 3000 mile oil change as we speak.Besides if it just dies it's still cheaper to buy a nice used car as the new ones depreciate a lot more than $4500 after you drive them off the lot.(with a few exceptions of course)
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Five cylinder Volvos are the same way. The timing belt is a required item at 105,000 since hmhh 2000 or 2001 I think. Before that it was 70,000 miles and if you didn't do it it would break and kill the motor.

    The six cylinder and 8 cylinder models use chains.

    Chains aren't immune to wear even with proper oil changes. I had to replace the timing chain on my Pontiac with the 3800 series I V6 when it had around 130,000 miles on it. The tensioner for the chain broke and was making all kinds of racket inside the cover.
  • gasmizrgasmizr Posts: 40
    The program is a sham. If you purchased a fuel efficient car 10 or more years ago you get nothing. At least in Germany if your car is over 9 years old you can get the credit. I do not see this really helping to many people and maybe that is just the point. Big splash for the politicians for media sound bites but no real help for the average person, just like the other programs, TARP and TALP.

    I have a 96 civic, interference engine with timing belt every 90K. This was my third Honda and they all had them. Spending $400 every 90K for timing belt, belts, water pump and flush an fill does not make all that much difference. I have always done this work and have never had a problem. All my Honda's were over 200K miles with very little other work. Basic wear items, tires, breaks, filters etc and a couple of exhausts. Mid west living with salt is a killer.

    I just bought a new car and kept my civic. It is worth more to me then any one will give me for it. I will let my children drive it as the extra car. I will drive it in the winter and leave the new one in the garage to save it from the salt. No cash for clunker joy for me. :cry:
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,376
    Me neither.

    If they gave that $3,500 for a ten year old car no matter what it was I'd be thinking maybe though still the most economical thing for me would be to keep the current Accord rolling.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    2009 Sales Tax deduction

    That's the second time someone has mentioned a sales tax deduction in the last day or two. What's that deal?
  • gasmizrgasmizr Posts: 40
    It is not a tax credit but a deduction. It is "above" the line. Just like your deduction for mortgage, property or state tax. So, if you buy a new vehicle and for instance pay $2k in sales tax and are in the 25% tax bracket you get $500 back on you refund over what you would normally have gotten. Better then nothing but a credit would have been closer to what you get for the cash for clunkers program. It is of help in high sales tax states. It is just an extension of the law since if you live in a no income tax state you can now deduct sales tax on your fed taxes. It is an option but for most people their state income tax in higher then any sales tax they pay even with a large purchase like a car. The car sales tax is a one year deal only for most folks.

    Read or listen about it here ->,,id=204519,00.html
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Thanks, I was wondering about that one. Turns out my wife knew about it (even though I always wind up doing the taxes). A credit would be better, but it's still better than nothing.

    Test drove a Prius today; pretty nice ride. The ground clearance is supposedly the same as my minivan (5.5") and the minivan has worse attack angles. Doesn't look like much room under there for our forest service road camping though. The van has a few scars under it too.

    It's starting to bug me that we have the ideal clunker to trade but can't decide on what to trade for.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    I have gotten over my new-car craze.I am just gonna keep my old Chrysler which is not driven that much anyway.It's in pretty good shape,has leather and all the toys and it's paid for.If need be,it's cheaper to buy a used model and not the $4500 trade in.A used Hyundai or KIA depreciate so much in a couple of years that it would make more sense than any new car.I.E. I could get a used KIA ,a 2006 model or a Hyundai for less than $12,000.That is a bigger savings that $4500.
  • gasmizrgasmizr Posts: 40
    That is why I did not trade the civic in. It still runs good and looks good too. The rear suspension groans or maybe it is the back deck. Took to independent auto that only works on honda and acura and they told me it is fine and to just keep driving. It will go another 100K with no major work. The told me the car appeared to be maintained well and it has. It will be a good local car for a long time. I am sure it could still be a daily commuter for a while longer but now is as good a time as any to pass it on as a third car in the family. Plus it keeps my children from borrowing the new cars. If something happens to the civic I will not cry over it. It has already served well and cost us little in return.

    I purchase cars new and drive them till there is nothing left and honda is perfect for that mode. I use to by used but buying new and keeping for 10+ years I feel I get my monies worth.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Glad you got a good report on the old car but you know, old cars with high miles are like 80 year old men playing tennis. Statistically, it's risky. :sick:

    The reason I suggest to people with high mileage cars that they consider the C4C program is that odds of a major breakdown at 150,000++ are pretty good, and in one SNAP! or CLUNK! your $4500 car becomes a $250 car.

    I would like to borrow your mechanic's crystal ball, though, as my Subaru just hit 150,000. :P
  • gasmizrgasmizr Posts: 40
    For some reason the 96-2000 civics seem fairly bullet proof. They still draw top dollar on craigslist. If I were looking for a used on I would not get the 96 since it had a poor cat design which was changed in 97. They have pictures at the garage of all civic and accords over 200k and there are lots of them. Since this car is not eligible for the C4C program I will just let the children drive it and try to kill it. :P
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Sorry you don't understand the program.

    Begin reading at post #1 and then return when you've been brought up to speed. Thank you in advance.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Ditto to above post. This is intended secondarily to get old, inefficient vehicles off the road. It is not intended to get old efficient vehicles off the road.

    I've explained the reasons for the program in multiple posts herein. It was written by the auto industry to give a temporary boost to auto sales this year. Everything else is secondary.

    If the program applies to you but you choose not to participate then, no problem.
    If the program doesn't apply to you then, oh well.

    In either case the program will achieve its goals, both primary and secondary, with or without your or my participation.
  • gasmizrgasmizr Posts: 40
    I do understand the program but it should have been modeled after the German program to get more older vehicles off the road. This is both a safety and environmental concern not just fuel effeciency. I am sure even older fairly efficient vehicles still pollute more then new replacements. I sold a plymouth voyager two years ago and even it would not have qualified since it had a small efficient v6 in it. 18-20 around town and close to 30 on the highway. However, at 165K the exhaust was horrible as it was burning oil but I guess that is ok fine. :shades:

    I see lots of clunkers where I live and the majority of the people driving them are not economically able to purchase and make payments on a similar capacity vehicle even with the C4C credit. Sure give the max for these type vehicles but give the lesser amount to anyone with a car/truck over 10 years old as this would have given the industry a much bigger boost. That puts many more people in the pool and will be a larger help to the economy, environment and safety. They can take the money from TARP since it is getting paid back or use the TALP money since they are not spending it yet anyway but I digress.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The present C4C program is obviously not much concerned with either the safety or environmental issues surrounding old cars. This is a pretty thinly disguised attempt to boost car sales, period. A thin veneer of environmentalism might have been applied at first but no one has really put much additional juice into that pretense.

    In a way, that's good. Unlike most government programs, at least this one seems to have one direct easy to hit target.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I guess the Hyundai clunker program is limited to participating dealers. I test drove an Elantra wagon this morning and the dealer has already clunked out 8 cars. But, they are parking them on the back lot and are not releasing them to the new owners until June 24th. If you want to give them a check for $4,500, they'll hold the check and return it to you, if everything goes as planned with the voucher.

    From all the ad hype, I figured Hyundai was expecting new buyers to clunk their vehicles and drive off the same day.

    The salesperson and the order person both said they thought the clunker money would be all gone by the end of August. Just about every customer they've had come through the door in the last couple of weeks are clunker ones (although the Genesis coupe is sweet looking and is driving a bit of traffic in).
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    This is going to get a lot of older vehicles off the road. Most of the vehicles traded in will be from the late 80s to mid 90s. There isn't going to be much traded in from the late 90s or early 2000s because those cars won't be cheap enough yet unless they are thoroughly trashed.

    Also if they were going to open up the program to just old cars they would have to have appropriated a lot more money. I don't think they could have gotten the bill passed if the price tag was over a billion.

    As to the Voyager what year is it? Most of the V6 model Voyagers I see on were rated 18 combined so yes it would qualify. You would just have to trade it in on a category 1 truck that got 2 mpg or more or a passenger car that got 4 mpg or more.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    You won't like this one.

    We took in a Disco under the clunker program. I think it was a 1997 or a 1998 and it looked as nice as can be. Under 100,000 miles, black, the nicer model as clean as can be. the people who traded it in were horrified it was going to be crushed but the highest bid we could get was less than the 4500.00.

    Yeah, it only gets 12 MPG or whatever and these can be trouble prone but still, what a waste!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That's YOUR opinion, not the opinion of the US auto industry. It also has little to do with environmental concerns because the primary purpose is boosting auto sales.

    The enviro-cloaking of this legislation is to make it palatable to the greenie throw them a bone. However the real secondary purpose of this is being driven by the intelligence and military services....get the country to use less fuel. This is the unspoken but official policy of the US Govt as recommended by both the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon. IOW you will use less fuel in the future.

    As to your second was the auto industry that wrote this was written the way that they wanted it written...not the way you wanted it written.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,552
    The reason I suggest to people with high mileage cars that they consider the C4C program is that odds of a major breakdown at 150,000++ are pretty good, and in one SNAP! or CLUNK! your $4500 car becomes a $250 car.

    I would like to borrow your mechanic's crystal ball, though, as my Subaru just hit 150,000.

    Yeah, I'd like a little peek into that crystal ball too, as my 2000 Intrepid is around the 148,000 mile mark. 2007 was my worst year to date, with around $2000 total thrown into it, although a lot of that was maintenance, too. I think I threw around $1000 into it in 2008. And so far this year, I'm into it around $1500...although to be fair, $1300 of that was when the a/c compressor seized up. My fault, basically. I knew it was getting low on freon, but tried to hold out until the spring. I could've gotten it charged back up for about $75, but waiting cost me a LOT more than that. :sick:

    One reason that I want to hold onto my '85 Silverado though, is that I don't think there's really anything on it expensive enough to break, that would make it worthwhile to get a new vehicle. It has the old style THM350C 3-speed transmission, which was pretty sturdy (although I had one rebuilt in an '82 Cutlass, with just a wussy 231). It would cost under $1000 to rebuilt most likely. If the engine blew, well, it's a Chevy smallblock, and that's like the cheapest engine in the world to replace. Heck, if it blew I'd probably get an upgrade...don't people usually replace a 305 with a 350, rather than just another 305? Now if I really wanted to make the truck look nice, like when it was new, it would cost a fortune. But for a workhorse/beater/backup vehicle, the thing will probably go on forever. I'd say the biggest threat to my Silverado would be if I got into an accident and it got totaled. And even there, it would be a fairly serious accident. That truck would take a hit that would easily total out most modern vehicles once they have a few years on them. And I have a feeling that a hit that would total that truck would also put me in the which point I'd have bigger things to worry about than the truck!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I drove one of these in the 70's when I was a student in NYC and just beginning to work. I drove out of the garage that served as the set model for TAXI the TV show.
  • philliplcphilliplc Posts: 136
    i'll be CARSing a great running well-maintained 02 sedona LX that i've never had a problem of any kind with, but which we were going to trade on a small car within a year or two anyway. it's worth less than $4500 at present (significantly less in trade), so there's at least one perfectly useful <8 year old vehicle that is destined to be crunched.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I was surprised to find out that the '02 Sedona is eligible, but I went back to and saw an EPA combined mpg of 16. Is it really that thirsty?
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