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Cash for Clunkers - Good or Bad Idea?

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Comments

  • gasmizrgasmizr Posts: 40
    It was a 97 3.0L with a 3 speed auto. The combined is 19 according to the government but I will tell you that van did that around town with no problem. We basically drove it into the ground. Lifters were ticking by 80K, rebuilt trans at 110k and 135K, calipers, O2 and MAT sensors a few time etc. It just got to expensive to keep fixing but it did have good gas mileage up to when we go rid of it. Not to mention it drove like a boat. Had around $8K in total non maint costs to keep it running for 10 years. Way higher than any of my Honda's. Replaced with Odyssey new.

    As far as the C4C program, no matter it is just my rant. If the auto companies, American I presume, had the bill written so be it. I do not think it will help all that much but hey who knows. We already gave them tens of billions so what is one more, more or less. Gov Motors and Chrysler are not on my list to purchase from, ever.

    That voyager was my last "American" company auto. I am sticking with Honda from here on out as I have had much better luck with longevity and low maintenance. YES, Honda has its issues too but I have had much better luck with them. I will stick with what I know for now.

    As far as a crystal ball, know one knows for sure but I would put my 96 civic up against the intrepid. Over the last 14 years I have a total in the car of less then $2K worth of non maintenance repairs. One cat, two cat back exhausts due to rust, rear struts and trailing arm bushings. I do not count tires, brakes, filters etc. as I would have had to do these on any car. It now has 206K and does not use any oil between changes every 3-4K miles. Trans is clean and I have done complete fluid replacements every 50K along with doing the brake fluid at the same time. Yes it may just quit but right now I would have to say it will go another 100K. Oh, almost forgot. Had to change out the radio as the volume control became intermittent but that fits in the $2K too. :blush:
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    That Discovery sounds like something I could use. Looking for a good vehicle for the few times we get snow. Deliberately passed on anything 4 wheel drive with my C4C money because I've heard that used 4 wheel drive gas guzzlers drop in value like a rock, and I'd be better buying one used.

    Where do you sell Honda's?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    I can see many of those Series I Discos going away because of C4C. They are very thirsty my 2002, which was a series II so rated lower for mileage, got 13 mpg no matter what and premium was recommended.

    Everything on them is expensive and depending on where you live there are few independents to work on them. Incredibly strong bodies, all aluminum for the most part so no rust, and frames, fully boxed double wall construction which explains the massive weight and poor gas mileage, but the ancillary components are fragile and those engines eat head gaskets. Since you said the nicer model Craig I assume it was a HSE which means it most likely had rear air suspension. That is another component that if nearly guaranteed to fail unless it is well cared for and even proper maintenance only delays the eventual failure.

    Mary if you think your Neon had a problem with head gaskets it is nothing compared to a Series I disco. As much as I like them and as nice as they are to pound through the rough stuff they are very trouble prone and expensive to repair.

    The series II Discos are light years ahead of the old Series I models and not too much more money. The series IIs have a longer wheelbase so they handle better too with more room in the back.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I cannot understand why Land Rover does not bring their diesel RR and Disco to the USA. I like the looks of them better than any of the German offerings with diesel. Do they only build the gassers for US?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    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

    It really depends what you have. My truck, for instance, is maybe $400-$600 in repairs every 6-9 months, but it's routine stuff that dies due to age.(water pump, master cylinder, radiator, etc). I of course replace the entire system more often that not when something dies.(for instance one brake rotor failed - replaced all four at once)

    The most expensive thing on my vehicle would be the transmission. Being that it's a manual, a replacement is a whopping $1200 *new* It's common to find rebuilt ones ready to drop in for $600-$800. The original transmission lasted an amazing 325K miles and 20 years as well. I don't think I'll need a new one any time soon.

    Now, sure, spending $1000 a year on an old truck to keep it running seems a bit silly at first, but that's three months of payments on a new vehicle by comparison.

    It's always cheaper to keep an old car running than a newer one. The only reasons you should ever get another vehicle is if it dies in an accident, you need a different vehicle, or the old one rusts or is unsafe and slow(ie - totally wears out).

    I don't like $1000 repair sessions every year or so. But I like monthly payments, insane registration, and crazy high insurance premiums even less.
  • philliplcphilliplc Posts: 136
    "It's always cheaper to keep an old car running than a newer one. "

    not necessarily. for example if my sedona ends up needing thousands of dollars in repairs over the next few years (a distinct possibility), and i lose $3000+ trade equity by not using CARS now, it will certainly effectively cost way more for me to keep it than it would cost to own a civic or corolla over the same period.

    also for someone who's income depends on having a reliable vehicle, downtime for repairs on an older vehicle could end up being more costly than the repairs themselves.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    The first batch of money that is.

    A salesperson called this morning and the guess at their dealership is that the clunker money will run out in 72 hours. The salesperson sold two clunker deals this weekend.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    I never heard of any limits other than it would end in November.
  • ldislerldisler Posts: 83
    Sounds like adealer trying to scare you to buy now. How would a dealer
    know when the money is going to run out?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    WOW! Two whole clunker turn-ins. 60 days is my guess when the first tranche of funding runs out.

    That being said, if it looks like the program is a raging hit then I see it being extended immediately for another 90 days..then again ..then again, If the public jumps all over the program it's awfully hard for the politico's of both parties to resist the will of the public.
  • gasmizrgasmizr Posts: 40
    Do not let them scare you. There is 1 billion dollars in the program. If you take worse case of $4500 credit or the lower $3500 credit you have a range of about 220K to 285K people getting the credit if they are eligible. I would venture to say most people will get the lower credit. To get the bigger credit you are going to have to move from a truck/suv to a new one with at least +5MPG or a smaller vehicle to get the +10MPG increase.

    My old 97 voyager would not qualify at all since it got 19MPG combined. If you have an old suv/truck and you are downsizing you are in luck. If you run a business and have an old truck and need a new one this is good for you too. Some people will also just luck out by having a pig on gas and very steep depreciation so it will work for them. IF the industry actually sells 9M vehicles this year the rate is 750K per month so yes in theory they could run out of money in a week or so if everyone who bought a vehicle used the program. Highly unlikely since there are credits on hybrids still around. IF you are going that route then you could save more. I believe Ford's are still getting the hybrid credit and some GM vehicles. :surprise:
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Most clean diesels also have a tax credit and the TDI VWs should all be under the 45,000 MSRP cap. The Toureg 2 TDI might go over it with some options but a base model should fit.

    The Tax credit on TDI jettas is $1,300 right now.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Heh, we had the buy now discussion. The dealer could get our color choice in a few days from Portland but they'd want a non-refundable deposit, since we'd be taking that model out of the sales stream.

    I said that was fine, but that would also take me out of the market, so I wasn't too interested in doing a non-refundable deposit (perhaps if I was ready to buy I'd think about it - but we aren't even taking price yet).

    This is a small dealership with at least 10 pre-sold clunker cars sitting on the back lot waiting for the rules to be finalized. Multiply that by 10,000 dealers and you're at 100,000 cars already. There's enough money for 250,000 vouchers so they could go fast.

    (I'm guessing at the dealer numbers - there's about 6500 GM dealers left, 3,000 Ford dealers, 1800 or so Toyota dealers, etc.).

    Got diverted by a phone call - Mickeyrom, the program ends in November or when the money runs out. It's only a billion dollars. ;)

    Kdhspyder, that was two sales by one salesperson. I don't know - this small shop looked to have 3 other salespeople and the floor manager. There were 8 presales for sure on Saturday morning. (The Prius II is still on our list btw).

    Gasmizr, we've been shopping for over a year, and visiting dealers since November. If we miss this round of vouchers and the program ends, no biggie. We'll just push a dealer to give us $2,000 for the van instead of the $1,000 it's worth and just leave $1,500 or $2,500 on the table. Since we drive them forever, it's worth a $200 a year loss to drive what we really want since we've always kept new cars for a decade so far.

    I'm going to guess that the money will run out on August 10th.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    My friend would have LOVED to see his Discovery crushed. :P
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,369
    Now, see? This is how to stretch this program. I'm sure that there are those like your friend who would love to see their clunker crushed. We should charge admission to such events and use the money to fund the program...
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's no tragedy. An old Rover would be totaled anyway by the insurance company for the smallest collision damage. Besides that, 15,000 miles a year on premium gas at 12 mpg is a whoppin' gas bill---about as much as the voucher is worth!!! :surprise: I mean, time to stop the punishment on gas and repairs. And think of the other grateful Rover owners who'll get access to all those junk parts.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    They can use all those C4C vehicles for Monster Truck shows around the country.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    i replaced my 2000 Intrigue (178k miles) because the comfort features were going. The air conditioning was going, back driver side window stopped working, seat cushion broke, etc. Also I was losing coolant with white smoke coming out of the tail pipe.

    Sometimes it's time to say goodbye to an old friend.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    This one is a 1999 and it looks great!

    I knew they had electrical problems galore and I knew they are VERY expensive to keep on the road but I didn't know that aluminum 215 cubic inch Buick engine was hard on head gaskets. that engine came to life in 1961 Buick Specials and Bucik dumped it after only three years. Funny the Brits would pick up on it and use it for many years!

    As troublesome as a Disco can be, they are damm tough and strong to say the least. I'll bet that crusher is going to moan and groan when it go's through!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think at that time Rover was absolutely dead last of all cars sold in America for reliability. Even Kia and Daewoo beat them. The Discovery K Series was the subject of a class action law suit.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I believe this is still the case.

    Our GM won't let us sell any that are traded in. We have to wholesale them or sell them to the LR dealer. We've been burned too many times.

    Still, they can do things and go places othr cars can't.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    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

    Something similar happened to me a few months ago with my 95 SHO. Maybe it was worth $2500, but when I had a minor fender bender, I couldn't get $500 for it. It cost more to repair than it was worth, and of course, I had dropped collision coverage on it. So suddenly my $2500 is worth scrap value. The same scenario can be applied to this program. What is worth $4500 now, may suddenly become $250 if you have even a minor accident. If the government weren't offering $4500, keep the clunker. But the $4500 could dry up easily with a repair or minor accident if you don't use it. You can always pick up another beater that didn't qualify for the program for $500 if you really need one.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    This has already happened.

    I had a customer decide to wait for whatever reason for a couple of weeks.

    Well, he snapped his timing belt and now his MPV won't run at all. What would have been worth 4500.00 is now worth nothing.
  • 100chuck100chuck Posts: 145
    That's why my SHO is parked in the garage until Thursday I'm not taking any chances.
  • 94gs94gs Posts: 59
    That's why my SHO is parked in the garage until Thursday I'm not taking any chances.

    So true. :)

    I am driving my '94 Acura Legend GS very, very carefully each day. BTW, I still don't know whether it is eligible or not. Anyone can help me out here?

    This website lists '95 Acura Legend as eligible, but not '94. The '95 version is basically the same as the '94 one. This inconsistency leads me not to trust all the info posted on this website.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I had a customer decide to wait for whatever reason for a couple of weeks.

    Well, he snapped his timing belt and now his MPV won't run at all. What would have been worth 4500.00 is now worth nothing.


    Surely it wouldn't cost more than $4500 to fix his vehicle. Oh wait - maybe he was an idiot and bought an interference engine with a belt. Mine's non-interference and a chain for a reason. $300 fix if it breaks, tops.(plus you don't have to remove the head to get at it - just pop off the timing chain cover and the water pump)
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    's no tragedy. An old Rover would be totaled anyway by the insurance company for the smallest collision damage. Besides that, 15,000 miles a year on premium gas at 12 mpg is a whoppin' gas bill---about as much as the voucher is worth!!! I mean, time to stop the punishment on gas and repairs. And think of the other grateful Rover owners who'll get access to all those junk parts.

    Yup plenty of good parts to be had from that car and if they are in good shape even better.

    I can see the crusher really struggling with that boxed frame if they do crush the frame. I know of several people who have done frame swaps on old Discos after frame damage or severe rust. The aluminum body is always fine but the frame can be damaged eventually.

    I knew they had electrical problems galore and I knew they are VERY expensive to keep on the road but I didn't know that aluminum 215 cubic inch Buick engine was hard on head gaskets. that engine came to life in 1961 Buick Specials and Bucik dumped it after only three years. Funny the Brits would pick up on it and use it for many years!

    Yeah buick got lazy and didn't want to deal with the expense and difficulty of building an all aluminum engine back in the 60s. The brits spent enough time working with that engine and redesigning it to really get the most out of it. The last 4.6 liter versions of it didn't even really have head gasket problems as long as they were installed properly and the engine didn't overheat badly.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Buying a car with an interference engine doesn't make a person an "idiot".

    Driving it 200,000 miles without changing it is another story.

    Hardly a reason not to buy a car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    Buying a car with an interference engine doesn't make a person an "idiot".

    Aren't most old pushrod V-8 engines interference designs, anyway? Years ago, a friend of a friend of mine had a '69 or '70 Olds Delta 88 with a 425 big block, and the timing chain went on it, and smashed the valves.

    The 2.7 in my 2000 Intrepid is an interference engine, and uses a timing chain. The 3.2/3.5, however, are non-interference and use a belt.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I think it certainly is a bad design decision to have a vehicle that destroys its engine if a consumable part wears out. It's terribly easy to figure out which engines have this design flaw as well and to not chose those models. Often it's as simple as getting the V6 or the other engine choice in the exact same vehicle.
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