Cash for Clunkers - Does it Work for You?



  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,695
    i would think your name would have to be on the title and insurance doc.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • stephen987stephen987 Member Posts: 1,994
    I think the name on the new vehicle's paperwork has to match the name on the clunker's paperwork. So the company that owns the old van would have to be listed as owner (or at least co-owner) of the new car.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    Your perspective is way too limited. Our middle class region is dominated by the military and education institutions. While there are a lot of very wealthy people here it's not Fairfield county, CT.

    What it is is very down-to-earth middle class people that bought vehicles in the 90s, used them, kept them and now have no use for them. NONE!! are the indigent poor you believe owns all the clunkers. Many of these are simply writing checks for the difference, financing is of no interest. That's not a characteristic of the indigent owners you apparently see more of.
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 41,705
    Plenty of non-poor folk probably still have 2nd cars laying around that qualify. Higher mileage older stuff that is still OK, but worth diddle on the street (1K? 2K? whatever say a 1994 Explorer with 150K on it and a tranny on its last legs). Maybe they kept it for snow duty, the kids, dump runs, whatever.

    Now, they get a windfall on an inflated trade in.

    And unlike the people that are driving stuff like this because they can't afford any better, the middle class folks are able to trade up.

    So if the intent of the program is to get people to buy cars that can afford it, but are just too "cheap" to do it, well, then it is working.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491
    Well if we aren't the majority (frugal folks working toward an early retirement on a beach somewhere), then where are those that you're speaking of? They don't seem to be on this forum.

    Oh I can guarantee that "we" aren't the majority. Most people don't think long-term, but more spur-of-the-moment, instant gratification. I'm sure early retirement is little more than a wild fantasy for most people. I'm sure people look at me like I'm poor, as they see me turn my 10 year old Intrepid (on a good day, sometimes I might be driving a car that's older than me!) into the yard where my 93 year old house sits, as they blow past in their leased BMW or Benz or whatever to their starter castle with its 40 year ARM that's about to reset. But, chances are, I'm already ahead of them financially, as the Intrepid has been paid off for close to 5 years, and my mortgage is under $1000/mo.

    But, most people probably don't want to drive a 10 year old car with battle scars, or live in a 93 year old house that has fewer bathrooms than occupants. It's just not fashionable! :P

    These salesguys on here are mainly going by what they see...people driving their old clunkers and wanting something new, but probably having to jump through some pretty big financial hoops if they want to get it. Besides, the people who are driving old cars to be cheap frugal, more than likely, when their car wears out, they're NOT going down to the dealer to get a new one...but rather they'll try to pick up a used one, private party, family member, or whatever. So even if there are a lot of the frugal types out there, those that want to drive an older car, rather than HAVE to drive it, the salespeople really aren't going to see them.
  • gracenumber2gracenumber2 Member Posts: 19
    I drive a 93 Bronco 280000 miles. Been a great car, owned for 13 years. but time for another car as it is worn out. This will be a good deal for me. Will got from 12 MPG to 28 or more.. Going today to do the deal. Don't want the payment, but must have a car and this is the best way to go.
  • srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    Besides, the people who are driving old cars to be frugal, more than likely, when their car wears out, they're NOT going down to the dealer to get a new one...but rather they'll try to pick up a used one, private party, family member, or whatever.

    My case exactly. When I finally decide to replace one of my daily drivers ('87 BMW or my ''92 Sentra SE-R), that's exactly what I intend to do. Buy something 2 or 3 years old with low miles where the seller has already taken the big hit for depreciation. Monetarily that's a much better deal, IMO, than the $3500 to $4500 C4C rebate, which has to be a new vehicle purchase.

    I put new tires on the Sentra back in February. So, 5 months later, I'm already ahead of the game. Getting time for the smog test (which it has always passed), so the results of that may decide whether I keep the car or not.
  • mannyljrmannyljr Member Posts: 20
    I have two kids just out of high school and starting college. My clunker is a 1985 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE. I'm the original owner and it's been continuously registered since February 1985 when I bought it new, just before getting married. Some 4 years later, we're starting a family, so we trade in the wife's older car for a new sedan. We kept the RX-7, since it was paid off and a blast to drive. As the kids grew, we went from the sedan to minivans and suvs, but the RX-7 hung around. When I needed a truck for work, we just added a new vehicle and now had 3 cars. As the RX-7 sat for longer periods, we registered it as Non-Operating-Vehicle to save money on insurance. It's sat on my driveway like that for years. When Mazda came out with the RX-8 in 2004, I loved it and bought one. It has 4 seats, so I could easily take the kids to school, etc. and have a sports car again as my daily driver. As my oldest was getting close to driving age, my insurance agent explained that it's cheapest to list the new driver on a car with liability only. Perfect, I had my RX-7. Even though I wouldn't let him drive it, he really drove the Civic, it saved me a lot in insurance. When my youngest finally got his license at 18, we moved the 1999 Civic to liability only status and my wife bought herself a 2007 Mazda CX-7. We've had 4 cars insured since. Did I mention I like Mazdas...

    Anyway, I've been shopping for a car to replace my RX-8 since last year, but with the economy in a slide and job situation always an uncertainty, I held off. Now, the Cash-For-Clunkers comes out and I have a car that just squeaks in. It was built January 1985, gets 17 MPG combined, according to, and I'm gonna get $4500 for it when I trade it in! The RX-7 has been a great car. It has 170,000 miles, never stuck a cent in it other than regular maintenance and the $700 for a new radiator and altenator when it was resurrected by my original mechanic.

    My original plan was to hand over my RX-8 to my oldest son, he loves the car and drives it every chance he gets, and buy something for myself. After test driving a dozen different cars, I realized it would take something expensive to beat my RX-8 in looks and driving experience. So, I told the boys, "How about a new car?".

    They thought it was a great idea. I told them to find what they want and keep the payment under $300. They chose a 2009 Honda Fit Sport, about $16,000 and it qualified my RX-7 for $4500! I'm loving it, since I doubted anyone would give me $500 for it, a dealer would give me nothing. I get my kids into a much safer car and they get something they can keep for a long time.

    I wrote a blog about it, - slse.html

    I'm picking up the new car on Saturday, woo-hoo! Thank you, Obama!
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    What you are doing is called "reverse chic." That is looking poorer than you really are which is cool in a different way. I'm sure I got stared at driving my 1988 Buick Park Ave with the bad paint, but I'm smiling because I'm probably in better shape than the snob in the 7-Series.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Living below your means is the smartest way to survive these little economic down turns that happen on a regular basis. Too bad our city, state & Federal government has never learned this simple concept. It does not bother me to drive around in a 1990 Lexus or a 99 Ford Ranger. All my vehicles are paid for and I will never borrow to buy a vehicle. Just makes no sense.
  • 94gs94gs Member Posts: 59
    Page 122 of the C4C final rule has an interesting "Summary of Sale/Lease & Certifications Form" that every C4C participants should take a look.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Member Posts: 5,238
    My perspective is based on over 20 yrs in this business in a couple different parts of the country. The affluence on this board in no way shape or form reflects the average person in question here. You don't represent the average car buyer PERIOD. The average car buyer doesn't come anywhere near this place.
    In every way, people here are well above the average.
    Most car buyers go into the process stone blind and that is why they end up with too much car,higher rates, mop and glo, the whole nine yards.
    Frankly,there are a lot of dumb buyers out there.
    If you really want to see what the average car buyer looks like, go work at a Hyundai or Nissan or Ford store in the working class part of town. Me, I've been there and done that.
  • cjkbme2wcjkbme2w Member Posts: 82
    If the goal of this program was to reduce environmental impact, they should also have an age qualification included. Old cars can be easily over 18mpg, but leak fluids (like oil) which can be bad for the environment. And the program allows for you to trade in a 13mpg truck for a 17mpg truck- go figure.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    I never said that I represent the average car buyer. But in selling Toyota's I've seen at least as many buyers as you have and I know this market. I stand by my statement on this middle class market - of which you have no knowledge.
  • 100chuck100chuck Member Posts: 148
    Even with 0% financing ? I rather leave my money in the Bank and collect the little interest that you can make today.
  • cyclone83cyclone83 Member Posts: 60
    Here is an interesting twist. We are trading in a 1996 Pontiac Bonneville.

    All along, the website had ONE entry for the 96 Bonneville, and it said 18 MPG Combined. Well they literally just added another entry for a 96 Bonneville, and the new one says 21 MPG Combined. The only difference I see between the two entries is the 18 MPG says premium fuel, and the 21 MPG says regular fuel.

    Please tell me I am not going to get screwed out of CFC.
  • sherofthe80ssherofthe80s Member Posts: 43
    If you have the smaller Bonneville, sounds to me like you're about to be screwed. Although the regular vs. premium is intriguing. That would be ridiculous. Do the dealers have access to a different system to check eligibility? Maybe you can call one to see what they think.

    I'd better get my rear down to pick up my jew car first thing Monday before they add another Town and Country.
  • joel0622joel0622 Member Posts: 3,299
    In order for your car to qualify it has to be able to get here on its own power. Guess what the first thing we do to it after you leave is. We render it inoperable. LOL. They goverment gave us instructions on how to destroy the engine. The short version is we drain all the oil out of it and put a 40% sodium silicate (liquid glass) 60% water solution in it and run it till it breaks.
  • stephen987stephen987 Member Posts: 1,994
    The premium fuel version of the Bonneville is probably the supercharged SSEi version.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    I'm guessing he/she hit the wrong button since the "j" button is right above the "n" button.
  • stephen987stephen987 Member Posts: 1,994
    I'm guessing he/she hit the wrong button since the "j" button is right above the "n" button.

    I hope you're right. In the context of allegations of crooked business dealings, it could be regarded as a very incendiary and racist remark.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    In the context I think that's exactly what happened. For a moment i thought he'd has his car circumcised.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    ...poor schmucks are going to go to the car dealerships this weekend thinking their old hooptie qualifies for C4C and it doesn't. Yet, some slick salesman is going to sell them a new car anyway?
  • stephen987stephen987 Member Posts: 1,994
    At my local dealer this morning the salesman suggested I might qualify for C4C based on the age of my car. The catch? I wasn't driivng my clunker, I was driving my wife's '99 Civic, and I hadn't mentioned the clunker (an old Dodge truck) at all.

    I think both the customers and the salespeople are still a bit uninformed about the program. . .
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    I'm sure that's part of the idea of this whole thing - get people into the dealerships and let them get tempted. some will certainly bite.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    ...for our Cash for Clunkers sale!


    Trust me! You qualify!
  • zoomzoom7zoomzoom7 Member Posts: 8
    This is my clunker...the 1998 and 1999 models are NOT on the list but the 1997 and 2000 models much sense does this make? Any chance the list will be amended?
  • cyclone83cyclone83 Member Posts: 60
    I spoke with my dealer, he said it should be fine. I sure hope so, I guess otherwise we won't be buying a new car...
  • stephen987stephen987 Member Posts: 1,994
    Which list? Edmunds' list, or the one at I find it difficult to believe that a '99 Suburban wouldn't qualify!
  • erniesdaderniesdad Member Posts: 37
    That's a briiliant idea. Take the most valuable part of the car that is going to the wreckers, and render it worthless. This program is just about the most horrendous waste of taxpayer money since the $600 toilet seat, er, maybe including that.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    You hit the nail on the head. The primary purpose of this program from the auto industry view is to get people back in the dealerships considering the purchase of a new vehicle. Some may buy and some may not but at least the buyers are out shopping again.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    Ha! But as one can see simply by looking at the keyboard, it's a fairly easy mistake to make.


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    You're not looking at this from the perspective of the national security agencies and forces. In their view it's patriotic to get these barges off the roads and kill them all.

    Welcome to the...Military-Industrial Complex
  • zoomzoom7zoomzoom7 Member Posts: 8
    I checked called's not on there :confuse:
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491
    The EPA just loaded 1984 data onto their website at Up until now, they only went back to 1985 on the clickable links, although you could pull up some text files that went back to 1978, if you looked around on the website.

    So evidently, they went and applied the current, dumbed-down EPA figures to the 1984 model cars. Interestingly, they also went and calculated the 1985-2007-style numbers as well, which you can see if you click on "compare to original window sticker". Only thing is...that's not the original window sticker number! In 1984, they were still publishing raw numbers.

    Anyway, for the time being at least, looks like 1984 cars are eligible...although my guess is that as of 1/1/10 they won't be ( provided this program gets extended to that far)
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    Wow, my old 1989 Plymouth Voyager 2WD four banger wouldn't qualify. Good thing I got the V6 minivan in '99 that gets 2 mpg less, officially. (20 and 18 combined, respectively).

    Lifetime mpg on the Voyager was 18.07 over 9 years (I think the original number on the sticker was 19). The V6 Quest is getting 21.42 and it's 10 years old now now.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Most of the 0% financing is in lieu of a rebate. I do take advantage of 0% financing when it is legitimate. My Kubota tractor was 3 year 0% and I used it.
  • joel0622joel0622 Member Posts: 3,299
    121 pages of it. I am scared to death of this thing, sure hope I don't roll one that doesn't qualify.

    We have spent most of the day telling folks there ride does not qualify or telling them they don't get trade in value and the CARS money.

    So far those who qualify think the program is great and those who don't think it is just the dealer trying to rip them off. Like we made the rules
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    It could very well backfire if enough people feel they are being left out or ripped off by the dealers. To the guy on the street the dealer is interpreting the law. Good luck, you are going to need it.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    My understanding is the car has to be less than 25 years old (or is it 25 years old or less?) based on the month it was actually manufactured. So if your car was manufactured in July 1984 it may qualify now, but it will not in August.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    I'm thinking when this clunker thing is over in November, they'll have something ($2,500-$3,500 cash for non clunker) for the rest of us. Hail, I'm looking to buy a new car. Throw some of that Obama money at me and I'll buy within the month. Otherwise, I'll just bide my time. :surprise:
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,695
    do you mean you are 'Biden' your time? :P
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491
    eh, that joke is Palin in comparison to some of the others I've heard. :shades:
  • seldenselden Member Posts: 22
    Although I still qualify, I can see why some people are going to be very steamed. On July 22, I printed off the "Estimated New EPA MPG" for a 1996 Nissan Quest from 15 city, 21 hwy, 17 combined. I've got it in black and white, right in front of me. I just checked the same site on July 24, and suddenly the estimates are 16 city, 21 hwy, 18 combined. No explanation. I'm right on the bubble, and still qualify, but I hope they don't revise the estimated MPG again before I am supposed to pick up a new car on Wednesday. :confuse:
  • seldenselden Member Posts: 22
    And I just discovered that the estimated mileage of my 1996 Nissan Quest went up by 1 mpg in the past 48 hours. I think you have a good case to challenge the information on the government site, although it may take a while -- and quite a bit of frustration -- to get them to admit to their error.
  • sherofthe80ssherofthe80s Member Posts: 43
    Check this out

    I think it's brand new today. When you used to go to and click on the last tab, it brought you to a much different looking Now you put in your proposed trade in and your proposed purchase and it tells you what you potentially qualify for.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,695
    Ouch! i feel like someone took and hit me with 'My Cain' :shades: :shades:
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • seldenselden Member Posts: 22
    If you plan to run a car into the ground, new or used doesn't much matter. In my experience, all of my new cars have been far more reliable than those purchased used, and I have kept them longer. I intend to buy is a Honda Fit, and these have unbelievably low depreciation (I just saw a 2 year old Fit with 27,000 miles advertised for only $1000 less than the cost of a new 2009). Car purchases aren't entirely rational; I know that I could get a new Pontiac Vibe for less than a Fit. However, having driven both, I know that I have no interest in owning a Vibe/Matrix. Nothing particularly wrong with it; but I found it to be a boring car.
  • zoomzoom7zoomzoom7 Member Posts: 8
    Just finding the correct office/person may be the hardest part..if anyone has any ideas please let me know!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    ...but it's not all that bad at the time of delivery.
    A summary sheet
    A statement that the dealer is a-Biden' by the law.
    A statement that purchaser is a-Biden' by the law.
    A 3 question survey for the buyer.
    That's it at the time of delievery.

    Shortly thereafter the 'Destroyer' has to certify his actions.
    97 TownCar ==> '10 Prius
    93 Silverado==> '10 Prius
    95 Jeep GC==> '10 Prius

    Plus about 60 more just at our store.
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