How to Kill a Clunker, the CARS Way


There’s lots of chatter in the blogosphere about the Car Allowance Rebate System, aka CARS, aka Cash for Clunkers. On the surface, it sounds like a good deal; trade in your old gas guzzler and get up to $4,500 towards a new vehicle. Here’s the rough breakdown:

  • Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
  • Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
  • Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
  • Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
  • You don’t need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
  • Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
  • The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

There are a certain vehicles that are excluded from the program, but Edmund’s has put together a list of vehicles that are included. Check it out, your vehicle may apply, but be forewarned that you’re clunker will end up with a similar fate to this one…

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