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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

UPDATED "Cash For Clunkers": Check If Your Car Qualifies

Updated: I re-did the table with the new data from Edmunds, after NHTSA updated some of their mileage numbers.

Use my handy applet below to look up your car to see if it might qualify for the CARS "cash for clunkers" voucher from the Uncle Sam. This is a list of cars from Edmunds that gets 18 MPG or less and has an expected fair market value of less than about $4,500. Edmunds was kind enough to post the raw data (here) and I massaged it a little and stuffed it into a Google Docs spreadsheet.

You may need to wait a little while for the data to load.

To use the applet, pick your car's age and make from the drop down list.

Update: Edmund's data only goes back to 1990, that's why that 1984 Saab isn't on there. Only cars younger than 25 years old are eligible, so the oldest model year that would qualify would be a 1984.


Harold said...

Interesting that NONE of my 3 cars (1998 to 2004) or any of my brothers cars qualify. I see that my dad's truck would qualify but he can't replace that with a tiny sedan as he actualy carries stuff.

Georgfelis said...

Double-headed question here:
1. If I have a pickup truck that gets totalled in an accident, is it still valid to be turned in for the CFC program?

2. If I have a junkyard, and I "sell" you a recent model car/truck which has been wrecked, store it in the yard for a year, and then scrap according to the rules when you "trade" it in for a new car, can I make some significant money off the deal?

Yes we can....

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't take a government car for nothing. A big carrot before the big stick.

Anonymous said...

Get ready for the sub prime crisis on wheels in another year or two.
Millions of Americans are now encouraged to trade in their gas guzzling air polluting clunkers and get $3500-4500 in trade in value for a car which on the open market might bring $500 on a good day.

How many will jump at the chance to "own" a new car, and ignore the fact that the new car comes with a new car payment?

We WILL read the stories of how many auto loans coming out of this fiasco in the making went into default in the first few months, and how many new owners failed to make even the first payment. Sound familiar?

Just like the home builders, the auto makers will jump at the chance to put the unqualified into new cars. After all, with the government's program, everyone will have made a decent down payment. How? Because the lenders will be encouraged .. if not forced .. to count the difference between the clunker's real value and the amount of the government's trade in mandate as a down payment.

tim maguire said...

"Cash for clunkers" is misnamed as most clunkers are econo-cars (which is what most people of limited means drive). Econo-cars tend to get decent mileage no matter how bad a shape they're in.

So the program is least likely to help those who most need it and are most likely to use it.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I don't see anything older than 1990. Doesn't my 1984 SAAB 900 (278k miles) count?

Moody Deep Thinker said...

My car is listed, but with substantially worse mileage than I actual actually get. Then I recognize that if I trade it I will have car payments on a new car that couldn't or wouldn't have sold otherwise in this economy because people financed their whole world and that didn't work so the economy tanked. Then I asked myself, is this more of the same that "Hope and Change" was supposed to bring but instead is "All the Samey, No Changey" and I realize that it is all smoke and mirrors by the same old political clique who gave us Obama.

Obama is a token president elected by people dumb enough to pass and promote this program. I'm not buying into this program or any other deal he is associated with. I'll drive my old car because it runs very well, it costs less to operate than depicted and it personifies personal fiscal responsibility, which is more than the government is capable of. I'm waiting to recycle this administration at the earliest possible moment.

Anonymous said...

More liberal Dem idiocy. My '79 Bronco would undoubtedly qualify (10 mpg on a good day), but I have no use for either "car" payments, or the "car" I would end up driving. I use the term "car" advisedly, as the tiny POS doesn't really qualify in my book.

Anonymous said...

Not sure you've got the algorithm right. You only go back to 1990 and the program clearly states the vehicle can be as much as 25-years old (1984).

Anonymous said...

I saw two of those 'clunkers' this
morning in a wrecking yard. One
driver is in critical condition.
And now the government wants anyone
not of the elected elite to drive
the same kind of tuna can.
New technology of population

The Auto Prophet said...


1. The "clunker" must be driveable.
2. The program only runs through this year, and a vehicle must be registered to the owner for at least 1 year, so no, I don't think that game is possible.

The Auto Prophet said...


I used data, they only go back to 1990.

Joe said...

Wow, my Honda Odyssey was listed. Only problem is that it actually does get 18 mpg in the city and 23-25 mpg on the highway (yes, I actually measured it.)

Oh and it's far from a clunker. Best car I've ever owned and still runs like a dream. It has cost me $500 in repairs (for a door electrical connector), oil, gas and tires and that's it!

Not exactly in the mood for a car payment, though.

Kelly Biegan said...

5 Savings for a new Car.
As per site below, there are 5 savings for a new car.

For Hybrids where the fuel savings make the overall cost of new car less than 7K.

That’s the best deal ever for an average Joe. First time the money is coming to average people instead of Banks, Mortgage giants, Companies, etc.

Kelly Biegan

Bruce said...

Did Ralph Nader dream up this scam? Funny that my 04 Dodge Ram Hemi isn't on the list despite an average mileage of 9.8mpg. Not like I'd ever trade or sell it to buy a Prius or crap like that. No thank you - I will drive my truck into the ground and pay for gas first.

blueguitarbob said...

Yay, I officially drive a "clunker" per the Obama administration. Of course, their offer of "cash" is no incentive to me because I cannot afford to take on a car payment for a new car.

But why would I sell it? I'm in graduate school (I have no income), the car is perfectly fine, and I get way more than 18 mpg.

A Jacksonian said...

Ah, if I still lived in Buffalo... this would be the time to take the 'winter car' (aka rustbucket) out of the garage, get the payment, get the new car... sell that and buy another rust bucket... you would already have your 'good car' that doesn't need replacing and you can 'upgrade' by getting a new one with incentives and selling it, and getting another rustbucket from the scrap yard or from the very used part of car dealership lots. Or from the kids down the street who salvage cars to sell them for winter use.

Its the 1970's all over again, save with just a little bit more work to chisel money from the government. Or less as there are no 'jobs programs' to teach you skills that are disappearing in your area. No, I take that back, most of those in those programs didn't show up and just cashed their checks. So a bit more work, then as you have to make sure you got a sure re-sale deal. And if you have an 'in' with the salvage yard, you can probably get your old car back, let them part out the new one.

Yup, for certain parts of the country it is, indeed, a pre-made scam. Legal too, as the rust bucket is only 'scrap metal' at that point it gets into the yard. Ahhh... gotta love it when Congress thinks it knows how to make things 'better'. And, yes, during my life in my old hometown I could have arranged that, all safe and legal-like.

Anonymous said...

Anybody know if you can turn in a clunker pickup truck to buy a passenger car and claim the full $4500? The program is usually described as car for car or truck for truck. I have clunkers in each classifications and am weighing my options.


GG Rohret said...

Do you think a 1988 Dodge Dakota 2 WD 6 CL will count?

Flo said...

This program is so fundamentally wrong it's comical! First of all, those of us who already drive fuel efficient cars get nothing while greedy hogs get a rebate. This, among many other reasons, is why the government should not run anything! Rewarding bad behavior at the expense of those behaving well is just wrong on every level.

deek said...

Who really wins on the "cash for clunkers" program--the customer or the dealer? It appears that the company/dealer good deals went away when during the clunker program. It they really want to help the consumer (and future mileage increase)and sell more cars then iffer good deals in addition to the clunker program.

Gilera said...

Great my 1992 BMW still on the list