CASH FOR CLUNKERS CONSUMER GUIDE





Cash for Clunkers
Cash For Clunkers
Car Allowance Rebate System

SEE ALSO: 100% Accurate Qualifying Vehicle Database
SEE ALSO: Cash for Clunkers Government Site
SEE ALSO: The C.A.R.S Act(PDF)
SEE ALSO: 6 Steps to Cash for Clunkers
SEE ALSO: New Cars For $100-$150 Per Month
SEE ALSO: Buying A New Car-Cash for Clunkers Qualifications
SEE ALSO: Warning! - Cash For Clunker Scams

What is the Car Allowance Rebate System? (Cash for Clunkers)

This is a government program that helps you purchase a new, more fuel efficient vehicle when you trade in a less fuel efficient vehicle.

The CARS Act - qualifying transactions from July 1, 2009 are eligible for credits under the CARS program and ends November 2009 or whenever the programs billion dollars runs out.

Turn-in vehicles must meet certain criteria; less than 25 years old (1985 and newer models); passenger cars SUV's, CUV.s Minivans; 18 MPG or less; CLICK HERE for 100% Accurate Qualifying Database.

New vehicles must meet MPG qualifications and also have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $45,000 or less to be eligible under the program. (The NHTSA interprets this requirement to be the base MSRP—the price on the Monroney label affixed to the vehicle before any dealer accessories, optional equipment, taxes or destination charges are added to the price.) CLICK HERE for New Car and Truck Prices

Cash For Clunkers Qualifying Vehicles:

Qualifying Sedans (22 MPG+ under $45,000 Base MSRP): Qualifying Sedans

Qualifying Coupes (22 MPG+ under $45,000 Base MSRP): Qualifying Coupes

Qualifying Wagons (22 MPG+ under $45,000 Base MSRP): Qualifying Wagons

Qualifying Minivans(18 MPG+ under $45,000 Base MSRP): Qualifying MiniVans

Qualifying SUV/CUV (18 MPG+ under $45,000 Base MSRP): Qualifying SUV/CUV


SUV/CUV Van Qualifications: Your clunker turn-in must get less than 18 MPG. New light trucks or SUVs with mileage of at least 18 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the MPG of the new truck or SUV is at least 5 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $4,500.

Qualifying Pick-ups(15MPG+ and under $45,000 Base MSRP): Quailfying Pick-ups

Pick-up Trucks: New large trucks (pick-up trucks and vans weighing between 6,000 and 8,500 pounds) with mileage of at least 15 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new truck is at least 1 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new truck is at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $4,500.

The "Cash for Clunkers" legislation has passed the House and Senate and is waiting to be signed into law by the President.

Does My Clunker Qualify?

To qualify, your trade-in vehicle must:

  • Be in driveable condition

  • Have been continuously insured consistent with State laws and registered to you for at least one year immediately prior to trade-in

  • Be manufactured less than 25 years before the date of the trade-in

  • Have a combined MPG of 18 or less (this does not apply to category 3 trucks---defined below)

MPG requirements for 1985 model year vehicles and newer are based on the Combined "New EPA MPG" as given in the Find a Car section of our Web site. Data for 1984 model year vehicles will be added soon.

How Much Cash Can I Get?

The incentive amount depends upon theTrade-in Type

Fueleconomy.gov provides a feature that will help you (1) determine whether your current vehicle is eligible and (2) identify which new vehicles qualify for the incentive.

In the meantime, you can use the table below as a guide. Again, official EPA MPG estimates can be found in Find a Car make sure you look at "Combined" MPG ratings.

New Vehicle Type
New Vehicle MPG*
New Vehicle
Improvement*
Incentive
Passenger Car
At least
22 MPG
--
At least 4 MPG
$3,500
At least 10 MPG
$4,500
Category 1 Trucks:†
  • SUVs, including MDPVs between 8,500 and 10,000 lbs.
  • Pickups w/ GVWR <8,500 lbs. & wheelbase <= 115 in.
  • Vans w/ GVWR <8,500 lbs. and wheelbase <= 124 in.
At least
18 MPG
--
At least 2 MPG
$3,500
At least 5 MPG
$4,500

Category 2 Truck:†

  • Pickups w/ GVWR <= 8,500 lbs. & wheelbase > 115 in.
  • Vans w/ GVWR <= 8,500 lbs. & wheelbase > 124 in.
At least
15 MPG
Category 2 truck
At least 1 MPG
$3,500
At least 2 MPG
$4,500
Category 3 truck (2001 model or older)
NA‡
$3,500

Category 3 Truck:†

All trucks w/ GVWR 8,500-10,000 lbs., excluding MDPVs

NA‡
Category 3 truck (2001 model or older)
Similar in size or smaller than trade-in‡
$3,500

*MPG requirements are based on EPA's combined city/highway rating.
†GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating; MDPV = Medium-Duty Passenger Vehicle
‡Not applicable; Cat. 3 trucks do not have EPA MPG ratings

In addition to the above requirements, the purchased vehicle must:

  • Be new (i.e., legal title has not been transferred to anyone)

  • Have a manufacturer's suggested retail price is $45,000 or less

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I participate in this program?

You can participate in this program by purchasing a new vehicle from a participating new car dealership. The incentive amount will be applied to the new vehicle purchase price or lease price rather than sent to you. Note: Dealers cannot charge you any fees to participate in this program.

This program is new, and dealers will have to register for the program with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). So, it may be few weeks before dealers are registered to participate. NHTSA will provide a list of participating dealerships and qualifying vehicles at a new government Web site that will be deployed in the near future.

How will this affect trade-in value?

Your trade-in will be scrapped or parted out rather than resold by the dealer. Therefore, the new vehicle's price will be reduced by the incentive amount instead of the amount the dealer would normally give you for trade-in.

Can I combine this with other government incentives?

Yes. You can combine this with other State and Federal incentives, such as the hybrid vehicle credit.

Why is my vehicle not listed in Find a Car?

  1. If your vehicle a large truck or van with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 8,500 lbs., EPA fuel economy estimates for your vehicle do not exist because manufacturers are not required to provide MPG ratings for those vehicles. Some common vehicles that are exempt from fuel economy standards are listed here. You can usually find your vehicle's GVWR inside the driver's-side door post or in your user's manual.

    In this case, you don't need to worry. Eligibility for these vehicles is determined by model year.

  2. Some vehicles are missing from our database---this is more common for model years prior to 2000. We are currently working to fill these data gaps.

    If your vehicle is not a large truck, e-mail the following information about your vehicle to us:

    • Model year
    • Make/manufacturer (e.g., Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, etc.)
    • Model (e.g., Focus, Malibu, Camry, etc.)
    • Number of cylinders
    • Engine size, in liters (e.g., 1.8L)
    • Transmission type (e.g., 6-speed automatic, 4-speed manual)
    • Fuel type (gasoline, diesel, etc.)
    • Drive type (front-wheel, rear-wheel, 4-wheel/all-wheel drive)
    • Any other comments that might help us identify the vehicle (e.g., supercharger, turbocharger, VTEC engine, dual overhead cam (DOHC), single overhead cam (SOHC), etc

When will Cash for Clunkers start? July 24, 2009

See the Frequently Asked Questions for more details.

Read what is NHTSA doing to guard against fraud?Click here for more information.

See Program Rollout

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