Does My Car Qualify For The Cash For Clunkers Program?

by Mike Holman

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Here are the rules for the new “Cash For Clunkers” government program.  If your car qualifies then you could receive a credit of either $3500 or $4500 towards the purchase or lease of a new car.  Read more about the details of the Cash for Clunkers bill.

[edit Aug 30 - Cash for Appliances program announced - Get rebates for new fridge or other appliances.

[edit July 31 - the Cash for Clunkers program has ended]

[edit July 31 - the Cash for Clunkers program has been continued]

[edit Dec 9 - Cash for Remodeling]

Is the Cash for Clunkers credit considered taxable income?

Car must be less than 25 years old from manufacture date

This applies to the date of trade-in relative to the manufactured date of the car.  See this article on the cash for clunkers program for exact instructions on determining the age of your car.

You must purchase or lease a new car

The credit will only be received for a trade-in on a new 2008,2009 or 2010 car with a purchase price of $45,000 or less.  It has to be a purchase or lease.  Used car purchases are not eligible.

Mileage limits

The old trade-in car must get 18 mpg or less (city/highway combined).  See this website to find out the mileage for your car or this site to find your car.  The new car must have a combined fuel economy of at least 22 mpg.

Domestic and foreign cars

Applies to new cars of any country – domestic and foreign cars are all eligible.

Eligible trade-in dates

The trade-in must occur after July 1, 2009 and before November 1, 2009 or until the program funding (1 billion dollars) is depleted.

Amount of credit

Credit will be either $3500 or $4500.  If the new car gas mileage is between 4 and 10 mpg more than the old car then the credit is $3500.  If the difference is at least 10 mpg then the credit is $4500.

Proof of ownership

The trade-in car must have been owned by you and insured for the past year (ie 365 days).  You must provide documentation for this.   Car must be driveable!!

See this article for answers to more common questions about the Cash for Clunkers program.

More information on the Cash for Clunkers program

2009 Cash for Clunkers

Cash for Clunkers program

Cash for Clunkers bill

Gas Guzzler Rebate – Get cash for your old car

Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) has been finalized

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Randy Lawson

Have had a bad experience and doubt the program was intended to be so restrictive. I finally found a car that my 1994 Ford Exploer would allow me to purchase and qualify. We talked to the dealer 1 hr and 45 mins from our home in a major metropolitan area. We drove the Explorer to the dealer and test drove the car (2010 Escape). As we started our paperwork of course we had to submit our title, proof of insurance (has been in force as documented by the insurance company since 1999) and our registration. The salesman took the paperwork only to return saying he was sorry we did not qualify. Shocked after all the conversations and work prior to the drive he said we did not qualify becase there was a lapse in the registration. As it turned out the registration expired (like it does every year) on Dec. 31 (2008 in this case). Bad timing, lack of time or just forgetful we did not renew the registration until Jan 8 or 9, 2009. Ownership never changed, insurance never lapsed but because we were 8 or 9 days late getting the car registration up to date he said the federal goverment deemed us inelibible. I am furious with the federal government if in fact this is the intent of the guildelines and with Ford Motor Company or at least this particular dealership if it isn’t. Any clarification???

2 Clara Wilson

I’m worried I will have the same problem and my new car will be repossessed. I stated that I had “continuous registration” because I paid the late fees and had my registration back dated so there is no gap in the registration. Now I’m waiting to see hwat happens. I know a senator in Minnesota is working with the senator over the DOT to correct the same problem Minnesotans are having. There is a discrepancy between their state laws of registration and how the DOT is interpretting the legislation, it is the same problem I might have in California. It certainly seems taht the legislation intended that the law intended that registration would show ownership and the insurance would show drivability. If they try to take my car back I am going to fight it.

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