Sunday, July 26, 2009
Cash for Clunkers
Usually, if there is some kind of special rebate program, we generally fall a day late or dollar short, or just shy of qualifying. Kind of a Murphy's law thing. But this time (maybe) the planets were aligned properly, or the Rebate Gods smiled upon us.
I'm talking about the Cash for Clunkers program. It's a government deal, trying to get old gas guzzlers off the road, giving you a nice chunk of change off the price of a vehicle. Ahhh yes, there are a bunch of qualifying requirements.
You can go to the Cars Website to read all about it.
On the website on the far right there is a tab to click to then input your vehicle info.
It will generate the number of combined mileage (city & hwy) the EPA rates your vehicle. Regardless of what actual mileage you get or no matter how much of a clunker your vehicle really is.
It must meet the magic number of 18 or less to qualify.
Must have proof of being fully insured for a year prior.
Must have proof of registration for 1 year.
You must be able to drive the vehicle to the lot.
Which is strange, because the dealer is ***required*** to drain the oil & put silicone in the engine, which will cause it to seize & destroy the engine. The point of this program is to get gas guzzlers off the road.
Even crazier is within the same year & model of vehicle different engine sizes & features will disqualify or qualify you.
Some folks will be off by just 1 mile of the government mileage rating.
On the flip side-- you have to pick a vehicle that will get at least 5 mpg better to get $3,500 off the price
but if you get one that is 10 mpg or better, you get $4,500 of the price.
Last year they just radically changed how the mpg is calculated ( more like how people actually drive)-- so even the most tightwad sippers like the Honda FIT or the Toyota Corolla are currently rated as combined mileage of 28.
Lots of cars like the Ford Focus fall short of the 28 or better.
If I actually qualify for some crazy good promo, I want the max---
#1 We are not wealthy people & the only reason we are doing this is because my 15 year old vehicle was not on the same page as we were, with waiting a few more years till Hybrids or electric cars are affordable & available.
But alas.... she became an inferno.
The A/C quit because of some vacuum vent. They no longer make the part- so it would have cost us $600 to pay for labor ro take out the dashboard to replace this part w a part from the junkyard. No warranty on how long junkyard parts might last...
and then the windshield wiper sheered off while on the freeway in a downpour.
Driving the van in 95+ temps on the freeway, I seemed to repeatedly hit traffic at a standstill. Had to keep the windows open to breathe but breathing fumes in a sweltering oven box. I thought I was gonna die. Then I would arrive home cranky & take a good 15 minutes to cool down & become human again.
We've had this baby for 15 years. In her heyday she was a gem, although she sucked gas @18 mpg.... she could haul people & stuff like crazy. Back then our 2 kids were young & we needed & used that much space. Plus 15 years ago 18 mpg was decent mileage for the size of vehicle it was. (BTW the 2009 same version of the Caravan minivan gets *17*mpg -- in 15 years time, they went backwards instead of making progress w fuel efficiency).
That was then now ~ we are empty nesters.
Mostly I am in the vehicle myself, or with the Husband & occasionally all 3 of us w one of my sons.
So I don't need a 7 passenger vehicle. But other things were starting to fall apart too- I won't bore you with the details.
Bottom line it did not make sense to throw any more $ into it & the $4,500 money off a new vehicle was worth way more than the blue book value.... and it was devaluing by the day.
So we actually jumped through the flaming hoops-- and did a little negotiating, as well as scooped up a 0% financing.
So we are just paying for the vehicle- no interest.
We got the best damned deal we could find,
It was a little tricky finding a compact "sipper" car, for 2 not-very-compact people. The husband is 6'6" & I'm 6 feet tall & "large boned". In any case I wanted the simple practical vehicle that will not suck gas.
After many weekends of test drives, number crunching, searing hot temps, annoying car dealers, ultra annoying car dealers that caused us to bail out of buying from them.... hey! We are not high end purchasers,,,, but a new car is a big ticket item & customers are customers. They deserve to be treated well. For the record, telling me *I* have to pay $100 for them to restock a car they just sold off the lot (not a special order). No.
I hate the whole dealing/dealers/ numbers back & forth games thing. You feel like you are negotiating with the Wizard of Oz.... some unseen poobah in a back room saying yay or nay to different numbers.
It sucks royale. There must be car dealers & dealerships in hell.
Plus we went from main wage earner being unemployed to being called back to work to buying a new car.
You can bet we spent some sleepless nights wondering if this was the right thing to do.
Decent used cars were pricing out pretty high too.... so we just went for it.
We drove that baby off the lot yesterday.... a Toytota Matrix- which is really a Corolla with a wagon style body.
You can fold the seats down flat to make the back all cargo space, or it is a 4 passenger vehicle.
We still have to wait for the dealer get it submitted to the Cash for Clunkers program.
They have X amount of dollars for the program & the program ends when the cash runs out or November.
The dealers would like us to think this program might just last a few days-- because knocking that much off an invoice is a rare event.
If it went so fast we missed the boat because we did the deal 1 day after the program opened....
then the deal would be unwound & we bring back the car. We will know in the next 2 weeks. Crazy Huh?
Anyway we were @ the front of the line for the program & hope it all comes together.... or we may just wind up w a used car???
To be continued.
Here is a stock photo picture, of our maybe new car.... we actually got that color.
I hope I have not bored you to death with Car Talk.
Maybe you or someone you know has a qualifying Clunker & together we can save the planet.
Just wear your fireproof panties, there are flaming hoops to jump through!