Daily Dupaco

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cash For Clunkers: Know the Details Before Buying

If your old gas guzzler is begging to be replaced by a more fuel-friendly model, now may be the time to act. From July 1--Nov. 1, 2009, the government-funded "Cash for Clunkers" program makes available $1 billion in vouchers for consumers trading in old cars for new, more fuel-efficient models. The program will provide each buyer with up to a $4,500 voucher, the value depending on the mileage improvement of the new vehicle.

The vouchers only apply to new vehicles priced at $45,000 or less. Also, consumers cannot receive both the voucher and the trade-in value of the vehicle--you should take the higher of the two. Note: You can combine the voucher with other dealer discounts and rebates.

The basic guidelines, from cars.gov, the program's official government Web site, specify that all trade-in vehicles must: have been manufactured less than 25 years ago; have a combined city/highway fuel economy of 18 mpg or less (except work trucks); be in drivable condition; and have been insured and registered to the current owner for the full year before trade-in.

Buy cautiously:
  • The only official government site for the CARS program is www.cars.gov.
  • If a site asks for your name, address, account details, or other personal information to obtain a voucher, don't give it up. The CARS program requires no pre-registration and will never request information from individual consumers. All transactions are handled through the dealers.
  • Only registered dealers will have access to the payment system. Confirm the dealer's registration and legitimacy.
  • Be sure you can afford a new car--especially in a recession.
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