It’s obvious that if you want to take advantage of the new Cash for Clunkers law working its way through Congress, your junker vehicle’s trade-in value needs to be less than the minimum $3,500 voucher ($4,500 if the new car you’re eyeing gets 10 mpg better than the trade-in) for it to be worth your while.
Consumer Reports has identified some prime candidates to pile onto the scrap heap. Cars that make the most sense to junk include vehicles like Cadillac’s DeVille, Eldorado and Seville. Lincoln also has several scrap-worthy cars in the Continental, LS V8 and Town Car. Trucks make up most of the list, however — especially those from the 1990s.
It’s important to keep in mind that buying a new car has more benefits than just better fuel economy. If you’re still tooling around in a 1999 Nissan Quest, for instance, you’re missing out on a decade of major safety improvements. Today’s vehicles are built to cushion occupants during crashes far more effectively, while things like side-impact and side curtain airbags and electronic stability control make for a much safer driving experience.
Also, with a new car you’ll get a warranty that will cover major repairs, as well as a few years (hopefully) of no-repair driving. If you’re still hanging onto that 1994 Dodge Ram, you have to factor in those repair costs.
The Cash for Clunkers bill passed in the House of Representatives yesterday and will move to the Senate for a vote. Then the bill heads to the President before becoming law.
Cash for Clunkers: The Best Gas Guzzlers to Junk (Consumer Reports)