Cash For Clunkers Begins Tomorrow

by Gabe Bullard on July 23, 2009

The federal government’s Cash for Clunkers program begins Friday, but some customers and dealers aren’t clear on how the program works.

The program offers up to $4,500 to new car buyers for their old vehicles. The total amount of money received depends on the vehicle being purchased and the one being traded in. The trade-ins will then be destroyed.

But buyers don’t have to take the clunker cash. The money replaces a car’s regular trade-in value, and Marty Book of Carriage Ford in Clarksville says if a trade-in is worth more than the government offers, the customer can opt out of the Cash for Clunkers program.

“It is solely a turn in your vehicle, you get that money toward your purchase and your vehicle is destroyed,” he says. “If they get the trade-in for their vehicle we’re not going to destroy the vehicle. We’re going to trade for it. We’re going to try to sell it.”

Book says it’s still unclear whether the clunker cash is deducted from the new vehicle’s price before or after tax, but it could depend on state law. Kentucky will allow trade-ins to count before tax starting in September.

Comments Closed


Mikedudical July 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Cash 4 Clunkers is a huge waste of taxpayer money. The only benefit is to the car dealer selling a retail priced car for 30% more than it’s worth. The smart way to go is buy used. I’d recommend searching or for a nice used or repossessed car at 1/2 or 1/3 of retail. It’s supply and demand. Don’t fall for the scam.

Jay July 24, 2009 at 10:44 am

Hi Gabe,

Your coverage of Cash for Clunkers legislation is spot on.

I thought you might be interested in adding information on vehicle donation alternatives to Cash for Clunkers for the benefit of many people who do not qualify for the government payout.

You could help charities a lot by adding a link to our informational page on Cash for Clunkers versus charitable car donation –



Charity Assistance Team
Donate Car USA and for more than 400 charities
Toll-Free: (888)-317-7279

Jude July 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

It does not start today. The ex car salesman blog discovered they changed start day on the government homepage. Please correct.

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