The CAR Allowance Rebate System (CARS) is a government program that helps consumers with a $3,500 or $4,500 rebate from the car dealer when they trade in their old vehicle and purchase or lease a new one.
- Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
- Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
- Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
- Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
- You don’t need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
- Program will run through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.
Update: JULY 31, 2009 – government funds for the CARS program have been extended by an additional $2 billion dollars due to overwhelming popularity. Get more details about the program at the CARS website by clicking here.
Update: August 24th, 2009 – the U.S. government has announced that the Cash for Clunkers program will expire on Monday, August 24th at 5:00PM Pacific Time. Get more details about the program at the CARS website by clicking here.