For car owners with automobiles that fit the older-model-bad-gas-mileage profile, Cash for Clunkers is a good deal. That’s not to say it’s a good deal for just anyone trading in any old car.
SmartMoney notes “3 Clunker Traps Car Buyers Should Avoid.” Many cars are worth more than you’d get by classifying them as clunkers, so you’d be better off trading them in the old-fashioned way. Also, the overarching point is that, even though you might be able to get a sweet rebate via the government, you need to approach the buying process the same way you normally would. That means invoking the old annoying routine with rounds of haggling, walking away from the salesperson in a huff, all that jazz:
Just because the government is giving you $3,500 or $4,500 for your clunker doesn’t mean you should let the dealer keep the full difference between your car’s manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, and the invoice price. In other words: Negotiate.