Top 10 “Cash for Clunkers” Trade-Ins

If you were old enough to remember and driving around 2009, then you may remember the CARS (car allowance rebate system) program which was also referred to as “Cash for Clunkers.”

That program has now ended, but other Cash for Junk Cars and clunkers have started in its absence that have given consumers the same benefits

This was a program offered by the government where you could receive $4,500 for each “clunker” car you traded in.

The idea was to get clunkers – vehicles reaching less than 18 mpg – off the roads and replace them with better for the environment vehicles.

670,000 autos and $3 billion later, the roads are a much “cleaner” place; fuel efficiency has improved by an incredible 58 percent!

No doubt, the program was a success and here are some of the greatest (or should we say clunkiest) clunkers:

Ford Windstar

From 1994 to 2003, Ford produced the Windstar minivan.

Although it initially gained popularity in the minivan market, it declined as its reputation dwindled due to reliability.

Consumers reported head-gasket failures, trans-axle internal failure, cracked forward and reverse clutch pistons and transmission problems.

In an effort to save the minivan, Ford changed its name to Freestar in hopes that it could save it.

Chevrolet C1500


This full-size pickup line was manufactured and sold between 1960-1999 by GMC.

The Chevrolet C (denoting two-wheel drive; K series denotes 4WD) pickup truck was replaced with the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in 1999.


Appearing in multiple body styles over its four-decade lifespan, the Blazer was first introduced in 1969.

It was part of the General Motors C/K Trucks family, along with the Chevrolet C1500 pickup truck — clearly a clunky line.

Although the blazer body style is still manufactured in brazil, this Blazer K5 was redesigned and is now known as the Chevy Tahoe which was sold until mid 2005.

Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee was produced in two- and four-door versions of the XJ Cherokee and were offered throughout its production lifetime, which ended in 2001.

The Jeep XJ has remained a popular choice for off-roading enthusiasts.

As a result, there is a thriving market of products and upgrades aimed at that audience.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The first Jeep Grand Cherokee was a popular model, followed by the ZJ version which was introduced in 1992 and then followed by the WJ in 1999 and the WK in 2005.

The Grand Cherokee came in different packages with upgradable options, making it win several awards during its production years.

The 3.0L diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee stopped being production for North America at the end of 2008.

The late production models have tougher diesel emissions standards.

Dodge Caravan

In 1983 Chrystler introduced the Dodge Caravan, along with its sister product, the Plymouth Voyager.

Chrystler minivans were ranked 13th best-selling automotive name worldwide reaching over 12 million models sold worldwide.

Despite a large number of these clunker vans being traded in, the Caravan remained in the company’s product line until at least 2014.

Ford F150

The F-series trucks by Ford have been on the market for over five decades and their most popular model is the Ford F-150.

This full-sized pickup was the best-selling vehicle in the US for 23 years!

Ford owners have discovered that the cruise-control system in the vehicles can catch fire when the the switch system corrodes over time, overheats and then ignites.

Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorere summarized as “the SUV for everyman,” making it a popular model during the 90's.

Consumers found it comfortable, affordable and practical for adventure seekers and families alike.

The vehicle developed a not so great reputation in  2000 when owners learned that trucks fitted with certain tires were prone to tire failure and subsequent rollover crashes.

Donna Gentry
Editor at
Donna is a fitness and liftstyle fanatic that enjoys reading, writing and everything Fitness. She has quickly become an avid writer for and is learning how to dissect tough subjects and continually grow her writing skills. You can find more info about her at her website!

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