Thursday, August 20, 2009

“Cash for Clunkers” Not for Everyone

Editor's note: Do you wish you could get a new car, but even with the "Cash For Clunkers" program you feel like it not an option for you? Keeping your car up is very important both economically and environmentally.

Keeping Current Vehicle Running Efficiently the Best Economic Alternative

August 2009

Letter to the Editor:

There’s been a lot of talk about “Cash for Clunkers,” but for the majority of motorists, purchasing a new car is not an option. For many, their vehicle does not qualify as a “clunker” and for others, the cost of a new car is prohibitive, so keeping their current vehicle running efficiently is the sensible alternative.

Those motorists who treat their vehicles as valuable investments and commit to regular vehicle maintenance end up saving a lot of money. In fact, according to Runzheimer International, the difference in the savings over a four year period between keeping a car and buying a new one is over $10,000. Even with the “Cash for Clunkers” incentive, maintaining your current vehicle is still the best economic option.

To help ensure reliability and safety, and extend vehicle life, the Car Care Council recommends these preventive maintenance steps:

  • Change the oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or per the owner’s manual. Periodic oil and filter changes keep your engine clean on the inside.
  • Check the tire pressure at least monthly, including the spare. Your car’s tires affect its ride, handling, traction and safety.
  • Schedule a tune-up annually to optimize your car’s performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy, and produces the lowest level of emissions.
  • Have the alignment checked at least annually. Potholes and other road conditions, as well as normal wear, can take their toll on your car’s steering and suspension. A wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves fuel economy and handling, and increases driving enjoyment and safety.
  • Inspect the windshield wipers and lights on the car. Lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, and they are normal wear items that need periodic replacement.

To learn more, visit the Car Care Council’s Web site at and check out the popular digital Car Care Guide.


Rich White

Executive Director

Car Care Council

7101 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1300
Bethesda, MD 20814-3415