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Top 10 Cash for Clunkers Cars Are Now Your Top 10 Opportunities

In 2009, the Car Allowance ­Rebate System (CARS), or the “Cash for Clunkers,” program incentivized drivers to trade in their gas guzzlers for a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

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1. Toyota Corolla
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Ford Focus
5. Hyundai Elantra
6. Nissan Versa
7. Toyota Prius
8. Honda Accord
9. Honda Fit
10. Ford Escape 
 
In 2009, the Car Allowance ­Rebate System (CARS), or the “Cash for Clunkers,” program incentivized drivers to trade in their gas guzzlers for a more fuel-efficient vehicle. 
 
Most of these 690,114 vehicles are now four years old and have almost 50,000 miles on the odometer. This is a repair sweet spot you cannot ignore.
If you look over the maintenance intervals for the top 10 vehicles, in the past four years these vehicles have not needed much more than oil changes and filter replacements. Hope-fully, the owners have abided by these intervals because seven out of the 10 vehicles on the list have maintenance ­indicator lights. 
Inspecting the Sweet Spot
These vehicles are a golden opportunity for shops. At the 36,000-, 40,000- or 50,000-mile interval, all of the OEMs recommend major inspections.
 
These inspections typically include most vehicle fluids, the HVAC system, drivetrain and most mechanical systems. Belts, hoses and the battery get ­special attention. 
 
The OEMs want you to inspect the items on the list so you can recommend the appropriate services to your customer. Sure, these items could be ignored and the vehicle could run 100,000 miles without a problem, but beyond that, major part failures can be expected. 
The Shift
I always hear the line, “cars are just built better.” The real truth is that cars are just built different, and they will also last longer, creating even more service opportunities. 
 
The manufacturers have learned that every driver and drive cycle is different. They also know that vehicles are lasting twice as long and accumulating more miles per year than ever before. Instead of making blanket recommendations, they want techs to inspect vehicles and make recommendations for parts replacement depending on an interval to make vehicles operate longer and be the most economically sound.
 
The really good news is every vehicle in the top 10 has a cabin air filter.  

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