Monday, April 27, 2009

Car shopping

This is the time of year when my car takes its annual week long rest cure at the mechanic, costing me between $1000-1800.

Last year most of the engine needed replaced (except the transmission and a/c) & between repairs and rental,it was $1800. 

The year before that had been the collision so the insurance picked up most of it but I still had a $500 deductible and even though the insurance was paying for a rental car, I still popped for the added insurance on it, which came to another $500 by the time I got my car back.

My collision had happened due to high winds blowing a tree branch into the road & my hitting it. It was still quite windy when I rented the car or I would have passed.

The transmission was replaced in 2006 for $1100.

Currently I have no a/c, which I didn’t have last year and somehow survived but was miserable, and the car makes ominous groaning noises from time to time in certain situations, like it’s shocks or suspension need oiled or replaced. I’m speculating $1500 and a few days with no car. But I am reluctant to take it to the mechanic to find out for sure.

The car was paid off in 2005. We have since paid out about $5000 in repairs and things like new brake pads, belts and oil changes since then an have now reached a point of wondering if the repairs are worth it. Given what we have to spend on a new car, $1200 is 4 car payments, which is cheaper than 48 car payments. We have after all, only paid about a year’s worth of car payment in 3 years & that is a good thing because it has let us save up $4000 in down payment.

So we are at that point where you wonder….do you take $1200 of the $4000 you have saved to fix the car you have, knowing that a year from now you will have $5000 and be facing the same question, because it is inevitable with a 2001 PT cruiser with 140,000 miles on it that more repairs will be needed.

Or do you buy a new (to us) one? Now is the time in the economic world picture to buy. We get a good deal and Ford or whoever gets a boost in sales. Everybody wins. Except for that pesky car payment thing that will follow us around for 4 years. It’s hard to accept the car payment thing when you are personally going on 4 years with none and DH’s truck was paid off 15 months ago

Most cars we are considering are around $18,000-20,000. At our current rate of savings/payment we will be able to buy one outright (which is the ideal) in 15 years. Somehow I don’t think the Cruiser will make it to 2024.


Jennifer (Jennilyn) said...

Ugh...dealing with cars is the worst! We got our 2003 Honda Civic in 2007 and have had only one problem with it, but it was under warranty then so it wasn't a big deal. Now it's not under warranty so I hope nothing happens to it for a long while!

Madge said...

yeah, we are about to face that same decision... we've been without car payments for about five years. i hate the thought of going back to them....

Too Many Hats said...

Cars - ugh! We chose to put the money into our Nissan Sentra (1996 and 160,000 miles) this year. Not having a car payment is so nice, but at some point you do wonder if it is worth it. That will probably be next year here. Dh will be most happy to get a new to us car then. Good luck figuring it out.

Creative Junkie said...

We are in the same boat (or car, depending on how you look at it)

we haven't had a car payment in about 4-5 years. But my Honda is ten years old and every year, it needs work, which I feel is like throwing money out the window. But then again, a car payment? OUCH.

The whole scenario has UGH written all over it.

Aunt Becky said...

I'd get a new one after you beat yours to a pulp. Sucks a lot.

The Blonde Duck said...

That's a hard question. What about a used car with few miles?