Just got a $1000 repair estimate for my $3000 blue-book value car. ($500 in absolutely necessary to turn the check engine light off repairs, $500 to replace a couple of axles that cause vibration.) The car is 10 years old with 36,000 miles on it. (It’s also all shiny and clean because DH had it detailed for me as a Christmas present.) To get a newer model of our current car would be about $15,000.
Since we’re only taking one car with us to paradise next year (this is one of those sacrifices people make in paradise if they want to continue saving for their kids’ college, but there’s public transportation so it’s not so bad), if we do decide to get rid of the car, this summer would be a good time to do that so we don’t have to find a place to store it.
In the past, my rule had been to replace a car when the cost of repairs was greater than the value of the car, but that was easy when we had a single major repair cost. When they start coming in in drips and drabs like this it’s harder to make that comparison. At the same time, the drips and drabs are annoying when each one means we’re down to one car for a week (I end up having to do all pick-ups and drop-offs and don’t have as much work flexibility, unless DH plays chauffer which means extra driving). Time is money!
It’s still a good little fuel efficient car. And it looks all shiny and new on the inside right now. I’m a bit attached to it.
So we’re paying the $1000 now, and we’ll rethink this after the next repair bill or it’s time to go to paradise, whichever comes first.
How do you decide when it’s time to replace a car?