Right now we have 3 cars. DH’s shiny new Honda Clarity (which he continues to be delighted with, but I’m not sure I would have allowed him to buy had I known there was faux wood paneling in the interior– I suspect their interiors designer is a hipster Millennial who does not remember used station wagons from the 1970s), DH’s old Civic (worth $1,300 as a trade-in, $2,300 in private sales, and may need a new expensive hybrid battery within the next 6 months), and my tiny 2005 Hyundai Accent which has 47,000 miles and needs a new timing belt and front brakes and a back brake rotation or something.
While DH was getting the Civic ready for a private sale (he spent a couple weeks detailing it– you can barely tell it once housed two carseats in the back), my car’s check engine light went on. We took it in. It now needs about $1K worth of repairs.
We decided to get those repairs done. Every time we do this, I keep thinking, I hope this will be the last time for a while! Because it takes a few days for the shop to have an opening and then they hold onto it for a few days (or weeks, now that the parts are older and harder to get) and I’m without a car and that’s irritating. This time the hassle wasn’t such a big deal because I was able to just drive DH’s old civic around town. If we had a third parking space that didn’t block our garage, I’d totally just keep all three cars and allow for one to be in the shop from time to time.
I really am not up to buying another car right now, even if we can (barely, if we don’t have any additional major money emergencies) afford to get another Hyundai Accent for 15K to replace my ancient one. I still kind of want a Prius, but I’d like to refill our emergency funds before spending another 27K on a vehicle. If it only costs $1K/year in upkeep, we’re still coming out ahead keeping the old car, even if it isn’t worth what we spent on it. Other used cars worth $750 are going to have worse problems than this one does. In a lot of ways it would be worthwhile just to get rid of these two cars to get one that’ll be problem free for the next five or so years, but I just don’t have the bandwidth to deal with that right now. Hopefully this repair will kick that can down the road until I have the energy to deal with it (and, presumably, more money in the slush fund).