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September 12, 2007

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Those sound good to me!

Why should you buy a different car when the repair costs more than the car is worth? I have seen this repeated many times, but no one has backed it up. Let me give you a different take on the situation:

We bought a 1998 Olds minivan brand new for $24K. Nine years later, our cost per year is $2,666 (not including oil changes and gasoline). Since we had 150K miles on it, it was worth about $3K. At this point the engine died and needed to be replaced. $4K later and we have a van that is still running. If it lasts 1.5 years ($2,666/$4,000) then it will be worth it.

Or we could have bought a new/used minivan and still be making payments. After all, it is hard to find a used van for $4K.

I do agree with the other 3 points, especially the one about leaving you stranded. Been there, done that, hate it.

@beastlike: Why replace a car when repairs cost more than its value? How do you know that once the engine is replaced the tranny won't go? That wouldn't be at all unusual. What that really tells me is don't buy an Olds/GMC product.

Yep, we're in the same boat. We have a 10 year old Ford Contour. It currently has 120,000 miles on it. It has been a great car. We've never had to do anything other than routine maintenance on it (brakes, belts, etc).

Recently we noticed the shocks are going to need replaced and we occasionally on hilly trips notice the transmission can get jerky.

We have a family member that works are goodyear and we always call him to get an idea of repair costs (he knows which models of cars do well, we'll definitely consult him before buying a new car!) He says it will cost around $4000 to do both, and suggested we not bother with the age of the car.

Hopefully we can get it to hang on for another 2 years by taking it easy. He gave us a few suggestions to make it last for a while longer, then it's off to the junkyard for our beloved "sport".

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention be only paid $4500 for the car 5 years ago (45,000 miles), so we've gotten our money's worth for sure!!!

Point one is well-intended but misguided IMO. The comparison should be between the cost of repairs and the cost of a replacement vehicle, not the value of the current vehicle.

I also think there is a decision a person has to make in general as it pertains to holding onto a car. Basically, you either keep it until it is not good for much of anything except to be sold as scrap (i.e. - run it into the ground) or sell it while it still has some value (i.e. - before you have to.) In the latter case, you are playing a bit of guessing game, however, I prefer it because (a) you get some money out of it, sufficient to help pay for another vehicle, (b) you can sell your car in decent working order to someone else. People who wait until the repair work needed cost too much to keep the car then usually end up (a) selling it for scrap/junk, (b) ripping off another person by selling them the problem without revealing it.

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