This year my car turns 12 years old. It's been a good car and has been paid off for probably 10 of those year. It has low, low mileage and gets me from point A to point B. So what's the problem? Well, it's 12 years old and the new models are so pretty and shiny and get much better gas mileage than mine does. Therefore, I have been contemplating getting a new car, or at least a new-to-me car. In this decision making process there is really only one pro - A NEW CAR - and one con - A CAR PAYMENT. And since I'm on the fence about that con, and whether I'm ready to start making a payment again, I haven't taken the plunge.
In my family growing up we never had new cars. We rode in used cars until they were unrideable and then bought more used cars. In fact, my current escape was my first new car ever and I didn't get that one until my previous car had so many repair bills I was finally talked into getting a new one when it stopped going backwards. My friend Jason shared his philosophy with me, "When your car repair bills start to cost more than your car payment would be, it's time to go car shopping." And the minute I thought about trying to drive a car that didn't go backwards we went car shopping, and I came home with my current car.
This car still goes backwards and has been relatively low maintenance. Which is probably why I've been hemming and hawing over this decision. Until this week. The engine light went on during the middle of last week and I noticed I had some oil on the garage floor underneath where the car is parked. I took the car into my mechanic on Wednesday for a thorough going over. The engine light was due to some wear and tear holes in some part or another. It was an easy and fairly inexpensive repair. However, the oil leak is another matter. While not an urgent fix, the leak is coming from a part of the car that is very expensive to replace. To repair it will be upwards of $1300. When I first heard this amount, I had Jason sitting on my shoulder saying, "It's time!" But after paying for the first repair, I spoke with my mechanic who told me under no uncertain terms would he get rid of my car if it were him. He said his brother has my exact same model and it has 300,000 miles on it...mine has 70,000. He said that while the cost to repair is pricey, it's maybe 4 months of car payments and if that gets me another couple of years without a repair I'm still ahead. While I take the mechanic's advice with a grain of salt, as I know he wants my business and if I get a new car that is under warranty he won't be seeing me for awhile, I do trust his opinion as I haven't had any reason not to since I've been going to him.
So now I'm back to where I started. Stick with what I have and make a repair payment here and there or get something new and taking on a regular car payment for the next X number of years but knowing I can rely on the car working? At this point it could go either way.
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