Friday, November 12, 2010


My poor car....

It has served me well.  In the last couple of weeks I've driven almost 4,000 miles in it.  It's got over 120,000 miles under it's tires.  It's finally paid off.  But it's not new anymore, and it needs some stuff.

It's had a few symptoms lately that have been a cause of some concern so I brought it to the mechanic today.  Diagnosis: It needs an O2 sensor.  Since it's got over 100K miles it needs a new timing belt.  Tires?  Yep.  And recently the front end has started acting funny so it needs a bunch of stuff up there too.  Ouch.

When a car gets to a certain point you start to question if it's turning itself into a money pit or if this investment in it will keep it healthy for a while.  I'm hoping for the second scenario as it has behaved wonderfully for me and I feel compelled to try to bring it back to health.  But it's a BIG investment, and given that I'm in the process of moving and other expensive changes I can only do so much at a time.

I'm headed to Rochester for a quick wedding trip.  My ex-neighbor's daughter, who used to babysit for my son when he was young, is getting married.  This is the first wedding I've been to since I transitioned as an invited guest.  I've been to a couple as the plus one for someone who was invited but this is my first event as the invitee.  I'm looking forward to it.

The big news of the week is that I found a place to live.  It's a huge weight off my shoulders and I'm really looking forward to being there.  The trip to Rochester will be a fast one as I've got a Meet and Greet event on Sunday afternoon...


Melissa said...

Congratulations on finding a place to live! As for the car, when you get to the point, where you just don't think it's worth pouring money into it anymore, think about buying a relatively new used car. You get the benefit of a new vehicle, at a substantial savings over a brand new one.

Because I live in the country and have to haul my trash to the dump, I need a pickup truck. When my Dodge Ram started acting up after 160,000 miles, and needed a $3,000 engine repair, I got on the internet and found a two year old Dodge Dakota, with only 27,000 miles on it, for $12,000 less than a comparably equipped new one. It came with a car facts sheet, and a three year 36,000 mile warranty. It was very well kept, and looked brand new. I've been driving it now for two years, and it hasn't given me a moment's trouble.

Melissa XX

Anonymous said...

D - my two cents worth about your car...if I recall its a Toyota - so it should give you long life...and the sort of repairs that you need have done right now are those that occur when a car "turns over" 100k - the costs can be relatively predictable, are are less than car payments...timing belt, tires, front end etc.are all pretty routine...the water pump is likely to be next - have the cooling/heating system checked out before winter...but first, find a good mechanic, that you think is trustworthy and honest...Best, Gretchen

Polar said...

I am a trained mechanic. It's a Toyota, it's worth keeping - I have 2 of them ('03 Celica GT and '04 Matrix XRS). With maintenance, I've seen Toys go 300K + miles. O2 sensors, timing belts, and tires are regular maintenance items, no matter the make of car. As for the front end issues, get a second opinion after getting the tires - worn tires can cause a front end to act funny, and front end parts are a major profit area for shops. In general, I like Toyotas, but I don't trust their dealers as far as I can throw them.

Anonymous said...

I know there are a lot of people who would keep the car. I'm one who wouldn't. I don't know anything about cars and when I get into the car, I want it to start. When a car starts giving me trouble I will trade it in and buy a new one. I know, maybe not the best solution but, like I said, I know nothing about cars. I will buy a new one and keep it about 8-10 years and then get a new one. That way, I'm sure of transportation that will get me there safe with no break downs.
This is my way of doing things and don't expect anyone else to do it this way.
Sheila Coats

Diana Powe said...

My 1996 Geo Prizm, which was actually a U.S.-assembled Toyota Corolla, had over 230,000 miles when it was totaled out as a result of a collision in 2007. If you add the amount of money you'd reasonably want to put down as a down payment and then multiply your monthly payments for the loan and the likely insurance premium hike times 12 then that's how much you'd have to spend on repairs in a year to make a new car less expensive. It's extremely unlikely that you'd ever spend that much in the shop within that period of time.

You're also buying other things, as well. You're getting new car ambience, some newer vehicle features and warranty coverage for repairs. However, if all you really care about is minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses then you're almost certainly better off staying with the car you have.

Anonymous said...


I agree with most of the posts above about the nature of the repairs.

By all means do the timing belt first; you don't want to gamble on that.

Anyway, I found an article a while ago about fixing v. getting another car so I am sharing it here,

Best, G

Donna said...

Thanks to all for the helpful input.

This car isn't my Toyota. It's a Volvo and one of the reasons I got it was for the same reason I had the Toyota - the engines often live well past 200K miles.

In a practical sense I can't imagine getting another car loan and having another payment - for a number of reasons. I can't afford a new car, and at least with this one I know where it has been and how it has been treated...

Anyway - I'd love to have options here. It's just that I don't know that I have that many. :-/