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Doddery Meerkat
Aug 6, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


Josh Wow posted:

I'm currently in a situation where I have to make the decision whether I want to put money into my current car to try and keep it running for a while longer, or to sell it now while it's still running and buy a newer used car.

I'm driving a 90 Honda Accord I've owned for about 7 years now that has major cosmetic damage from a wreck about 5 years ago, and has a bunch of small unimportant poo poo breaking (antenna doesn't go up/down, heater/ac knob broke, electronic locks don't work,etc.) The paint is also peeling because why wash a car with a giant rear end dent in the side?

So this means that the car is running fine but I'd probably be lucky to get $1000 for it on the used market right now to put towards a newer used car. My car just hit 200,000 miles, needs new tires in the next 6 months, and I have a CV joint/axle that needs replaced. So either I sell this car soon or I put money into it to try and keep it running for a while longer.

The only debt I have right now is about $11,000 in student loans and I've been paying over the minimums on those so I should have them paid off within 5 years instead of the 10 if you just make the minimums. My cost of living is ridiculously low since I have cheap rent and am super frugal about nearly everything else, but I make poo poo for money (although I just got a raise!) so I don't have a lot left over at the end of the month.

For a newer used car I'd be looking for something in the $3000-4000 dollar range, and I'd want to take out a loan for it. I've got a 6 month emergency fund saved up but I don't wanna raid that for a car. I've been putting $200 a month into savings for a big expense I'll have in December, so starting in January I could put that money towards car payments, and I've got enough available cash until then to cover payments because of me working 10+ hours of overtime every week. So basically I could make minimum payments til January then throw another $100-200 a month on top of them after that.

I haven't finalized what I want in a car yet, but I'd be looking for something from 95 or newer and right now I'm leaning towards a Subaru or a Volvo. I want a manual transmission and I'm either looking for a 4 door or a station wagon.

Right now I'm leaning towards just throwing the money into my current car and hoping it lasts another two years so I can save up for something else. I'm going to make a decision within the next few days and if I decide to keep it I'm going to get the CV axle/joint replaced right away, get the water pump and timing belt replaced at Thanksgiving when I can have a mechanic our family has used for a long time do it and have him tell me any other preventative stuff I need done, and then buy tires probably early next year. This all together probably would only cost $1000 or less. So this looks like the best option to me, but I'd love an outside perspective on it. It seems a little silly to me to put $1000 into a car worth $1000, but I'm worried about buying a different car then still having to put $1000 into it anyway.

Personally I would never throw that kind of cash into a car that old. You simply can never be sure how much you'll get out of it/ how many other future expenses are waiting around the corner. If you were certain you could get another 50k out of it, sure, but you will be kicking yourself if 10k miles down the line another grand of expenses come up.

I also wouldn't spend much on a 95 volvo or sub, when I could spend a grand or two (6000-8000) more and get a 2002-2004 corolla / civic / camry/ similar with <80k miles. You just get so much more for the price. It will be much easier to get a loan on a car like that as well. Even with great credit it can be hard to get loans on used cars.

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