Should I replace my car?

Well, my 10-year old car is starting to make decisions that could alter our relationship.

First, she decided to die in the middle of my 10-year anniversary evening.  As you can see in the comments to this post, my MOTHER actually wrote a comment telling me to dump the car.  The car's brakes went out.  When Jenn went to get the oil changed and tires aligned, they made her sign a waiver because the oil wouldn't register on the stick and the tires were too worn to align.  While at the oil changing joint, someone HIT the car.  Now, the stupid vent fan won't operate again in the low setting (I've had this problem before – $19 fixes it).

Total expenses since September 2006 have been around $1,200 (around $120/month).

I was wondering, if your 66-year-old mother tells you "ON THE INTERNET" "THROUGH YOUR BLOG" to get rid of the car, should you?

UPDATE TO STORY:  You won't believe the rest of this story.  More on this in the next couple of weeks.


  1. Julie Brown on June 28, 2007 at 3:56 am

    I gotta say . . . . I’m with mom. I’d hate to read your blog and find out you were stranded in a not so nice neighborhood or the car decided to quit in the middle of a long road trip. Too many horrible possibilities. Wouldn’t want to see you get hurt. You have too many people to reach!!!

  2. -joe d. on June 28, 2007 at 4:55 am

    I’m not disagreeing with Julie (or with your mom 🙂 but … $1200 in repairs = about 3 “new car” payments?

    Unless you’re paying cash for a “new” car 🙂

  3. Paul Moyer on June 28, 2007 at 5:58 am

    I went back and read the post by your mom and I almost fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard. That is exactly what my mother would do if/when I start a blog.

    Now your mom taught you many of the domestic arts, so maybe you can crochet something to hold that car together.

  4. Rich Brott on June 28, 2007 at 6:31 am

    Never stop listening to your mother. There is always wisdom in her observations.

  5. Mark Asbell on June 28, 2007 at 6:48 am

    Things that make you go hmmmmmm…

    Part of me thinks stick to the goal of driving it til the wheels fall off. At this point you’re not going to get much if anything out of selling it and you might be approaching the final breakdown anyway with the oil not even getting on the dip stick (never heard of that but it can’t be good).

    I’m trying to develop a way of gauging this for myself too – the decision of when to get rid of something. I’m sure the variables will come together so that once you’re spending more than it would take to keep a newer car running and more than it would take to replace, in a reasonable period of time, the savings you would use to buy a newer car – you’ll know it’s time to make that purchase. You have to factor in safety and practicality too – you’ve got the family to think about.

    At this point if I were you I’d probably make sure I have AAA or insurance that covers roadside assistance, I’d probably borrow or rent for long trips out of town, and I’d keep driving that thing until it starts costing more than about $200 per month in a running 12 month period of time. Sooner or later something is going to give and you’re going to be forced to buy another vehicle…

  6. Mark Asbell on June 28, 2007 at 6:51 am

    I just read what I wrote again and thought I’d add – factor in your cost of AAA and occasional rental for road trips in to the $200 per month threshold and you’re pretty much there.

    I don’t know Joe – you’ve got a tough decision on your hands.

    Buy a moped… 🙂

  7. Just me on June 28, 2007 at 7:41 am

    Hey Joe, can i drive your old car when you get a new one LOL mine is still sitting in the driveway broken LOL .. Now where did i put my emergency fund .. oh thats right i dont have one made yet! great job me ;( Lesson #1 listen to Joe Sangle NOW not next month.

  8. Chip on June 28, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Only you can decide what you are willing to sacrifice or change to endure the cost of changing vehicles. But if you do decide to switch….I CAN PUT YOU IN A BRAND NEW DREAM CAR FOR NOTHIN’ DOWN, NOTHIN’ A MONTH FOR blah, blah, blah….
    Actually my input was, that if you decide you need to change vehicles, consider a Mercedes Benz 300 class circa 1978 – 1985. They have a five cylinder, turbo diesel engine that is reliable and routinely roll up 500K miles. You may have to search awhile or be willing to travel to Atlanta or Charlotte to find one, but they can be had for less than $8K, with less than 200Kmiles. Auto is a good source.
    You should determine the availability of a good diesel mechanic in Anderson (I live in the Gvlle area so don’t know who is available in Anderson). But I own two, both with over 250K miles and have had minimal repair expenses. They are comfortable, safer than the plastic toys being produced today, and well engineered beyond just the engine. And even if some serious repair expenses are on the horizon, my cost per mile driven will still remain well below most other options.
    Just some food for thought.

  9. Moneymonk on June 28, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Moms always right. The car has given you a good 10 years. Time to move on.

  10. steve_sr1 on June 28, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    moms do give good advice and it’s possible this advice is right. but didn’t dad tell you to check the oil and when tires are worn out to replace?

  11. Indiana Pal on June 29, 2007 at 3:17 am

    Dude, Get a BETTER car! The black beauty has served you well. Don’t push it like the old faithful Datsun B210. You just never know what may happen. I must say that if the dude at the oil change place could not read the oil on the dip stick, he needs to put the drain plug in before he fills it with new oil :).

  12. Joseph Sangl on June 30, 2007 at 6:22 am

    I LOVE the advice!

    Particularly the one about checking the oil occasionally from Steve_Sr1!

    I have a feeling that my “Indiana Pal” knows WAY TOO MUCH about me and cars … Wow, he pulled out a reference to my old Datsun B210!

    Thanks all for the well thought out advice!

  13. » on June 30, 2007 at 6:39 am

    […] Should I replace my car? […]

  14. Todd C on July 1, 2007 at 10:55 am


    How are you going to pay for the new car? Cash or a loan?

  15. Shrock from IN on March 27, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Joe, I know you’re a tightwad, but as a friend, let the cavalier go. I know it holds sentimental value for you; I know you’ve spent more than one night sleeping in it; I know it WASN’T costing you much money. But, as a wise person once said, “In order to embrace the future, you must let go of the past.”
    Let it go, Joe, let it go…

  16. Russell Salvage on September 11, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I saw this on another post and it made me smile
    Pride is what we have. Vanity is what others have. 🙂

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