Evaluating your car: Should it stay? Or should it go?

I have been putting it off for awhile now, and after this weekend I found it necessary to add this category “Evaluating Cars”. Why may you ask after this weekend Joe? I was at a book store this weekend talking to some nice people, selling and signing a few books and I met this nice lady. She purchased one of my books, and I signed it and personalized it to her. I asked her what she drove for a car. She told me she has a 2001 Subaru Outback wagon with 179k miles on it that she has owned since new. She told me that she just reluctantly invested

$5,000 into the car. I did not get a rundown of exactly what was done for repairs but for $5 k it had to be extensive. She told me it has always been a good car, but it seems that every time she turns around she was faced with another big repair bill. After her last big repair bill she was told by her mechanic that the rust was taking over her vehicle and she would have to get rid of the car next year. Would it not have been nice if she knew that information before sinking $5,000 into it?   Put another way, if your refrigerator was 10 years old and the appliance repairman said it would cost $500 to fix it would you?  When you could buy a brand new refrigerator for $850?  What usually sways people to the decision to fix their old car is this saying: “Well its better than a car payment”! I personally do not think so because in this situation she is not likely ever to get back her $5,000 investment on a twelve year old vehicle. I hope that you do not think that I am cold hearted for writing this, but over the years I have seen this happen to good hard working people that really do not know how to deal with this type of situation. This is just one of many reasons why I wrote my book “If That Car Could Talk” to give people the knowledge to make better choices when faced with the decision to keep or rid themselves of their old car. When I got home after the authors event I went to Kelley Blue Book and entered the information I got from her about the car. Her 2001 Subaru Outback wagon with 179k miles in (good) condition was worth $2,263 trade in value. In (Fair) condition it was only worth $1,663 trade in value. Now keep in mind that if she actually went to trade the car in at a dealership she would get less than that for trade in. She might get $500.00 actual cash value for the car, that’s it. That $5,000 she invested in that twelve year old car would have been better spent as a deposit on a new, or a much newer used car. Don’t you think? I will have many more editions to this category in the near future that’s for sure! If you are faced with a similar situation and are not sure as what to do click on the “E mail Joe” tab in the upper left hand corner of this site and I will give you some input as to what you might want to do.

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