I have an old car. Not a classic car that’s super fancy like the one below, but just an old one. My car is 1 year older than I am, and is beginning to show some signs of age.
Photo Credit: Dave_7, Flickr
This has led me to plenty of thoughts, one of which I will expand on in this post. At what point do you need to stop fixing your current car, and start saving for a new one? I can assure you that im going to encounter this point sometime in the future, I just hope that it doesnt come sooner than i’d like. First, here are some things about my car:
I bought it just over a year ago, for 1,000. I didnt want to spend much, didnt want a loan, and just needed something that ran ok. I have spent some money fixing a few things and into general maintainence, but have just let it be for the most part. I was hoping to be able to take advantage of the “cash for clunkers” program, but was unable to do so. Recently, I needed to get the muffler fixed, and because I dont know how to weld, I had to take it to a shop (I had previously done all repairs myself). When I picked it up, I recieved a laundry list of things that needed to be replaced on the car, noteably: front & rear brakes, front axles, a leaky oil pan, and an oxygen sensor. I know that replacing the axles is a fairly involved process, so I inquired about the cost. $360 total, which just included labor, as I already have the axles. Now, im aware that car repairs are expensive, but that’s a whole heap of money. It’s 36% of the total value of the car, and could equal 1 monthly payment on a new car. So, what to do? Do I ignore the repairs, and put all available resources to save for a down payment? or do I do the repairs, and essentially get a “stay of execution” for my car, allowing it to last longer to save more money?
Well, the trouble with the first option is that I have a feeling the car isnt going to last too long, and I am fully aware that the brakes need to be replaced immediately, as they are quite worn down. Brakes are not something that I’m willing to play a warped version of russian roulette with. Not having brakes on the car is a death sentence for the car, and possibly myself, and that’s out of the question. I have to get those fixed, and there’s no budging on that. That’s something that you just have to bite the bullet and do. So the question remains, At what point do I stop putting money into its upkeep, and when do I start saving for it’s replacement?
I’ve done most of the work on this vehicle with a friend, (the nice part of an old vehicle – you can actually do the work yourself) and that has saved me countless dollars in labor costs. This has also become a source of enjoyment for me, as I am learning more and working more with my hands (outsource that, why dont you!). But, everytime I do work, I cant help but wonder if my toiling is worthwhile, or will all fall down the toilet.
Should I start to divert my resources to saving for a new vehicle? I think that im going to try and do that, and determine the best vehicle for my needs, and while I wont be able to save much, Im hoping that I’ll be consumer-debt free by the end of the year, and if my current vehicle makes it that long, ill have something to pay for the vehicle with, as I really dont want to take out a car loan.
What do you think I should do, dear readers? Save more for the car now and wait on the debt, or focus all resources on the debt and pray for the car…
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