Don’t worry, it’s not such a disaster! But last week my check engine light went on. I needed an oil change anyway, so I dutifully took it over to the local garage I use, and it turns out I need a new oxygen sensor. Not sure yet how much that will run — they estimated $300-400 depending on how much the part itself costs.
Again, it’s not such a big deal. But it got me thinking about how long I plan to drive this car. I’ve had it for not quite three years, and a little over 20K miles; it’s had about $1200 of work during that time (excluding routine oil changes) so let’s call it $1600 of repair work in three years once I get this o2 sensor done. That’s certainly a heck of a lot cheaper than having a car payment, and it’s only at 112K miles altogether; it could have another 80K to go, 8 years at my current pace. On the other hand, it’s 18 years old and I think things are just going to keep breaking and/or wearing out from now on.
At what point do you decide to quit? Do I just wait until I’m confronted with a $2000 repair instead of a $500 one? Or do I decide at some point to sell while it still has value (I figure I could get $2000ish, maybe $2500, for it now), stop putting in an average of $500-600/year in repairs, and roll that money into paying for a new(er) car?
I’ve never liked this car much — it was available and cheap when I needed a car, but I want a four-door hatchback, not a two-door sedan, and I don’t like how low to the ground it sits. On the other hand, the virtues of not having a car payment are pretty abundant….