Saturday, June 16, 2007

Frugality Wins Out - The Junk Car Stays... for Now...

I had a lot of trouble with my car lately. A couple of months ago my starter started causing some problems. For every five ignition attempts, one would be successful. A small crack in my windshield expanded like the national debt and is now a thin neat crack spanning about half of my windshield (it doesn't obstruct my view). Just to make things a bit more fun, the car started making some weird noises and the other day I got pulled over for having a brake light out (I got a "fix it" ticket - so no financial damage there).

My car is a 1997 Geo Prizm, which I bought for $8,000 from a used car dealer in 1999. It served me well for 8 years and 100,000 miles. I only use it to commute back and forth from work. Our other car is a 2005 Toyota Sienna, in which we transport the gang and use for all long distance driving. To tell the truth, I am sort of tired of the Prizm after all these years. So when all the annoying little problems started, I figured I might as well just donate it to public radio - to make up for all those years that I listen and never pay a membership fee. I didn't want to bother servicing the car, especially since I thought that the cost of making all those small repairs would probably approach the blue book value of the car ($2,950). I even started looking at some used cars on Hertz Car Sales where we previously got some great deals and some excellent vehicles.

And then the Mrs. stepped in and talked some sense into me. I mean, do I really need a new car to commute 5 miles a day each way? Yes, it would be nicer to drive something a little more fancy, and it certainly would be nice to have... power windows... or... hub caps... but do I really want to spend $15,000 or so on a late model used car? When I really think about it, I would rather invest the money in diversified index funds.

My wife volunteered to take some of the hassle out of the equation and she is the one that took my car to a AAA recommended independent repair shop. The total cost of the repairs was $689 including taxes. Not that bad. So, for now, the beast is staying. I don't like that car, but I like it better than writing a big fat check to some used car dealer. As long as the wheels stay on, me and blue Prizm will maintain a cordial relationship.

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog,good stuff you have it on here do publish more often

keep in touch and keep the good work going will be back soon.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus