How do you know when it's time to give up on a beloved (or hated) old car?
- When is it time to get rid of it? When the body and subframe rot make the car unsafe. All else can be replaced.
- I love my truck (2003 Tundra step-side). Can I get something that does what this truck does, with fewer maintenance requirements? Sure. But I love my truck. When I don’t love it, I’ll get rid of it.
- It is almost always cheaper to fix and keep a structurally sound car over buying a different one. So here are the reasons to change cars: (1) It's structurally unsafe. (2) You hate the car and it's slowly killing your soul. (3) You've fallen in love with another car.
- There is a point at which the cost could get close to (or exceed) the value of the actual vehicle. This is a bit of a make/break moment to me; if you had to drop $7000 into a vehicle, and if you had to sell it the next day and knew you wouldn’t get anywhere near that for it, it's likely wiser to put that $7K into a newer/better vehicle.
- If your older vehicle is a big, heavy, V8-powered monster with a three- or four-speed transmission, chances are fuel tankers are following you around with big grins on their faces. Twenty years ago, it wasn’t so bad, but with today’s insane fuel prices, you may find that the fuel savings alone could fund 50 percent or more of a new car payment.
- If I get to the point I cannot trust the car to get me to my destination, then it is time to go.
- People hear and smell you 30 seconds before you get there.
- When you really want a new car. Most the time we just try to rationalize what we already want to do anyway, right?
- When you are putting a car payment’s worth of parts in it each month, time to move on.
- You know your mechanic's full name (including middle name) and his/her birthday, and you exchange cards on the holidays.
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