I've come to a fork in the road with my beat-up, 210,000 mile, 2004 Saturn Ion. I wrote about her awhile back, when I duct-taped the passenger-side door (I've had to tape ‘er several times since then – and the door is still hanging on!). The issue: how long should I keep driving it?
Here's my default, thrifty guy answer: until it breaks down.
While I hate the idea of having it go kaput on me in the middle of the highway in rush hour on the way to work (sorry, this is my worst case scenario that runs through my head every time I take it out for a spin these days), I really want to get the most out of the car as possible.
I can think of a few reasons for selling the car while it is still functional:
- I'll have some money to put towards another vehicle
- I won't end up on the side of the highway. In rush hour, on the way to work.
- No more duct taping the side door
- Expensive repairs are imminent (last one cost about $1200)
And, I can think of reasons for hanging on to her until she clonks out:
- I'll have gotten all the life out of it
- No cash out-of-pocket for buying a newer, used car
- I could be trading it for a lemon (this happened to my brother). At least I know what I have with this one.
We do have money in savings that will go towards a new car. But, I really want to hold out as long as possible. Like I mentioned, there are several things wrong with the car and one is a pretty expensive fix (which is more than its resale value).
I'm sure there are other ways to figure this out – so I'd love to know how you decide when to purchase a new vehicle. Do you drive it til it won't drive any more OR do you always get rid of a car at a certain mileage?