This past week I started hearing some weird noises from my 12 year old van. Anytime I started my air conditioning unit it started making a sputtering noise. So, I took it into the repair shop that I regularly have all my maintenance done at. After getting it inspected they told me that the air conditioning compressor, and expansion valves were going out. Grand total, the repair shop quoted me $2057 to replace all the parts, so that it would be covered by warranty. Doh! Talk about a gut punch!
As I've written about before in 2015, my van has been slowly becoming a money vacuum. My van is a 2005 Honda Odyssey with 160,000 miles and has been extremely reliable for our family over the last 7 years. Here is list of major repairs that I have kept up on:
- Transmission Flush at: 60,000, 100,000, and 140,000 miles
- Oil Changes: every 4,000 – 6,000 miles
- Timing belt changed at: 135,000 miles
- Tires replaced at: 109,000 miles and will need to be replaced at 175,000 miles
- Kelly Blue Book Value: $2,100
Overall, it is a really good van, but since I hit about 135,000 miles (in Nov 2015) I've had to put in about $3,000 into maintenance and repairs. My dilemma next week will be whether to repair and put $2,000 into a van that is worth $2,100. My alternative is to use all of our cash reserves to purchase another van or SUV. The problem is that we don't have our van replacement fund at the level where it'd let us purchase a car in our realistic price range. Here is where we are at:
- Van Saving Account: $7,000
- Emergency Fund: $9,000
- Van's Value: $2,100
What we are looking for in our new car:
- Price: $15,000 – $20,000 range
- Age: 2011 or newer
- Make: Toyota or Honda
- Miles: 60,000 or less
- Debt: Wanting to pay for the next car in cash
Repairs or car replacement decisions are difficult. It is hard, because we are on the home stretch of paying off our house. We are just 16 months away from having it paid off, and trying to avoid taking on any new debt while paying off the house. It is at this point that it is requiring a lot of laser focus. Focus on what is our priorities. Can I just say again that it is hard? Ugh!
As I sit here and write this article, I'm leaning towards sinking more money into repair it. On Monday (when this article publishes) I'm taking the van in for a second opinion. Hopefully this other repair shop will have better news for me. Regardless, I hate sinking 100% of the value into repairing it. Logically, it doesn't make sense, but we want to have our full van fund up to the $20,000 range, so we can get a nicer and newer vehicle. The one we want and not one we are forced into because of the price.
What would you do?
Anyhow, I'd be interested in hearing from our readers. What would you do if you were in our situation? Do you have any mechanical experience that can shed some light on how to approach this situation? I'd love to hear your thoughts!