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Thread: car advice

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    car advice

    i have a 1996 Nissan Altima with 107,000 miles. i've taken good care of the car though she's banged up here and there by jerks. i just had to spend $500 for the exhaust system and i just got word that the A/C compressor is on its last legs. to fix the A/C would be ~$1400. i'll also need 2 new tires in the next few months. i read some where that you should keep an old car going as long as it runs and you spend less than $2000/yr on repairs. well i'm quickly reaching the $2000 mark. i like my little car and she's been good to me. i don't want to get rid of her but i'm not sure pouring more and more money into her is the best way to go either.

    that said, i'm not in the best position to get a new car. i have 2 more semesters of grad school til i get my MURP and then a job (i hope!!)

    any suggestions on what i should do? keep the old car going? get a newer used car?

    having no car isn't an option at this point of my life because of distance to school, night classes, drivers who aim at cyclists, and the fact that my BF lives 110 miles away.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm....

    You could sell the car now and get an inexpensive bare bones honda with AC Civic DX maybe.....or a Kia or something like that on the cheap for now.....shop around and make offers by phone only for the bare bones cars with AC and you'll get a bite for sure.....make sure you talk directly with the sales manager first! Keep payments at 3 years max with the money you would have spent fixing your car going to down payment....skip additional warranties...

    or, you could just get tires and skip the AC repair......good way to loose weight in the Big Easy during the summer months.....if that's where your at...... That's if you've got any to spare in the first place....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Well....you need to decide about some things.

    I see you in New Orleans, so I presume working A/C is a nesscity, but if you can live without it, then you've got $1,400 savings there. Understand that tires, exhaust, etc. are necessities for operating a car and should just be considered normal operating costs associated with owning a car.

    Reatil price and financing a new or newer used car will most likely cost you more in the end then just do the necessary repairs on your current car.

    Hope this helps.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Drive it off the causeway and call the insurance company...
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff
    Drive it off the causeway and call the insurance company...
    *lol*

    i'm sure i could find someone to help me with that too!!


    A/C is pretty much a necessity. my cat and i travel every other weekend to see the BF. i could live w/o the A/C but i think Loki would turn into a little puddle of cat. maybe i can talk the BF into driving down in the hot months and i'll drive up in the cooler months.

    ugh. this is all so frustrating!! thanks for your comments. anyone want to buy a cute little Nissan Altima?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Let me back up a bit. Do you owe anything on it or is it paid off? I would say if it is paid off, put tires on it and drive it until spring. During that time, take the $1,400 and start saving up. You can get a good car with cash, paid for, all for about $2,000, with A/C.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Been there done that with my 1992 Geo Storm. Whenever it misbehaved, I could just take the bus downtown to work. Now that I work 25 miles away in another suburb and need transportation for meetings with clients and such, I had no choice but to put the Storm to sleep and get a new car.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Let me back up a bit. Do you owe anything on it or is it paid off? I would say if it is paid off, put tires on it and drive it until spring. During that time, take the $1,400 and start saving up. You can get a good car with cash, paid for, all for about $2,000, with A/C.
    I would stick it out get the tires now and save all winter for the AC. At least you know your car. A new used car could have even more problems in six months.

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Let me back up a bit. Do you owe anything on it or is it paid off? I would say if it is paid off, put tires on it and drive it until spring. During that time, take the $1,400 and start saving up. You can get a good car with cash, paid for, all for about $2,000, with A/C.
    I agree. Hopefully your AC will make it through the remainder of the summer. I would go buy the cheapest tires you can find for it and keep driving until you can't take the heat.

    I would then try to go find a little Toyota Corolla or something with about 50K on it.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I'm in a similar situation. My car has 118,000 miles on it and is now in the shop. It was diagnosed as having a bad transmission yesterday. The trade in value of the car is about the same as the cost of the repair. The car is only on its second set of brakes, so those will need replacing soon (the car is a highway car, I don't really do much city driving. Its used primarillay to cruise up to the Cabin on weekends).

    So I'm donating the car to charity motors, and even with the bad trans the blue book value is about $4,300 (irs regulations) so I will get a nice tax deduction next year, someone will get a car that they can use to get to work with a little work, and my favorite charity will get a check.

    Now I am stuck. I need a car as our mass transit system is terrible, but our car insurance is the highest in america. The old car served me well, but the though of having to insure a newer car is enough to frighten anyone. Car insurance is as high as $5,000 a year in some neighborhoods (thanks to the old governors lack of regulating our providers and refusal to look into complaints about gouging).

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    I agree that you should hold onto the car for now, making the minimum required repairs while you decide what to do later. Your absolute first priority should be the tires. Bald or unevenly-worn tires are dangerous, especially on the highway and in the rain. The A/C is a major expense. You might want to determine the resale value of your car using www.kellybluebook.com - it asks detailed questions about the condidion of the car and gives you a pretty accurate reading, both for private sale and for dealer trade-in - before you commit to spending the money on fixing the A/C, because there's a chance that your entire car may be worth less than the cost of the repair!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian geobandito's avatar
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    I was in a similar situation a few years ago with my 1988 Accord; it needed a new transmission. At that time, it had about 150,000 miles, but it was a very reliable car. We thought about selling it, but decided to make the $1,500 investment to get a rebuilt transmission. I think it was a good choice. We recently sold it to a friend because we had a chance to get my GF's grandma's newer car and it's still going strong with almost 190,000 miles.

    I think your decision would depend on what kind of shape it's in otherwise. Is it generally reliable? You can get a good car for $2000 (I sold mine for $1400), but it's kind of a crapshoot.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    You might even be able to sell your car to some kid who is just getting their drivers license for several hundred next spring, and that will aid in paying for a nice, used car.

    If you do get a car for about $,2000 keep saving up, sell that car for $1,800 to $2,200 and with more savings, you can keep up grading every year or two until you have the car of your dreams, and it be fully paid for.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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