Thursday, December 13, 2007

Permanently Parked: How & When to Ditch the Old Car

Our old car is now scrap metal and spare parts. We parked the mini-van forever after repairs totaled more than a lease for a BMW. Here's a short guide for ditching your car from ShopSmart's December/January 2008 issue.

When to Ditch the Car:

1. Repairs vs market value. Check the market value of your car. When repairs exceed market value, it's time to permanently park the old car.

2. Look for rust spots. If the floor or the frame are really rusty, this damage "can compromise its structural integrity," according to ShopSmart.

3. Unreliability. I have a friend who drove her car on prayers. The vehicle had become so undependable (and potentially dangerous) that the family prayed while driving.

4. Serious damage. After a flood or serious accident, a car may be fundamentally stalled.

source: ShopSmart --a Consumer Reports publication

My extra cash tip: In good faith, we really couldn't sell our car to another family and the trade-in value was a joke. But it's possible to sell an old clunker for spare parts. Some shops will buy old cars for $250 to $300. It isn't much, but instead of paying to get our car towed away (after a fender-bender), we earned a little extra cash and the chop-shop buyer came to pick up our otherwise worthless car.

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Marcus Aurelius said...

My first car post-UAE was one of these from the start. I bought it with 125,000 miles (or so) and it was one repair after another. Starter, U-joints, alternator (easy, one a buddy and myself were able to change in less than one hour), axles, ball joints, transmissions etc. Each repair I hoped and prayed would be it for a while, but it never was.

Then one sunny day my wife and I were returning from church and she hit a deer. We were okay, the deer was not, and shortly thereafter the insurance company purchased our vehicle! Yeah!

Our next car is an '02 impala with 24,000 and now about 100,000 miles later we have had two repairs I consider to be significant and the first one we had money saved JUST for such a contingency (what a wonderful feeling not having to dip into our main savings or not putting the repair on a credit card). We just had a repair done on that car and it continues to serve us well.

Frugal Duchess said...


My goal is to budget for car repairs: Just to stash away something every month for the inevitable breakdowns.

Continue to enjoy your car and thanks so much for your comments.
You add so much to the blog.
Best Wishes,