Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's More Than a Hummer, Beemer or Mercedes? Why We Ditched Our Old Car

The Repair-or-Replace Matrix for our old mini-van was off the track! I crunched the numbers: We could have been driving around in a Hummer, Beemer ( see photo) or Mercedes based on our 12-month auto repair bill.
Our so-called frugal repairs on our paid-for car were more than the lease bill for a luxury vehicle. So after a recent fender-bender, we ditched our old car and purchased a replacement: a later model mini-van in excellent condition!
Here are the numbers: In the last 12 months, we've faced a steady money leak, with a total repair bill of $3,500. That figure is very conservative and does not include smaller repairs. After each big-ticket repair, we figured: This is the fix that will keep this car running forever. Ha!

We were delusional. We were penny smart and pound foolish. I visited (just to get prices) and here's what we could have snapped up for $291 a month, which is the conservative cost of our repairs.
2006 Chevrolet Malibu SS : $191 per month
2006 BMW 325i Sedan: $266 per month
2005 Mini Cooper S Styles Convertible: $271 per month
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4WD: $279 per month
2006 Hummer H3 Sport Series: $282 per month.
2005 Mercedes CLK320 Coupe: $299
And there were other tempting deals. But the bottom line: At a certain point, the repair-reward matrix of old cars no longer makes sense.
For tomorrow, I plan to post a piece based on a Consumer Reports-affiliated report about when to replace and when to repair an old car.
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