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Replacing car

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      ???  Any suggestions for a Senior who needs to upgrade present car?  Have very little to spend each month and no savings to fall back on.  Would appreciate any input!  Thanks.


        Many Seniors buy a relatively new small-medium car that will last until they don’t need it anymore or can no longer drive. A smaller car uses less fuel plus without a family to carry, you don’t really need a full-sized family sedan. A Japanese car will often be more reliable than a locally made car and you have less of a worry about repair bills. That being said, you really need to consider your budget, your plans for the future; eg. will it be your last car; and the use for your vehicle.


          To quote a recent auto tip column in our Sunday paper….
          It’s ALWAYS cheaper to drive an older car!

          For those who disagree….which is cheaper…a small
          payment for repairs or a BIG new car payment?

          I’m driving a 1983 Chevrolet Impala. I’m NOT trying to impress anyone! If the motor or transmission goes out I’ll
          buy another USED car, not a new one. For me, a car is to
          take me from point A  to point B. If I need to drive a long
          distance, such as a vacation, I’ll rent a car!

                                                     Bill R.


             My car has 213,000 miles on it. We’ve had some transmission work done and I just had a driver’s side CV boot and axle replaced. Other than a paint job a few years ago and some work on the transmission, no major repairs. I do change the oil every 3,000 miles and the engine is very quiet. It does use a quart of oil with each oil change, but I can deal with that.
             When we bought the car, we also bought the life and disability insurance. Two months later, my husband went on disability and the car was paid off by the insurance.I’ve been told to never take the insurance but that is the second time I’ve heard of someone using the insurance.
             I’m going to drive my car as long as I can find parts. I do have a wonderful mechanic who can diagnose a problem, fix it in one day and I have no further problems. I’ve used him for over 15 years. He is honest and knows what he is doing.
             My opinion, keep the old car. One repair on my car is only 1/2 of what a car payment would be per month.


              Bill R,

              Each case needs to be analysed in a case by case scenario.  Normally (90% of the time) driving a used car is cheaper than buying new.
              I had a Dodge Daytona 88 that I bought for $1150, in 4 months I spent about $3500 in repairs (blown head gasket, injectors and other repairs).
              It was a clear title, but could it be possible that it was salvage at some time?…hence the cheap price of $1150.
              In my evaluation it cost more to repair than car payments would have cost.  
              On the other hand right now I have a suzuki samurai 88 that I’ve spent $350 in 1.5 years that I’ve had it.
              I think like you mentioned the key to driving inexpensively depends on problems you can forsee.  If you notice you are leaking oil from the transmission and know it will be a costly repair, sell the car for whatever you can get for it and but another used car that you can’t find any major problems with.  Because I don’t mind changing an alternator but the moment I have to take it to the shop for something big=financial ruin.
              What have your experiences been with reliable vehicles?
              So far the worst luck I’ve had with vehicles are with Chryslers, and the best with Nissan, Mazda and Toyota’s.


                Go to your library and look in the Consumer Reports Buyers guides for the last several years and see what cars have the highest ratings on reliability.  Then look for these cars in the classifieds and small independent used car dealerships.  Find a trustworthy mechanic who will go with you on a test drive.  From just riding in the car, he should be able to tell if there are any serious problems.

                I’ve had several used cars, starting with a 91 Geo Metro, which I wish I still had, I sold it rather than doing minor repairs.  I heard it was still running with over 250,000 miles.  I currently have a 94 Geo Metro sedan, which I bought new, and have spent less than $1000 in repairs and it has 160,000 miles on it.  I expect to have it for several more years.  I also have a 97 Lincoln Town Car in excellent shape with years of life in it.  It was bought used, for a tenth of what they cost new.  Even if I have to several thousand a year, it will be cheaper in the long run than buying a new car.

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