Author Topic: Can you advise me on buying a car or keeping my current one?  (Read 1570 times)

Mustache Fatty

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Can you advise me on buying a car or keeping my current one?
« on: November 13, 2015, 11:17:16 PM »
Somehow, I have made it my entire life without ever actually searching for an appropriate car to purchase myself.  I've paid for them all, but I've never actually shopped for a car before.  They've all been family hand-me-downs or "steals" that my family members have found for me, purchased for me, and delivered to me.  My role was only to hand the family member the amount of the purchase price and to thank him profusely for his effort on my behalf.  That type of situation is no more.

Fast forward to now and I have a 2002 Toyota Highlander (originally delivered to me by my father about 9 years ago when it had 110k miles on it; Now it has 273,000).  It still runs perfectly fine, but some windows won't come down any more, the headlight lamps are fogged over, the A/C is permanently stuck on one setting, a couple seats are ripped, the visors won't stay up, etc., but we are mainly just concerned about the high mileage.  We are assuming that this means its inherent safety is compromised (is it?).  With that backdrop, I recently started looking at how much a low miles (<80k) SUV or minivan would cost and got some sticker shock.  I thought that I could sell the Highlander for $3k (my mechanic offered this) and then add $5k cash and get an older, reliable, and somewhat low miles SUV or minivan but I am not seeing decent options in this range, at least in my area.

I suppose my question is two-fold: 1) What are our realistic options?  My wife says she must have an SUV or a minivan, but what she really requires is the space these vehicles provide.  She agrees that 90% of the time her needs could be filled by a car.  However, I would also have to agree that a full 10% of the time (and most of the miles driven) is spent with a full load of luggage in the back and in the back seat.  The amount exceeds what we could put in our other car (1999 Lexus), so I have been exclusively shopping for SUVs or mini-vans up to this point.  However, am I missing out on a 3rd, cheaper, option that might also give us the amount of space required? (Note: realistically, we would never pull a trailer or use a luggage rack regularly).

2) Should we just keep the Highlander?  For instance, is it a legitimate option to just take the $5k that I would like to put into a newer, low mileage SUV and instead just spend it on fixing all of the current (little) things wrong with the car, getting a new (rebuilt) engine put in, getting a new transmission, having it detailed, etc and saying to my wife, "look, Honey, this Highlander is as good as new now!"  In other words, the big worry is that the car is so old that we'll be on the side of the road one day with a blown engine or some other problem and completely overhauling the Highlander would seemingly solve that problem.  Of course, if I did that I'd be investing $5k into a car worth only $3k.....

I suppose I am looking for advice on how to proceed.  When I ask family members, they pretty much tell me that it is time to get a replacement SUV and that I need to plan on paying much more than $8k to get something that would fit our needs.  Any guidance would be very much appreciated!


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Re: Can you advise me on buying a car or keeping my current one?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2015, 12:08:00 AM »
If you vacation with it to far off locales, then I agree something has to be done.  If I were hunting for a vehicle, my first steps would be asking around, and searching out senior parks.  Vehicles sold off when a senior is no longer able to drive, or dies, can be a real bargain.