Author Topic: To sell car or not to sell?  (Read 2483 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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To sell car or not to sell?
« on: September 11, 2014, 07:14:34 PM »
First time poster here. I need to tap into the wise Mustachian (is that how you spell it?) community for some advice.

I have a 1997 Honda Accord sedan with approximately 162,000 miles on it. It needs a new radiator, spark plugs, and muffler, and has a small but substantial oil leak. The car gets about 26-27 mpg on my 22 mile round trip commute (going up and back on Arapahoe road in the "city" of Centennial, CO).  I've never had any major mechanical problems, and I'm pretty sure the car could get to 200,000.

As I've considered doing the needed repairs (myself, of course!), the thought has crossed my mind if it would be better to cut my losses and sell the car right now. Blue Book estimates $1,500-2,000 for that model year/mileage. I have enough cash to buy something in the $7,000 range without selling and would prefer to stay at that amount if I did buy something.

What do you all think? Would you keep the Honda, or buy something with better gas mileage? I've seen the Nissan Versa hatchback in my price range and have been giving it serious consideration.


  • Walrus Stache
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  • Location: Arizona
Re: To sell car or not to sell?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2014, 08:15:45 PM »
The fuel economy improvement from upgrading to a Nissan Versa should save you about $100-150 per year. The lost opportunity cost of $5,000 is worth $350 per year (assumes 7%). Insurance and registration are likely to be a little higher as well, but should be small enough to ignore. There is also a bit more depreciation to consider. So the newer car would possibly be costing an extra $400-500 a year. If this is less than the expected recuring repair costs of the Accord then it would make sense financially.

There are other considerations to think about as well. A newer car should be less likely to leave you stranded and safer in an accident.

Do you work on your car yourself? That tends to keep repair costs reasonable and would tip the scales a bit in favor of an older, cheaper car. Spark plugs are typically easy to change and are a regular wear item that you'll be eventually be dealing with even on a newer car. I've changed a few radiators before and it was actually much easier than I expected. I've never dealt with exhaust systems, but depending on your arsenal of tools and confidence the muffler could also be doable. The oil leak is what would worry me the most.

I don't think there is a wrong choice here. It might just come down to your perception of the Accord's continued reliability and potential future repairs.