Should You Replace Your Old Clunker?

February 18, 2013

1998 Toyota Camry V6A lot of people with rusty old vehicles encounter this question everyday. When should you stop fixing your car and just buy a new one?

I’m in this predicament right now. My car is a 1998 Toyota Camry V6 with 180K miles. Here is a picture of my car that I took today. It could use a nice wash but overall the car is in good condition.

However, there are some things that will need attention in the near future.

First, my car failed New Jersey state inspection (notice the red sticker on the windshield) because of a bad catalytic converter. Cost to replace it is about 600 dollars, ouch.

Second, my exhaust system has a big hole in it and is rusting away. Cost for replacement is about 500 dollars.

Third, the timing belt needs replacing because it’s been over 100K miles since it was last changed. This will set me back another 500 dollars.

Last but not least, the car will need four new tires and an alignment. I’d say this will cost around 400 dollars.

So the total damage comes out to be $2000.

Now I should say that my engine and transmission is in very good condition and should be able to get at least another 50K miles out of it.

I’m leaning towards keeping the car and getting it fixed. I figure for two grand my car will be almost as good as new.

I’ll probably be able to drive the car for at least two more years with just basic maintenance. That will save me a lot of money.

Have you ever been in a similar situation and what decision did you make?

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