Michael on June 5th, 2008
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I recently wrote of the problems my Saturn was giving me. Ironically, the car drives fine; it’s just that it keeps asking for money. Even though it’s a relatively low mileage (77K) car for its not overly advanced age (7 years), I’ve had three major ordeals since the beginning of the year:

  1. Hotel $aturn invites locally-based mouse. Mouse does significant localized damage.
  2. Suddenly tidal antifreeze migrates to the passenger’s side of the cabin.
  3. Air conditioner stops working. It’s not too hot yet. Is this all just a test?

In a climate like New Hampshire’s you could make a decent argument that air conditioning is optional, especially when the potential repair is costly.

You: Did you make that argument?

No. I said you might be able to make the argument, but not if you have two young kids, like I do, and this is their only ride. So I just spent a tad over $700 to get the AC fixed. That’s because they found the leak and (of course!) it was in the compressor, making it the most expensive fix possible.

I did print out a competitor’s coupon and got my mechanic to honor it in advance so that I got the repair done at a reputable place at somewhat of a discount. But I still hated the expense. So it was pretty funny when I saw a WSJ column yesterday about one couple’s conversations about spending money maintaining an old car versus getting a newer (but not necessarily new) one.

My philosophy, which I stole from a auto dealer district sales manager a couple of years ago, is the following: the best car to get is the one you already own. Still, the year 2008 is pushing my faith in my $aturn. If I’m done with major car expenses for several months let alone a few more years, all is good. But if the transmission goes in August, I might lose it. And $aturn might have to go back to its home planet.

When do you make the move to dump the existing car for a newer one?

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One Comment to “Dear $aturn: will you love me tomorrow?”

  1. Mary Sue says:

    I’ve decided when my car goes kablooey, which it will eventually, I’m not buying a new car. But I live in an urban paradise that boasts excellent public transit and a bike culture.

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