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:
- Hotel $aturn invites locally-based mouse. Mouse does significant localized damage.
- Suddenly tidal antifreeze migrates to the passenger’s side of the cabin.
- 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?