Wednesday, July 3, 2019

When is it time to upgrade?

It's July 3, the evening before our Independence Day, and many are out celebrating or attending the big fireworks celebration downtown. I however will be asleep soon. Stress wears me out.

What am I stressing out about? My stupid car. It's latest issue is a busted radiator. Lucky for me, the parts are less than $100 and the boyfriend can fix it. So it could be much worse. But it wasn't fun seeing the heat gauge max out this morning. It was even less fun trying to drive it home and pulling over three times on the five mile ride home to let it cool off. Not to mention the boyfriend had to come check it out mid-way because I was freaking out thinking my car might explode.

Photo: Carlyle Ellis Photography/Human Quotient
Having the radiator go out isn't unexpected given that my Honda Civic is 19 years old. I mean, how long is a car supposed to last anyway? It does only have 135,000 miles, but as a mechanic friend warned me a few years ago, all of its parts, gaskets, seals, etc. will fail start failing soon.

A lot of things have already broken and already been replace by the boyfriend. He's saved me tons in labor and aggravation over the years (thanks, honey!). So when should I just call it quits?

I came close to doing so last summer. I went car shopping. Narrowed down the make and model to a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. But I was underwhelmed and if I'm going to spend $15-20k, shouldn't I be a little excited about what I'm buying?

I'm also overwhelmed by the options. SUV or car? If I care about the environment, does that mean I should invest more and get a hybrid or electric?

Another problem is I want the latest safety features for a three-year-old-car price. Not gonna happen. In the meantime, my boyfriend spruced up the Civic, painted the peeling trim and plastic hubcaps, and found a deal on tires.

Suddenly it didn't look so bad.

Plus, there's the cost. I haven't had a car payment in 16 years and pay $280/year for insurance. I definitely like that part.

However, I don't like worrying about how I'm getting my broken down car home or how long it will be out of commission. Or having the boyfriend have to spend time fixing it on his limited time off or in winter. And taking long trips in it feels like a gamble.

He says this isn't a big deal and there's not much else that can go bad since most things have been replaced ... except the clutch.

So should it stay or should it go? I can't decide.

What's the oldest vehicle you've had? How do you decide when it's time for a new one?


  1. I hear you-- I'd been having that same conversation with myself for years before finally biting the bullet and buying a new car this summer. My car was only 15 years old but it was also a Hyundai Accent, which was literally the cheapest new car available 15 years ago. I was fine with the car, but I was getting increasingly not fine with it being in the shop for a week every month or two. Even if the repairs were relatively cheap. (The new owner has gone a month without needing a repair, but...) It was literally succumbing to plastic fatigue. What finally tripped it I think was two repairs in close succession (though I'd been saving up for a new car for a few years as it started spending more time in the shop).

    I do love my new Honda Insight! (Basically a Honda Civic Hybrid, but with a fancier name.)

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I have been reading your car shopping saga and honestly it made me glad I didn't have to go through that yet.

      I'm really lucky that the boyfriend has been able to fix almost all my car issues, so it's not been out of commission long when things happen. But it still sucks never knowing when your car might break down and I hate that he then spends hours buying and picking up parts and fixing it. And it REALLY sucks when something breaks in winter. I think it's been about 8 months since the last issue. Two in close proximity would probably make me start shopping. I was ready to on Wednesday except that summer is such a terrible time price-wise and he talked me off the ledge. :)


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