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Time for a "new" car :(

November 10th, 2011 at 05:29 pm

I took my wife's van in for service today. It needed an oil change and I also knew one of the window motors needed to be replaced so I was expecting a big bill. But then 2 days ago, the check engine light came on. I know many different things can cause that.

Turned out that two sensor banks were bad related to emissions. So the sensors and the emissions stuff all needed work. Also needs spark plugs, rear brakes and a couple of other things. All together, the work would come to over $2,000.

The van is a 2000 and has about 140,000 miles. I think putting that kind of money out at this point is going down a costly slope. I wasn't expecting to keep it much past 150K anyway. I just thought it would make it through the winter at least.

So time to start hunting. I'll scour the web this weekend. We'd like another Sienna but I don't know if I want to spend that much, especially since my car is even older and we don't know when that'll die.

11 Responses to “Time for a "new" car :(”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Good luck with your vehicle search.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    Is there a particular reason you believe the van will start going downhill mechanically at 150k miles? I ask because I think Toyotas generally do much better than that.

    Happy car hunting.

  3. disneysteve Says:

    There are various components, like these sensors and window motors, that have a finite lifespan. They are expensive to replace. I've got a 1998 Toyota and I've already replaced 2 of the 4 window motors. They only last a certain amount of time. It isn't bad or wrong - it is expected. I just think we've reached that point when multiple things will start failing in short order resulting in repair bills that exceed the value of the vehicle. The van is only worth about $4,000. Spending $2,500 to fix it this time only to have something else come along 6 months from now doesn't sound like such a good idea.

  4. Ima saver Says:

    I agree with you Steve!

  5. dmontngrey Says:

    Ouch. At least you knew this was coming eventually. Sorry it happened sooner than later. Frown

  6. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    When my toyota starts to die I won't be pouring money in either. Learned the hard way the last car we owned. If it's 10 years old it's had a great run and it's time to let it go. It starts to nickel and dime you to death in between the major repairs.

  7. Jerry Says:

    I just love the fact that you are a physician and you drive a sensible vehicle. I know a lot of people who went nutso in residency and bought a new "doctor car" and lead themselves into financial straits before they were even able to start practice... not to mention the insurance on those kinds of cars! Kudos to you, Dr. Disney-Steve. Smile Jerry

  8. disneysteve Says:

    Thanks, Jerry. We do pretty much everything sensibly. We never bought into the "doctor" lifestyle. My personal car is actually 2 years older than my wife's. I've got a 1998 Camry that I bought used in August 1998 (was a dealer demo). So no high end vehicles in our house.

  9. photo Says:

    $2,000 sounds like a lot of money, but if it holds you for a few more years, it will ultimately be a lot cheaper than a newer car (+ more expensive insurance). We have a 1994 Chrysler mini-van and two years ago spent $2,000 on repairs, and it's still running well at 192,000 miles.

    You might want to ask the mechanic if he sees anything else major that may be up for repair soon. If there's nothing, then that 2 grand may be money well spent.

    A Toyota should last much longer.

  10. disneysteve Says:

    I wanted to update this (not that anyone will see it).

    I procrastinated doing anything about the van for a few weeks and finally took it to a new independent mechanic. They checked everything and they were able to replace the window motor and take care of the stuff that caused the check engine light to come on for a grand total of $540. That was an amount I was willing to spend. So we had the work done and everything has been fine. So no "new" car for us quite yet.

  11. dmontngrey Says:

    That's great news! Yes, we still see this. Smile

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