When is it time to sell your old car

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How to Know When It Is Time to Get Rid of Your Car

It is sometimes difficult to give up but that old or, not so old car. If you don’t sell it in time it can cost you a fortune in repair costs pretty quickly. So when is it really time to say goodby?

Here is an article where my husband and I will never agree.

At some point you have to determine if you should cut your losses and sell that car before it becomes a mechanics dream and your nightmare.

I have decided to sell the 2000 Plymouth Neon car that I bought at auction a year ago before it begins to cost me a fortune, and he thinks I should have kept it.

Let me tell you my thoughts on this issue and let you make your own decision.

Over the years I have bought and sold many cars. Not in any effort to make any money selling cars, but rather because I have not really been able to afford to pay a whole lot for a good car and end up with…. well you know…. somebody else’s nightmare! When you really don’t have allot to spend on a car and can not afford to buy a new one, you usually end up at some point with a Mechanics Dream AKA Your Nightmare.
So when do you decide to get rid of that car?

Well, my last car before this one was a 1989 Berretta it was used of course and had over 100,000 miles on it but hey it ran great, had allot of power and got me from point A to point B. The Air Conditioner didn’t work but hey, at least it ran!
For a while anyway…
First the ignition broke… there went $250 seemed like a fluke, after all who ever heard of an ignition breaking… couldn’t get the darned key out and it wouldn’t turn so I couldn’t shut the car off…
Then, the mechanic found that the front breaks were metal to metal… wow, they never gave me any indication that they were bad, no grinding, squealing, grating, you know all the sounds breaks make when they are getting bad… that’s basic maintenance right… ok there went another $200. Then the water pump let go, sent water flying all over the place… hmm another couple a hundred dollars… Finally when I had to drive all over hell and back it happened! Just as I got to my friends house the car lost power, still ran but man what a dog it became… not at all like my little zippy car! Called the tow truck and the driver thought I was kidding… till I asked him to drive it a short distance… he towed me home without another word… Sold the car for $500! The mechanic made all the money on that one!

On to my latest car. 2000 Plymouth Neon 82,000 miles when I bought it at auction for $1400. It was a meter maid car and still had those flashing amber lights that we often call a bubble gum machine… and a huge spotlight. Well I sold the spotlight and the bubble gum machine on ebay for almost $200 plus shipping. But it cost me $300 to get the holes on the roof fixed, and the roof repainted. The shop did an awesome job, you would never know that those holes were there! so now I am into this car for $1500. I figure I have done well so far since the Kelly Bluebook for this car is $3900. So far so good. Then I find a performance module on ebay for $15 plus shipping and decide it could use a cool decal of a purple dragon head for another $17. Routine maintenance done include oil changes, front end alignment, radiator flush, new front tires. The radio is good and the air conditioning and heater really cranks so, so far so good. Till I drop my hubby off at work only to find I have no more Automatic Transmission Fluid left! Now I begin to get worried and call a tow truck to take my baby car home… I find out that my car has been in an accident and that the frame had been damaged and straightened! The frame cut through the transmission line so now the transmission shop has to build a bracket to prevent the frame from cutting it again… No wonder when I turn the front end makes a clicking noise!

Ok, now I have found out that my 2000 Plymouth neon has been in an accident and that the frame was tweaked but straightened and this somehow caused the transmission line to be cut through… I have the performance module in the car, it tricks the brain into thinking that the outside air temperature is optimal at 50 some degrees. because I do not have as tight a connection as I think I should the check engine light comes on occasionally but it does go off after a while. then the battery charging circuit light comes on so I pop the hood figuring I have a loose connection but instead I notice that my battery has been leaking acid which is obvious by the crystals left on top of the battery. I check the belts and everything seems fine, but now I notice oil is saturating the #2 spark plug wire and wire boot! So I pull the wire and notice oil is not only covering the outside of the boot but it is also dripping inside where it clips onto the spark plug! So I take it to a mechanic recommended by my father in law who quotes me $3000+ for repairs! I go over to auto zone and have them check out my charging circuit and they confirm that the Alternator is marginal and putting out 13.77 volts to my battery, he also notices the oil and says that I need the valve cover gasket replaced but in this car you also must remove the intake manifold as well… Now I figure that if I were to have the repairs done they would cost close to what the car is worth and who knows what they may find once they get that valve cover off!!! They both feel that the oil leak is really what is causing the check engine light to come on now but I do not want to pay for a diagnostic again which may still tell me it is the air temperature sensor.

So I figure I should cut my losses and sell the car. I get home and guess what… both trouble lights are no longer on! So I still remove the performance module and reconnect the air temperature sensor since this has caused the engine light to come on in the past just in case.
Now hubby and my father in law say that I should not sell the car, they say that the oil was caused by me adding oil and spilling some into the spark plug guide… nope, I used a funnel! and that since the car SEEMS to be running just fine I should keep on driving it…
Well having been down that road before I plan on cutting my losses and trying to sell the car for $2500 and then going back to the auction and buying a better car with lower mileage…

This time despite what my family says I think I made the right choice to cut my losses by knowing when it is time to get rid of your car before it becomes a Mechanics Dream!

Tips & Warnings

  • be mindful of the market value of your car in good and excellent condition by using Kelly blue book values for your area. This will help you determine when it may be time to sell
  • Don’t get too attached to a used car or you will miss your window of opportunity, before you really loose money
  • find a mechanic you trust
  • keep up with oil changes and tune ups as these will extend the life of your car
  • Once you start spending money on maintaining a used care above and beyond routine maintenance it is time to consider your options
  • Alternators, smog pumps, and air conditioning repairs are all good indicators that it may be time to consider getting rid of that car before it becomes a mechanics dream.
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