Remember how I said we’d be paying $500 for our deductible? Things just got a bit more complicated.
Apparently, there was frame damage. After parts and labor, the cost of the work comes in just $500 shy of totaling the car.
So our options are:
- Do the repairs and hope that a 100,000+ mile 2007 Mercury Montego lasts a few more years.
- Get a used car for closer to $3,000-7,5000. (The amount of the check plus the amount of the car fund) And a trade-in value for the car of around $1,500.
- Dip into savings some and just put about $10,000-15,000 on the car we were saving for: Dodge Challenger
- Get a low-end new car to avoid large payments and/or long repayment period.
We’ve pretty much ruled out the repair. The mechanic advised us to take the money and use the car as a trade-in. Once the repairs are done, he said, the value of the car drops significantly. If anything else were to happen, it’d probably be worth half as much. And when the mechanic tells you to cut and run…
The second option brings in worries about used cars. The mechanic begged us to bring in any car we’re seriously considering. They do inspections for free, which is pretty darn awesome. Still, a car that’s around $7,500 (or less) is going to be older. And just because there’s nothing major wrong now, doesn’t mean that things might not start wearing out very quickly.
The third option. Well, savings are pretty much just “Tim’s dental implants” fund. So dipping into that or the emergency fund worries me.
There’s a good chance I’ll get a bonus again this year at work (I have every other year), but I refuse to rely on that. Especially because the amount varies year to year. This past year’s — while still crazy generous — was less than the year before. So I can’t rely on anything to magically refill savings. Which isn’t high enough as it is.
The fourth option would avoid the uncertainty of a used car. But then Tim’s going to wait several more years before we even have a down payment for a Challenger. Not that a $10,000 price difference is anything to sneeze at, but how much sense does it make to buy a $16,000 (if we’re lucky!) new car and then start saving all over again (in and around car payments) for a $25,000 car? Probably a lot of sense, but it doesn’t feel like it while my head is spinning.
Oh, and of course this all comes as we’re trying to get ready for our trips. But if we wait until after the trip is over, we’ll spend another one or two weeks looking, adding at least another $113 to the overall bill.
In the end, I’m guessing we’ll end up going for the used car option. Though of course I’ll be freaked out waiting for something to go wrong. I asked the mechanic for suggestions, and he said Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are good on gas mileage and sturdy little things. But any other brand suggestions are greatly appreciated.
I guess tonight we’ll go poke around some car lots to at least get an idea of what we’d be paying for a new car. That should help direct me to a used lot.