Thursday, February 14, 2008

Table Topics - Cars

What a week this has been! On top of the largest snow storm in three years trapping me at home for two days, my weekend included the death of my car. We'll call her "Blanche"...she's a Gold Malibu...and kinda sassy, like Blanche on the Golden Girls. After my friend Beth's Baby Shower Extravaganza on Saturday, I came out to a car that wouldn't start. I'll save you the laborious details of hitching rides, calling AAA, following Ed the tow truck guy to the gas station, and the resurrection of the car Sunday afternoon. It was a short-lived resuscitation.

Monday morning on my way to work, my temperature gauge began rising. And rising. And rising. And then it hit the top level causing the red indicator to come on and beep. I knew I was in trouble. Although I hadn't made it to work, I almost had and decided to turn around and head to the repair shop. I prayed all the way there as the car shook some and then gave a "cough" and leveled out for a bit. Thankfully I made it to the shop in one piece.

I've always been attached to my cars...well, not all, but some. The cars I'm least attached to are the ones I've had to buy when the current beloved car I'm driving is on its last wheel. I end up having to get another car at a time when I'm not emotionally or financially ready to do that. Blanche is one of those replacement cars. My beloved Blue Boomobile (A blue Malibu) was dying a slow death and my faithful mechanic kneeled at my feet one day and broke the news to me. "You need to start looking for another car." Sigh. Bye Bye Boo.

I've had Blanche about 3 or 4 years and after this recent event, I'm beginning to plan for my next ride. In the past 2.5 years, I've had to replace a fuel injector ($600) and this repair was the intake manifold and a bunch of other things related to that totaling $780. Every time I have to plunk down that kind of cash on a car, I begin to weigh the option of getting a new one or sticking it out a little bit longer.

That leads us to our Table Topic today - When do you decide it's time for a new car?

I'm not driving to the car lot today to look for a new car. I have some other purchases I need to make before a car is considered. Plus, unless it totally dies, I'm not at a place to engage in a discussion about a new vehicle...or at least new to me. But I am curious your thoughts on this topic. And, a bonus follow up question....what car would you recommend that will last a long time? I'm pretty much over these cars that start konking out at 90,000 miles.


mamatutwo said...

Oh, oh, oh....that car issue...we have a Honday Odyssey that we bought because it should last a really long time. Approaching 125K, and it's been a really good one. But when do you know? I guess for us when it absolutely konks out, and the repairs are too expensive. We will not buy new again, but almost new. Honda is good...also, the Kia van is good; I don't know about the other Kia models.
Thanks for visiting my blog! I love yours!

Erin Nicole said...

i just purchased a 2006 hyundai elantra. the 60K bumper to bumper was transferable and the price was very nice. :)
i like drivin it -- good reliable car.

Amy said...

Toyota! Do you remember my first car? The little green Corolla? Well, I didn't even know you had to change oil in a car when I had that one. When I traded it in (with nearly 180,000 miles) because we needed a bigger one, the guys said, "I think this is the original air filter." Whoops! But never had an issue. Our Camry has never been to the shop, either, except for routine stuff, oil changes, and it has 140,000 miles.

The Miersma Family said...

i say that you could be on the "look-out" so to speak for a different car and if you find a deal then go for it! in the meantime you can slowly begin saying goodbye to blanche! nice name by the way, i sure like the golden girls! :)

also i would strongly recommend toyotas or hondas! my family has been buying toyotas for years and they have really impressive lifespans! nick and i have two right now: a 95 camry (we are the third in my extended family to own this particular ride and it was given to us) that has amazingly low mileage for its age - approaching 100,000 (my step-mom only drove 2 miles to work and it'd never been on a long distance trip until driving from texas to our lovely home here in kentucky). and we also have a 98 4runner. it was given to us last year by nick's has nearly 140,000 and runs like a charm!

on a similiar note, james tieman is a mechanic for toyota, so you could always ask his take on them or if you decide to buy one you couls always go to him for any repairs you may have!

other than the typical upkeep cost, i have consistently seen the older toyota camrys (75,000-100,000) in my extended family need new radiators, mounts for the engines, shocks, and brakes...but all in all, camrys are great little cars that get good gas mileage, are nice and roomy, provide a comfy ride, and are very dependable!

Alisa said...

We average putting 20,000+ miles on our cars each year, so about the time one is paid off, another one is sputtering its last. My little Escort ("Shady Lady") saw over 200,000. Our Focus is just a little under 150,000 and the new (2007) Yaris has 38,000!!! So the answer for us is the same as Mamatutwo - when they quit and the repair bill exceeds the cost/benefit ratio! The Yaris is our first Toyota and we are loving it. ('Course maybe it's just the 40 mpg we are loving...)

Rebekah said...

My parents always told us to drive it until it's not worth driving anymore. If it costs more to fix than the car is worth, it's time to start looking for a new one.

And when it is time to look, definitely keep Honda in mind. My dad always tells me that Hondas will go for 200,000-250,000 miles with few problems. I know someone with a 1989 Accord that has close to 325,000 miles on it and it's still running great.

Anna (Phillips) Gibson said...

I agree with the Toyota fans out there. I have always driven a Toyota (gradually graduating up...Tercel to Corolla to Camry) and I have never really had any car problems. My current Camry has 160,000 miles on it and it still runs like a dream. All of my Toyota's have been used too so they came a bit cheaper. My father currently drives a Toyota truck (that he bought new) that works hard in our orange grove daily and it has almost 250,000 miles on it and it shows no signs of stopping or having problems. I'll be praying for you as you make these big decisions...I know they can be stressful!

Jules said...

Hey Rose Petal,

I have to echo the raves about Toyota...we have two, and they have both served us very well! I will also tell you that I had, years ago, a Nissan Maxima, and literally---I drove it to death. It had nearly 200,000 miles on it...50K of which was already on it when I got it. I had it for nearly 10 years, and it was 4 or 5 years ago when I got it. We then had a Dodge Caravan which was a JOKE, and switched over to Toyota (Missy--from high school--her Dad hooked us up with the Toyotas...but he's since retired...). I cannot tell you how happy we are with them!! Also, my Mom had a Camry for 10 years, and then got a Sienna, now has an Avalon, but wants to go back to a Sienna for the space. Good luck!! Let us know what you do!

Tiemans said...


Can I just add to what Jenn M. said? This is Heather Tieman, James the Toyota mechanic's wife and he would say...Toyota all the way! We've owned several and they tend to last well over 200,000 miles with little to no repair...if you take care of it! And there is also the bonus of knowing a Toyota mechanic;-).
We currently own a '97(?) Camry with around 170,000 miles and would gladly own 2 Toyotas if we could fit the all of the kids into it one of them! Alas, they do not make Toyotas big enough for a family of eight to spread out in

Liz said...

Rose - I have dubbed my car "The Little Engine that Could" because it just keeps going with minimal repairs. So - I am all about Mazdas . . . but get somthing sporty (you deserve it!). ;)