When should I replace an old car?

car service comic

I am trying to decide if I should replace an old car. It is a 2009 Lexus RX 350 and it has had some pros/cons for me.

First, the blue book value is about $8k. That means that in an accident it would probably be totaled. It also means that some repairs may not be worth it, one of which I am doing right now. I have decided if it has an excessive amount of rust that I won’t invest any more to keep it running and probably buy a Honda Pilot instead.

Why a Pilot? I never had a Honda before and I like what I researched about its reliability. I also like the flexibility of the space inside. That is my backup plan. However, I have been thinking about this for years and I’m still not sold on buying a new car.

car service comic
car service comic

Why? For one reason I don’t think the car’s useful life has been reached. The car mechanic shared that the owner of the shop has a 2002 same model and it has over 200k miles. Mine is about 181 or so. I want a car that is reliable and safe, and for the most part, this car has been that.

The painful part of owning this car is that at times it requires expensive repairs. So naturally I wonder to myself, am I making a wise financial decision? One way that I have justified investing in the car is that I think when was the last time that I had to spend money on it. If I haven’t had to spend money on it for more than six months, then I consider that the average car payment for a new car is $721, and for a used car $526. If the monthly cost to repair it since the last repair is close to the cost of the car payment, then to me it is worth fixing. The way I figure it is that the cost of depreciation should be minimized and since the car has already depreciated the cost is worth it.

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Of course, one very important factor in repairing a car is if it is safe to drive. I asked the mechanic if the car had excessive rust on it and he is going to let me know. If the rust is excessive then I won’t repair it further and will consider buying a new/used Pilot. If it still has life in it, then I will continue to support it.

I just need reliable and safe transportation. I am not in love with features anymore on a car. I think the stress of having debt is more than the enjoyment of features. This is my value, not yours and you don’t need to share it. My days of spending excessively on vehicles are over. I am been disappointed too many times with what I have bought.