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New Car!?

February 21st, 2014 at 07:27 am

I find myself in an unexpected dilemma.

My grandpa informed me yesterday that he is selling his Dodge Neon.

While I am not in the car buying business per say, the last couple months, especially this month husband and I have been beating around the idea that my car is going to need replaced soon.

My car was bought new in 2006. It is a Chevy Cobalt. Both my mother and I used it to drive to school 2-4 hours daily for several years. We used it to haul goats, we used to to hold farm tools.

Basically it has had a rough life. The outside still looks new, but the inside is very very stained and dirty, and it has 170k miles on it. Embarrassment

It has had countless problems. The electric circuits in it were bad and all needed replaced, the steering wheel had a recall on it, the airbags had a recall, the fuel pump had a recall. The blinker switch had to be replaced.... etc.

A couple years ago it started rattling at start up for a while then it would settle down. They think it is a timing belt problem which is going to cost me $800 to fix...

It also started smelling like gas, and dying when it idled. So I spent hundreds getting it checked out and they could not find anything. Turns out the fuel pump had a recall, and I got it replaced for free.

That made it work great for a couple months. But here lately it has been dying on me again, like when I pull up to stop signs, or I am slowing down in the driveway. Sigh. I do not think they would replace the fuel pump again for free.

I am emotionally attached to this car, I really love it. I think it is so cute, and it has been a great work vehicle. It is starting to make me nervous though because I go to school at 10pm an hour away. And on some of the cold nights I had trouble starting it. It is also embarrassing to die at a red light and people are honking at you.

It drives great though when it is going...

I had just decided to continue to ride it hard, and just use it until it crapped out on me. (Which seems like it will be sooner than I thought.) Hoping I could get a few more years out of it.

But now this great deal has come along, and I am really torn about what I should do.

The Neon is a 2002. So older than my car. But it only had 75k miles on it. A hundred less than mine. It is in PERFECT condition. It has had an oil change every 3 months, he just took it in and got a $900 check up on it. It has never been driven over 50 mph... No joke.

No one takes care of their cars like my grandpa. He has 4... and he enjoys buying new ones every couple years. This is the longest time he has kept a car. I asked him why he was selling it and he said it had too many miles on it.... haha.

It is not as beautiful as my car. But I feel like it would last me a lot longer, and be cheaper in the long run.

He is asking $3,500 for it.

I could realistically sell my car for $2,500. So essentially it will cost me $1,000.

He said I can make interest free payments to him, which I think is more than generous.

Part of me loves my car and wants to keep it. Frown The logical side of me thinks this is a great opportunity to get rid of my lemon car and get something more reliable while I can still sell it for a decent amount.

My car get 3-5 more mpg, which is also a factor. The Neon is also a little smaller, which scares me about snow, and future kiddos.

My parents are urging me to go for the Neon. My father in law thinks he can fix my cobalt and that I should keep it. But even if he does, I feel like 100k less miles would get me a lot further.

I dont think I will find another car at this price that has been so well taken care of. I worry that if I pass it up my car will die on me in 6 months and I will be kicking myself.

At the same time, Id prefer to keep my car, if it will last me another 5 years.

What to do, what to do?

10 Responses to “New Car!?”

  1. OldAndInTheWay Says:

    looking at it from the outside and not having a dog in the fight, I say sell the Cobalt and get the Neon.

  2. klarose Says:

    I am leaning that way too.

    I am just so darned emotionally attached to my car. I keep thinking, what if its problems are something cheap and easy and I gave up on it too soon.

    Father-in-law is going to take a look at it tonight again, and see if he can figure out what its problems are. Then maybe Ill have a better idea. To fix my car, or buy the Neon is going to cost about the same I believe. Just trying to decide which one will leave me with a better car. If your looking at the miles the Neon wins by a long shot.

  3. Kiki Says:

    I agree. Why would you drive something that could be dangerous or leave you stranded on the side of the road late at night? Cars are not sentimental keep sakes but reliable transportation. I understand it may have been your first car, but the first of many to come. And the mpgs will equal out if you drive carefully.

    If your FIL could fix it, why has he waited until now? If grandpa is willing to take payments, why not.
    Buy the reliable car. Peace of kind is worth it. I know, I just did it last year.

  4. klarose Says:

    It was and wasnt my first car. The car was purchased new by my mother, when I still lived at home. So I picked it out, I learned to drive in it. My first actual car that I purchased was a truck. I did not like how big it was for parking and such, plus gas mileage and mom loved it. So a couple years ago, we switched vehicles. She still has the truck and at over 220k miles it still runs like a champ. Never had a problem.

    Father-in-Law has fixed it several times already. It has just started acting up again recently, and he hasnt gotten to look at it yet. He is pretty handy, but he isnt a mechanic. So he can change the oil and fix small things, but for big projects it stills goes into the shop.

  5. Xtreme Thunder Says:

    Hmmm, that is a tough one. On one hand I would suggest you do research on the Dodge Neon model as a whole. On the other hand, if your current vehicle is not reliable, I would attempt to strike the Dodge Neon deal.

    Everyone has their opinion on vehicles and it sounds like the Dodge Neon was well cared for, I am just going to suggest you do your research on that particular model and come to your own conclusions based on your use. I mean, you are going to find bad and good for just about any vehicle, but one could compare crash test ratings on the Chevrolet Cobalt vs. Dodge Neon. I would also look at the Private resale value of the specific trim level of that vehicle.

    After owning a 2000 Dodge Neon ES in my college years, purchased in 2005 for $5,500 certified from a local dealer with 40,000 miles and traded it in, in 2007 with 80,000 miles. I had no major issues with it, but did have it's fair share of minor annoying issues, but as you know, you can have an issue with any vehicle make or model, new or used. In other words, get the exact trim level of the vehicle (SE, ES, SXT, R/T etc.) and any (there were not many) options to see if the price is fair for a private sale.

    Good luck with making your decision!

  6. baselle Says:

    Yipes. You do know that the 2006 Cobalt is being recalled for its ignition switch.

  7. snafu Says:

    I too suggest you get hold of a Lemon Aid book to see what weaknesses you could expect from the Neon driven for your needs. It's not a good idea to invest emotion in a vehicle...they really need decisions based on facts.

    Since your Cobalt's externally looks good, I suggest you have it professionally detailed to improve it's internal look. Possibly discount store seat covers. Cheapos can look terrific if you use foam pipe cover cut to measure, to keep the covers taut.

  8. Tabs Says:

    Despite the sentimental value, all cars will break down into ghetto lawn ornaments eventually. Right now, you have a chance to sell your car and get ahead in your transportation needs. However, that is not to say you can not find a way to keep a small piece of the car as a momento for yourself.

  9. klarose Says:

    I did not know that baselle! I will look into it.

    Snafu if I decide to sell the car, my brother-in-law will clean it up for me. He details cars for a business. Right now it is a disaster. lol

  10. J Says:

    Hi, do you know if your Cobalt is part of the recent issues and recall with the ignition/keys? Please be safe!

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