Fix or Replace-My Car Woes

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car repaird

Photo by Anna Shvets: https

Cars are the bane of my existence. First disclaimer is that I am admittedly mechanically challenged. Also, I was totally spoiled for a good portion of my life because my husband was a fabulous mechanic and car enthusiast and later my brother worked for car dealerships. 

A Little Background

I was stuck in the horrible lease cycle for years. I know, I know, they should take away my frugal mom card. It worked for me at the time because it let me drive nice, new cars and all the maintenance was included and I could afford the monthly payments. My last lease was a Nissan Maxima and once the lease period was over, I planned on purchasing the car and driving it until it died.

Life laughed hilariously at this plan of mine. A freak flood killed my Maxima and my son’s car just before the end of the lease. I ended up getting a 2012 Chrysler 200 with really low miles. This car was fine for a few years until it started needing various repairs. Let me tell you about this car…ANY little repair involved taking apart half the car to make said repair. You couldn’t even go to Auto Zone to swap out a car battery because the battery was in the fender well. 

I was very excited to pay this car off about 2 years ago. The plan was to sock the payment into savings so that after I drove it until it died, I could buy a car in cash. 

Life laughed again. It does that with me a lot.

Since paying the car off, I’ve had issue after issue. Knowing how expensive every single repair turned out to be, I tried ignoring the ones that were just inconvenient to me like no air conditioning over a sweltering summer. Gave in and fixed the AC finally and the heater went out, just in time for winter.

The Final Straw

A couple weeks ago the key suddenly didn’t want to turn in the ignition. It seemed to resolve itself and worked fine for a few weeks until it didn’t. Brought it in for a repair and a one-day repair turned into 2 days because, ya know, Chryslers and their design…. Then the repair shop broke something else during the repair so we moved on to 3 days with no car. Picked the car up after the repair and drove it the 2 miles or so to my house and during that drive time all 4 tire sensors started flashing like they were having a seizure and when I pulled into my parking lot, I found out I couldn’t turn my car off because the key wouldn’t turn all the way. 

I felt like I needed to apologize to the neighbors for the new words they learned if they happened to be outside or had their windows open that evening…

Back to the shop and 2 days later I picked it back up, supposedly fixed. My son had me drive it around the parking lot, stop the car, turn it off and on, just to be sure before he left me. Worked fine. Drove it 2 miles home-same issue, car wouldn’t turn to the off position.

new white car

Photo by Garvin St. Villier

Guess who had enough at that point?? Yep, your girl went and bought a new (to me) car. I live by myself and need a reliable car to get to work and around in general. I was dumping way too much money and time into this car. Hated the idea of getting a car payment again but I will pay it off as quickly as possible and it has low enough miles on the car that it should last me many, many years. Plus, I just wasn’t comfortable making the road trips to Indianapolis to visit Michael anymore with the old car.

Factors Weighing in My Decision to Replace


  • Numerous costly repairs beginning to be more than the value of the car
  • Hassle and time of being without a car was a hinderance to my work and lifestyle
  • Newer car has more safety features (not sure how I’ve lived this long without a backup camera)
  • I was able to get a warranty on the car
  • low mileage means it should last me quite a while since I rarely drive long distances
  • the dealership was willing to take my car as a trade-in despite the numerous and obnoxiously obvious issues going on with it


  • dealing with a car payment again/more debt
  • will delay my plans to upgrade my condo

Definitely more pros then cons on my list, although the cons are big ones. Just means I need to double down on a side hustle to get the loan paid down as quick as possible. And thankfully, I am loving my new car and the luxury of everything working as it should. Here’s hoping that the next car I have to purchase will be my dream car and I can pay cash for it. (Although this is pretty close to a dream car, it’s not the Honda I wanted.) 


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