Thursday, July 31, 2008


Okay, here's the deal:

My air conditioning is shot in the Taurus. The dealership wants $700 to fix it and that's a good deal. Steven called several places for me locally and no one would do it for less. The car has 78,000 miles on it. BUT I owe a lot more on it than it's worth.

Steven and I have been researching new vehicles. Yes, I know I could get a used vehicle (and actually that's where I started the search) but if I am going to be "upside down" in this loan by rolling over what I owe on the Taurus minus whatever they give me in trade for it, I need something that will not cost me anything in car repair for several years. 'Cause I will be paying on this vehicle for a long time to come.

I am looking at a 2008 Honda Odyssey. It gets better gas mileage than my Taurus is now AND it's only $16 more every 6 months to insure (already talked numbers with the insurance lady). IF I can get about $4000 for my trade, my payment would go UP $100 a month, which would be $50 more a paycheck.

Steven and I are working on a budget to see if I can swing this. I don't know what to do. It seems crazy to be going farther INTO debt when I'm sending a kid off to college, with another one right behind in 2 years. But every time I get into the Taurus now, all I can think about is sinking another $700 into a car which in all likelyhood will need MORE repair at some point in the next few years. And I have to do something soon, because Steven talked to the service department manager and he said every time I drive the car with the broken air conditioner, even though it's turned off, I could be doing damage to something (don't ask me what...I'm not good with mechanical stuff...ask Steven) in the engine. I can't just say, "oh I'll just suffer and go without air conditioning", which is what I was going to do for now.

I don't know what to do. I want the security of a new vehicle, one I won't have to worry about for awhile. I have been wanting to go back to a van or an SUV for awhile now. I don't want to just waste my money (actually the money I would have to borrow from my parents and pay back) only to turn around and need more repair next year (or month or week). BUT I am so scared to get into this farther. It. Is. More. Debt.

I am considering going test-driving the Odyssey van this weekend.

What do you all think I should do? Help!!!


Jay said...

Tough call. I would think the risk of the car continuing to go downhill, as Fords tend to do, and leaving you stuck on the side of the road would be a risk I wouldn't be will to take. I don't know much about the Odyssey, but a Honda or Toyota is probably the best option.

Although, right now some dealers are desperate to move mini-vans and SUVs and you might find an amazing deal out there.

HoosierGirl5 said...

That's the crazy thing about this, Jay: I think I have been offered a really good's just that there are so many pros AND cons to this.

I think I'm going to lose my mind.


jmdawg said...

I had a really good/long comment but it was eaten... damn.

Basically, there's no sense in going deeper into debt for something that will depreciate in value, imo. If it was me, I would pay the $700 to fix the a/c and take the extra $100/month that would be spent on the new car and put it in an emergency car repair fund. In 7 months, the a/c will have been paid for again, and you'll have enough to take care of anything that comes along. Also, make sure to do regular checks on your car to keep it going strong. What year car is it?

Poppy said...

What about a cheaper new vehicle, like a Kia? I LOVE my Kia, and I pay $213/month for it.

Mark Salinas said...

I have a 14, 10 and 8 year old. Please tell me it gets easier? :)

Nice site!

AmyD said...

Personally, I would get rid of the Taurus FAST. The thought of having to deal with a vehicle that more could go wrong on - would freak me out beyond all comprehension.

And, my God, if you pay the $700.00 now - what happens if in 3 months the transmission goes out? Surely at that point you'd want a new car instead of paying for a new transmission and you'd still be out the $700.00

I dunno. That's just my though. :)

Finn said...

Dump the Taurus. Hondas are wonderful, as are Toyotas. Hondas are by far the most fuel-efficient.

Now a question: Do you really NEED a minivan? How 'bout an Accord or Civic?

Sayre said...

You should visit and do a little research. The last I heard, the CarTalk guys liked the Honda Odyssey quite a bit as being a reliable car.

I agree that it seems odd to go deeper into debt, but once something major goes out on a car, it's not long before other major things start going out. That's why I had to get rid of my beloved Volvo. I just couldn't afford to keep fixing it - even if it WAS my favorite car ever!

jmdawg said...

Of course, I am a bit biased in my opinion. I drove a 1986 Chevy Caprice (handed down from my sister) until the timing chain broke, which I fixed. Now I'm driving a '99 Toyota Corolla with just over 200k miles on it and it's a great little car. I'd rather have a car paid off that runs well instead of a brand new car with a brand new car sized lump of debt for the next 5 years.

Yorksdevil said...

I would say never buy a new car unless you've come into good money. The amount of value that drops off the second you drive it off the forecourt is crazy. Nearly new cars are much cheaper and should be just as reliable. In the current financial climate there are some bargains to be had. If American dealers are struggling as much as their English counterparts they'll be desperate for the sale.

Before buying do have a good look round on the net to find out the truth about the model. The forums will tell you what the dealers don't want you to know.

HoosierGirl5 said...

Everyone - Thank you so much. It has been great getting an outside perspective.

jmdawg -The Taurus is a 2004.

Poppy - Sorry, I don't do Kias. My b-i-law says they lose their value too quickly.

Finn - Yeah, I really do. I have 3 "adult-sized" children and an 8 yr. old. We are very crowded in the Taurus now.

Sayre and York - I have been all over the Internet researching, believe me!


HoosierGirl5 said...

New post above: Car situation update.


Ernie said...

One kid off to college? Get a Honda CRV...awesome SUV for the money! It's cheaper, better on gas milage and a BLAST to drive!