Business

/

ArcaMax

Color of Money: Many owners have their own rules for deciding when it's time to kick their car to the curb

Michelle Singletary on

WASHINGTON -- Having a car loan can be a pain, and you're probably looking forward to the day it's gone from your budget.

But then comes the time that your once-new car or new-to-you used vehicle starts acting like a tantrum-throwing toddler. There are the constant whining noises, or the car won't move when you want it to.

Finally, your car's crankiness leads to this question: Should I keep fixing it -- or let it go? (The analogy doesn't work with a toddler because, well, you can't trade in your kid.)

However, just like dealing with young children and their tantrums, you need to have a strategy for a car that is straining your nerves. It helps to have a rule of thumb for deciding when it's time to get rid of your car.

I recently wrote about how I personally decide whether to repair or replace my vehicle. I call it my "three-strike rule," and you can read about it here: wapo.st/321n716.

I also asked readers to share their rules of thumb for when it's time to break up with their cars. Here's what some had to say:

 

"My rule of thumb has been when the annual repair costs exceed 50% of a new car payment," one reader wrote.

For Jack Quinn of Morris Plains, New Jersey, it's all about the electrical system and the never-ending battle to replace certain components.

"Aside from age, the freeze-thaw cycle -- expansion/contraction -- does a number on wire insulation and rubber/plastic bushings," he wrote. "That first electrical failure due to cracked insulation is a warning shot. Many more will follow. Likewise for rubber components."

For a lot of vehicle owners, the first sign of rust means that it's time to bail.

...continued

swipe to next page
 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
 
 

Social Connections

Comics

Mike Lester Crankshaft Dilbert Cathy Hagar the Horrible Dogs of C-Kennel