See what happens when I post about a "quiet week"? It inevitably means that a storm is on its way.
Sunday night, we were headed out to dinner, and started up the 2000 Camry. The car made a funny noise and smoke was evident out of the tailpipe. We quickly shut the car off. Josh did a little investigating and came away with a grim prognosis- the smoke out of the tailpipe combined with wetness around the engine valve pointed to a leaking seal or valve- the car was probably "burning oil" and needed to be taken into the shop, stat. Bright and early (or, to be more specific, "so Early it wasn't Bright yet") Monday morning, we took the poor little Camry to the dealership to get the problem "officially" diagnosed. After doing a "cold start test" yesterday morning, the word came in: Josh was right. Seals in the engine (and other stuff I don't remember) need to be replaced, resulting in most of an engine rebuild. The price? About half of what we could get if we sold the car on our own, and 70% of trade-in value.
So what to do? Do we fix it? or sell it in its current burning-oil condition and look for a replacement?
Buying a comparable car from a dealer with similar miles & a similar age comes out to more than we have in our emergency fund (well, practically, since we're not comfortable with TOTALLY depleting the emergency fund), so we'd either get an older & higher mileage vehicle, or a car loan- an option I'm opposed to. We do, however, have enough in our emergency fund to cover the repair. But the rule of thumb says to give up on a vehicle if the repair cost is more than half its value. We could go without a car for a while, which would win in the "net cost" category, when you do a car registration, maintenance, or car insurance comparison.
We made a decision. The Camry stays. We'll have it fixed. The mechanic at the dealership said the car was in amazing shape besides these problems, and that it will be "like new" when we get it back. Here's hoping he's right. Until next Monday or Tuesday, Josh is driving the Huge Truck, and I'm hoping gas prices don't shoot up for this week. If we had bought a comparable car, we would have spent lots more and ended up with a car with 95,000 miles on it and no idea where its been or how its been taken care of. This way, we'll know.
So what's new with you?
Once upon a time, I said cars were silly. I hold to my theory.