A bump in the road

Ok, so things have been going pretty well. So of course, something has to come up to rock the boat a little, doesn’t it?

Ihave a little car that we owe no money on. It isn’t worth much but it is a very reliable car. I ‘ve never had a breakdown in all the time we’ve had it (8 years) and it generally doesn’t cost much in repairs.

However, the paintwork is a different story. We live in a hot climate. In fact, it’s so hot that a lot of Aussie car companies do testing in my city to see how their paintwork handles the sun! Consequently, the roof of my car has been starting to discolour quite markedly. Obviously, I can handle driving a crap-looking car so I never worried about it. Then my husband backed into my car with his `tank’. My car has had a noticable dent since then (of course, not a scratch on his car). Needless to say, everyone jokes about me and my driving now, which grates on me when it was his fault!

Anyway, we’ve had some heavy rain recently and suddenly, the other day I noticed water had gotten under the acrylic covering the paintwork on the bonnet.  The paint has `bubbled’ over the centre of the bonnet now and seems to be getting rapidly worse.

OK, I’m strong but now people are starting to stare as I drive past. I’m starting to get embarassed when I drive it. So, even though I know repainting is an expensive job, I went to get a quote.

The estimated cost of fixing everything? $3500! This includes fixing a couple of other bad scratches and little dents on one side of the car.

What makes it worse is that without the dent my husband made, the cost would be halved. I asked the guy about just painting the bonnet and the roof, but as he pointed out, why bother fixing those if you are still going to have a big ugly dent on one side? And I have to agree.

I feel I’m in a predicament. If I fixed the car, I would probably still only get $3500 in trade-in value for it. At the moment, I’d get virtually nothing as it wouldn’t be worth doing up by a dealer. But even if I write it off, get rid of it and buy a $6000 car (thereby needling a loan), there’s no guarantee that the car I get wouldn’t be a lemon. I don’t even know what I would get for $6000 these days.

So part of me is inclined to get the car fixed so I can keep it for another 4-5 years. I definitely won’t keep it that long in its current condition – every girl has her limit to frugality. Does anyone have a point of view to share on this? I’ll try to post a photo of the way it looks later today so maybe readers will understand my situation!


  1. JvW said

    That’s a lot of money! You have to ask yourself – would you fix the engine for $3500? Will it last another 4-5 years? What’s the mileage on it?

    It sounds like the bubbling paint is going to be a major problem as additional water can get in and start rusting the bonnet. Is it possible to get additional estimates?

  2. debtfretter said

    Good quetions! I think it will last for another 4 years fine. I also think I can get the price down to $3000 for cash, and/or get other cheaper estimates.
    I think it may be worth it in the end to keep this car going long enough to save up to pay cash for the next one. Also, this car was `given’ to my husband by a relative so we never had to pay anything for it apart from its upkeep. This means we will be respecting the person who gave it to us by taking care of it, and also paying a larger amount on it for the first time.
    We haven’t necessarily agreed to go ahead with this yet, but I am definitely leaning that way, despite the car’s age.
    Thanks for your great feedback!

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