Over the last few years, ever since I got the Saturn back in 1995, I've said I would keep it essentially until the wheels fell off. Over the years my formualtion for what that REALLY meant has changed a bit.
At first it was "I will get a new car when the annual maintenence bill is more than the value of the car". But that passed a couple of years ago I think. And I wanted to keep the car.
Then it was "I will get a new car when I take it in and get a single repair estimate which is more than the value of the car."
Well... that just happened.
Took my car in for regular service, and because the cigarette lighter adapter had fallen inside the dashboard, and the battery was dying on me, and it was burning oil. They also found some other stuff that was wrong. Without the oil issue, there is about $600 of work that needs to be done. But they couldn't find an obvious oil leak, so that means finding what is causing my rapid loss of oil. In order to investigate more, they would have to start ripping apart the engine. Estimated cost... another couple THOUSAND dollars.
The car is only worth about 2 grand last time I checked the Blue Book.
So we have reached that point. I ordered the $600 of work, but told them to not do the other. For now, I will just check the oil more often and add oil when needed. But I think this marks the point I had always said would be the "new car" point.
Of course, I also still don't have a job. That may change soon though. (Watch this spot for updates.) But it looks like I should RATIONALLY get a new car soon after the job situation is resolved.
On the other hand, I love my Saturn. I am also tempted to just spend the money, get a new engine if needed, whatever, and keep it running forever. There are still Model-T's running today. No reason my Saturn couldn't still be going when I retire!
Hmmm.... or a nice new car doesn't sound bad. :-)
Oh well. Once I have a job and am all settled in it, then I will consider these things more.
Use heavier oil if you can. I got over 312,000 miles and that's all I've done. Hell, my transmission leaks pretty good, but for the $1500 or whatever it would cost to reseal it, I can buy a lot of ATF!
What Al said. My car specifies 5W-30, and in later years they changed it to 5W-20 (lighter oil) even though the engine is the same. The reason is that even though it will shorten the life of the engine, using the lighter oil makes the mileage infinitesimally better, which helps them meet their Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards so they can sell another couple high-margin SUV's. There's a petroleum engineer guy who's in my owners club, and he only uses 0W-40 in his cars regardless of what is specified and apparently they run forever. The heavier oils also have more phosphorous for valvetrain protection. (Although this is changing for some stupid environmental reason)
And you know Sam, people also sell used cars. Even gently-used Saturns, for a lot cheaper than a new one.
Buy a used car????
Don't scare Sam like that!
Ok, here's a solution; without spending an outrageous amount of money on a brand new car which incidentally will depreciate in value at least 10% the minute you drive it off the lot and not to have to live with the stigma of buying a "used car"......how about buying a pre-owned vehicle.....many dealerships offer this as an alternative and they are almost as good as a brand new car without the price tag......another alternative is to buy the loaner or demo cars that they give the salesmen to drive for a month and then sell it.