Your educated opinion - Replace or Repair

  • 1996 INFINITI I30
  • FWD
  • 139,000 MILES
I am interested in an opinion or recommendation from someone with a lot of experience in automobiles and auto repairs.

The exterior and interior of my car is still in tremendously good condition. It is very hard nowadays to find leather nearly as good. The paint job still looks incredibly good.

I am struggling with whether I should keep the car at this point and make repairs as necessary or concede to the reality that even though the car is apparently in good shape, it is in fact eighteen years old and likely at some near time to become a virtual sponge of repair dollars.

Eleven years ago, while driving in the mountains in Arizona, a good sized rock rolled into my lane. The large impact at roughly forty miles an hour, nearly tore the transmission out of the car. About $5,000.00 in damages, a new transmission etc. Obviously the guy doing the repairs was pretty good as I am still driving the car and have nothing but good things to say about it.

Last February I spent $1,700.00 on new shocks, air conditioner tuneup and front brakes - the air conditioning is mediocre at best but I can live with it. The car periodically, makes some medium level clunking noises when turning the steering at low speed (e.G. Turning into the driveway). It is leaking a small amount of oil from where I do not know.

Like way too many Americans I am financially stressed and must make very intelligent decisions. The costs of used automobiles is staggering to me. I could find $10,000 to buy something and possibly even stretch to $13,000, but looking at what is available in that range is somewhat depressing when you consider that you might be buying a four to seven year old vehicle with 60,000 miles or more, that ends up as a bigger pain in the neck than what I already have.

I was entering search terms into Auto Trader etc - hoping I could find a Maxima, an Acura, Camry, Honda, Jetta something in as good a condition as what I have, with Leather, acceptable mileage etc. This search was a bit depressing.

I am interested to know what your thinking would be in my situation. What recommendation you would make as to keeping the existing car and what you think I should expect in repairs and costs over the next three to four years if I do so. If you have any recommendations in other vehicles you think I should consider, those would also be appreciated.

Thank you for your response.
Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 AT 10:04 AM

1 Reply

Any car that is eighteen years old is going to break. It is very hard to determine what however due to different people take care of cars differently. One person may change oil once a year and think that is good care which it is not. If I were you look into the payment of a car three to four years old then look into a lease. Leases are not bad if you keep the mileage under what they give you cold put money into your current ride, but you may be putting in again due to electronics and age. Besides you could hit another rock and cause more damage than the first time. Or some other unforeseen action.
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Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 AT 10:17 AM

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