Oct 2, 2011

Car Math

I'm not sure how many of you love math, or finances, or spending way more money than you would like to. And I know it's not super polite to talk about money, right?

But I'm going to anyway.

See, in the dilemma of the car breakdown I did a lot of calculating to determine if it was worth it to repair the Saturn.  All emotions aside, we wanted to make the smart decision, no matter how much I loved the car.

Going into the car breakdown I knew that my car ate oil like crazy; which 'they' say is a sign of a bad engine. "Oh you're car's using a lot of oil, well then you won't get much longer out of that car." And then I hear that horrible sound coming from the car and I just know it's done for.

So I looked up the value of the Saturn in average condition with the 120,000 miles it has on it, and like it was running just fine.

Car Value = $1745

Then I get the call from the guy at the shop with the details of the repair.  Turns out the reason my car was using so much oil was because of the PVC valve.  Apparently this valve can get stuck open slowly letting all the oil out of the engine.  Turns out my engine is in "great condition."  Also turns out the loud noises were coming from the A/C compressor clutch! They'll need to replace the compressor, the dryer, the belt, but not the condenser because the compressor had not, and I quote the mechanic "eaten itself yet."

Cost of the repair = $1255


So when doing the math it looks obvious. Seems like it may be time to get a new car if the repairs are almost the value of the car. Right? But then I did some more research.  Remember how the Saturn gets 35 mpg? Any care newer than 2000 that gets at least 35mpg was at least $6000 or $8000 or $10,000 plus.  And I put 90 miles on my car every day.

We don't have kids. We don't use my car to do much more than drive me to work. If we buy a new car now we'll have a car note (because both of our vehicles are paid off). There's no sense in buying a brand new car if it looses a million % of it's value when I drive it off the lot, and I put almost 500 miles on it a week.  And right now everyone seems to want a fairly used car with great gas mileage, so people are paying way more then the typical "used car" value for cars.

New Car
Fairly Used Car with Decent Gas Mileage
Repair the Saturn

I called my dad who said "You could buy another used car and have the compressor go out on it tomorrow. At least you'll know this car has a relatively new starter, fuel pump, and brand new compressor and dryer." And then I called another shop in town to check the price of the repair.  Another shop said they'd probably charge a little more.

So Kyle and I decided to get the Saturn repaired.  We had money in our Emergency Fund thanks to good ole Dave Ramsey and this was a month with three bi-weekly paydays when we only expect two (how convenient). Oh Jehovah Jireh.

Sure some of you would have advised buying the new car.... but we'll wait until we have babies and we need a "safe" vehicle with airbags everywhere and a 10.5 star crash safety rating, lol.

Consider repairing.  It's what people used to do all the time.


  1. Loved this post! Jehovah Jireh, how He does provide.

  2. Wise decision. God does provide!


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