When Do You Decide to Sell Your Car?

1993 Volvo 240

Today let’s discuss one of the endless debates in car ownership. It’s the bane of existence for owners everywhere and the justification many people give for buying a new car.

Here’s the issue:

An older car requires sudden and expensive repairs to continue running. Do you take your chances and fix it or get rid of it and purchase something newer?

A friend is struggling with this issue right now and might be on the verge of making the wrong choice.

Sue owns a 1993 Volvo 240 station wagon. She loves the car because it’s safe, well maintained, usually reliable, and, of course, paid for. The car has 150,000 miles on the clock and could easily double that number before its date with the crusher.

But there’s a problem. This week the transmission on the car went out, and the repair shop says a new one must be installed. The car recently had a full tune-up and generally runs smooth and strong, but the cost of the transmission could exceed the value of the car.

Even so, replacing the transmission would cost far less than buying a different car.

Plus, Sue says, with the ’93 she doesn’t have to worry about things like airbags firing randomly or ignition switches turning off unexpectedly (obviously referring to two of the biggest recalls in automotive history).

She makes a great point. Older cars have less technology to break and are generally easier to maintain.

A new transmission should keep the car running for another 150,000 miles, but of course the risks include opening up a money pit that never closes, in which case buying a newer car might be a better choice.

Sadly, I think Sue might be swayed into giving up on the old 240. That’d be a huge mistake, as the car will soldier on, probably with minimal maintenance, once the transmission is replaced. These old Volvos just don’t die.

If it were any other car, I’d probably concur that it’s time to move on, but if Sue doesn’t continue her relationship with the 240, someone else will be lucky to have it.

If you have an older car, how much will you invest before biting the bullet and getting something new?


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Used Volvo 240

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