The point at which we need to choose to keep it till it falls apart or get rid of it now. For the second time in the roughly 60,000 miles that we’ve owned it, it needs a head gasket. The car is a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu with a 3.1L v6. From what I’ve heard this is an extremely common problem with this engine. Awesome.
So, our dilemma…
The car is paid off. Irregular maintenance has not yet turned into regular maintenance, so monthly costs have been negligible for the better part of a year. It’s in good mechanical condition (besides the recent development), although it’s in extremely poor cosmetic condition.
The cost of repair is approximately $1200. We can safely assume if we were to buy a new (to us) car to replace the Malibu we’d be looking at payments somewhere between $200 and $400 a month and a minute trade in value.
At those costs it would only need to last us another 3-6 months before the benefit of repairing it outweighs the cost of a new car payment. Of course, this assumes that we don’t have any other major issues with the car in that 3-6 month time period which is big possibility. On the other hand, we haven’t had to do anything to the car (and it’s been paid off) for almost a year, so really it’s already earned the new head gasket.
It’s a gamble, we either bet on our car to last another 6 months or we bet against it, and move on with our lives without the complication, but with a little added cost.
One last thing to consider: We only drive 1 car on a regular basis as I ride the bus to and from work. Therefor; having one unreliable car has been something we’ve been prepared to live with for a while.
What would you do?
We haven’t decided but if someone decides they want to give us an offer… let us know in the comments.