Buy New or Takeover Husband's accident prone SUV?


Last summer my husband traded in our 1999 Chevy Tahoe SUV (on the brink of breakdown) for a 2006 Honda Pilot SUV (base model). My thought at time was that I would takeover the Pilot in Fall 2007/Winter 2008 as I really want an SUV. We would then trade in my 2001 Toyota Avalon w/90,000 miles and in fair condition for him to get some type of a sporty sedan. With the new lot of 2008 SUVs on market, I am starting to have second thoughts on accepting his “left overs.” Largely because since buying the Pilot, my husband has been in two car accidents - with the last one causing nearly $10,000 in damages!! The Pilot also does not have some of the fancy extras like DVD and navigation. So I am seeking advice …

Should I use the $12,000 that I saved to payoff his Pilot’s car loan (I LOVE not having a payment); call the Pilot my own free/clear and then give him my Avalon to trade in and apply to his new car (he’d then have a car loan).

- or -

Should I take the $12,000 and my Avalon to use as a downpayment for a brand new SUV … like the 2008 Mazda CX-9 w/bells & whistles? I would then have a monthly car payment (which I can afford) and my husband would have to either keep or trade-in his Pilot.

My husband doesn’t care - I am just conservative and have been without a car payment for the past 4 years.


How could $10k worth in damages not total out the vehicle? Personally I wouldn’t want that thing around.
Do you NEED dvd in your vehicle? Factory navigation systems aren’t really worth the money since you can get something like a TomTom or Garmin for $1k less than a factory system.
option 3: you use the 12k to buy your own SUV, let your husband drive the Avalon, get rid of the Pilot


If it was properly repaired and has no aftereffects from the accident, I say install a DVD and one of those small aftermarket nav systems in the Pilot, pay it off, and keep it.

However, the most important piece of data of all is missing…what does hubby think? This decision affects you both!


Thanks for responses. Here’s more detail…

  • Damage to his Pilot SUV was primarily to the body (other drivers at fault) - so in many ways the Pilot proved its strenth as my husband had essentially no medical issues as a result of crashes beyond temporary bruising due to air bag. I don’t know anything about car engines, etc. so not sure if the accidents could have negative effects down the road. Guess that’s my real question!!

  • My husband says decision is up to me - we each are responsible for our own car payment (and this has worked for us for past 16 years). His father is the one who actually planted the seed in my head to not “accept his leftovers” and buy new.

  • I did some more research since posting and agree to put whatever bells and whistles in separate after purchase if I go that route.

Thanks again!


Because your husband has been in two accidents recently, you feel that the vehicle is accident prone? Even if the other drivers were “at fault”, there is something called Defensive Driving–namely the ability to stay out of harm’s way even when those around you are driving dangerously.

My suggestion is to buy whatever you like and to consider a Driver Improvement course for hubby. This has the double benefit of improving his driving skill and potentially knocking a few bucks off of your rising auto insurance bill.


While it is possible that the body structure’s integrity was compromised, it’s impossible to tell from here.

Heck, your new post has changed my mind. Buy something you like. Souonds like you two have a solid relationship, sounds like money isn’t an issue (?), enjoy life a little!

Oh, and if you’re buying new I’d suggest getting all the bells and whistles you want up front rather than doing add ons. With today’s complex security and other systems add-ons can cause glitches.


(I’m curious) You mentioned the '99 Tahoe was on the brink of a breakdown. What was wrong with it?
I own an '02.


JMHO, but I think you should keep the 12 grand and the Avalon and let hubby trade that Pilot off.
Two wrecks already (and NO, the vehicle is not accident prone), and it amazes me that it would have even been repaired the second time around with 10 grand worth of damages. That vehicle should have been declared a total.


if you are satisfied that the Pilot is in good shape, pay it off and keep it. The sooner you lose the car loans, the sooner you can save for important stuff, like a house, the kids shcool, and retirement. You can’t start too early on that stuff.


Thanks - i’ve decided to go for it after much ribbing from friends who think I am being a cheapo. Yes, I can afford the car payment (and yes, we are already saving for all those important life events) so money was really not an issue. I just like living as close to debt free as possible - crazy concept I know.

And I gotta defend my poor husband as he is a very good, defensive driver. In his first accident he was rear ended while at a stop light. In second accident with all the body damage, a northbound driver was trying to make turn from the center median of very busy street and had to cross three lanes of southbound traffic during evening commute. My husband was in far right southbound lane when the other car turned into him and caused accident (and was ticketed). We live in big city famous for crazy drivers.

I appreciate everyone’s opinion and look forward to watching the Internet for best deals as the holiday season hits.