College grad with his sable


I recently graduated college and everyone is telling me to sell my car for what it’s worth and buy something better. Currently I’m driving a 1994 mercury sable with about 120k miles on it.I had her since my 2nd year at school with 80k on it and really want to ride it out.

Recently I went to get an inspection and the mech. gave me a list of repairs all dealing with struts,sway bars and bushings. It’s an estimated $530 parts and labor job.

Should I sell the car and cut my losses or continue to invest in her? I bought brand new tires in February and last spring had pretty much the exhaust system replaced.

$530, if the Sable is in otherwise good shape, is worth paying and keeping the car. Part of the economics could rest on whether you have a good paying job. What you haven’t told us is whether the Sable is still reliable, or if there are other issues that would sway the decision towards replacing it.

Unless you are in a job that requires meeting the public in a late model car, or if the Sable is no longer reliable, keep it, until you know more about your job situation.

I will second that opinion. It would be good to have a mechanic that is familiar with the weak points of the car to look it over.

Make sure that assessment is from a trusty independent not a chain (especially any tire one).

Keep it. The car is worthless in the car market($1000 tops) and replacing it will with something decent will cost you at least 10-20 times the $530 you hesitate to spend currently.

The repairs you describe are consistent with the age and mileage of the car. These are just parts that wear out, same with the tires and exhaust system. I see no reason sell the car now.

Unless you can afford a new car, anything you buy used will likely have some problems that will cost as much or more than what the Sable is costing you now. This is a model car that generally holds up well, parts are readily available and most any mechanic can work on. With normal maintenance the car should give you many more miles and years of service.

When you get that good paying job of your dreams then you can save some money and buy a newer car. For now start a savings account and start paying into it a $200 monthly car payment. This will give you a concept of what a car payment does to a budget. Some of the money in the account can pay for needed repairs to the Sable. When the account gets $10,000 in it you’ll have a great down payment on a new car.

thanks for the quick replies!

Yes she is very reliable.I would say after the mentioned work plus a new oil pan she’d keep strong.It just seems that time has gotten to some parts with dry rot being the factor of replacement parts.

I went to art school so my car won’t get in the way of anything socially. At the moment though I’m still working at my day job which pays very well $11 regular and $16 premium.

I plan on moving into nyc in about 2 years so having her stay with me till at least that is the plan.


That is an excellent plan! Yea i can’t afford a new car or even a used car.Thanks for the advice.

$530 sounds like a lot, but think of it as 2 car payments. So if the car lasts more than two months after the repairs you’re ahead of the game. This helps me every time I have another repair to do on my 2000 Blazer. As other posters have noted this is routine maintenance would have to be done on any car.

Ed B.

Pay now and drive it until it hits 140,000 miles. I set that limit on Taurus, Contour and Escort models from the 90’s. After that, they aren’t worth keeping. You can if you want to or have to keep it but I don’t think anybody should.

Unless you are far different than most college graduates, including myself, you are not exactly wealthy and you would IMHO be wise to go into debt right now for a car. Get yourself a little more settled first and then only go into debt if it make economic sense (a home).

Are your struts and sway bars causing drivablility problems or allowing your tires to wear out prematurely? Or are they just showing evidence of dry rot or age cracking in the rubber? I wouldn’t personally pay $530 for anything unless I was convinced not spending it might be dangerous or do future harm. For sure, just as the other posters recommended, keep you car. You won’t find anything reliable or dependable for less than 2-3K. And even if you were to spend 4-5K on anoter car, you might find out in a few months that is is not reliable (like when you’re sitting on the side of the freeway).

Since you’re gonna move to NYC, keep up on maintenance for the vehicle then sell it off when you get moved in.

Struts are likely shot at 120k miles. Bushings undefined. Sway bar is likely the sway bar strut connecting the bar to the suspension. Likely shot. $530 isn’t bad for 4 struts and other. Look in AutoTrader for Sable newer than yours for a price differential estimate. Caution DEBT.

Your oil pan comment caught my attention. What is indicating the need for a new pan? acccident damage,drain plug trouble? This may be something you can pass on,can’t be cheap to do (I have never done one so I don’t know).