Drive it into the dirt or Sell it? Please advise

I have a 2001 Chevy Blazer 2D, 2WD with 102k miles. There’s a large dent on one side that would require the entire back panel to be replaced. I owe about 2k. I would likely get about 3k if I sold it. Should I keep driving and repairing as needed or should I sell it and get something more reliable? I would really love to get a used Subaru Forrester to haul my 3 large dogs around in. Nothing fancy. I just want to feel safe as a single gal too! Any input would be VERY much appreciated! Thank you!

You are seriously underestimating the value of the vehicle. If you wanted to sell it today, you would be unprepared to get the right price. Get the large dent fixed and have it cleaned up. The body is the most important selling point. You have to like what you are driving. If you don’t, you will fall for any offer. You should not be thinking of selling it now or even trading it: especially not trading it. You have to keep it and get it paid off as soon as possible unless you have zero to two percent financing. If you keep it in good shape, you will enjoy owning and driving it a lot more.

So I take it the Blazer hasn’t been very reliable for you?? What other problems are/have you had? If it’s just a dent -however large it may be- that doesn’t effect the driveability or mechanical function of the vehicle, then I’d stick with what you’ve got for the time being.

Plus, the Blazer strikes me as being a bigger vehicle than the Forrester. I can’t see how a Forrester would give you much xtra room for the doggies… unless your rational is based around being able to roll down rear windows for them. …And as somebody who once spent an afternoon stuck in traffic in a 2 seater Mazda RX7 w/ my girlfriend and her GREAT DANE!! with intestinal issues, I can completely understand that line of thinking. …that day was difficult on soooo many levels…

It is mostly about what you want to do and can afford to do. Realize that any time you sell and replace a car, it cost you. Keeping a car until it is ready for the junk heap is the cheapest way to own a car. Yes as a car ages the repair/maintenance cost go up, but the cost of payments go down or at least the amount still owed goes down. The car without payments is the cheapest to own.

That said if you really don’t like the car, you are likely to let stuff go on it. Letting repairs and maintenance items go means more expense in the long run less resale value. Also it usually means that you are going to end up getting rid of it anyway.

I would not look to a Subaru or any car to be less expensive to own. It seems they all have their problems (we certainly see a good number of problems with Subarus here.

Good Luck with whatever you decide.

The Blazer is a much more pleasant vehicle than a Subaru Forester and I am a fan of Subaru(the reliable turbo versions). The Forester has quite a choppy ride and poorer handling for a Subaru which for all other Subaru models handle extremely well.

Not sure if budget is a concern here but if you want the cheapest route, fixing and paying off is the cheapest route. The key is finding a decent mechanic if not already who is reasonable fair and honest(they exist…). A good mechanic makes older vehicle ownership pleasant.

Unless you really need AWD or four wheel drive, I think keeping the Blazer makes more sense. It is safe and, regarding your dogs, definitely bigger than the Suburu. If you have maintained it well, your Blazer should go for a lot more miles.

I agree with Andrew J - find a good mechanic and a good body shop and keep the Blazer. Pay 'er off and start banking the payment money for a new ride in a few years. My favorite car is a paid-off car!

You should have a lot of life left in your Blazer. GM is known for reliable trucks, if not cars. Trucks are where they have been eating their lunch for a couple of decades. Save up for the dent repair; get a few estimates (at least 3). Does the dent qualify as an insurance repair? You might save money there, too. The Blazer should have aftermarket body parts available, instead of a Chevy rear panel. That is also a big savings. Remember that while you owe $2000 on the Blazer, you will owe a lot more on a Forester. Even a 2001 would be a loan of at least $5000. If it were me, I’d fix the Blazer and keep it until the loan is paid off, then reevaluate it.

It’s true that I do not like what I’m driving for a variety of reasons: the dent (which insurance co estimated at $1100), the cloth seats (doesnt mix well with dogs in and out on a daily basis) and the 2 doors (seems like I’m always struggling to maneuver groceries and the spare tire that I removed from it’s interior post…created a blind spot). The financing was/is horrible since I was a college senior (13%) but I just wanted a new car so badly since I had been driving older ones for so long. In a way, it’s part of my past I’d like to move on from. You still think keep I should hang on to it, get some dog friendly seat covers and make necessary repairs as needed? Thanks for your input!

FIRST I’d like to say THANKS for all the input. I signed up for the CarTalk profile for the sole purpose of asking a few questions. I fully expected to log in today with no replies and was surprised to find so many! Just really, really great to get the feedback I have desperately needed…so thanks a bunch!

I know just about nothing about cars. I’m operating on pure hearsay, speculation and intuition. The big worry is that something major will happen and I will be out a few thousand and think to myself “If I’d only sold it before anything went south.” A friend of mine has a Forrester and the dogs fit quite nicely in there. Drop the back seats and it’s just perfect for dogs and groceries etc. Again, the 4 relatively lower doors are nice as well. It SEEMS like THE ideal set up for my lifestyle. I could be projecting I guess.

I really cannot afford too much right now since I’d like to buy a home in the next year so the home takes top $avings commitment. Your statement is exactly what I’ve read too; keeping it is the cheapest way. I’ve been hearing such great things about Subaru (I listen to CarTalk almost every wknd) and I really would like a change…something I could feel good about owning. Something I could really get behind for 12or so years…

Yes the ride is much better in the Blazer I agree. Wouldn’t it be great to have an “Honest Mechanic” web site for local referrals? Someone PLEASE arrange that. Soon would be great too.

Never thought/knew about an aftermarket body parts option!!! Any pointers on how to find something nearby? Thanks!

I would also love a paid off car. I’m just not at all savvy on repairs and upkeep…I don’t even know where to begin other than oil change and tire rotations. Where should I start? Thanks!

HOLY COW! Well, hey, thank YOU for replying!! ----to every single reply. Usually people post a question and then disappear forever. It’s nice to see someone so courteous.

It already exists… And its actually on THIS website.

About those seats. Get the upholstery done after it gets paid off. It’s the most reliable repair that you can have done. Other maintenance is front end alignment, simple transmission fluid change and have the brakes checked. Oil change and lube are good too.

Car/truck preference is a greatly personal matter. That said, I have always perferred General Motors vehicles. However, in a pinch my wife and I purchased a 1990 Ford Probe for me to drive to work. We still have it. The loan is paid off and it still drives well and runs circles around some newer cars. By the way, it has 190k miles on it without an engine rebuild or replacement (Transmission is original too). Keep the Blazer even if it does not seem to be the good car right now. Pay it off as quickly as possible. Get the repair if it bothers you. Go to a junk/salvage yard and find a new back panel (if you can find one that was wrecked from the front the back should be relatively straight and fairly cheap at a used parts dealer (i.e. junk yard). Then, drive it while you pay yourself and earn interest instead of paying interest. Then buy your dream car whatever make and model you want.

Ask and ye shall receive! Ha thanks.

This is all excellent advice. I feel much more confident in making the decision in keeping it. I’m going to investigate for a great local mechanic and scrap yard so if anyone is interested I will keep this post alive until I’ve made all the suggested changes/repairs. Wish me luck. :slight_smile: