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Junkyard guilt

I just sold my 1997 VW Jetta to the junkyard and I feel really guilty about it because I feel like the car had some life left in it. It had 200,500 miles, a missing window, an occasional check engine light and a broken oil sensor that beeped like crazy if I drove longer than 10 minutes at a time. Was I fully justified? I junked it because I knew it wouldn’t pass MD inspection so I didn’t think I could sell it legally, and I’m about to move so I wanted something easy. But, now I’m overcome with guilt.

But, now I’m overcome with guilt.

Buy a new(er) car…you’ll get over it quickly.

I kind-of know what you’re going through. My '01 S-10 has just decided to die on me only after 290,000 mi. Same scenario. I’ve been trying to get it running again, but I’m reunning out of ideas to fix it. So, I had to park it. Even though I haven’t junked it yet, I have some remorse for almost totally giving up.

I think with todays autos, there come a time when you have to let them go.

Don’t feel guilty. The junkyard will recycle a huge percentage of the parts, including steel, rubber, plastic. They will also properly dispose of or recycle the fluids like oil, coolant, gasoline, etc. You did right by the environment.
For the record, you could sell it legally in MD but the new buyer would have had to repair it to pass inspection and register it. However with the problems you describe the junkyard was the right thing to do.

The only other choice was selling to an individual who likely would never get it inspected and wasted their money. If its worth reselling the junkyard may do so.

What’s the source of this guilt? Are you concerned that you wasted money? With the problems the car had, replacing it is likely to be a financially sound decision.

Do you feel like you were disloyal to the car? If so, remember that you aren’t married to it, it isn’t your child, and it isn’t your friend. It’s a defective machine that no longer performs its function - it no longer gets you around reliably. Like any other defective machine, it has no feelings, you just get rid of it and replace it.

Some people have emotional attachments to “things”. I consider an automobile as just a thing. Keep your memories but get rid of anything that’s no longer serviceable or a money pit. I understand your emotions but it’s just metal, rubber, glass and plastic after all. No more and no less.

I believe you were justified in selling it to a junkyard. No doubt at 200,500 miles, you have managed to get a good life out of it, but what you describe sounds like it may have needed a decent amount of work to keep going, if the check engine light was coming on that often.

That doesn’t make it any easier.

Missleman’s advice is good, but it is hard not to build an attachment after many years.

I just bought a new car to replace my old Taurus, as the deals were so good for brand new replacements, and my other “new” car prior to the purchase had 130k on it and was over a decade old. The Taurus has been very reliable and I have a LOT of good memories associated with it, so it was not easy selling it, but it had to be done. Hopefully it serves its new owners as faithfully as it did me.

You did the right thing; keeping a 1999 Jetta running after 200,500 miles requires a lot of money and patience.

As other point out, the recyclers will make sure any good parts find their way into other Jettas, and the rest is recycled in an environmentally acceptabble manner.

Life goes on; you are now ready for something newer and more reliable.

You were fully justified and you did the right and honest thing. You should never feel guilty about doing the right thing.

I feel your pain. A year ago I junked my 93 civic (too many problems to list), but the engine and tranny were still bullet proof and I still got close to 40mi/gal. But with over 300,000mi, and having to get out and jumper power directly to the starter solenoid to get it going and with no appreciable ascetics or suspension left, it was the right thing to do. I went and visited it and all the doors were gone, and most of the interior. I just hope someone took the well maintained power train. I had a lot of sweat equity in that car, but it returned the favor.

I’ll try to make you feel better: You say the oil sensor beeped at you if you drove more than 10 minutes. Unless you actually had the oil pressure verified with a mechanical gauge, I think the sensor was fine, but your engine bearings were worn out and once the oil heated up, it got thinner and the engine could no longer maintain normal oil pressure, so that’s why you were getting the warning.

So basically what I’m saying is the engine was likely pretty well worn out, and it would have given you major trouble soon.

I felt the same about my Chevelle, Civic, and Corsica when I sold them. The Contour I had I was glad to see it go. The Chevelle is down in Oklahoma somewhere, the Civic is parked next door with it’s new owners, not sure about the Corsica, that was over 10 years ago I got rid of that.
wxf048 made the comment about not being married to the vehicle, but with a loan on it, it sure feels like it, for better or worse, your stuck with it for a few years. And when one pays it off, some like to keep it because it’s been so good they don’t want to part with it.