Mother in law gave us her clunker

My mother in law gave her 1995 Subaru to us last year. She told me not to use the parking brake because the wheels seize up and to drive it often. We did not need a third car and every third day of not driving it the rear wheels would seize up which would require me (once in the snow) to jack the car up, take off the rear wheels, and tap the drum with a large hammer. Doing this would cause a huge mess because of the rust which fell onto the driveway. So recently I told her that the drums, shoes, and most likely the brake lines needed replacing and I would not pay for that as I didn’t need the car anyway. Her response was that If I had driven the car every so often then it would have been fine. At which point I raised the safety issue with the braking and so forth which she flat out rejected saying it was fine when she drove it. Now I’m being blamed for the problems with her old neglected car. Should I just have the thing towed away or try and get it fixed?

Where’s hubby in all this?

But yes, get rid of it. That’s the problem with little-used cars, espcially one with problems - they continue to deteriorate.

I am the hubby…

If you’re not going to use it very much the texases is exactly right. It will just be one problem after another.

Put it on Craiglist, sell it, take the money and use it to get something nice for the mother in law.

There Is Probably No Way To “Fix” Her. You’ll Have To Accept Her As She Is And Besides, I Doubt She’d Ever Put Up With Being Towed. She Seems Very Strong Willed. That’s How Mothers-In-Law Often Behave.


Is she going to be PO’d if you sell the car or donate it to charity? How would your wife feel about that? I would opt for either of those unless the result will be additional family strife. In that case, you’d have to weigh the pros and cons…

She is already PO’d about it so I guess as I am the one responsible for the car I will have a mechanic take a look at it and see if it would be worth fixing and get an estimate if it is and a note saying it should be condemned if it isn’t either way she pays the insurance for it so It’s technically her car.

Thanks for the advice!

I don’t know the long term story, but IMHO somebody ought to rein her in now. I’ve been living with an un-reined in M-I-L for years simply because my wife just yesses her to death because she thinks its easiest. It gets bad. For her to “give” you a car that you don’t need and then whine about you not using it is completely irrational. It won’t get any better over time. If you don’t have any kids yet, you just wait to see how bad it will get.

Talk it over with your wife. You don’t need both of the mad at you. I’d lean towards donating it. It is probably not worth more than $500. If that is the case, you can determine the value for tax purposes. If you want to get a larger tax deduction, whoever you donate it to will provide a receipt. The only exception is if the charity used the vehicle themselves, but it doesn’t sound like they will do that. Cigroller also offered a great suggestion about selling it and buying a nice gift for your MIL.

Did your mother in law give you the car? Or, did she just hand over her problems to you? If it is your car; you decide what to do.

It seems she is attached to her old car and my guess is she isn’t able to drive anymore but wants you to keep it up for her anyway. If you don’t need the car, you certainly don’t need the repair bills. Sell the car and give mom in law the money it gets. If she doesn’t want to sell it, then drive it back to her house park it in her driveway and let her deal with it.

Well, what if you just parked the car for good. She can decide what to do with it specially since she is already making the calls anyway.

Whoever has his/her name on the title should be the one to decide what to do with it. Also, why did she give you the car if you both have functioning cars already?

If she gave you the car “by force” then give it back to her the same way. Tell her its hers again and you should never touch it, drive it or acknowledge it again.

The MIL is way, way off base and get the office pool started. The hubby will be at fault no matter what he does.

I think its funny that MIL stands for “mother-in-law” AND “malfunction indicator light”

Hmmm. Talk about stirring the pot. Every transaction requires the giver and the taker. She gave and you took so its your problem to fix. Plus your wife is behind your MIL. Talk of reining her in is ludicrous from a practical standpoint. If your wife wants it fixed, then fix it. It will be years of problems but you already knew that. I’d suggest the factory service manual and start to do the work yourself. It can be up on jack stands for months at a time while you’re working on it which will reduce the chance of something else breaking, until your wife or the neighbors tire of it being around.

She pays insurance on it, but is her name on the title?

If you don’t want to mess with it, and your wife is backing her mother, let either of them deal with it; wash your hands of this car. Worst case scenario, call a buddy up and go out for a long ride in it. Have your buddy meet you somewhere then ditch the car and have the title signed and laying on the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition and doors unlocked. Have buddy bring you home.

CSA, you jerk, you just made me spit coffee out my nose. I’m picturing my GFs mother being towed away. Ahhhhh, that’d be nice. My ex’s mom, now, was great. Too bad I couldn’t find a two-fer, huh? LOL