Repair wrecked car or buy new?

Crashed my 1995 tercel (was in excellent condition) into the mountainside. Insurance will pay only about 1/2 of repair. Body shop says estimate is “best case”, and repair could be much more. One issue is possible damage to unitized frame. Should I take the settlement from the insurance company and buy a new car, or sign a blank check to the body shop? With only 60,000 miles, I was hoping to drive the Tercel for years to come.

Yours is a logical question, not really a mechanical question…

Should you sign a blank check to a shop to repair a 14 yr old vehicle or should you invest your money into a new or newer car that has the likelihood of a much longer and productive future?

I think the answer should be quite obvious.

Take the money and say goodbye. Even if the car is fixed within budget there could be many be other problems rearing their heads later.

My son’s 1994 Tercel was “totaled” in 2004 and they decided it was not worth trying to fix it because of its age and many unknowns.

Enjoy your new car.

Thanks, excellent points. You’re right, but sometimes you have to pose a question to get answers you already know.

I Want To Hear More About How One Drives Into The Moutainside.
And what’s a “Tercel”?

A tercel is a small Toyota sedan (sub-compact) no longer manufactured. Re how do you hit the mountainside: in the foothills to the Rockies here in Colorado we sand the roads with granite gravel (think very small ball bearings). As you are driving around a 180 degree turn going uphill, it’s not too hard to slide off. If the side of the ditch is dirt, you pull your vehicle out and continue. If it is bare granite, your vehicle can sustain extensive damage even if you weren’t going very fast.

I Have Driven Quite A Bit In The Rockies In Winter And Have Never Hit A Mountainside In Colorado.

However, I have dodged rocks in Utah. Those “Watch For Falling Rocks” signs are for real.


Good point. Some years ago, I knew a real estate consultant. If an investment company planned on opening a new mall some place, they would call him in and pay him a small fortune per day to give a recommendation on the plans.

He told me in most cases, they well knew if it was a good deal or not. In fact, by the time they got to that stage, it usually was a good deal or they would not have kept working on it.

But, big decisions to a CEO who had never made a multi-million dollar decision were scary. So, he was basically paid a fortune to take the heat in case it was a mistake.

At the same time, he did have to really look at it, in case they missed something.

The company headed by Carlos Slim, the Telephone Mexico billionaire, has just build a new cuota which bypasses the Valley of Mexico to points east, such as Puebla. Thus chauffeurs and tourists need not worry about which day of the week it is in the Valley to avoid a $500 USD fine, also much faster and safer.

It does cut through some hairy mountains. I see they are installing embedded rods on the sharp cuts, and putting heavy mesh fencing all over the cuts, so big rocks do not fall on the cars in the traditional manner. Looking at the cuts, I do not think they have the safe angle we expect in the US, so it must be it is cheaper to install the mesh than to blast that much more rocks.