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Should I repair this car?

I have a 1988 Chevy Nova. I am the original owner. She has 108,000 miles on her. This year is the second time she failed her smog test. The first time I was able to get her repaired, but this time the service people said she has gotten so old that the parts would have to be ordered from out of state. They gave me an estimate of $2,000 for labor and parts; but they were concerned that once they started taking the car apart to clean out the carbon build up and replace the catalytic converter, they might find other things wrong. Well, I don’t have $2,000. A friend of mine thinks it could be fixed for $500, but I am concerned that given the age of the car, that this might be the beginning of a whole series of repairs. I spent $700 earlier this year on her. She’s been a great car for me, but I do own a second car (a three year old HHR with 1,000 miles on her). Being unemployed and on retirement, I question if I should to the repair, or if it wouldn’t be better to donate her to charity and let someone else have her. She is in very good condition over all, but I just don’t know enough to make a good decision. Could anyone help me decide??? Thank you. Dianne in San Diego, California

Dianne, it seems you drive only a few miles a year. So, the question is do you need 2 cars? If yes, find some other estimates for the Nova. Perhaps there is a less expensive fix for it to pass the smog test.

If you don’t really need another car keeping 2 is more costs for insurance, repairs, yearly registration, yearly inspection, etc. Your Nova might be a fun car for someone to work on and it would do better being driven more frequently. Since you are on this computer web site, perhaps you can sell the Nova on ebay. On ebay it might attract the attention of a “collector” who would value an older car.

The car is very old and ready to “go to the farm”. It would be nice to donate and have it go to someone. However reality is it will go to the car crusher or maybe Mexico.

If income is tight keep the new car and get rid of this burden. It sounds like you drive very little and I don’t see why you hang onto this car in practical terms.

Get rid of the Nova. If you can sell it, fine. If you have to junk it, do that. It is of no use to you.

This is really a no-brainer. Classical putting good money after bad. Don’t let nice sentiments get in the way of common sense!

Donate it or sell to a Saturday morning mechanic who can fix it up at his leasure.

The HHR is a nice vehicle so drive it. It’s perfect for California. The Nova needs another home so sell or donate it tomorrow. Sentimentality nearly always comes at a price. I like fond memeories far better than the cost of mechanical upkeep. You will too.

Thank you all for your kind replies. I know why it is hard for me to let go of the car is that she was my first major purchase with my own money. She’s run great, had wonderful gas mileage and, up to this year, been very little trouble. But I think I have to face the fact that she’s a 1988 car and she’s probably going to have more and more maintenance problems, and I just don’t have the money to fix her up (being one of the endless unemployed). I hope someone acquires her that can enjoy working on her. I don’t have much control over that. I have to say good-bye to my old Nova. I appreciate so very much your feedback.

Pat on the back for you. My first vehicle that had my name on it was a 57 Chevy Belair. I had to sell it after I got married. They now sell for so much that memories are all I can afford.

My mom and dad owned two Dodges that were, I think 1949 and 1950 sedans. My mother cried when they had to be sold but it was the same problem…old cars, no money. Now, of course, they would be considered vintage and worth quite a bit, but we can’t time travel, can we? We make the best decision we can and keep hold of those valuable memories that no one can take from us. If I had one of the classic Chevy Novas from the sixties, it might be worth hanging on to, but basically I had one of the Japanese/American cars where Chevy put their brand on what was basically a Toyota Corolla (the factory where she was made recently was closed). Maybe that makes her valuable to someone, but her value to me is not something I can make money from. Many thanks again to all of you who took time to reply.

One last story about the Nova. I decided to donate her to charity. Now I drove her on Wednesday in rain without any problems. The tow truck arrived on Thursday. First, the driver couldn’t get the door to open. Second, the driver couldn’t get the car to start. Third, when they pulled the car up on the truck, water spilled out and my brother said it looked as if it was peeing her pants. At the end, she left me with a good story to tell.

Dialyn, Maybe She Was Just Getting Ready To Deliver A Litter Of New Baby Novas. :wink:


I really needed the laugh. A friend of mine said I should think of the Nova as being an organ donor, but this is much better. :smiley: