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Single with a used car: keep, lease, or buy?

I have a 2008 Prius with 75,000 miles. It needs new tires and a tune-up. Being single, I have to try to find someone to drive me to a mechanic, which is a hassle! Plus any mechanic I go to seems to find a lot wrong with any car I’ve brought in :face_with_raised_eyebrow: (Not that they take advantage of women…). Add that the costs would probably be about 25% of the car’s worth and I’m wondering if it makes sense to look at alternatives.
If I lease, I’d try to get it from a place that had loaner cars and would feel like they’d do a better job fixing it. Or is that naive of me?
Or maybe I should just buy a certified used car. I like the Kia Niro because it’s a hybrid and I might be able to tow a lightweight trailer.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Wisdom? Sarcasm?

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Your costs to keep your Prius running will likely be MUCH less than the alternatives. Go through your owners manual and put together a list of the specific work needed. Do only that work, along with the tires. Do you have a reliable independent shop you trust?


There is no such thing as a tune up anymore
Maintenance, should be done by the schedule. You are only driving 7500 miles per year so pay attention to the time component of the schedule. For example Toyotas today call for 10000 mile oil changes or one year so I have to change mine every year even though I only drive about half or the mileage.

If every mechanic you take your car to thinks your car needs a lot of work. maybe you are neglecting maintenance or needed repairs.

Or you are going someplace that is upselling you unneeded procedures. National chains are notorious for that.

Why do you think you need a tune up? It is too early to need plugs. Is your car running badly?


You have one of the most reliable and long-lasting cars on the market. See what the owners manuals say about what maintenance is needed when. That will help you decide who’s being honorable and who’s not.

It seems you are troubling yourself unnecessarily by considering all kinds of alternatives to your present car. If you like the car OK and it does what you need a car to do, keeping it in good condition is the least complicated and costly way to go.

If you need someone to take you home and pick you up, ask. They may be able to, or recommend someone you could call.


Where I work a set of tires and spark plugs is a rather routine visit, 2 to 3 hours if you must wait but there are loan cars available by appointment. You may pay $50 to $100 more for the visit compared to the local tire store, having an inventory of 50 loan cars is a considerable expense to the service department.

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I did have a mechanic I trusted, but I moved. I live in a 55+ community, and there’s a shop that advertises in our newsletter that they give rides back and forth.
My maintenance light went on at around 74,000 miles and I couldn’t find anything in the manual about that, but it’s running fine. And I’ve done my regular checkups (well, not at the dentist)…
Yes, I’m probably worrying too much, or just want an excuse to get a slightly sexier car! :joy:

If you need occasional rides somewhere, see if Lyft or Uber can help you. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be.

As an economics question it almost always comes out that you should keep and maintain your present car.

The desire for a new, sexy car is way past our abilities here. Most of us are “well seasoned” gearheads whose idea of sexy is quite likely to be different from yours.


The maintenance reminder will illuminate every 5,000 miles to remind you to perform the maintenance. Some small shops might expect you to reset your maintenance reminder yourself after each service as they may not be familiar with each vehicle.

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According to the 2008 Toyota Prius maintenance schedule, a simple oil change is the only thing that needs to be done at this mileage.The next service is the most important because the long life coolant needs to be replaced along with the inverter coolant and air filter.The following maintenance service needs to be performed also.

Maintenance Service

  • Replace engine oil & filter

  • Remove & inspect engine air filter element1

  • Lubricate locks, latches & hinges

  • Confirm lights, horn & wipers function properly

  • Check coolant, brake, transmission & washer fluid levels

  • Perform battery service and comprehensive electrical charging system evaluation

  • Inspect valve clearance (audibly)

  • Inspect drive belts for damage, adjust tension if required

  • Check steering gear box, linkage and shock absorbers for looseness, damage or leakage

  • Inspect ball joints and dust covers, driveshaft and steering rack boots, chassis nuts & bolts for looseness or damage

  • Remove wheel and brake drum, check pad/shoe thickness. Examine brake calipers, wheel cylinders and brake lines.

  • Inspect fuel and exhaust systems for leaks or damage

  • Examine tires for damage and wear, check & adjust pressure (rotate if required, additional charge).

  • Perform road test.

    1. Additional parts charge may apply if engine air filter is found to require replacement during inspection. No additional labour charges will apply for installation.
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Cars often now come with several manuals, and/or on-line access to the information you need.

You may have one for the car’s operation and repair/maintenance procedures, and another that has schedules and charts of what maintenance when. Some cars now also have another manual to describe all the “infotainment” systems.

Find out what your car needs at ca. 74,000 miles and what may have been neglected before that. If you decide the keep the car, it’s smart to keep up to date with the maintenance. If you want to trade it in and get something else, don’t bother with catch-up maintenance, just get a car you want and let this one go.

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Point well-taken! Of course, my thinking that a Kia Niro is sexy is pretty different, too :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Another vote for “keep what you have”. It is silly to compare the costs or repairs/maintenance to the Blue Book value, and decide to trade in, sell, or junk a vehicle based on that comparison. Buying something else, whether new or used, is almost always going to cost more in the long term than keeping what you have. The only exceptions are rust/body damage, super-high miles, and certain models with serious incurable design defects.

single, 55+? got money?
a 65yr old coworker quit 10yrs ago. moved to florida
met guy with money. he died. she moved back
works 10hrs week to keep her social security income low
bought 4500sqft new house for $850k.
why? cuz she can.
can you pay for new car? do it