To Buy or Not to Buy at this time

I have been looking at used cars but have wondered if I would be better off to wait the winter to save a few more bucks. My '99 Sentra has almost 107,000 miles on it and I’m wondering if the car could last the winter without major troubles. I had replaced the water pump, exhaust, sensors, belts and would have to get the radiator flushed & filled, get a tuneup and add a new set of tires.

Your car can have an issue at any moment being nearly 10 years old however the chances still are not great.

If you want another ride, start looking around. Given the word winter, I would prioritize the tires if they are well worn.

Take your time on looking at your leisure.

Most used cars get less expensive as winter approaches, and their prices increase in the spring. Believe it or not, December is a good month to buy, because the showrooms are empty. Everyone is Christmas shopping and the sales people are desperate to sell something.

Don’t plan your purchase on any perception of “best time to buy.” The best time to buy is when you’ve decided you need another car.

So far everything you’ve mentioned are normal wear repairs. Nothing out of the ordinary. The car is 10 years old, but not a lot of miles on it.

I’m wondering if the car could last the winter without major troubles.

No one knows for sure, but if it has had reasonable care and it continues to get it, I would think it should do well for several more winters.

Do what I’ve been doing, shop around. Take your time and browse EVERYTHING. Let them know you are not buying that day and don’t seem desperate either, they can smell that. Also, do not negotiate monthly payments, just the out the door cost. Don’t forget to maintain the car while you’re shopping. It’s taken me almost 2 years to find the one I really like and I’ve popped off an email about renting one for a week to see if I’d really like it, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet. Though, I am shopping brand new, so this helps a lot.

approximately $1800 to maintain the present auto, versus 36 monthly payments of approximately $2oo==$7200, with no assurance that it will go the distance without a major repair.
Your choice

Radiator service, tune up and tires under $600. I have seen Sentras go 200K miles or more. For me, it’s do the services and drive the car at least one more year.

Heck, I’d be expecting another 3 to 5 years out of that Sentra. If you are just tired of it, fine, but it doesn’t sound like a money pit by any means.

It only has 107,000 miles? I would keep it until it has 200,000 miles. It should be relatively trouble-free until that time.

Everything you have listed is normal maintenance, not symptoms of a car on its last legs. From a purely financial perspective, the time to replace an old car is when repairs cost as much as car loan payments.

We have a ten year old Subaru with 180k miles. We plan to keep it at least another three years. Even then, I don’t expect it to be worn out. The reason for replacing it would be to get something big enough to pull a horse trailer.