To sell or Not to sell

I have a 2001 Ford Taurus SEL that needs the breaks replaced. I hate this car, I inherited it from my g-mom and the thought of puting money into it makes me cringe. I’m a librarian which means I make about 30,000 a year, no family of my own…still very broke. Money is the most important issue here. Although I hate this car…yes hate…I will continue to drive it if it makes economic sense. it has 80,000 miles on it and is in OK shape. I want a smaller tighter car that is reliable…and cheap…I’m only interested in used cars (obviously) what about an older Volvo…amenties mean very little to me just reliable and economic. The question is do I sell the Taurus and under what pretense would this make economic sense, and what kind of car should I look for.



29 Lexington, Ky

You do know the history of the Ford Taurus. Brake work on any car is normal maintenance. Any used car you buy will need some maintenance or repair. It would seem to me that it makes the most economic sense to keep the Ford. The Ford Taurus is a common car and most parts are readily available and cost less than parts for Volvo’s.

Yes, fix the brakes on the Taurus, drive it while you save up money for its replacement. Do not get a Volvo, it fits none of your needs. Get a copy of the Consumer Reports buyers guide, lots of info.

Volvo? You want to write a check for $1,000 every time your car goes to the dealer?

If you want reliable and economic, think small Honda or Toyota or Chevy or Ford or Nissan; nothing Swedish, Italian, German, British, etc…

I think if you bought a used Volvo cheap(you didn’t mention a budget), you’d probably learn to LOVE the Taurus

I’m in the education field and for many years I really had to watch my expenses. This meant that I drove used cars that were serviceable but that weren’'t my first choice. Here is what I did:
1. Kept up the maintenance so that the car was reliable and in good repair.
2. Kept the interior and exterior clean and gave the car a good coat of wax twice a

If you keep the Taurus up, it should run for 150,000 miles. At the same time, you won’t be making car payments, but still have reliable transportation. Use the money you save from the car you inherited to buy a car when the Taurus is at the end of its life. You seemingly got a break by inheriting an o.k. serviceable automobile. Take advantage of your good fortune.

Since money is an object you should keep the Taurus and drive it until oblivion; which means that oblivion could be in the near future based on your comment about putting money into a normal, wear and tear item that your very life depends on.

Halfway maintained the car should last a long time. If you are as adverse to other maintenance as you seem to be about brakes then nothing is going to last you over the long haul.

I had an 87 Sable that I kind of liked at first. By the time 350k miles rolled around I absolutely despised that car (long redtired from family service) and kept praying for divine intervention of some sort as an excuse to get rid of it.
Finally at 420k miles the man upstairs helped by throwing a storm driven tree branch through the windshield. Still running/driving well but adios.

If money is an issue, then you definitely don’t want an older Volvo. My sister got one a couple of years back, and like someone else said, it’s about $1000 for every (frequent) trip to the repair shop. Go with the devil you know. Good luck.

I have to agree with the prevailing sentiment here.
If you want a car that is both reliable and cheap to repair, a Volvo is certainly NOT what you want.

If you are making only $30k per year, you need to conserve your resources and save some money so that you can pay cash for your next car. That means staying with the known quantity–the Taurus–and avoiding a used car with an unknown maintenance record that could result in a veritable minefield of expensive repairs.

However, if you are intent on buying another car, then you should use your library facilities to locate the Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers Guide, which is an invaluable source of information regarding historical reliability ratings and virtually everything else that you need to know when shopping for a used car. Oh, and you also might want to utilize your library facilities to find out how to spell the name of the mechanism that is used to stop your vehicle, namely the brakes.

Will, Keep The Car. Try And Learn To Like It.

Knowledge is King. Since you are an expert at research and available reference materials, spend a little time researching your Taurus, not just your’s, but the Taurus story in general.

Find its roots. See how it was conceived and how it evolved. Most cars have a fascinating history and involve fascinating people along the way. Try this and you may develop a new respect and appreciation for that car that takes you everywhere.

Let us know one interesting tid-bit that you think none of us know. Thank You.

Oh, and buy the Taurus something nice to smooth over your rocky relationship.


There’s even a book out there about the development of the 1996 Taurus in particular, which is the direct predecessor (almost identical mechanically) of the OP’s car.

Of course, after that book came out, Ford swore to NEVER let a journalist in on their development process ever again. There were many portions of the book that made Ford look stingy and cheap as if they were actively working against their customers. The catch was that EVERY automaker goes through that sort of stuff (nickel and diming suppliers, fighting over 5 cents for a “better” material, etc)… but without that context it didn’t make Ford look too good.

Really? It needs new brakes and you want to get rid of it? REALLY?

Unless it has had a series of other issues, then it IS a reliable and economic piece of transportation for you. 80,000 miles is a very good lifespan for brakes.

Thanks so much, you reiterated what every other person wrote concerning my question, and corrected my grammar on a car talk forum. Well done, time well spent!

Yes, I do consider it to be time well-spent.
Anytime that I can offer valid car advice, that is time well-spent.
Anytime that I can help a librarian to improve his grammar, that is also time well-spent.

And, the best part is that there is no charge for either type of help!

As pretty much everyone else has said, economically it is always cheaper to keep and maintain you current car. You really don’t want an old Volvo if money is an issue.

Fix the brakes. That is your cheapest option short and long term. The only killer for your Taurus will be something like a bad transmission or engine. Then you’d be getting into cheaper to buy a used car territory, but used cars are a crapshoot. You might get a good one with few problems or you might get a real dog with endless repairs.

If you really can’t stand it any longer, probably the best small car for reliable and cheap is going to be a Ford Focus.

Thanks so much. I’m taking the Taurus in this week to get looked at. To be honest I don’t Think it’s just the brakes. The car makes a sort of wa wa wa sound as I drive it that increases with the speed of the vehicle. Also, when I make a left turn the tire sort of jars (front left tire) and the axel (I guess) make the weird kind of clunking noise, it makes this noise when I go over speed-bumps as well. It makes me think it has something to do with the shocks. At what point (what cost) should I consider looking for a new (old) vehicle. NO VOLVO I assure you I am thoroughly convinced of that :).

If you’re happy with your mechanic that’s great, if not you can use this to find one that’s recommended in your area:

Once you get it all fixed, get it cleaned inside and out - mine always seem to run better when they’re clean!