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Upside-down on a lemon

I’m a novice at car repair and new at buying/selling cars. I have a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer with 145K miles a slightly warped back axel from hitting a curb on ice. Mechancic checked out the axel and said its safe. I’ve just had the transmission rebuilt and I’m about 5K upside down on it. Any advice? Keep it running until paid off? Sell? Sell for parts?

It’s a lemon?

If your mechanic says that it’s good to go on the bent rear axle and you’re okay with that, why not just keep ahold of it? All you’ve done is a transmission?

Keep it; trans rebuild at 140K is doing well. Don’t see the lemon part.

Fix your rear axle hopefully with the required insurance you are supposed to carry typically if this is a loan situation.

The vehicle is not a lemon.

You did not say why you had the transmission rebuilt, but I suspect at 145K it is not something you would consider calling a car a lemon over. Most likely the lack of keeping fluid in it, or not changing the fluid resulted in a life somewhat shorter than it should be. Hitting a curb is not the fault of the car so I can’t see it as a lemon by any definition.

Keep it running until it is paid off and next time, don’t play games with the financing and get upside-down.

It is difficult to call a car this old a lemon. The fact that it has lasted this long suggests it isn’t a lemon.

This car is six years old and you still owe $5,000? Did you buy it new? How long is the term of the loan? If you bought it used you either paid too much or didn’t put enough money down at the time of purchase. If you bought it new you made a bad decision about the financing.

If you hit a curb in ice, why didn’t you file an insurance claim? Even if you didn’t get it fixed, you could have put that money towards the loan.

Selling a car that is worth less than you owe will only compound your problem. You need to keep it running AT LEAST until it is paid off.

Next time either save money for a downpayment or buy a car that holds its value better.

I’d keep it. BTW, was the transmission rebuilt before or after you damaged the axle?

Alright, maybe “lemon” isn’t the proper terminology. I’m just a little overwhelmed.

My wife bought the car about a year before I met her. She bought it in '05 with 74K miles on it and she paid just over $12K. We pay about $250 a month and are more like $7K in the hole. The curb incident happened about 2 years ago. Now we’re both fresh out of school and like most new grads and newlyweds, the budget is a little lean. So here I am, a novice repair person with a small budget upside-down on a rapidly aging car (still needs shocks, ac repair we live in south texas, and other smaller things).

I just wanted to know what the best move was for someone in my situation. From the advice I got earlier and, knowing the average listener of Car Talk, Im going to keep it running as long as I can. I hope to pay it off within a year or two and trade it in for something more economical with 30K miles on it. If you have any better ideas please let me know.

None of us have a crystal ball, but your plan is sound. Shocks are not all expensive to replace. Check out sales at Sears to see what they have on sale. Get a free inspection first, so you have no surprises.

You’ve had it for more than 3 years and still owe that much on it?? How long is the mortgage on it???

If the axle was really bent two years ago, the bearings would have disintegrated by now, so I question that diagnosis.

Just keep driving AND maintaining it.

I agree that you need to drive this car until it’s paid off or oblivion; whichever comes first. Trading it off anytime soon is only going to put you both into a deeper automotive finance pit than you’re already in.
As a parts vehicle it would be near worthless.

A bent rear axle will wear out tires prematurely so this should be repaired IMHO and especially considering how fast the miles accrue on this vehicle.
They’re not that hard to change out and you may be able to find a good used from a local salvage yard, eBay, etc.