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Vehicular Selection

This question fits in the following categories: automotive, ecology, economic, equinology, fun, marriage, midlife crisis, practicality, safety, self-fulfillment, theology (stewardship), and testosterone, not necessarily in that order.

I am a 48 year old Pastor, Jouster, Chaplain, farmer and husband.

My only vehicle is a 1998 Dodge 1500 short bed PU with nearly 250k miles on it. I live on a hilly 50 acre farm with gravel roads, and lots of fence and chores. It is starting to REALLY show it’s age (more that Ray). I have to have a truck! I need to decide whether to retire this one to the farm until it at last gives up the ghost (with occasional forays into the public eye) and get a more economical drive around vehicle. Do ditch this oldtimer and get a newer truck that does more of what I need? Did I mention hauling horses or the sidecar motorcycle rig that gets 50 mpg?

Help guys! We need your sage advice!

What’s wrong with it, now? Burning oil? Slipping trans? Define “showing its age”. I show my age, but I hope my wife isn’t ready to put me out to pasture yet!

Add up all the costs to bring it up to your standard, and then decide if you want to take on a newer truck and the capital outlay required.

“Did I mention hauling horses or the sidecar motorcycle rig that gets 50 mpg?”

No, you didn’t, at least not in context. You probably won’t get much for the old truck, so keep it on the farm. You should see (and hear) the old Chevy Greenbriar pickup a farmer near me drives. If you plan on hauling a horse trailer, that will make a difference. Is the Dodge 4WD? It sounds like you should have a 4WD pickup, though a standard cab might do fine.

If the Dodge runs well and the body is in decent shape, you might consider a paint job. The inexpensive chain painters can do a good job at a great price if you only want the exterior surfaces painted; not in the door sills and under the hood. If you could do some of the prep work, like removing chrome and masking the areas you don’t want painted, you can save even more.

Your best solution is to go to 2 vehicles. I assume that your kids are grown up and you only need a small car. As a rural pastor, I would set a moral and environmental example and buy a small, economical car, such as a Toyota Yaris, Nissan versa, Honda Fit, etc. Ten years from now with oil at $150 a barrel and $6/gal gas yor wisdom will be appreciated.

I would keep the truck to do farm chores and do repairs as needed. It will last a long time yet. Your worst moral/ecological example would be to buy a new monster truck just to pull a horse trailer. Your congegation would question your dedication to stewardship of the earth’s resources, and the farm kids would be green with envy.

I grew up in a rural immigrant community and our old world pastor was the bombastic, dictatorial type, and had to have a new Oldsmobile Delta 88, a Chevy was not good enough for him. Many in the congregation, including me as a 14 year old, soured on this attitude, since we had a 1941 Chevy with 88,000 miles on it and no one else in the entire congregation could afford a new car. Since cars don’t fly an expensive one won’t get you to heaven any

Sorry, lost my thread. Last sentence: Since cars don’t fly, an expensive one won’t get you to heaven any faster than a cheap one.

As a pastor, I think you are limited to 2 choices if you follow the good book. Both of these vehicles are automobiles.

In Genesis we read that “God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in his Fury”. In the New Testament, there is a statement to the effect that “The disciples all came together in one Accord”. Since Chrysler dropped the Plymouth sometime back, you are probably going to have to get an Accord.

Actually, I have a similar situation. I manage a chamber orchestra and I have to transport people and insruments when we do outreach concerts to small communities. Therefore, I drive a minivan. I would much rather drive a Mazda Miata or a MiniCooper. However, having two vehicles is out of the question. I wouldn’t save enough driving around town in a small car over running the minivan to make it pay. It would probably be more cost effective to replace your pick-up truck with another pick-up truck and license and insure only one vehicle.

But if the old truck is only used on the farm, it doesn’t need to licensed or insured.

No question you keep the truck. It has almost no value if you try to sell it, and if you keep it on the farm you don’t have to insure it or register it. Does your state have “farm” plates; some do. It limits you to a short distance from the farm, like just into town. Then you need liability insurance, of course. The transportation question, getting you around town, to work, to the things you do, etc., should be solved with something made for road use. If you are going to keep it a long time (8 to 10 years) look for a 1 or 2 year old car that someone needs to sell for personal reasons like they can’t afford it or they are moving to Australia or the baby doesn’t fit in the back seat safely. Or, you could look for a low mileage Ford Crown Victoria that has been living in some retirement community nearby. They can tow a motorcycle trailer.