When to sell an old car

I need help please deciding whether to keep a Subaru Impreza Outback Wagon with 215,000 miles. Retail value is about $2,400 in Gainesville, Fl.

It needs three wheel bearings replaced at about $1,200 total. Going to have the transmission checked tomorrow to find out why (when it’s cold only) the gears don’t shift up and down readily.

If I trade it in the value is about $1,200, but who will take that when it needs that much in repairs?

“Retail value” is a bit of a misnomer. No one would pay anything close to that amount for a car with that many miles and needing that much work.

You may get $1,200 as trade-in on a new $25,000 MSRP car, but the dealer is actually giving you a discount and not paying anything for your vehicle. Even if you car was free, it would still be too expensive. Donate it to a local charity and take the tax deduction.


Thanks for your quick reply. That may be the best option.

Twice, I have had two different dealers sell me a car for less money if I bought the car outright than if I traded in my worn out old car. Most dealers don’t want worn out trade-ins and the dealer has to dispose of the trade-in through an auto auction house.

Sell it if all it is is just an old car.

You didn’t say what year it is. But if it is worth $2400 retail, it is probably worth about $1500 in trade if everything is OK. Take the $1200 off and you have a more accurate value. I like to donate cars, and that is a good way to part with it with no hassles. The charity will send you a copy of the receipt when they sell it and that is what you can claim as a deduction on your taxes.

If the charity won’t take it (some won’t if the car is too much work to fix) call your city or county’s emergency manager and/or the fire department and ask if they want it. They like to get old cars to use for car fire training. You can take the same tax deduction if you give it to them.

It’s a 1999 and the body, and interior are in good shape.

My daughter is using it for college and work. She has $5,000 saved. Even with that, it’s been hard to find a decent car for a replacement. I’d been thinking of making the repairs on the Subaru and keeping it.

This puts a different slant on the issue. You know the Subaru and a $5000 car is an unknown. If your daughter is doing mostly local driving, you are probably better off making the repairs to the Subaru, particularly if the body is in good shape and not rusted.

That would be a great plan. We didn’t have time to get the transmission checked. We don’t know total we’re looking at for repairs. Thanks for the reply. It’s great to hear the pros and cons.