Friday/ to Repair or to Replace?

My 1996 Toyota Camry (yes! I know it’s an old car) is in the shop for serious repairs : the radiator, water pump and timing belt all have to be replaced.  I decided to graph out the average annual capital cost from when I bought the car (in 1996, new), along with the average annual maintenance cost, all adjusted for inflation.  I left out insurance and gas costs but included tires and lubricants.  The bottom line : money-wise there is still no justification for replacing the car.  But there is a lot more such as confidence in the car’s reliability, the ‘image’ projected by driving a 17-year old car and missing out on the new technology and better fuel consumption of today’s cars.

Here’s a Toyota timing belt. The belt itself is not expensive ($40), but it takes a lot of workshop hours to get the old one out and the new one in.
Here’s my analysis of the Camry’s average annual costs in $US 2012. I took inflation to be 3% annually since 1996. Once the red part (maintenance) makes the average total costs go up-up-up, it’s time to replace. But even with expensive repairs, this will happen very gradually. It’s more a matter of losing the reliability of the vehicle, and other factors, that will drive the decision to replace the car.
Here is a self-portrait of me in April of 2000 (outside Denver, Colorado) when I made the trip up to Seattle from Houston with the car (about 2,500 miles one way, it took 4 days!).


One Reply to “Friday/ to Repair or to Replace?”

  1. Willem,

    I really liked that 2000 picture of you and your analysis of costs. That is why I am still using my 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee especially in the winter with 4 wheel drive and the very low repair costs.

    Enjoying your blog from Stockholm today.


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