Could I get your opinions, please.

downsouthNovember 3, 2007

About two weeks ago, we were sitting at a red light waiting to make a right turn. The guy in front of us decided he couldn't make the turn so he puts it in reverse and guess who is sitting behind him?! He was driving a long flat bed hauler. It bent the hood up like a V shape, and damaged the front lights and grill. It didn't do any damage to the radiator. We were able to drive it home after the accident and went to a rental car agency the next morning.

The insurance company talked about totaling the car but the body shop said it is fixable (of course they want our business). The insurance co. said it was up to us.

It's a 1998 Toyota Avalon XL (some of you might remember this is the car where I posted a vibrating problem while driving, but since it doesn't do it often, we haven't found this problem yet.) The damage estimate is $3,900 (I forgot to ask if part of this amount is for labor.) The car's value is $6,700.

Our son said take the money and run. We want it fixed as we don't want car payments again (we just retired), but our son says we could find a nice used car for $6,700. I really do like this car. It drives great and I love how it sits. He knows I have complained since we bought it that it pulls to the left. It always has but it's not a major problem.

It's in very good condition, no dents, nothing missing, low mileage for a 1998 (129K), sunroof, leather seats. I should say it "was" in very good condition, LOL. We have had work done at this body shop before and they do excellent work.

If it were your car, would you keep it or take the check? This is the only car we have.

Thanks, Dee

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gary__

Seems like you and your son have hashed out the issues pretty well already.

The damage to your car is superficial. It is repairable. It's still a 10 year old car with a 129k miles on it. Repaired it will be a wrecked 10 year old car with 129k miles on it, and it'll still have the same issues it had before.

I would side with your son on this one. Though buying a used car is always a risk, you should be able to get a decent car for $6,700. Perhaps a newer one with fewer miles. Actually, I'd like to think that at retirement age you'd have the money to buy yourself a nice new car. That's what I'd like to see if you were my folks.

The decision is yours. If you like the thing that well fix it. This is just an opportunity to move on to something better if you want to. If you don't, you'll just be in the same position as you were before. Don't loose any sleep over it whatever you do : ) No big deal either way.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 11:32AM
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tom418

If it were me, I would keep the car. You already know what issues it has (besides the body damage). If you were to buy another, used one, who knows?. I still have a 1995 Avalon. I love it!. No repairs, and the only issues was a power window, and power antenna (fixed that one myself).

As far as a "10 year old" car goes, who cares? If it's maintained, it's a young car. I used to own and fly a 28 year old Piper Seneca twin engine airplane. It was used as an air taxi (that means fare-paying passengers would ride in it). Any machine can last if it is cared for.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 3:10PM
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gary__

**As far as a "10 year old" car goes, who cares? If it's maintained, it's a young car.**

True...and not.

Buy a new car and odds are it will go 10 years and 100k or more miles requiring little more than putting gas in the tank, regular oil changes, and maybe one set of tires. After that, even if basically sound, the never ending stream of worn out parts begins.

I drive a 20 year old car that had 25k miles on it when I bought it 3 years ago. Since buying it I still had to replace the water pump, battery, belts and hoses (looked good but too old), tires (good tread but too old), brakes, two headlights, repair one headlight motor, replace power antenna, power window switch, repair a bad ground wire, replace hatch struts, replace maf relays, replace one set of u-joints. Probably a couple other things that don't come to mind at the moment. I know the right front shock is bad, and though the ac compressor still works, it's slinging oil and making noise so I imagine I'll have to replace that some day. Same with the steering rack. Works fine warm, sticks when cold. O-rings gotten hard over time I'm sure. Got a '98 dodge we purchased new that now has just over 100k miles on it. It's accumulating a similar list of things to do now. Told the wife if she's going to keep it I'll have to start replacing worn parts...shocks, pitman and idler arms, adjust steering gear, replace ac condenser, hatch supports, repair oil leak at transfer case, new tires next summer, and so on. Not seeing a new vehicle she likes better, she wants me to maintain the old one. Fine, you know what I'll be doing every weekend from now on...or I can take it to a shop and pay someone a few thousand bucks to do it. Then after a couple years it will need more of the same. Different list of worn stuff, but a list just the same.

Point is there really is no such thing as a young new car. Whether you drive it a lot or it sits in the garage, it pretty much wears out just the same. All the rubber, gas charged parts, sealed bearings, ect goes bad in time, imo about 10 years, no matter what you do.

One of the hassles of buying a car is getting rid of the old one. In the case of the original poster, the car is sold already if they want it to be. If they were ever thinking of selling or trading that car, now is the perfect time. If they like the old one and want to keep it, that's fine too.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 11:56AM
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downsouth

Thanks guys for your input. We have decided it's too good of a car not to get it repaired. It's being repaired now and we think we made the right decision.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 5:21PM
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reekola

I,ve got two 96 Avalons - 1 w/230K miles the oither w/130K miles. Neither one has had any major repairs. Good engines and transmissions! You should be good for at least another 100K! Both of ours had bad drivers side power window (brushes wore out - must be a bad design. Other than that Avalons seem to have a lot of good long lasting parts. PS unit seals leaked in both, but Lucas PS Stop Leak stopped that. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 2:19PM
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kalining

This is after the fact because you have already made up your mind. Your insurance co. will see more wrecked cars in
one day than you will drive in a life time. When they write
off a car or want to, they know what they are talking about. Your car wasn't worth repairing. It was toast. They
gave you what is called a contract price. If you can fix it for what they will give you, fine, but your car will be on the hit list and will never be fixed again in another claim. It will be written off. Just a little F.Y.I. That's
how we do it.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 7:13PM
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acey

klining,
what do you mean by "hit list and will never be fixed again", and it will be written off? (I'm awake with insomnia, and am having fun learning about cars!) It seems you would have taken the money too?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 6:36AM
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kalining

Just as i said. the car goes on a hit list, as in list. If
the same vehicle is in for another claim and the other claims are shown on the list of that car it becomes another claim. They paid for it once and probably will not
pay for it again. very simple. the damage is over 50% of the car's value. How do you know the car will drive "great"
again after the repairs ? It will still cost $3900.00
to fix it. What are they going to give you ? $3900.00
or $6700.00. Is your car worth $3900.00 in repairs ?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 5:51PM
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