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When It’s Time to Say Good-Bye to Your Car

Find out when it's time to ditch your clunker.

You throw out clothes you no longer wear and electronics that no longer work, so why hang onto a car that has long surpassed the point of drivability? It takes up way more space than those old clothes and gadgets, plus it can be a drain on your finances.

Now I know saying good-bye to an old car can be hard -- my parents sold the ’97 Toyota Camry I drove for most of high school when I left for college, and I never even got to drive it one last time (cue violins). But my parents had their reasons, and their guidelines --along with these others -- are good ones to follow when weighing the pros and cons of keeping your car:

  • We didn’t need it Think about your commuting/driving needs. Do you have more vehicles than drivers? If so, consider getting rid of one (or more!) of your extra cars.
  • It needed costly repair work to pass inspection If your car needs a large amount of work in order to pass the state inspection that year, consider selling, donating, or scrapping it.
  • They were able to sell it Just because you don’t want your old car doesn’t mean someone else won’t! My parents were able to sell ole Cameron the Camry in the local paper for a pretty good price.
  • It wasn’t eco-friendly This didn’t actually apply to my Camry -- it got great gas mileage, and back in 2002 gas was roughly $1/gallon (jaw, meet floor, right?), but if your car is a gas-guzzler, you should definitely consider getting a more eco-friendly model.
  • You’re not driving it When I visit my parents in the burbs, I always see cars sitting in people’s driveways that have basically become one with the ground. The tires are flat, there are leaves stuck in the hubcaps, and it’s pretty clear they are well past the point of use. Does this sound like your car? Unless it’s an antique -- in which case, you *may* want to look into a better storage facility -- you should probably say good-bye to your jalopy.
  • It needs constant maintenance Do you see your mechanic more than your best friend? Your car should not be a time and money drain. If it spends more time in the shop than on the road, ditch it now.

So you’ve read the above reasons and decided that yes, it is indeed time to say good-bye to your clunker. So what are you waiting for? Put that clunker out to pasture ASAP!

-- Lauren Le Vine

See More: Buying Guides , Buying a Car