To buy a new car…or not

In 2008, right before my husband had a very delicate and traumatic surgery, he suggested that I get a brand new car in my name, just in case. He wanted me to be safe in a car that would not need constant repairs, and thus began my venture of the search for a new car. Of course, I took my husband with me and asked his advice, but when the time came, he told me that the decision was mine.

Along with ownership, I also obtained responsibility for the car. I noticed that as I approached the two year mark on the warranty, the car began to have more problems, which signaled a warning to me that it was time to upgrade. So I traded in my lovely black Avenger for the same car, only two years newer. It was a beautiful red car, and I loved it, but again I noticed that as I approached the end of the warranty, things began to break. Fortunately, in both cases all the repairs were covered under the warranty.

Right after my husband died, I traded in the car and purchased another one, but this time I bought one with bells and whistles. Yes, the car is the same model and color. Why not stick with what I know? This time I purchased the extended warranty, and a good thing I did. Like clockwork, at 27,000 miles things started happening on the car. I decided not to trade in this time but like many of my friends, I will hold on to the car for a while longer.

Buying a car is intimidating for someone with limited knowledge in vehicles. I know that I want good gas mileage, air conditioning, power windows, and leather seats. What I do not need is a navigation system and a sun roof. Being in the days of mourning following my husband’s death, I was not thinking as clearly as I should have been; thus, I purchased more than I needed for more than I really wanted to spend.

Widowhood has brought new responsibilities in auto maintenance. I learned that tires need to be rotated seasonally; oil needs to be changed every 5,000 miles unless the car uses synthetic oil; cars don’t have spark plugs; brakes are expensive; and many little things that I really don’t want to know.

I love my car. It purrs. I like that. It is red. I like that, but the time has come to consider keeping or trading this car.  My dad gave some good advice about getting rid of a car.  He says that if I start putting more money into repairs than I put out for my car payments, it is time to look for another vehicle.  I think that sounds like good advice.


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