Getting Rid of a Worthless Car

What is the matter with the car?

pmh wrote:

Since you’re going back and fixing typos, shouldn’t that be “it’s really easy”? :wink:

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

metroshane wrote:

Yeah. Saturns actually have a decent reputation for reliability. I bought my 1993 SW-2 in 1996 with 60,000 miles on it, and the only failures it’s had were the power door locks, a dead battery (and those things only have a 3-4 year lifespan anyway), and the fuel pump. Of course, the fuel pump would have to conk out on me 20 miles from nowhere on a 400 mile road trip late Christmas Eve to be with my parents for Xmas, and it would have to be positioned so that you had to remove the gas tank to get at it (which none of the little service stations open Xmas weekend could do). Not that I’m bitter. Ooooohhhh no. Saturn couldn’t’ve just put the fuel pump a LITTLE farther forward so you could get at it with a screwdriver, could they? Noooooo. They might have to move other stuff forward then, and THAT might force them to sacrifice some of that totally unused space in the front of the car that makes it look pointy! I swear, the next car I get’s gonna be a Toyota Corolla. Man, those Toyota engines last forever. Um … what was my point again?

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

I’m guessing there’s nothing wrong with the car other than it’s a dog and worth far less than you owe on it. Sad twist of fate. Talk to the lending agency; see what they’ll take to “pay off” the note, and see what you can get to get rid of (sell/donate) the car.

Keep your credit clean; get a used car that will keep running and remember the lesson.

The lesson? Watch out for those lovely low-payment plans on car purchases. Sure, your car payment’s really small, but your balance stays high, the interest adds up, and all you’ve really accomplished is paying against the interest…which leaves you holding a bunch of car payment coupons and a dog of a car. This is especially sad if the car is totaled in an auto accident. Your car on which you owe $5,000 is worth $1,000. That’s all any insurance company owes you…fair market value.

**side note about donating the car. Do you REALLY think the IRS is going to believe your $1,000 car is worth $5,000 if you’re audited? Think again!

“There will always be somebody who’s never read a book who’ll know twice what you know.” - D.Duchovny

Important bit on donating cars: I donated my car to a “charity” and wound up close to screwed. They fixed it and sold it to someone who drove it to Seattle and abandoned it. Since I was the last owner, I would have been stuck with the bill, had I not had paperwork showing that it had been signed over to the “charity” (in quotes because the least charitable thing I could imagine to wish on someone would be to sell them that car… crashed it once and it was never the same. Worked fine if you never let it come to a complete stop.)


Alas, I can not help you with your current problem, but can only make suggestions to help you avoid future ones.
#1) Consumer Reports (magazine) puts out a car issue every year with brutally honest assessments of the current year’s cars as well as how the cars of the past 10 or so years are holding up. They take no advertising and have no prejudices regarding foreign vs. domestic cars so they’ll tell you which are the best of the bunch and which are crap. They’ll also break down who’s really making what (i.e. Audi is made by Volkswakgen, etc.) so you can get a car that is similar quality to a luxury “name” at a much lower price.

#2) There is a very easy way to buy a car with absolutely no interest or payments but for most people is very very hard. It’s called saving your money and paying cash. The upside of this is that not only are you saving the money you’d be paying out in interest on a loan or lease, but this gives you negotiating power like you wouldn’t believe. It’s true that the car dealerships make their money on financing but the actual salesman makes the money on what he sells then and there. Last year I was able to buy a brand new '98 Civic for around $300 over dealer cost because I waited until the 99’s were coming in and I knew the guy wanted that '98 off his lot and my cash in his hand.

#3) Never lease a car. Could someone explain to me the reason for this? I really really don’t get it! You pay all this money into a car and then have to give it back? With nothing to show for it?

#4) DOn’t listen to other people’s advice about cars, it will just mess you up. :slight_smile: Really, if someone tells you “don’t buy a new car because they depreciate too much” and you have no mechanic skills, how are you going to keep up an old car? Now my HUSBAND is like the car miracle worker. He bought a 1972 Datsun pickup a couple of years ago for $500 to hold him over until his next car. Now, you couldn’t pay him enough for it. Every time I think it’s finally expired he goes to the auto parts store and spends $50 and manages to fix it right up. The thing is, while I may be comfortable changing my own oil or adding anti-freeze, messing with the clutch or heaven-forfend the BRAKES is just beyond me! When you’re buying a new car, you’re also buying the 5 or 10 year warranty that you won’t have to sweat something like that, which I feel is worth the extra $$$ in the long run.

#5) Oh look! My cocktail glass is empty! I guess I should quit rambling and let someone with something worthwhile to say have a chance, sorry to be so longwinded… :wink: Keep us posted on what you end up doing and how it turns out.


I agree/disagree.

  1. CR is an invaluable reference, but they do favor foreign makes. They also tend to value comfort/appearance above performance/reliability in their “overall” ratings.

  2. I agree in principle. Occasionally though, you can get a lower interest rate than you are earning on your CDs. Then you should definitely finance (they usually only offer this rate for a 12 month term).

  3. Why lease? Because you can beat the hell out of the car and return it before it dies completely (apparently the case for the Neon in question). I agree that financially it it pretty stupid though.

  4. Again, I agree in theory. However IMHO you pay about 4X what that convenience is really worth.

  5. Hmm… Me too.

rastahomie, seriosly, let us know how this comes out.

I know almost nothing about cars…but:

1-small cars age faster than big cars.

2- 6000 miles in six months…what were you thinking???

3-Those little plastic disposeable cars are a poor choice unless you have a warranty.

4- if the damn thing runs at all, just keep fixing it.find a cheap (unliscenced ) mechanic with a good reputation, and get him to patch it together, it should hold till the payments are over.

People who drive ‘new’ cars are pretty spoiled (no offence meant) a half decent used car can run for years…so its not GREAT, but hey…gets you there…Take my old '79 Buick for example…do you think winters are easy in maritime canada?Snort! Not a bit! But with the help of a good mechanic, it runs ok, and has saved me a car payment for the last few years. In the spring, I plan to retire the beast and purchase another old relic, for maybe $1500-$2000 at the most, and I’ll get years out of it.

There is NO way I could afford a car payment, and my car insurance is only $40 per month.

Whew. This makes the $1600 I just shoveled over for my recent repairs seem like a cakewalk.

“My hovercraft is full of eels.”