How long do you drive your cars? Do you buy new or used? Dan and I bought this 2010 Prius brand new on December 30, 2009. We paid $23,639. Clark Howard advises if you buy a new car, you should keep it for 10 years in order for it to be a good financial decision. Well, Clark, you’ll be happy to know, we made it! And then some.
Here’s another view. This one taken inside the car:
Yes, that’s right. The car has 334,953 miles on it. We returned late Tuesday night from a quick 2 day trip to Minneapolis to help my son move into his apartment. Before we went on that trip, the check engine light came on. We took it in for service, and something was fixed for $700. However, during our trip, the check engine light came on again. Then on our way home, another light came on at times. This new light was red.
As we got closer to home, we began to hear noises. It almost sounded like evil spirits, like a ghost or something. I thought I heard it say my name. It probably didn’t help that it was dark then. I asked Dan if an animal could be caught under our car. It’s a hatchback, so we knew there wasn’t someone tied up in our trunk. The noise was not a consistent sound. It varied. So, while we were still driving home, I made an appointment online at the Toyota dealer service department for 9 am the very next morning.
It didn’t take too long, just $99, to run a diagnostic to tell us the head gasket is blown. The car is driveable, but nobody knows for how long. Maybe that’s what those spirits were trying to tell us.
We don’t feel too bad. It’s more than 10 years. We got a lot of miles out of that car. But our big question is, what do we do next?
Our other car is a 2010 Ford Expedition with about 73,000 miles. That’s our tow vehicle. The gas mileage, even when not towing, is horrible. In reality, Dan and I only need one car. So, we think we are going to just use the Expedition. We will spend more on gas, put more miles on the Expedition, but we will save on the costs of purchasing and owning another vehicle.
We could buy a used Prius though, and spare the miles on the Expedition. But then we would have to take the money out of our investments or finance it. We did research this possibility just a bit.
We stopped by CarMax. We told them about the head gasket, of course. They’ll give us $500 for the Prius. We saw a 2012 Prius with 24,000 miles on it for $15,000. Great price. Really practical. It’s black. It’s fine, but I’m not excited about it. We make our last house payment on February 1, so I’m way more excited to be completely debt free and to leave our savings in tact. Clark says, when you save money you are creating options for your future. I like options.
So, our plan is to drive the Prius for however long it will last. According to Google, it could be a day or it could be months. Then we’ll junk it and live with one car. Any guesses how long it will last?
What do you think of our plan? What would you do?
Update: The Prius lasted until 10/28/2020, almost 2 months from the blown head gasket diagnosis.
The final mileage:
That’s 4,214 miles after the blown head gasket diagnosis.