Car Bye Bye
February 25, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Which-car-to-get-rid-of-Filter: Car A) Ford truck, 97K or Car B) Soobie Legacy formerly 4WD, 140K. Complicating details follow.....

Time to get a new (ie. newer) car. We've got two and I'm rackin' my gray matter to decide which to get rid of. They're both pretty crappy. Here's the data:

~ Not buying a brand new car
~ Spending 12K tops
~ Snows here
~ I'll be getting rid of the "winner" in another year or so.
~ CAR A: '95 Ford Ranger extended cab, good 4WD, 97K mi. - Functioning pretty well, but has not been maintained well (I blame myself), and I 'got a vibe' that it may tank soon. Impractical with my 12 yr old and friends- no jumpseats - can't take them far. No AC, bad radio, bare bones interior (like, rubber). Occasionally useful for haulin' stuff. Possible $2000 trade in value.

~ CAR B: 1997 Subaru Legacy Wagon, 140K miles. This car has lost it's 4WD (due to whatever connection in the tranny falling off). Would cost more than the car is worth to fix, so it's current trade/resale value is roughly $400 (we have a "parts" offer). Runs pretty well as a 2WD, though not in snow. Wondering if it is safe to drive in this state. Pretty good for hauling kids etc.

So... which would you get rid of?
posted by ecorrocio to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wondering if it is safe to drive in this state. Pretty good for hauling kids etc.

These two sentences cancel each other out.
posted by sageleaf at 3:03 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Subaru sounds like it's not worth much of anything, whereas the truck will be good for years of dump runs and basic hauling tasks. Fix the backlog of deferred maintenance and keep driving it.
posted by Forktine at 3:05 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Despite the higher miles on the Subaru, I'd keep that one as it's newer, runs well, and while you don't say how poorly it does in the snow (or how much snow you get), a FWD should normally do decently in snow.

But then you mention a safety issue - what are your concerns? Just its capabilities in snow, or something else?
posted by zippy at 3:08 PM on February 25, 2011

Do you need two cars, i.e., could you get rid of both? It doesn't sound like either has much long-term value for you, and this may be the most you can make from them.
posted by argonauta at 3:10 PM on February 25, 2011

These two sentences cancel each other out.

Ha! Indeed. I meant it WAS a good car for hauling kids... now we wonder. Which leads to....

But then you mention a safety issue - what are your concerns?

The linkage to the rear drive went out - I'm not exactly sure what this entails. The car seems to function fine as a 2WD, and the Soobie engine is dang tough. What I wonder is, is there any danger in tooling around with the rear wheel linkage busted... ie. will it 'catch' somehow and bust through the floor of the car below the driver's seat or cause the car to spontaneously combust? Or something like that.

Not too worried about bad snow performance... we've had a mild winter (Colorado of all places), and I'll keep it one more winter at the very most.
posted by ecorrocio at 3:14 PM on February 25, 2011

Alas, we do need two cars.
posted by ecorrocio at 3:15 PM on February 25, 2011

Trade both in, and find decent $5-$6k cars. There are still come to be had that are that price and reliable.
posted by deezil at 3:18 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

As you're looking for a used car, let me recommend this thread: Is our old car too unsafe? because there are a lot of useful resources linked in that thread - worth scrolling down for - and they're focused on safety features. Worth looking up the safety ratings of your two cars and considering them in your decisions - at a guess, probably the Subaru is safer. (Barring it just breaking down) I don't know where safety ranks on your list of priorities, and what capability you will get in the new car (eg if you'll get a kid-hauler in the new car, maybe it doens't matter if you get rid of the kid-hauling capability of the Suby).
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:31 PM on February 25, 2011

Keep the Ranger. With maintenance, it will keep going and going, and they are great for going to the dump, moving stuff, bringing home compost for the garden, etc. My 2nd vehicle is a '07 Ranger. I will never be without a p/u truck again.
posted by brownrd at 4:00 PM on February 25, 2011

Not a mechanic, but I have a history of crappy cars. The Subaru sounds like it's not worth keeping. Part of the reason you want a Subaru is that it has the all wheel drive. All repairs probably are worth more than the car. I'd craigslist it or the equivalent to see if you can do better than $400 for parts. Scrap price is going to sit around $200-300 just for the metal, so $400 seems weak.

The truck might be survivable for longer than a year. Take it to a mechanic and see what needs to be done and what should be done. It could be very worth keeping the truck, because it's a truck. Even if you only use it for truck-like tasks, assuming it's paid off it will be cheap to maintain and insure for low mileage as a secondary vehicle. You might wind up keeping it longer than a year, because trucks are great to have (I so miss mine).
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:36 PM on February 25, 2011

The Ford will be easy and cheap to fix, no matter what goes wrong. Ford's been making that truck for 20 years, and parts are plentiful at the junkyard. You'll be able to keep that puppy for another 150k miles, easy, and it's insanely practical as a stuff-hauler and bad weather beater.

If you need a people-hauler, buy a people hauler. The Subaru is already broken beyond repair, so dump it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:42 PM on February 25, 2011

The truck works fine in the snow, the subaru should be fine in anything but a blizzard. The subaru most likely gets better gas mileage now that it's front wheel drive instead of awd, consider it an upgrade when the weather is nice. I'd probably keep both until next winter or until one dies. The $400 you'll get for the subaru will be offset by higher insurance premiums on whatever you replace it with and it'll probably still be worth $400 next fall. Besides, the easiest way to find out which is the better car is to wait for one of them to stop running :-)
posted by foodgeek at 4:45 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, both of these vehicles should have been good for many more years and miles than you seem to be able to get out of them, especially in a state like Colorado that doesn't suffer from the rust issues you see in the upper midwest and northeast. It sounds like your avoidance of basic maintenance is one of those things that seems like it saves money, but is really costing you big bucks. It's almost always cheaper to maintain and make ongoing repairs to a car than it is to buy a new one; in the future, you might find that acquiring a good mechanic and bringing the cars in on a routine basis will keep them going longer and cost you less than your current approach.
posted by Forktine at 4:48 PM on February 25, 2011

Either get rid of both of them or keep the one that doesn't have a broken drivetrain (i.e. keep the Ranger).

A Ranger can be fixed, maintained, and operated for next to nothing. Just a few years ago, I bought an '89 Ranger for $400 because it had a blown engine, a ton of rust, and needed most of the front end replaced. It cost me less than $1000 to get a new (used) engine that worked great, replace the front end, replace the heater core and a bunch of other stuff, repair all the rust, and repaint it. And then I drove it halfway across the country in the snow and used it as my daily commuter for years. Rangers are awesome. Oh, and mine was a 4x4, too. And I sold it for more than I paid and put into it.
posted by The World Famous at 4:58 PM on February 25, 2011

I wouldn't even drive the soobie in that condition and like TWF and others mention, that ranger is really darn cheap to fix and keep running.

Re: the subaru, I'm in a very similar situ with my Passat wagon. Both of our cars are at about $4000 kelley blue book (in fair condition...running not a total POS). Is it really that expensive to repair that drive linkage that you won't stand to make a grand or two upon sale? Total POS in your opinion?

Also, I don't know if this is helpful, but I've considered donating my car for the tax deduction since it's just about tax time anyway here in the U.S.
posted by snsranch at 5:48 PM on February 25, 2011

Great replies everyone, thanks. Really a toss up in many ways. I suspect the Soobie will be the one to go. A good point up there... could just keep drivin' them until one dies... a duel to the death. Ah... but we're hankering for something newer and a bit nicer. Thanks again.
posted by ecorrocio at 12:44 PM on February 26, 2011

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