I’m in the “keep it” camp
– Last Updated: Jan-30-08 3:13 PM EST –
I understand your desire to not mess with breakdowns and the like now that you aren't economically forced to, but really, 130-thousand is practically brand-new on a modern car, and Toyotas are known for being reliable. If you took just a tiny fraction of the money you'll be using for payments and set it aside for some "special" preventative maintenance, you can eliminate many of the little and bigger troubles that tend to go with an older car. Have your mechanic change the brake fluid and polish the brake cylinders when you have brake work done, and you'll never have to fix brake-fluid leaks. Same goes for the clutch controls, if they are hydraulic. Change the antifreeze every year (or every five years with the new stuff) and the radiator and heater core should last as long as the car. Change the transmission oil every 30k, and double-clutch your downshifts if it's a manual type (down-shifts are a lot harder on the synchros than upshifts, but some people often double-clutch both ways to insure that the synchros never wear out), and the transmission's life is forever. Same goes for the differential - it'll last longer than it needs to as long as the oil is clean (the oil picks up most of the grit that it ever will in the first couple of thousand miles, so the first oil change is the most important). When the drive-shaft U-joints go out (which they will) have your mechanic install replacement joints equipped with grease fittings and you'll never face that repair again. Change the fuel filter now and then, as well as the belts (usually just a single belt nowadays), and the radiator/heater hoses, and all the "normal" stranded-on-the-side-of-the-road stuff will be as good as what you'd get with any new car.
It sounds like a lot of bother, but it's not with a little planning, and you can do it all for the cost of a couple of payments. If you take your new-car money and invest it, its value will go up over the years. Put that money in a car, and the opposite is true.
You already know all this, of course, but you asked what we'd do, and presumably, why.