I don't do well with cars. My vehicular history has been quite dismal. At least, after the first one. My first car was a 1985 Mazda GLC that I purchased for $750. I put less than $250 in the car for repairs and drove it for 2 years. Then I had a wreck in it that knocked out the passenger headlight and had some cosmetic damage to it. So I decided to go into debt and get a Ford Ranger. I got a Ford Ranger 4x4 Extended Cab. Loved the truck, but after the transmission went south on me twice in less than two years, I decided to go brand new. I could only afford another Ranger, single cab, manual, so that's what I got. Of course, they barely paid off the note on the previous ranger (there may have been up to $500 rollover into the new one), but, at this point, I had a brand new vehicle. Then, a mere 8 months later, I traded for yet another vehicle, going for a brand new Saturn, and rolling over several thousand into that vehicle. Fast forward 3 years and I sold the Saturn for another Ranger, but this time, it wasn't a new Ranger. Of course, after rolling over several debts into this one, my payment was big, and I owed nearly double what the Truck cost me. It was finally, at this point, that I decided that my continuous cycle of vehicular debt was hurting more than helping. I finally sold the Ranger after I was given a company truck, and that kept me out of the vehicle business for another year.
Then time came for me to part ways with the company. I lost the truck, and the income, and ended up buying a $3,500 Honda Accord. I paid cash for the car, but, less than 24 hours after purchasing it, several things went horribly wrong. The clutch went out, along with the master and slave assemblies, the flywheel.... basically everything transmission-related. The alternator and the battery also went out. Every time I turned around, something happened to the car, and needed fixing. By the time all was said and done, less than 2 years later, I had put nearly $8,000 in repairs to the car. I had replaced the axles, the wheels, the tires, the transmission, about half of the electrical system, the brakes, the radiator... the list went on and on. Because of this experience, I decided to buy a brand new car just a couple of months before I got married. In vehicular debt at that point more than I'd ever been before, I was a little concerned, but my job was (and still is) steady and the business is growing, and now, I don't have to worry about the vehicle breaking down, and, if it does, I don't have to worry about getting the shaft due to my lack of knowledge about vehicles.
My wife brought a $400 car to the marriage, and it lasted a year into it. But it finally bit the dust, and the time came to replace it. I didn't go buy a brand new car, partially because I didn't want to spend very much, and partially because I didn't want to be in vehicle debt totaling my yearly income.
So, here we are, just under $27,000 in debt just on our vehicles, and then I read this post over at Get Rich Slowly.
It really got me to thinking about what I've done and where we are. I know what Dave Ramsey would say - he'd tell me to sell at least one of the vehicles, take the hit and get a junker to drive around until we get out of debt. Given my history with vehicles, I'm not sure I'm prepared to make that jump.
So, what would you do? Would you keep both cars, both of which are under warranty (because of the warranty extensions), and continue to pay them down? Or would you sell one (or both)? Why?