Not Chevrolet's finest moment:

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

The company I went to work for in 1980 GAVE me a 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic V-8. I drive only 5,000 miles a year, and for the last 11 years, this car has given me very little trouble. However, in the past year, everything seems to be going. Now, the air conditioner needs replacing at a cost of $530. I like this car because it is very comfortable and because I have never had to make a car payment. If I did get another car, it would be a smaller, newer used car, and I could pay about $5,000 or $6,000 cash. Should I dump this ugly old dented beast and get a newer used car? Or should I fix this faithful old car and keep driving it?

TOM: Well, Lynn, despite the fact that I was the proud and happy owner of a 1974 Caprice Classic Convertible for many years, I have to admit that the late '70s/early '80s Caprices were pretty lousy. That was not, shall we say, Chevrolet's finest moment.

RAY: But despite that, we're going to suggest that you keep this old beast on the road--at least for now. In terms of economics, it's almost always cheaper to fix up an old car. Think about it. You can buy ten air conditioners for what it will cost to trade up to a newer used car.

TOM: The real question is whether you still like the car. And you say you do. Besides, if you only drive 5,000 miles a year, you probably do only short trips. That means you never have to suffer in this heap for any long periods of time.

RAY: Of course, there will come a time in the future when a major repair happens to coincide with you finally falling out of love with this car. That time comes for every car.

TOM: It even came for my wonderful '74 Caprice Classic Convertible (about six years too late, according to my wife). And for that reason, we suggest you start socking away a few bucks a month so when the time comes, you can buy yourself something decent. We'd hate to see you finally make the big move some day only to end up with something '85 Cavalier.

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