Dear Car Talk: My husband and I have an ongoing disagreement about when to sell or trade in his 2016 Toyota Tacoma.
I say with the reliability of these trucks, he would be better off financially to keep it and let it roll to 200,000 at least. By the time he pays for new licensing, higher insurance and the depreciation of new vehicles once they are driven off the lot, he would end up losing money by trading it in so early.
He claims it is better to turn it in when the mileage is still low, under 150,000 or so, so that he will receive more money on his trade-in for a new truck. Besides, "he likes new trucks."
Can you do the math and let me know who is right? I would prefer you say I am. — Virginia
Dear Virginia: You're right. If you're just considering economics, the best thing you can do is buy a car and then drive it until it's no longer reliable or no longer serves your needs — or until your neighbors shame you into replacing it. Or, as my brother would say, "drive it into the ground" (his picture is still in the dictionary next to that phrase).
We've done the math. Generally speaking, paying for repairs on an older car is cheaper than making payments on a new car.
However ... I think the key phrase in your letter is "he likes new trucks." So he probably knows his economic argument is nonsense. The guy just wants a new truck.
And economic policy aside, it might be good marital policy to let him have one. Afterall, a middle-aged man trading in a truck for a younger model is not the worst thing that's ever happened in a marriage, right?
So, assuming it won't create a financial hardship, you should consider saying to him: "Frank, your economic argument makes no sense. Just like most of your arguments. But if you really want a new truck, I think you should get one because I love you and I know it'll make you happy."
Once he comes to, I think he'll be pretty delighted. And hopefully, he'll return the goodwill when you tell him you've already signed a contract for an in-home spa with a built-in whirlpool, sauna and personal masseuse.
Good luck, Virginia.
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