To recap from an article last August, I purchased a 2002 Subaru Forester with the intention of it ultimately being my new driver 17 year old sons car. I recounted how his driving skills were less than confidence inspiring and there was no time table for him getting his license. A steal, I guess – $1050, and it had only run 1,500 miles in 10 years, and things aged out. Tires, brakes, etc…..I was $3,500 all in at that point.
A funny thing happened though, I really got to like the quirky little car. I liked the utility of the hatch, where my bikes and other things would fit easily. Not great gas mileage, but great in the snow. We call her Marge, it was just seemed to fit. I rarely drove my Regal GS for almost 7 months. Another funny thing happened…..while there is no logical explanation for it, or someone was bribed or records were mixed up, Shane passed his drivers test. He’s now driving it in a small radius around the house and wanted to make use of it.
Suggestions were made by the CC Community that I should of had the water pump and timing belt changed as that too likely aged out during Marge’s long slumber. There was comment that I noticed …funky intermittent “coolant-ish” smells in my first write up. But I drove it for many months without incident then decided to have the water pump and timing belt done. $740. I had my mechanic look into that smell when we were about to do the work. Quite a few commentators warned me about this…that it would ultimately need what all Subaru’s with this motor need sooner or later (and often sooner) – the head gasket. And yep, that’s what it was. Damn. Damn!
What do to? Mechanic Paul said that while not imminent , it would need it eventually. He didn’t want me to throw good money after bad (maybe?)…and even recommended that I roll the dice and NOT do it. I had a few directions I could take. Nothing, but if the belt went I could ruin the motor. I could do the water pump/timing belt only so the motor wouldn’t grenade if it the belt went . If the gasket went, I could address it or not address it at that time, sell it to a crazed hipster for parts. After all, $3,500 nowadays is more or less a disposable car, right?
Work In Progress
But here is the rub…in these crazy times, there is no way I could get a decent car for Shane that was $3,500.00. I wrestled with what do to for about a month. I learn from past mistakes approximately 22.7% of the time, and I decided maybe this time…maybe no half- measures. With the repair with the far better after market head gaskets…..we’re at $6.200.00 for a hopefully solid car with 68,000 miles that Shane will have through high school and beyond for a couple more years. A brilliant strategy that works unless (or until?) something else major happens. And the shop is boning up on their Subaru work and has done 2 recent engine swaps in Subaru’s.
And fate also intervened. All auto insurance policy holders here in the Mitten State got a check from their insurer for Insurance Reform, mine was for $2,000 which will cover 75% of the repair. Marge is now back on the road, running like a top. So the big question here is did I make a smart move? I just don’t know.
On to another family Hooptie, our 2008 Saturn Astra that has been in the family since new in 2008 and now has 167,000 miles on it. I let oldest son Adam take the car to college this year to Michigan State University, but he really didn’t need it much other than to come home. Despite me saying to get over there once in awhile and drive it or start it, twice the car needed a jump, a process which I walked him through on FaceTime. He is on campus and since there is no adjacent dorm parking for residents available, he has to park at the infamous Lot 89, which is a 2 mile walk from his place, (usually) accessible by bus.
A Resourceful Roadside Repair
The Permanent Fix
Following him on the way to campus with his belongings last summer, he ran over a shredded truck tire, lying in wait like a coiled snake, which bounced around under his car and …SWAK..it ripped off the rear bumper cover. It did it with such force that it ripped out the body clips and made the slots for the body clips bent. We pulled off and did mass duct tape application to hold it on, and he drove it like that for 4 months. No collision insurance, so no fix. The corner shop shot some sheet metal screws to hold it onto the rest of the body for a permanent solution. Good to go.
Suffice to say last couple years has been tough on the Saturn and it’s been nickeling and diming the House of Carlsberg66 a lot. Three weeks ago, Adam called me as he’s packing up to come home from school: “Yeah, its weird Dad, there was this smell and now it’s hard to steer”. He drove it over 100 miles like this and didn’t give it a second thought.
Power steering out, owing to a failed fluid line. But the plot thickens, as they only imported 18,000 of these 14 years back , the power steering lines – Astra specific – are not quite hens teeth but close. It got worse when the quoted price was $1200 to fix it. See, you have to drop a lot of stuff to get at it… and when done, as a cherry on top, an alignment is needed. The tech had skinny hands and was able to do it without the drops and it came to $593.00. Maybe this would be it for while.
Decided for old times sake to drive the Astra to work and then to see my 91 year old mom after. Drove like a champ until after I stopped for a quick bite, left that place and the gear selector wouldn’t engage and it would only go in first. High revs from the old girl : WHEEEEEE. Decided to limp home…but first I’ll just try and ….see…if…I ….can just…….then POOF, it would not go in any gear and not start. This was in front of a red light on an extremely busy Mad Max Road Warrior type road with lots of semis driving by. I have not been stranded like this in……20 years at least. This time, with no jacket, 20% cell power, and it was 55..and raining and no umbrella. I had no choice but to exit the vehicle , fearing it would be struck.
Alas, I will just call my tow service I pay for on my insurance. Oh, but you cannot call and talk to a human…. you fill out an online form then wait. Got through that only to get a call from a third party call center in the Philippines 45 minutes later only to find out that on Hooptie#1 and Hooptie #2, we actually don’t have towing service ..wait, I really didn’t sign up for that? Guess not…. but she’d be happy to call me one at my expense. Please and thank you! Another 20 minutes passed only to have the agent call and say it would take 60 minutes for their tow to get there. But in between all that a very nice policeman showed up and called their contracted towing service as car was a road hazard. The tow driver was a great and pleasant fellow and also is apparently a Saturn Whisperer. He did some jiggling here and popped the shift cover on the console off and viola, the old girl started and went in gear. $75 for his time.
So, it turns out that it was the gear shift cable, a part we replaced in the Pandemic Summer of 2020 . A part that usually lasts the life of the car but somehow failed twice. The shop felt horrible especially after I’ve recently paid for a head gasket, a power steering line fix and now this. They just charged me for the part, which was $282.00. Let me see now, in the last two years its been: 2 shift cables, 2 tires (or was it 2 last summer, 2 the year before?), an AC compressor, a ball joint or 2, struts, brakes, fixing a misfire, two new key fobs ($18 total, but $75 to program at dealer), the power steering line…and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things.
What we have here is a very solid older running car but things are aging out at the peripherals and failing at a rapid rate. Runs and drives great, really. Everything internal still works: air, cruise,etc. For the House of Carlberg66, it’s death by a thousand financial cuts. But…I’m not ready to cut and run. Hoping another 2 years out of her, Adam graduates and he’s on his own and can get his own damn wheels. Adam signed on to work at his old job at the James John Corporation delivering subs , which was very lucrative last summer. I know over the next few months if I get a phone call at 12:21 PM from Adam when he’s working…it’s not going to be good. Hooptie Life has it’s ups and downs, that’s for sure.
Nice account of the expensive lifestyle of low budget cars. I think the no half measures approach to the Subaru is a reasonable gamble.
That Astra is nerve wracking though. These pretty rare cars are getting quite rare, undoubtedly because many have already reached the place where yours is and gave up on them more easily. If the tranny had completely died, would that have been the coup de grace? That breakdown situation was close to a worst case scenario, until it turned into a best case scenario. Wow! Lasting at least 2 more years doesn’t sound like too much of a stretch, until you mentioned it will be used for delivery work. Hope that doesn’t push the old girl over the edge!
The tranny was built in Japan sourced from Aisin… said to be a very good one. I have done fluid replacement service a few times…it’s not been ignores. But if he smokes it this summer somehow …. the old girl gets towed to the junkyard.
Ah yes the joys of clapped out dungas, do you nurse it along around the faults or fix it properly and hope nothing else goes wrong, Ive been waiting for a major failure on my Citroen simply beacause its been bulletproof since I bought it and lo and behold the starter motor failed recently ironically a part manufactured by Mitsubishi which also failed on mt previous Citroen diesel so it was a week using my old Hillman as a daily get to work car while I tracked down a used starter found one in two days but it took 5 days to get to the wrecking yard before it closed after I finished work installed in 10 minutes and no problems since,
Something else will go wrong nothing is more certain just when and where is the question
When I was less than 6 years old, I recall my dad would say to me, ‘Cars are money pits’. Never, fully appreciated his POV until much later. 🙂
Your Astra may be rare where you are but they have been in the top 10 list here (Netherlands) of new cars sold for years. So no problem finding new or secondhand parts for it, I am sure the scrappies over here (and elsewhere in Europe) are full of them. Posting costs may be expensive though.
Especially with the world’s international postal services playing musical chairs at the moment. Yes we will ship to your country – so sorry, no we can’t, but DHL will get it there for another $50…… After six months waiting I gave in, and coughed up the extra; my son needed last Christmas’ present.
they have been in the top 10 list here (Netherlands)…So no problem finding new or secondhand parts for it,
During my Astra interest phase, I found there was an Astra specific page on a Saturn enthusiast site. Several of the posters said they sourced new, OEM, parts via Vauxhall in the UK.
Very interesting tales! Yes, the Subaru would be endearing, and it sounds like the money you have in it is well-justified (well-Justyfied? haha too bad it’s not a Justy).
Used car prices are through the roof. We recently had a surplus car when my 24 year old daughter bought her first car on her own, and gave us back the 2015 Audi A3 I wrote up as a COAL. CarMax would give us the SAME price we paid for it at an Audi dealer four years ago. Decided to keep the Audi for the youngest son (only has 40,000 miles), and sell the 2015 BMW X5 I bought for him last Fall (and wrote up). We loved the X5, but, http://www.webuyanycar.com paid me $16,000.00 (thousands more than I spent on it, even after a new windshield, etc.) We got paid to drive it 15,000 miles in that time.
The Saturn is a tougher call…..you have enough dough sunk in it lately, it’s hard to give up now. I’d drive it until another expensive thing breaks, and then call Kars for Kids or something.
I’m curious- it looks like the Subaru head gaskets were done with the engine in the car, but every one I’ve ever seen, the engine is pulled- there’s not enough room to get a torque wrench between the head bolts and the inner fender. How did you do it?
There is more than enough room to put a torque wrench on the head bolts with the engine in place. It is just that by the time you’ve disconnected everything needed to remove the heads you are only the torque converter, bellhousing and motor mount bolts away from pulling the engine. Once out it is definitely much easier and quicker to deal with the head gaskets and timing belt replacement. So those that yank the engine do it to save a few minutes and their back.
Thanks for clearing that up. I replaced the clutch in our 84 Subaru- it was a lot easier to pull the engine than the gearbox.
Experiences like yours are what has, very gradually pushed me into the new car world after fighting it for the majority of my life. Balancing unexpected expenses vs regular payments often, but not always, becomes a losing game if the said vehicle is used fairly frequently.
These experiences are what pushed Mrs JPC into pushing me into the new car world. 🙂
Ooof, you are giving me flashbacks to life with a 200k mile Chrysler minivan. That’s a terrible spot – a car that looks good, drives right and that you like, but that hits you at regular intervals with that “just one more thing” repair bill.
You also remind me that there really is a difference between top-tier Japanese cars (at least from 10-20 years ago) and most others. My Honda Fit is close to the same age/mileage as your Saturn, but our repair and maintenance experiences are far different. I had been contemplating moving on until car prices/supply went bonkers. Now, with new tires and brakes I am set. My dilemma is this – when it is time to move on, do I get rid of the Honda (older, starting to bloom some rust and starting to descend into “reliable heap” status) or the Kia minivan (5 years newer, just over 100k miles, and a car that has actually had fewer service issues than the Honda).
Last week I came across a listing on BAT for a 98 Civic DX hatchback with 55k miles on it. In jest, I forwarded it to my daughter, suggesting that she consider replacing her silver 98 Civic sedan (probably 150k miles now and a badly mashed passenger side) with a silver 98 Civic hatch that is far nicer. Me, I would jump at a nicer, lower mileage clone of my Fit. She did not share my enthusiasm.
“Last week I came across a listing on BAT for a 98 Civic DX hatchback with 55k miles on it. ”
Bet it still has the original timing belt. I also had a 98 Civic DX hatch. Not quite as bullet proof as my 85 GLC. By 2013, the timing belt was due, again, due to years, not miles, and, at 110K, the shocks were shot. I retired at the end of 2011, and a 100K plus car with no a/c or cruise did not seem a good candidate for retirement road trips, so the Civic was downgraded to around town car. then sold in 2013. According to Carfax, it’s still running in Ohio, though not serviced anywhere that reports to Carfax, so no idea how many miles it has now. My aunt’s 98 Civic appears to have finally expired in 2016. Mileage at last reported service was 229,117.
Double barreled flashbacks.
-My Aunt had an 87 Sube sedan. Passenger side head gasket got progressively worse. By the time the car had 100K on it, it was leaking both vital humors, oil and coolant. She traded it in on a new 98 Civic. Total repairs on the Civic over 10 years and 78K was an O2 sensor in early 2008. She wanted to move on from the Civic, and said she wanted another Sube. Ended up with a 2009 Forester. She retired from driving only a couple years later, so the Forester moved on. Looking at the CR dot chart for the 09 a few years later, found a solid, black, dot for the engine.
-I was interested in an Astra as a winter beater some years ago, but every one I looked at had something wrong with it: broken rear door wire harness, low coolant warning light because the sensor in the coolant tank was covered with Dexcool schmutz, oil leaks. I did take one for a drive. This one had about 45K on it. The front struts appeared to be toast as the car darted in random directions with every bump in the road, and the engine emitted the dieselish knocking of dying cam phasers. Also concerned with the small installed base of Astras, I checked the GM parts site, and saw that parts were rapidly transmuting to unobtainium. End of Astra fetish.
This is the world I am living in right now. I was on the cusp of replacing our 216K mile Odyssey when the carpocalypse happened. I am too cheap and stubborn to beg a dealer for a new van along with the honor of paying several thousand over MSRP in “market adjustment”. We have a fleet of 5 cars ranging from 9 to 22 years old. There is always a running list in my head of things that need to be done with them. I do the basics myself, but the shop work, time, parts and mental energy all add up.
I think you will do well with the Subaru. I usually try to address the known weak points on a new to me hooptie. We got a 2002 Lexus ES 300 for my daughter this winter. $1250 for the car and about $1300 in work including a timing belt, water pump and pulleys. It is a really nice car. I put more money into it than I spent on the car, but take a look at what $2550 gets you on the used car market.
I come from a car repair background and because of this, I detest going near a garage. Just the smell brings back memories of granola women screaming about the cost of the brake job on her Volvo wagon that stank like the goat she traveled with.
I have never like the beater game because once car gets to a certain point there is no reason to keep pouring money down the old car abyss. A Mitsubishi Mirage can be financed for $250 a month. If keeping your beater on the road costs more than $2000 a year, go buy a cheap little grocery getter.
As an aside, have a look at car prices USA vs Canada. The Hyundai IONIQ5 lists at $44,000 in each country, without taking exchange rates into account.
“As an aside, have a look at car prices USA vs Canada. The Hyundai IONIQ5 lists at $44,000 in each country, without taking exchange rates into account.”
No it doesn’t. In Canada (BC) the Hyundai website states it is $46,944 base for a model not offered in the US.
And that’s not even comparing apples to apples which makes for a far bigger difference.
The lower two trims of the Canada market Ioniq5 are equipped with a 125kW motor and 58kWh battery, you have to step up to the third trim level at CAD$53,944 to get the 168kW motor and 77kwH battery. In the US, the lineup starts with the 168kW motor and 77KwH battery at $44k.
CAD$53k is close enough to US$44k taking exchange rates into account, I’m not going to bother looking up all the other trim differences, motor and battery are the biggies.
Jim, compare Nissan USA and Nissan Canada. The Kicks starts at $20k on both websites.
Eh, I think I’ll skip it. The example I already responded to couldn’t have been more offbase…not sure what game you’re trying to play, but whatever. You’re likely wrong on the other one as well.
The problem with older, high mileage daily drivers today, versus those of eras past, is that diagnosis and parts are specialized and tricky. Lots of examination of electronics to get at the weirder problems, and the hard parts are often complex and unique to each car model.
Back in the day, costs and the ongoing niggling problems were just as annoying, but the cars were more simple and generic. They could more easily be shade-tree repaired, and a decent general knowledge of engines and drivelines basically covered what one needed to know, to do the diagnosis and repair.
However, the best part of the current era is the internet. One can anticipate problems and look to more likely areas of issue by going on the web and seeing what others are talking about. You can choose your used cars like one used to do with all the Consumer Reports black and colored dots, but now it is through the internet. You can also tackle those trickier repairs with tutorials and how-to’s on the web.
Actually, in modern cars diagnosis is much easier than with an old car. Just plug in your OBD2 scanner and you’ll detect them. Parts for cars like the Civic and Corolla are cheap and widely available. For example, the water pump for a 2007 Corolla lists at $21on Rock Auto. An alternator is $119.
Old cars could be shade treed repaired but they needed it a lot more often.
We have to remember that in 1970, a car with 100,000 miles on it was ready for the scrapyard. Now it is considered half life.
Just buy a new Mirage! Cars are simpler now with OBD 2, you can diagnose all the crap that’s going wrong that wasnt there before and therefore needed no diagnosis! And it’s just so simple, everything is plug-in-play, right?
And to prove new cars are so cheap to fix, here’s some cherry picked parts for a 15 year old car.
There is no need to fix a new car. First, it is new and second, it has a warranty.
Brake pads for 2020 Rav4 are $20.The rotors are $40.
The first year of OBD II was 1996, or 26 years ago. The last car without electronics was built circa 1979.
Speaking as someone who ran a garage for years, OBD made things a lot easier.
If you want to dump money into a 20 year old car, fine with me!
The rapid increase in used car prices has definitely changed the fix, sell or scrap proposition in strong favor of fixing it.
My son graduated from College last year, got a job and has the means to replace the car we gave him in HS. However the state of new and used car pricing means that he’ll be buying a new set of tires for it next week and he is thinking about upgrading to an aftermarket head unit with bluetooth. Those will be on his dime, but of course I’ll help him with installing the radio.
I feel for you on the towing comment. Got stranded on the left shoulder of the freeway off ramp with a broken brake line (ie. no brake pedal). Called AAA and they said my automatically renewed membership was expired. They could reinstate me that day, but I had to wait three days to get a tow. I hadn’t used the parking brake in 23 years (fondly remembering the days of Chrysler rusted parking brake cables), but decided to see if it worked. It did! So I slowly drove the car back home on the surface streets safely.
Oh, old car life and ongoing repairs. I actually enjoy repairing my vintage fleet. Some of my fleet like my MkV, old Cadillacs, old Fords, and Chevy van are as reliable as anvils and go for years with nothing more than basic maintenance. But my Grand Marquis and especially my Volvo need regular attention and substantial repairs, in part because they’re driven a lot. On line parts are cheap and my labor is free, as it’s my hobby, so I’m fine.
But if I couldn’t do the work myself, if I was paying someone to fix them, a new or nearly new car would be cheaper.
To Fix or to scrap, that is the question. Well not exactly, but there is definitely a point where some tough choices have to be made. Money is one of the most important considerations but there are others.
Buying a brand new car has always been considered the beginning of a carefree, worry free and trouble free, period of driving freedom.
On the other hand, driving old worn out beaters is a sure recipe for motoring misery.
Somewhere is the middle ground strategy that we hope we can benefit from. Less expense than new car purchase or lease, with a reasonable return on vehicle reliability.
It’s a tricky path to negotiate, since all expenditures depend on amortization, even a new car purchase. Besides the first years of depreciation, the sales tax that you paid on the purchase can be considerable, especially in Calif.
Buying a used car that is only a few years old, with lower mileage, still under warranty, is a good choice. I bought a four year old Flex last year with only 30,000 miles. It cost me about half of what it would have cost me new.I bought an extended warranty which gives me some peace of mind.
My last two new vehicle purchases were made in 2007, and I’ve still got them. Both have approx 165,000 miles on the clock. I would say that both are past their original service life. That was proven to me when the Mustang lost it’s transmission this month. I found a reputable shop that would handle the rebuild for 3,600 bucks, not cheap, but better than 5,000+ another shop I gave me as an estimate. I imagine that the transmission in the truck is soon to follow the same path.
I had given the Mustang to my Daughter a few years back, and I discussed whether she wanted to keep it. The repair only makes sense if you hold onto the car and get your use out of it. She said that she still wanted to keep it. Like many of other parents on this site, I provide cars for my kids and handled the expenses, so my Wife and I handled the cost, and the car seems good as new. (fingers crossed!)
On the other hand I just rolled the dice on a 2006 Mustang GT convertible with 116,000 miles. It’s very clean and appears to be in excellent shape. The seller didn’t have the service records available as he had recently moved. I had driven down to LA to see the car, so I didn’t have time to wait around to see if he would be able to find them in a storage box after his move. I could have just tuned around and driven home, but I went with my gut and observations and bought it anyway. It wasn’t cheap, like one of my 2,000-2,500 dollar buys, it still cost me nine grand. I worried about the truck’s transmission as I pulled the car trailer all the way home. Experiences like this provide me with lot’s of content for my own blog!
Like I told my Daughter; cars cost money. Pay up front, or pay as you go. But you are going to pay. Make your choice.
I’m about to drive a thousand miles to pick up my mom’s 2000 Corolla, an IL car with rust but with only 58K miles. It should provide my nephew with at least a few of years of transportation. The car is free, it will pass CO emissions easily, and it beats $250/month car payments for five years. I have no doubt he’ll have to pump $50/month average into it for maintenance/repairs but, still, it’s $200/month savings over a car payment.
My uncle is still driving my Grandma’s old 99 Corolla, looks good other than some rust on the rear wheelwells.
Interesting reading the comments, I live in no salt country so nursing a 20 + year old jalopy along is no big deal, I remember when rust would cut vehicle life very short indeed .
I’m no longer able to hump clutches, valve jobs and so on and here in S. Cal. honest Mechanics are hard to find, same with competent ones .
I’m more in tune with periodic repairs being far cheaper than any monthly payments but I think that may be ending ere long .
In South Central Los Angeles there’s still no shortage on sub $1,000.00 hoopties that look okay but god alone knows what issues they nave , moat are purchased and run into the ground in less than a year or impounded yet again for DUI etc…
I have lived a successful day and it’s only 7:30 in the a.m. I learned the word “hooptie” –which I had never heard before at the age of 72. Wonder if it’s not commonly used in the Northeast? In any case I can relax and take the rest of the day off from acadamia.
A rather poignant post this morning. I’m dealing with a somewhat similar situation. My younger kid has a nice-ish (for Rust Country™) 2014 Chevy Cruze that she claims has a shift quality issue. She’s just recently into a new job with better hours and pay, but her seemingly ever increasing apartment rent has me backing up any major items/repairs like this with my own cash. (Once she can bank some savings, it’ll be a different story.) It was highly unfortunate that her previous car was totaled in an accident, but we were able to purchase this Cruze with 140K miles 18 months ago for $6K all in. It was fairly well maintained and has been trouble free with the exception of a temperature sensor.
But I can’t feel the shift quality issue she describes when I drive the car. Unless the transmission is somehow totally fried and it’s replacement would cost more than the worth of the car, we’ll fix it. There’s no way we will be able to get another similar car for the same money as last year. Older similar models with higher mileage are asking more money this year than last, and the situation appears to be getting worse. I understand the sentiment that spending money on older cars is a waste, but with prices the way they are now, I don’t see a good alternative.
The Subaru head gasket problem is depressing. At one time, Subaru vehicles with their standard AWD were popular with outdoor lifestyle types (Outback marketing campaign) in Rust Belt states and enjoyed a quality reputation close to Toyota and Honda.
Then the head gasket thing hit. Suddenly, Subarus began cropping up on used car lots when, previously, that was never the case.
While it’s been resolved, there are certainly many former Subaru owners who will now not own another.
Your Astra reminds me of Moby Dick our 2003 Buick LeSabre that was our son’s college car and is now his sister’s learner car. After 20 years and 215,000 miles most things work but the interior plastics are failing, there’s some oil burning and leaking, some rattles and an intermittent ABS fault. It still starts first try, and drives about as well as ever so we keep the fluids topped up and wait for something major to blow.
I’m glad we never had a Subaru with attendant head gasket woes but I do miss our Saturn SL2.
My Dad bought a 1976 Subaru DL new…but otherwise no Subarus in our family. It gave OK service, but it rusted, like most cars, before it was old enough to give us much problem. It was FWD, back then some Subarus still didn’t have AWD.
Interestingly, the Subaru was later given to my sister, whose daughter bought a new Saturn Astra in 2006. She lives 1900 miles away from us, so I never found out what happened to it, but she drives an Impala now. We rented one before that in Germany (an Opel Astra) and I liked it, but of course it was an older generation (2000).
My only car is a 2000 Golf I bought new, and I can’t say it has been trouble free, having replaced the steering rack and the shifter cables (mine’s a manual). I live in the sunbelt, so rubber/plastic stuff seems to deteriorate more quickly here, but otherwise the car has been pretty much fine, other than nusance suff (power windows dropped in the door when regulators broke, power locks stopped working in 2/4 doors). Frankly, I’m wondering what I’ll replace it with, as there’s a dearth of hatchbacks and cars in general, and I’m not really interested in an SUV or crossover. Mostly looking for an automatic this time around, since I’m getting pretty old and no one in my family can drive my current car, but I’m in denial, since I really like what I have. That kind of answers the question for me…I keep putting money into what I have because I really don’t see another car that draws me…really what I want is a replacement for what I have, but with an automatic (and also cloth seats, though that maybe asking for too much it seems).