Tuesday, May 18

CarFilter: Pimp out my 88 VW Golf, or put $5k into a newer, more reliable car? [more inside]

I've got an inherited 1988 VW Golf. It seems like every three months I'm dropping $3-500 bucks on a repair--wheel bearings, front end work, o2 sensor dead, etc.

the average repair cost per month for this car is about $85, not counting mileage, tires, oil changes and other consumables. It gets 27 mpg on my 40 minute (one way) commute.

My practical need is to get something that won't require as much maintenance and get my to work reliably and reasonably quietly. I'd like to keep my loan payments to around $100-$150, so maybe a low-mileage Saturn or something will do the trick.

However, I'm 37, we own a minivan, first mortgage, etc. and I'd really like to get something a little more fun to drive, that corners well. Despite its age-related creaks and rattles, and the fact that the steering is getting mushier, I like the feel of the VW steering. Oh, and the VW has about 60k on a transplanted Scirocco engine (8 valve).

So, do I:

1. get the boring commuter car, and satisfy my midlife crisis needs with a good stereo,

2. Get a Geo Metro or Suzuki Swift, something with great mileage, and then tweak it into a snappy little autocross car/commuter

3. Put $5k into the VW, turning it into a reliable, funner car to drive.

4. See a therapist about trying to find fulfillment through consumerism.


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