Goodbye, Old Friend

Back in 2014, we bought a used 2006 Toyota Matrix with 130,000 miles on it for $6,000. Along with a Toyota Camry station wagon we bought in the mid-80s, it’s been the best car we’ve ever had. The Matrix currently has over 220,000 miles on it, and over the six years we have owned it, there have been few problems. (The Camry conked out on us at 198,000 miles.)

Last week we brought it in to the dealer for its annual inspection, and an oil change. The check engine light was on, but we did not think it was anything too serious.

Unfortunately, it took them several days to find out what the problem was, and ultimately what they discovered was that the engine needed to be replaced. That, along with a couple of other repairs, was going to cost $4,400.

I told them I would have to think about it.

Rationally, it did not seem to make much sense to put $4,400 into a car that has 220,000 miles on it, especially when I only paid $6,000 for it.

Emotionally, though, it was going to be hard to let it go. I had hoped to get 300,000 miles on it. It was the car I hoped to be driving when I retired in a few years.

Ultimately, we made the decision to not get it fixed, and so we will need to get a replacement.

Right now, we are looking at the Honda Fit. Ideally, it would be about 3-5 years old with not too many miles on it. Hopefully, that will be the car I can get to 300,000 miles…

In the meantime, RIP to the Matrix. You have served us well.

P.S. A shout out to Ardmore Toyota. They have taken care of the Matrix since we first bought it, and they have provided outstanding service over the years. If Toyota still made the Matrix, I would buy another one in a heartbeat…


43 thoughts on “Goodbye, Old Friend

      1. Haha πŸ˜€ Although I understand your sentiment. We cried when we had to let go of our 20 year old car, so much memories was created riding it, but we got no choice. We must let it go because fixing the damage cost so much more than buying a new one πŸ˜”

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  1. I can understand your decision. $4,400 is a lot of bucks to put into a 14-year-old car with 220K miles. But I don’t envy your job of finding a replacement, as I hate car shopping, and dealing with used car sales people. Good luck with your search. I hope you find a good Fit.

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  2. You sound a lot like me about my vehicles. I drive them into the ground. That doesn’t mean I don’t treat them well, but with the depreciation of cars, continually buying different vehicles (new or used) makes no sense financially. I have a friend who buys a different car about once a year, but that is his prerogative.

    You have now moved into one of my areas of expertiseβ€”negotiating. (My wife would probably describe as anal about this, and she’s not entirely wrong. After the first couple of car buying experiences when I realized I wasn’t in control, I vowed to educate myself. Since then, I walk into a dealership, knowing what I’m going to pay. That requires a healthy dose of self-discipline. Considering the amount of time I plan ahead of time, I’m probably not saving myself that much against the clock. On the other hand, I know every trick in the book that these guys pull, and it becomes a game that I have to win.

    I don’t know if you remember this post from me, but this is my last experience. By the way, I love my truck. I also have a Ford C-Max, because I am an environmentalist. Forty miles per gallon doesn’t suck.

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    1. Wow – I need you with me when I am ready to buy a car. I’m starting to narrow it down to a Honda Fit. I’ve been using Kelly’s Blue Book for price guidance. I guess I am partial to hatchbacks!

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  3. I hate saying goodbye to cars…they are always full of memories. The one I still miss was also a Toyota… an MR2 MKII… a true beauty and exactly the right size for me to drive in comfort πŸ™‚

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  4. It’s interesting how we end up getting emotional attached to objects just because they remind us of certain memories. I hope you find a new car you can have lots more memories in.

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  5. When the kids were small (4 of them) and we had three dogs we bought a second-hand Toyota Space Cruiser to take us on our camping holidays. This was in the days before they were called “people carriers” and there was nothing else like it. We kept it going until the block cracked.
    It took most of the Boys Brigade football team to matches and the summer outings to Chessington, Thorpe Park, Paradise Park… By the time it died – just after the millenium – they’d long stopped making them, but there’s never been anything to touch it.

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  6. ah, there’s always that moment of truth, and it’s not always easy. we all need to hire pete springer after reading his comment, to lead our dealer negotiations, and we’d probably come out much better. that being said, i wish you luck on your quest to find and secure your next transport –

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      1. We all find our things to obsess over. One good thing is I don’t second-guess myself after I make a decision. I’ve never ended up with a lemon, but I don’t think I’d beat myself up if the research said to go in a particular direction.

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      2. well about an hour ago, I changed my mind. I decided to get the engine replaced. I figured $4,000 for a “new” engine, with a one-year warranty is better than spending $15,000 for a used car. When I bought the Matrix it had 130,000 miles on it, and I got six years out of it. I’m hoping history repeats itself. The service manager did say that he has found Matrix owners to be a bit “quirky”, which made my day… πŸ™‚

        Like you, I don’t plan to second-guess myself…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I understand the pain of your loss. I drive a Toyota Avalon when the weather says I can’t ride the motorcycle. It is the best car I have ever owned, When it sees it lasts days, I too will be devastated and hard pressed to find a replacement. Best of luck with your search. I am sure you will find something to put those miles on when you retire!

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      1. I just commented to Pete that I have changed my mind. I decided to get the repair work done. I know it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but I looked at $4,000 to get the car fixed, versus spending about $15,000 for a used car.

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  8. We will probably soon be in your shoes, though we hare hoping to still get at least a year out of it! We have a Ford Windstar with 230,000 miles on it. It has given us very few problems and a lot of memories. My kids were small, it was used for going to school and back again and transporting friends and many trips!
    Good luck with the car shopping, may you find another great deal!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! We were told that some Windstars can get up to 300,000 miles, but we don’t expect that for she may run OK yet, but she sounds rough when you start her up. Our kids hate it. We obviously are crazy for not getting a new vehicle yet, according to them. LOL! If they would volunteer to buy one for us, we wouldn’t have a problem with it. The bad thing is that my van and my hubby’s car are both OLD. We just hope they don’t conk out at the same time!

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      2. we are the same way. my wife drives a 2003 car with 190,000 miles on it.. and by the way, we decided a couple of hours ago to get the repair work done. Spending $4,000 compared to spending $15,000 on a used car seemed like a better choice. We shall see…


      3. The Windstar is a 2003! πŸ™‚
        Oh, when you look at it that way yes, you have a point. Hope it holds out for you after getting it fixed. Adult decisions are so not fun!

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  9. You have had some really great cars. Any secrets to your selection process? My son has a Fit and really likes it. The technology on cars these days is amazing. I wonder if that will limit their longevity.

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