Sunday, April 3, 2011


Back in August of last year, we bought a used car, cash on the barrel. We paid $1500 for a 1986 Mercedes 190E (a 4 door, unlike our '03 Civic). We've driven that car nearly constantly since we bought it. I adored that car.

Note the past tense.

Yesterday, we were visiting my in-laws, and left the boy with them while we went into town to their Sam's Club. The boy has recently started drinking chocolate milk--"boo juice"--but only one brand of shelf-stable stuff that has a cow on the individual serving-size cartons. Our club doesn't carry that brand, and doesn't carry a few other things we like, while their club does.

Everything went fine until we were nearly back to their house. Then something went thump, and we lost power to the wheels. The engine mostly sounded fine (except for a few more thumps), but really pushing down the accelerator pedal didn't get us up to more than about 25 mph.

Needless to say, that last ten miles back to the in-laws took a while.

My car may not be worth it to fix. It would be a minimum of $600 for a shop to fix, if it is what my other half thinks it is (cracked head gasket). Unless that is what it is, and we can find a shade-tree mechanic that can fix it for under $500, it really isn't worth it to fix the car. That is, after all, about a third of what we paid for it.

Meanwhile, we're stuck with two car seats--one front-facing, and one rear-facing carrier--in a two-door car. We're not going to be able to go anywhere that isn't absolutely necessary for a good while.


  1. Sorry to hear about the car! If you love it, though, mightn't it be worth more than you paid for it?

  2. Is the Mercedes in otherwise good shape----in good enough shape to become a 'classic' a few years down the road?

  3. If it is a blown head gasket, $600 is a good price, especially for a Mercedes. Parts for those are expensive and can be hard to find for older ones.

    Truthfully, if you can spend $1000 to get it fixed and it lasts another 18 months, you're money ahead. Just don't let it nickle-dime you to death.


  4. It was the worst case scenario: the transmission. There's no way we can fix that. I'd rather take what that would cost to fix and put it towards another 4 door car.

    If Odysseus was a mechanic and all it would cost was a trip to the salvage yard and some time, that would be another issue.


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