class notes: top five

Five signs it’s time to ditch your car

Lauren Fix, BS ’86, “The Car Coach”

Thanks to her father, the owner of a brake refurbishing company in Detroit, Mich., Lauren Fix fell in love with cars as a little girl. She started working on automobiles at age 10. By 17, she was tearing up the track in a race car of her own.

Now you might recognize Fix by her moniker, “The Car Coach.” In addition to being an ASE-certified technician, she’s an educator, keynote speaker, TV show host, and author of three books and countless articles. She also has passed the wrench to her own daughter, Shelby Fix, who, at 22, is the youngest member in the history of the International Motor Press Association, and has been dubbed “Car Coach 2.0.”

We chased down the original Car Coach and asked her how to tell when it’s time to get rid of your ride.

Illustration by Kevin Rechin

Five Signs It's Time to Ditch Your Car:

1. You’ve hit the century mark
When you hit that 100,000-mile marker, take stock of what you have, especially if you bought the car used. Sometimes a car will run for 175,000 miles, so it’s worth the investment, but if you buy a used car with a body that’s starting to rust out, you can bet the complex components were neglected too.

2. Repairs become routine
Any time repair costs are getting to be more than the value of the car, it’s time to think about selling.

3. You’re holding on for “love”
Lots of people, professing to love the inanimate object that is their car, continue to make payments or repairs they can’t afford. Sometimes you just have to cut the cord and sell it.

4. It’s snowing in your convertible
Not everyone can afford to have seasonal cars. If you recently moved up North, or made a mid-life decision and find yourself driving a sports car in 6 inches of snow, it might be time to consider a car that better suits the weather and your lifestyle.

5. Your lease is leaving you high and dry
Leasing can be a good option for many people, but it’s not cheap. If you start to feel trapped a year or two in, don’t panic. Services like swaplease.com can help you get out of that costly contract.