No. of Recommendations: 3
I could keep what I have.

That's what I'd do, especially if I were fundamentally happy with the car. For the "won't start" problem, I'd probably start asking other mechanics about that, starting with my brother. I realize my brother is not an option for you, but maybe you know someone like him? He knows absolutely everything there is to know about engines, I think, and 99% about the rest of the car stuff.

Note that even if you buy a brand new car, as you drive it around town, it eventually becomes an older, less reliable car. If you could just take your out-of-town trips only when it's fairly new, that would be best. But see, that's where renting comes in. I do drive new cars, but only on the out-of-town trips when it makes the most sense. I do pay a premium price for those driving days, but they are few enough days that it's far cheaper than actually buying a new car.

Where would I look into having it painted for so little?

Lots of places advertize these specials. I'm trying to think of one of the ones-Peach Auto Paint? Does that sound familiar? The high-dollar paint places try to tell you that these jobs are no good, but like everything else, it depends.

The main key to paint is the prep. Ask them in the interview what kind of prep they do. I suggest you skip the clear coat they will want to sell you, and skip the striping. If you want striping, take it back much later so that the paint has had a few weeks to cure before you put striping on. If you have a steady hand, you can either paint on striping with a stencil or apply the stick-on kind.

GM puts on crappy paint to begin with. Ford does a better job. Every GM car I've had started peeling on the paint before the car was 3 years old, which means they were peeling when I got them. ;) But given how long I like to keep cars, I pretty much have to get the GM ones repainted, because rust will eventually become an issue, even where I live in the south. Paint delays rust.

I never thought of renting a car to get to where I need to twice a year. What a great idea!! Thanks. I think you may have saved me thousands. I have the same AAA plan as you have.

You're welcome! It really suits me, especially if I take a trip to the beach. Let someone else clean the sand out of the car. LOL!

AAA is good, but if you drive a rental on a trip and have a problem, call the rental agency first. Hertz is expensive, but they're Number 1 for a reason. I have rented from Hertz many times for business and once or twice for personal and have always had the best experience with them. For personal use, I generally use someone else--whoever has the cheapest. Sometimes, especially on the weekends, you can get good deals on the class C cars--as cheap as $15/day. Those are pretty good deals. One of the car places has a deal where the first day is $30 and subsequent days are $10. For a long trip, that could make a lot of sense.

Also note that by renting a car, you can choose comfort or gasoline economy or even hauling capacity that might not be available in your every day car. I usually go for comfort if I will be driving long hours. Also, I don't have a CD player in my vehicles, but all of the rentals these days do. I love to take my CDs on long trips, so that's another plus for me of renting.

I had an outstanding experience with Avis this summer. I reserved it online, and they were efficient and just as good as Hertz when I picked up/dropped off the car. They were also the cheapest I could find. I'd definitely go with Avis again.

The only place I've stricken off of my list is Rent-A-Wreck. You might think they are not on my list because I don't need to rent a wreck. Hee! But actually, the times I've called them, they were the most expensive. Yikers!

If you are not really familiar with renting cars, please let me know. I've learned the ropes fairly well and know how to make most of the decisions so that the result favors me instead of them. ;) I'd be happy to share more of that process with you.

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