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What's next for Chrysler owners

You will able to get your car serviced under the warranty but resale values may take a hit.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor

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For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' 'Home Rich,' now in bookstores.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Thursday afternoon, Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. So what does that mean for you if you've got a Chrysler parked out in the driveway?

The first thing Chrysler owners need to know here is that this bankruptcy filing does NOT mean that the carmaker is going out of business -- at last not yet.

In the weeks to come, Chrysler will be restructuring and changing management in combining with Fiat ... but there is no indication that Chrysler will be liquidating its assets or boarding up all of its showrooms.

That's great news for the average Chrysler-owning consumer because getting day-to-day maintenance isn't going to change too much.

Chrysler will still be standing behind those Powertrain warranties, so you can go get the repairs you qualify for, and auto-parts makers should continue to function as normal.

Now it's true that Chrysler may well be shutting down some dealerships in the months to come but most closures will probably take place in areas with more than one Chrysler dealership anyway. So instead of driving just down the road, you may have to drive across town to get your car serviced: not a huge difference.

As far as resale values go, well they're probably going to take a hit. According to Jack Nerad, the Executive Editorial Director of Kelley Blue Book, we're not going to be seeing as drastic a drop as you might expect. That's because the possibility of a Chrysler bankruptcy filing has been circulating for weeks. And in the longer term, as more consumers realize that Chrysler is still an ongoing, fully-functioning company, those prices should stabilize and edge upwards.

Right now Chrysler is aiming to be out of bankruptcy in a matter of weeks ... but things are always cleaner on paper than in real-life. If angry creditors slow down the bankruptcy court proceedings, Chrysler might not be able to emerge from Chapter 11 as soon as it would like. That could further spook buyers, which would likely drive sales way down. For now, it's a waiting game.

Should you buy a Chrysler -- the good news is this -- you won't get a Chrysler for a cheaper price than you will right now. If you're the kind of person who trades your car in every two or three years -- that savings might be worth it -- on the other hand if you hold onto a car for a decade or more, the reality is we don't know what the long-term prospects are.

Got a financial dilemma? Go to cnnmoney.com/helpdesk to submit questions, read the Help Desk articles and check out new Help Desk videos. And tune in to CNN's Newsroom Tuesdays and Fridays, when Gerri Willis and other experts answer your questions. To top of page

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