To buy or not to buy?

From a 1997 Mercury Cougar to a 2009 Honda Pilot, 8 readers tell us why they decided to buy a new car or keep their old wheels.

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Mark Zinna: 2003 Jeep Liberty
Mark Zinna: 2003 Jeep Liberty
Mark and Simone Zinna with their 2003 Jeep Liberty.
Location: Tenafly, N.J.

Why we became a one-car family: We just finished a 36-month lease on a Ford Mercury Mountaineer, and we were about 20,000 miles over the lease allowance. We decided to buy it, but the dealership told us Ford was considering the Mountaineer to be a used car. As a result, they said they couldn't finance us for less than 14.5%.

We started the lease when the car was brand new, and we used Ford for maintenance. I couldn't believe it.

It would have cost us about $25,000 over three years instead of the $18,000 lease buyout we expected. My wife, Simone, and I decided to forgo the debt. We turned in the keys and paid the $2,500 penalty. We became a one-car family, saving about $800 a month. I have no interest in buying a second car.

Simone and I drive into the city together, and she leaves early to get the kids from school. I take public transportation when she has our 2003 Jeep Liberty, which is a great car. It looks like it just rolled off the assembly line, even though it has 125,000 miles on it. We plan to keep it for a while.

My thoughts on the Big 3 bailout: The automakers should file for bankruptcy and resize themselves. In terms of Detroit and our general fiscal problems, we got into this mess because we borrowed and leveraged our way into it. And the bailout is not the way to get out of it.


NEXT: Julie Kenar: 2007 Saturn Aura
Last updated June 15 2009: 10:18 AM ET
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