1996 Lexus ES 300 Long Term Road Test

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1996 Lexus ES 300: Tighten Your Timing Belt

November 23, 2012

Lexus Atlantic.jpg

Recently, we wrote the ES 300 might need a new timing belt and we would save the $360 a month allotted for repairs until we had enough to pay for the $800 job (timing belt + water pump + cam seals). This prompted some comments about the concept of the Debt Free Car in general.

"I am a fan of this project, but the basic premise is false," writes Bankerdanny. "People who are looking for a $3,500 car as a primary driver are almost certainly unable to afford a $360 monthly payment, that's why they are looking for a $3,500 car. So once they buy that car they are not setting aside $360 a month for repairs."

We don't have scientific proof to counter this opinion. But we would like to say that economically challenged people can still be organized. Thinking ahead doesn't cost money. Besides, we aren't saying all people handle car repairs this way. We are suggesting that they do this. 

There was once a grand tradition in this country where people "saved up for" the things they wanted. But because of easy money loans, credit cards and aggressive encouragement to buy! buy! buy! that trait seems less common. Let's bring back that tradition and set aside a little money for emergency repairs. 

In the meantime, the blogs, and your comments, have been a great opportunity for discussion. Thanks for chiming in, even when you don't agree with us.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @151,856 miles

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