Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Decision Averse

with 13 comments

Starting with my recent unsuccessful battle to solve a problem with my car that has the “Check Engine” light repeatedly coming on, I have developed a nagging urge to update my transportation. This is no simple thing. There is a reason I have only owned 2 cars in the last 25 years.

I don’t like the process of buying them.

Even the shopping portion of the overall ordeal is a burden for me, and that should be the easy part. I am known to be decision-averse. Shopping brings up nothing but choices which complicate my decision-making process.

My current car is getting on in years, and it is decidedly lacking in features that have now become pretty standard technology. I would appreciate having extras like a backup camera, controls on the steering wheel, connections for mobile devices like my phone or iPod, and most importantly, higher mileage. But, I have lived without those long enough now to be satisfied that I can get along just fine without them.

How do I decide a change is justified? And not just any change, but a very expensive one. And one which will require loan payments like I haven’t had for a long, long time.

Whatever it ends up costing to solve the current issue that is triggering my “Check Engine” light, it will be a lot less than what I am contemplating spending on an upgrade.

I struggle deciding because there is no obvious right or wrong answer. It’s all possibilities, feelings, and wants. It is possible the current car will not cost a lot to maintain after this current problem gets solved, or something else on it could succumb to age and drain even more dollars out of my pocket. It’s hard to say.

A little research revealed my car is worth a lot less in trade or direct sale than I imagined at this point in its life, so that makes me think I should just keep driving it as is. There is more value in keeping it than trading it away. I’ve come this far with it, why give up now?









The old beast is a sad sight under the constant spray of chemicals coming off our treated winter highways. After only 2 days of driving to work and back, that is the coating that results, giving my car a two-tone look. It’s disgusting.

I wouldn’t want to subject a new car to such abuse. I should keep this car and avoid the need for a loan.

See how this works? A great way to help the decision-averse process things is to have them write out the pros and cons of the issue at hand. I find myself contemplating the importance or weakness of details I am writing out, as if playing the role of a reader who would be a devil’s advocate, offering an opposing view.

It often helps me write my way out of a stalemate of indecision.

I wonder what it will take to resolve my persistent “Check Engine” light. It appears the fuel filter was not the final fix, after all.











Written by johnwhays

February 10, 2016 at 7:00 am

13 Responses

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  1. Buy a new car! It’s fun! Plus, a new car now (paid for while you’re still working) will most likely leave you in better shape 10 years from now, when it’s only 10 years old instead of 20 or so? The only sucky part is the annual license fee, and oh yeah, insurance goes up a bit…….BUT, it is pretty darn nice when you don’t really like to FIX cars (even though I have an awesome son-in-law the does) to feel like you’ve got some reliable wheels under you. Did I wiggle you on that fence at all?


    February 10, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    • Dagnabbit! Yes. It would be fun to have a new car. Very good point to be paying for it while I’m still working.


      February 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

  2. Hi John. It is always going to be cheaper to repair/maintain your existing vehicle than buying anything else new or used. For me there are two things that would move me into a new vehicle: 1) body damage or rust that is prohibitively expensive to repair and honestly don’t last as long as factory corrosion resistance 2) you are simply looking for something new (or desire the features offered in new cars).

    I would fix whatever is causing your CEL and install an updated radio with Bluetooth, etc. If you need help on the latter just let me know – radio installs are very simple.

    Nick S

    February 10, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    • Much appreciated, Nick. I agree with everything you mention. The one piece missing in that analysis, which is nibbling at the back of my mind, is the future lifespan. Especially with the long distance commute looking to continue for me for the foreseeable future. I am attracted to the thought of a newer model replacement that will likely be more reliable for carrying me into the next 10-plus years, after which I can retire it along with me and do much less driving.
      Therefore, I may start the shopping process now, and just keep an eye out for the perfect fit that may come along and make my decision incredibly simple.


      February 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

  3. I had my last car 10 years, until it developed an untraceable fault (well, untraceable without spending a lot of money). I delayed the decision so long that the car became virtually unusable and I ended up making a decision about a replacement that could have been better. My advice – make a decision before you get forced into it. And good luck!


    February 10, 2016 at 10:44 am

  4. A topic for tomorrows dinner. 🙂


    February 10, 2016 at 9:18 am

    • I’m looking forward to it. Especially the offer to bring pecan cream pie! That’ll help me decide something… Don’t skip dessert!


      February 10, 2016 at 10:52 am

  5. I feel for you, John!! I have always found a written list helps…so I can see it with my eyes…but the answer is always clear when I listen inside! Nice to see you ❤


    February 10, 2016 at 8:57 am

    • My favorite blessitude! Thanks for checking in, Lorrie.
      So much to hear, going on simultaneously, when I listen inside… My meditations are in multiplex.


      February 10, 2016 at 9:03 am

      • And surround sound, I assume!! 🙂 🙂 I understand completely, John. I, unfortunately, ascribe to the car rental (lease) plan…it is nice to have a car I can count on…but I ‘pay’ for that luxury every month! Wishing you well!


        February 10, 2016 at 9:06 am

      • I like that… Surround sound!
        Thank you.


        February 10, 2016 at 10:50 am

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