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I am trying to decide if I should just payoff my 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK or trade for mid-size economy car. I want the most reliable car and the lowest repair cost.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Cherie Watters, President Dealer Division at AskPatty.com Hi Debbie, It's always nice not to have a car payment. However, the cost of maintaining the MB can really start to climb has the car ages. The Asian brands are probably the cheapest to maintain. There are some very reliable brands with very low cost of ownership. A lot of brands are including maintenance programs with the purchase of the automobile. My suggestion is drive your MB until you start to have problems or you just feel you are ready to change cars. In the meantime, put aside the amount equivalent to what would be your estimated new car payment. When your car is in need of repair you'll have some money set aside to make the choice to fix or trade. When the time comes to make the choice for your purchase, check the maintenance requirements on the different cars you are considering. Make sure there are no special maintenance requirements that add to the cost of ownership. Most of the information regarding maintenance requirements can be obtained from your local dealer or from manufacture web site. Good Luck hope this helps.

Georgia Brown, Director of Education at National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) Lots to consider here. I don't know how much you owe on Mercedes, how many miles you have on it or how you plan to drive it, but here are some things for you to look at. Go to one of the websites such as KBB or NADA and see what your car is worth. Consider how many more miles you need to put on it and the maintenance cost that comes along with owning a Benz. If you are needing something to reduce cost--miles per gallon, maintenance and repairs--an economy car may be a consideration. This brand has a reputation for a long life, but you have to keep them maintained.

Patricia J Roberts, Director Business Development  at AskPatty.com, Inc. This is one of those questions that only you can answer after you do your analysis. This will depend on your personal economic factors. And also if you have been the only owner the 2005 Mercedes, you will know the service history and the costs for repairing. Your mechanic can give you some insight as to typical durabilty and longevity. And as you know, when one purchases a new vehicle there are routine maintenance costs but repair costs are kept to a minimum for the first few years of onwership and use.

Chris Walsh, Owner at Consolidated Automotive Services of indiana Hi, Here are my thoughts. Your 2005 mercedes should no longer have any warranty left. Though a wonderful automobile it will soon probably need more and more maintenance. You should receive a very good trade in value if the car is in good condition. Trading for a new midsize with full factory warranty will eliminate any expenses for repairs over the next few years. plus with 0% interest you should come out in good shape.

Jessie L Thatcher, F&I and Sales Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds Company  (Retired) Your answer is based on your needs. Be sure you research the value of your vehicle before going into any dealership. You can do this at Edmunds.com or Kelly Blue Book.com websites. Check local listings for the same vehicle. A domestic vehicle usually has the lowest maintenance costs because parts do not have to imported. Also call and get your exact payoff on your vehicle so you know if you are OK or if you owe more than the vehicle is worth. All balances will be added to the new vehicle loan and will affect your payments.

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