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I have a 2001 Dodge Intrepid with 87,700 miles. My need is that it has a problem (which when I purchased it) gas line leak, and to have it repaired will cost approximately $800). I'm living on my pension, and at this time need what I have so far for living/medical, expenses. ($1099/mo). I called Capitol One and got a payoff of the car and its around $9800 until the 7th of February. With it being upside down, and wiggle room NOT...I need help! My loan is behind 2 payments Dec & Jan., because I had to choose between paying room rent/elec, medications. The burden of making the $310.95 + car insurance is way too much with my income at this time. I do need transportation to get around. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance for any help. Sincerely, Deborah Willis (623)_ 845-2667

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Heather Conary, Founding Partner  at ID Communications, a division of Illumination Design There are a couple of issues here: 1. You’re not able to afford the car at this time. 2. It needs maintenance work, which keeps it from being sellable. 3. You owe more than it’s worth. First step is to contact the financer to arrange some kind of payment options so that your credit is not damaged. Second, you need to get the gas leak fixed (I didn’t understand whether you were saying it was purchased that way or not. If so, why didn’t the dealership fix that?). Take a serious look at all of your options for money. Can you make some arrangements on the repairs, e.g. know someone that fixes cars that can extend you some leeway in terms of payment? Third, you need to sell the car (have someone to take over payments) and try to get more affordable transportation. Buying options might include a used car from private party or auction with a mechanic to check the car. This will keep you from having a monthly payment in the future that you can't afford.

Jenny Trostel, Partner at Anderson of Hunt Valley This is tough. I would recommend that maybe you go to a "buy here pay here" lot and trade it in on a very inexpensive car and try to get a much lower payment. You should be able to roll the negative equity into the purchase of another car at a lot like that. Have you asked your community or friends and family for help? You could also just get rid of the car and work out a payment plan with the bank and take public transportation. It sounds like keeping this car will just keep digging you deeper into debt and that is not good.

Jamey Wozniak, Owner and CEO at Joe's Hitch, Trailer & Truck Accessories Hi Deborah, First there are programs to help people like yourself afford their medications. Look at: As for the car - you need to make those payments and get the fuel line fixed. The fumes are what burns - not the fluid so if you smell gas - get it fixed. Try to find a local small certified station that will fix it for a lesser price - in other words get a second quote. The price should be half that or less. To find a quality ASE certified tech near you go here: As for the car - consider trying to trade it in on a car that cost around $200/ month. Consider a KIA as they have quailty cars at reasonable prices and may be able to help you into a 2006 model. I hope you can make this work out for you. Please drive safely!

Marnie Kramer, Owner and Creator at Deborah, You are in a tight position. I looked into the average retail value of this type of vehicle in your area and it is around $7200.00. Which means you are sitting on at least $1600.00 in negative equity. If you sold the vehicle as is, taking this loss and getting into a less expensive vehicle, you could possibly lower the monthly payment. This less expensive vehicle could be a new low mileage lease or an older used vehicle. If you do not drive a lot you could do a 10,000 mile lease which could provide a low monthly payment with a vehicle under warranty. You must keep in mind that getting approved on a lease could prove difficult depending on your credit history. Good luck!

Susan Givens, Publisher at Auto Success Magazine - System Publishing , Inc. Deborah, I would suggest to try and sell the car yourself. You could run an ad at and park it at a school (or somewhere that is street front) on the weekends with a "for sale" sign in the window. I would look into the local bus schedule until you can recoup and get on your feet. Once you have done that, many dealerships offer 0% interest and very good rates on last years models or their used car departments.

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Deborah, All of our expert women rallied to get you some information that could help. Please read all of their suggestions and let us know how it works out for you. If the Dodge still has a fuel leak, you should not be driving it, and you need to be careful where it is parked. One lit cigarette could explode the vehicle if it's leaking badly. If you can get around with public transportation, you could try and sell the car yourself or take it to various dealers and take the best deal possible. You probably won't get enough money for it to pay off the loan, but maybe you could make a deal with the loan company and pay off the difference at a reduced price? Talk to the loan company and different dealers to see what yoru options are.

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