To be honest, it was one of the least stressful things I've ever done.
Tuesday afternoon, the car gave notice it had maybe one or two more drives left in it. The minimal problem would have been a leaky head gasket. At worst, a cracked head, and a piston that was about to cause problems. The car was almost 12 years old, with 136,000 miles on it. Not worth spending a huge amount of money fixing, while waiting for the proverbial "next shoe" to drop.
I grabbed my dad's car, and went trolling through the car lots. Looking for something not too old, low miles, good mileage. And either something like a minivan, so I can move some music equipment for myself or the symphony, or something small and compact. Lord knows I don't need to worry about hauling the kids or their friends around. So what do I find?
If you clicked on my HNT down below, you would have found a picture of the new purchase! A 1996 Ford Taurus LX. The 'wagon' version of the Taurus. I was a bit concerned about the age. It was three years older than the one I was getting rid of. But it's only got about 85,000 miles on it! And 65K of those were put on in the first 2 years (it was a commercial lease vehicle, so it had great regular maintenance). Meaning it's only been driven 20,000 miles in 12 years! The interior is immaculate. The exterior has a couple of very minor scrapes, and you have to look for those. All in all, a pretty nice vehicle!
And the old car? It cooperated enough to be driven to the lot (thankfully, it was a straight shot, downhill, and I coasted most of the way). The asking price was $3995, and they gave me $295 as a trade (which they'll likely break even with when they sell it at auction), so my total was $3700. Not too bad!
The good news is that, after three days, everything that's supposed to work works, nothing has fallen or broken off, and it runs! Woohoo! Quick and painless. And much better than I had anticipated! And for those who might ask...yes, the back seats fold down!