Should I Sell My Toyota 4Runner and Buy a Beater to Pay Down My Debt? – Karen


“Dear Steve,

I have 4 visa/department store type credit cards with about $2500 in total debt plus a John Deere credit card with a $5000 balance that was 0% interest for one year ( I landscaped and intended to pay it off within the year but it didn’t happen). In one month the promotional period ends and over $1000 in interest will be added to the balance.

Should I sell my low mileage 1999 Toyota 4runner (which is valued at about $10,000 by KBB.com) to pay off that $5000 and use the balance to buy a beater until my situation improves or should I keep the vehicle because it is paid for and eat that $1000 interest?


Dear Karen,

Wow, a real tough situation.

If you don’t see an improvement to your income then I’m concerned that you may be selling a valuable asset, the paid for 4Runner to pay off some bills and that will leave you further behind thatnyou are now. A beater car is a good idea but beaters are not dependable and can lead to more repairs and cost over time. As a short-term fix it can be a reasonable approach.

However, if you see your financial situation improving over the next year or so then maybe selling the 4Runner, paying off bills now and regrouping for a better future is a totally reasonable course of action.

What do you think? Which solution sounds appropriate for your situation?

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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2 thoughts on “Should I Sell My Toyota 4Runner and Buy a Beater to Pay Down My Debt? – Karen”

  1. Buying a beater can be a very tough decision to make. We help consumers with defective cars, and hear all the horror stories that their beaters have given them. If you decide to go for it, do your homework. Get a carfax report, have a mechanic and body shop inspect the vehicle prior to your purchase- and/or purchase a return option. The last thing you need is to deal with costly repairs, it won’t help the situation your in.


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