and not worry about it being reliable is to build up a repair fund. There are some averages you can work with. I believe a car older than 2003 will have on average $1,200 in repairs a year. So you would need to put $100 a month away for that purpose. A repair fund will be a lot less per month than a car payment and if there are no major repairs, then once the fund is built up you can move that monthly $100 to another envelope.