Since I'm still looking for work, I've been having morbid thoughts like "What if someone hit & total-lossed my car? Could I afford to replace it with something just as nice?"

And the answer is no, I couldn't.

I did a search on autotrader.com, which allows you to search all makes & models based on price. In my case, I searched for pickups and SUVs under $6000, which is actually somewhat above what my 9 year old Honda CR-V would be worth to the insurance company.

All the vehicles were 2-4 years older than mine, had same or higher mileage, and had spotty quality reputations. Except for one Nissan pickup, which on closer examination, had:
- both rear quarter panels were dented (and rusting)
- holes in the rear of the cab where the owner had removed his stereo amps
- a large steel bracket under the front console, to prevent his aftermarket stereo being stolen (amazingly ugly, and didn't work -- it was gone)
- cheap tires

So, if anyone else hasn't done this exercise, take the time. It's an eye opener, especially for someone who takes care of their cars.

Chip H.