He's not too happy that I want to drive the car to MA this weekend without getting it fixed, because if it snaps it will drag on the ground. But he says he'll tie up both sides of it tomorrow, so that if it does break it'll stay in place.
He says as far as he knows, it shouldn't need a lot more repairs after this one. But then, he didn't know about this a few months back. And, as my dad pointed out, cars are complex machines, there's a lot more that could break that hasn't yet.
I called my parents and talked to my dad for advice. (I did talk to my mom first, but her only suggestion was that I should talk to Dadoo...) He just went through a similar decision about his car about a year and a half ago. He said that for him, the breaking point is usually about when the cost of repairs is comparable to the trade-in value. Counting what I had done already... yup, that's now.
I took a quick look at what the local Saturn dealerships had to offer by the way of used cars, as well as building new cars in a couple of places. It looks like a used car, in the age and mileage bracket that looks like just-off-a-lease to me, might be my best answer. I really don't like the idea of getting a used car, but my financial circumstances are such that I can't afford to quibble.
No decisions are permanent yet, and I welcome opinions, although I don't promise to abide by them.
Update: I talked again to Carl about it this morning. He still feels that I should just do the repair, and that other than this the car is in really good condition and should last a while. And he thinks I should absolutely not buy a used car, that I already have a perfectly good used car.