And then we forgot all about it.
It wasn't until today that we finally got around to calling our mechanic friend and driving our old clunker over to his shop. Of course, it turns out that when you leave a car (especially one with problems) sit in the garage for six months, bad things start to happen. After a long jump-start, the engine finally turned over, spewing copious amounts of exhaust everywhere. The emergency brake was stuck, the main brakes barely kicked in, and the transmission wasn't even visible on the dashboard. What would have been a quick exchange back in July ended up taking at least two hours this morning. On top of all that, we made only a little bit more than if we would have just traded it in at the dealer.
Why did we wait so long? Who knows. Maybe we just forgot all about it, maybe we thought it would just take care of itself, or maybe just got used to having a dead car in our garage. If you have a dead car in your garage, get rid of it immediately. It's not going to get any easier.