What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

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guitarguy
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What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by guitarguy » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:19 pm

I'm still plugging along with my 2001 Grand Prix. 180k miles. It's got a couple minor issues: passenger window won't go down, low coolant sensor is bad (i.e. there's plenty of coolant and no leaks internal or external), gas gauge floats, etc. All minor stuff that I'm just dealing with and likely won't ever pay to fix. Obviously I don't owe anything on the car.

I'm wondering what you all believe to be the definition of "drive it into the ground." Should I start looking to sell before something major major breaks so that I can get a few bucks and not have the hassle of having to replace a car quickly? Or should I just wait until it explodes, get maybe $3-500 from a junk yard, and move along then (having to pick something and buy quickly).

What's the general consensus?

EDIT: When I do replace this car, I'm looking to get a similar model (large-ish sedan) used and pay around $10k or less. Replacement car will be bought in cash. I currently have $7k set aside specifically for car replacement, but could dip into E-Fund for a little more if needed. Currently saving for car replacement at $500/m.

123
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by 123 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:38 pm

I think a lot depends on what your options are if it just plain dies (ie engine failure). If you're in a situation where it's your only way of getting to work then I'd be tempted to get going on a replacement earlier (when it still has some trade in value). I had a vehicle that was totaled-out by the insurance company when it was hit while parked on a public street. My city had good public transit so I could get by for 6 weeks until new models came out. Some weekends I rented something for family events etc. That being said it sounds like your current vehicle is in relatively good shape and if you end up replacing it with another seasoned vehicle I don't know that you would be in much better shape, since any seasoned vehicle has a lot of unknowns. Go with you gut feeling.
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:39 pm

How are the tires, brakes, and struts? Maybe you could drive it up until one of them needs replacing?

We got rid of our last car after a pulley started making noise, it would have been $700 to fix and the car was driving on borrowed time. We figured it was better to cut our losses and sell now vs trying to get another few thousand miles out of it and possibly be stranded when the pulley gave out.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by thomasbayarea » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:39 pm

guitarguy wrote:What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"
238,900 miles.
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The distance from the Earth to the Moon. :D

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SteveNet
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by SteveNet » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:40 pm

1996 Caprice, when a major engine component gives out (crank, rod, rings) or transmission 'Then' I will consider it fodder as a new manhole cover.
Bought it used 12 yrs ago. As long as it keeps moving in a forward direction I'm keeping it.
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RNJ
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by RNJ » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:41 pm

"Drive it into the ground" = (cost of next repair > resale value of car)

YMMV :)

SP-diceman
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by SP-diceman » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:45 pm

280k miles.

When the trans went, it was (as the song goes) time to say goodbye. :D

bobbun
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by bobbun » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:54 pm

RNJ wrote:"Drive it into the ground" = (cost of next repair > resale value of car)

YMMV :)
I have heard this metric a lot, but never agreed with it. "You should replace the vehicle when the repair is more expensive than the value of the vehicle." Really, though, wouldn't it be more valid to follow the rule that you should replace the vehicle when the cost of a replacement vehicle, amortized over the expected lifetime of the repair to the current vehicle, is less than the cost of the repair? In other words, if the repair is expected to extend the useful life of your current vehicle by a year and costs $1000, but the cost of one year of use of a new vehicle is more than that amount, it should make sense to repair and keep the current one no matter what its present value is.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Fallible » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:03 pm

There are probably many definitions depending on the car's problems. A '78 VW Rabbit I owned for 10 years was "in the ground" when the seat posts got badly rusted. I was told they were close to rusting out completely, in which case I'd be sitting on the road (meaning I also would be "in the ground").
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invest0
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by invest0 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:07 pm

Ha, I had an '02 of the exact same car. Said the exact same thing about it, it was pretty much a perfect car to just keep driving. Have head's up display?

I eventually caved after 5 years and it started to develop some odd behavior, traded it in for blue book value.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:14 pm

When it becomes "unsafe" to its occupants or people in/near the street, when it acts like TJ Hookers car and drops parts out its transmission when driving, if the pistons and valves are bent, when the engine needs a complete overhaul.

If it needs tires, gas, oil change, light bulb change, radiator fluid change, a wash and wax, transmission fluid change, winshield wipers - keep it.
If it doesn't need gas or diesel - patent it! :D
Last edited by Grt2bOutdoors on Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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climber2020
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by climber2020 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:15 pm

I drove my 15 year old Honda until the transmission died on the interstate, about 20 miles from my destination. After many attempts, I got it into first gear, where it stayed for the remainder of the journey. After spending the next hour cruising in the right lane of the interstate in first gear at around 5000 rpm and 30 mph and making it safely to my destination, I decided that that experience qualified as driving a car into the ground.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:19 pm

climber2020 wrote:I drove my 15 year old Honda until the transmission died on the interstate, about 20 miles from my destination. After many attempts, I got it into first gear, where it stayed for the remainder of the journey. After spending the next hour cruising in the right lane of the interstate in first gear at around 5000 rpm and 30 mph and making it safely to my destination, I decided that that experience qualified as driving a car into the ground.
You must have been gunning it to get to 5000 rpms and only going 30mph. How many miles on the car?
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:48 pm

thomasbayarea wrote:
guitarguy wrote:What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"
238,900 miles.
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The distance from the Earth to the Moon. :D
I like this rule of thumb. I'm going to start following it.

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climber2020
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by climber2020 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:57 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
climber2020 wrote:I drove my 15 year old Honda until the transmission died on the interstate, about 20 miles from my destination. After many attempts, I got it into first gear, where it stayed for the remainder of the journey. After spending the next hour cruising in the right lane of the interstate in first gear at around 5000 rpm and 30 mph and making it safely to my destination, I decided that that experience qualified as driving a car into the ground.
You must have been gunning it to get to 5000 rpms and only going 30mph. How many miles on the car?
176873 miles. Not that much for a 15 year old car.

The car was stuck in first gear, so that's as fast as I could go without getting into red line territory.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Faith20879 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:02 pm

Fallible wrote:A '78 VW Rabbit I owned for 10 years was "in the ground" when the seat posts got badly rusted.
Hahaha, I also had a 78 rabbit (diesel) but with a slightly different problem. The seat cushion was so old that it disintegrated. I was literally sitting on iron rods while driving. That did pose a safety problem. After failed to find a replacement from junk yard I traded it in for a new Civic. The engine was still in great shape and I miss it.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Swivelguy » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:11 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
thomasbayarea wrote:
guitarguy wrote:What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"
238,900 miles.

The distance from the Earth to the Moon. :D
I like this rule of thumb. I'm going to start following it.
In a pinch, you could chop it down to 221,600, the closest the moon comes in its elliptical orbit.

Jack
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Jack » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:29 pm

guitarguy wrote:I'm wondering what you all believe to be the definition of "drive it into the ground."
The ashtray is full.

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Ricola
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Ricola » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:37 pm

He has done it! - Irv Gordon reaches 3 million miles in his 1966 Volvo 1800S

https://www.media.volvocars.com/global/ ... olvo-1800s

Irv's not into the ground yet. I hear he's willing to sell for $1 per mile. :D

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Fallible » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:39 pm

Faith20879 wrote:
Fallible wrote:A '78 VW Rabbit I owned for 10 years was "in the ground" when the seat posts got badly rusted.
Hahaha, I also had a 78 rabbit (diesel) but with a slightly different problem. The seat cushion was so old that it disintegrated. I was literally sitting on iron rods while driving. That did pose a safety problem. After failed to find a replacement from junk yard I traded it in for a new Civic. The engine was still in great shape and I miss it.

Faith
I wonder if you didn't have the cloth seat cushions like mine did, as they also wore out, although I never noticed any iron rods. :)
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Summit111
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Summit111 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:49 pm

Fellow Bogleheads,

My 2001 Toyota Tacoma has 255K on it. Preventative Maintenance and buying a relilable vehicle has been my key to success. I drive it to work each day. Everything works, no rust, looks great... and I've lately thought what it would take for me to replace it...probably a breakdown leaving me stranded. But that's a decision for another day... :sharebeer

Our late model, low mileage 4-Runner is our "Good Car."


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sreynard
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by sreynard » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:59 pm

When my mechanic says, "Donate it."

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by EternalOptimist » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:13 pm

sreynard wrote:When my mechanic says, "Donate it."

Yep. I'm pretty lucky to have a mechanic who would say 'not worth fixing'
"When nothing goes right....go left"

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Clearly_Irrational
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:28 pm

Well, I wouldn't necessarily call it "driving it into the ground" but generally I would want to sell before I have to replace the engine or transmission. As a rough rule of thumb, say every 10 years or so.

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stemikger
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by stemikger » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:29 pm

guitarguy wrote:I'm still plugging along with my 2001 Grand Prix. 180k miles. It's got a couple minor issues: passenger window won't go down, low coolant sensor is bad (i.e. there's plenty of coolant and no leaks internal or external), gas gauge floats, etc. All minor stuff that I'm just dealing with and likely won't ever pay to fix. Obviously I don't owe anything on the car.

I'm wondering what you all believe to be the definition of "drive it into the ground." Should I start looking to sell before something major major breaks so that I can get a few bucks and not have the hassle of having to replace a car quickly? Or should I just wait until it explodes, get maybe $3-500 from a junk yard, and move along then (having to pick something and buy quickly).

What's the general consensus?

EDIT: When I do replace this car, I'm looking to get a similar model (large-ish sedan) used and pay around $10k or less. Replacement car will be bought in cash. I currently have $7k set aside specifically for car replacement, but could dip into E-Fund for a little more if needed. Currently saving for car replacement at $500/m.
My goal is always ten years. If I make it to that mark I am so bored with the car that I replace it. My last car I only made 9 with 90,000 miles. One day I went to go out and it didn't start. My engine died and at that point, I wasn't going to pay $2,500 for a new engine. It was a Ford Focus and had a horrible experience with recalls with that one. I was really turned off by Ford after that car and now drive a Nissan Versa which I bought brand new in 2009.

Also, if you start seeing many safety additions that didn't exist when you bought your car being added on most cars, that is also something to consider. And lastly, it depends on the costs of the repairs at that point. There is something to be said about driving a brand new car and having that piece of mind that comes with it. I only buy smaller entry level cars, but I usually buy the one that is loaded. I paid $17K for my Versa and feel most comfortable in that price range. Even if I had money to burn, I think paying $30 to $40K for a car is too much for something that depreciates so fast.
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downshiftme
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by downshiftme » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:45 pm

Many items are fixable at moderate cost. With an old enough car, it's easy to have repair costs larger than the value of the car, but still less than the cost of replacing it. As long as I can repair for less than it would cost to replace, I think you can keep working on it.

Now, there are exceptions. Safety issues like rusted frame or unreliability would merit an immediate replacement. Also, sometimes issues pile up. If I'm deferring maintenance on three or four issues and a new larger issue comes up, so that the combined cost of all of them exceeds cost to replace, then it may be time to replace it. Lastly, there's a vibe. Sometimes repairs come in waves so if a few items start to need work, and I anticipate there are a few more about to need work, I may be very tempted to get a replacement before the car really does fall apart with multiple issues. It's only a guess at future problems, but if the vibe is strong enough it's not worth holding on until the car is unusable without major investment.

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Jay69
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Jay69 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:49 pm

The last car I drove into the ground was a Ford, bought it new. Drove it for 14 years to just under 310,000miles, last stop was to drive it to the junk yard when the clutch went to heck, was the original clutch. The only part not rusted out was the windows and really was getting to the point of not being to safe. At the end I had the heater fan switch bypassed to high, headlights shorted out to always be on, switched the driver and passenger seats around, soup can patches on the muffler, by the time it needed a third fuel pump I just cut a hole in the floor under back seat to change it, etc. etc. etc.

It gets to the point of it being a game to see how many miles it will go until she blows.
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bigfun
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by bigfun » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:50 pm

This is a tough one for a "rule of thumb", because it involves emotions (guilt, sentimentality) and individual circumstances (needs of the driver and purpose of the car). One thing I wouldn't worry about is having to buy a new car on a moment's notice. If your car dies, why not rent a car for a week or two while you shop? You have already saved a bundle in car expenses by waiting this long! Build it into your new car budget and shop at leisure!

I waited until 17 years/ 288k mi, and I realized there would be no sign from above, and I would just have to let it go while still running. Over the last couple years with the car, I eventually started to feel another emotion (greed) and decided I had pushed it a little too far, and it was time to move on.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by midareff » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:51 pm

I think the definition will vary person to person. .. and at what stage of life they are. I kept my last car, a 2004 Jeep acquired in August of 2003 until a year ago. I had reached the point I trusted it to go to the gas station, the grocery store, the movie theatre and little else. It has a number of issues but was still dependable, for the most part. It had served me well and spent much of its life parked at work under a tree full of birds .. oh well!

Assessing the situation, after a lifetime of frugal spending, high savings percentages, recent retirement, and mostly (not all) savvy investing (I'll be 66 this month) and no longer any need to economize in what I drive.... ... how much of the rest of your life will you spend driving old junk for the $$ benefit of heirs. ..... off it went to Car Max and off I went to the new car dealer.

AFAIK, it was driven into the ground. 20 years ago I would have kept driving it.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Tortoise » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:24 pm

My last Toyota pickup truck could no longer pass California smog test after 265,000 miles. It had other problems, like the seat pads disintegrating, and most rubber suspension bushings were getting kind of loose. I looked into a do-it-yourself engine replacement, where I would buy an engine from a cheap rebuilder and do the engine swap myself. The cost of a rebuilt engine was over $1,000, which was way more than the truck was worth. KBB said the truck was worth less than the Costco tires I had on it. That was pretty well driven into the ground.

My current truck is 13 years old and is only coming up on 120,000 miles. The left rear passenger window doesn't work, and the driver side auto-door lock has some stripped teeth, so it makes a loud screech every time it engages/disengages the door lock. I can manually lock and unlock the door, so I am not worried about it. I've had to replace brake pads, the power-steering pressure sensor, the tranny speed sensor, and the throttle position sensor. I think I will take it in to a mechanic to have the timing belt replaced. I could do it, but I am getting too old to want to do it. Now I just have to find a decent Dodge auto-mechanic. I took the truck into the local dealer for the 60,000 mile check-up, and they charged me over $1,200. :shock: And they didn't need to repair anything. They just did a tune up.
Last edited by Tortoise on Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by tim1999 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:53 pm

To me, I'd get rid of it when it starts to break down and leave me on the side of the road (or not even make it out of the driveway) more than once, makes me late for work, makes me spend time dealing with getting it fixed and being without a car during that time, when I hesitate to take it on long trips etc. Life's too short for me to deal with that.

The only car I even got close to "running into the ground" was my first car - a Buick LeSabre. I had it up to over 200,000 miles and sold it for $750. Ran great, but needed a lot of work to pass the state inspection that was due at the time. It needed 4 new tires, front brakes, a new windshield, and some suspension work. It also needed the air conditioning fixed of leaks and converted to the new-style coolant. Not required, but it was almost summer and I sweat through my shirts without A/C. Since my finances were in good shape and I could pay cash for a much newer car, I decided it was time to move on. I also was looking to take a roadtrip of over 2,500 miles, and had the feeling that the Buick's reliable streak might come to the end in the middle of nowhere.

If the OP's Grand Prix has the 3.8 V6 engine, it will probably run forever, but the rest of the car will probably fall apart first. You could probably pick up a '07 or '08 Grand Prix with the 3.8 and low mileage for around $10,000. That's one of the last years/models that GM put that engine in. Same engine my Buick had.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Watty » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:17 pm

Money wise there are two factors in getting the most out of your car and its replacement.

1) Getting the maximum use out of your current car.

2) Getting a great car at a great price on your next car.

I was in a totally different situation but I once had to buy a car in a hurry and I did not get nearly as good of a deal as I would have if I had a couple of months to shop.

I would start casually looking for a new car and take your time and only buy one when you find a fantastic car at a great price. It might take you a year to find one but right now you have the time to wait for the right car.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Barefootgirl » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:26 pm

My definition of drive it into the ground is a vehicle that won't run and the needed repairs exceed the value of the vehicle.

This situation ended with me taking a taxi to the car dealer.

That will never happen again, but I saved a lot of money.


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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by RNJ » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:45 pm

bobbun wrote:
RNJ wrote:"Drive it into the ground" = (cost of next repair > resale value of car)

YMMV :)
I have heard this metric a lot, but never agreed with it. "You should replace the vehicle when the repair is more expensive than the value of the vehicle." Really, though, wouldn't it be more valid to follow the rule that you should replace the vehicle when the cost of a replacement vehicle, amortized over the expected lifetime of the repair to the current vehicle, is less than the cost of the repair? In other words, if the repair is expected to extend the useful life of your current vehicle by a year and costs $1000, but the cost of one year of use of a new vehicle is more than that amount, it should make sense to repair and keep the current one no matter what its present value is.

Point well-taken, and in many respects, I agree. I'm driving a minimum of 80 miles per day, five days each week, year round: hot summers, wet, slushy, winters. If the car breaks down on the road I am S.O.L.

So - I don't see the metric in isolation. Typically, when that tipping point is reached, it doesn't come out of nowhere. Rather, it's usually after a number of other repairs which may or may not have anything to do with the "tipping point repair" (TPR). Also typical, is that the TPR, while perhaps making that particular system of the vehicle good for another year, doesn't necessarily inoculate the rest of the vehicle from breakdown.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by peppers » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:53 pm

It starts. It stops. Everything else is negotiable.
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Bonnan » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:24 pm

My !988 Honda Accord............280000 miles but it still had the original clutch

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by guitarguy » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:15 am

Cherokee8215 wrote:If the OP's Grand Prix has the 3.8 V6 engine, it will probably run forever, but the rest of the car will probably fall apart first. You could probably pick up a '07 or '08 Grand Prix with the 3.8 and low mileage for around $10,000. That's one of the last years/models that GM put that engine in. Same engine my Buick had.
Yes...one of the best engines ever. It's a 200k mile plus motor. My intake gasket went a while back and I had it repaired; this is probably the most common major-ish problem with this motor. This engine is probably the main reason I'm still driving the car. I guess I still have some confidence that it won't leave me stranded, which is a pretty big priority for me.
Watty wrote:Money wise there are two factors in getting the most out of your car and its replacement.

1) Getting the maximum use out of your current car.

2) Getting a great car at a great price on your next car.

I was in a totally different situation but I once had to buy a car in a hurry and I did not get nearly as good of a deal as I would have if I had a couple of months to shop.

I would start casually looking for a new car and take your time and only buy one when you find a fantastic car at a great price. It might take you a year to find one but right now you have the time to wait for the right car.
This is a really good post...it really agrees concisely with how my mind puts this all together.

Perhaps the best way to go about it is to start looking now and find a really good deal at some point. A newer Grand Prix with the 3.8L in it would literally be my first choice, but sadly when I've searched in the past (which was a while ago) they were hard to come by. Nobody who knows what they have wants to get rid of that 3.8L... :?

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by bottlecap » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:40 am

I've got to admit, those grand prix's run. My old next door neighborhood had one with about 180k on it and she couldn't find a reason to get rid of it. It think the question is personal, but for me, it has to do with whether I like the vehicle and whether I trust the vehicle. My 14 year old Ford has more than than 270,000 and it's far more reliable than our 9 year old Chevy with less than half the miles on it. I've never had to put more than the truck is worth into it, but I might, depending on what was wrong with it. Especially now that the market value is probably no more than $2k.

I've said this before, but to make driving a older model car worth it, you really need a mechanic you can trust. Otherwise you'll be spending too much to repair it.

JT

guitarguy
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by guitarguy » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:00 am

bottlecap wrote:I've got to admit, those grand prix's run. My old next door neighborhood had one with about 180k on it and she couldn't find a reason to get rid of it.
Yep. This is the umpteenth story like this I've heard, which was one of the main reasons I chose a grand prix. I bought it when it had 64k miles and now up to 180k and still kicking, with not many major repairs.
bottlecap wrote:I've said this before, but to make driving a older model car worth it, you really need a mechanic you can trust. Otherwise you'll be spending too much to repair it.
This couldn't hit home any harder. It's the sole reason we have the privilege of being able to drive older high mileage cars and not be scared to death of high repair costs. My wife's dad and brother are both skilled mechanics and body repair men. My wife's uncle (who we actually usually go to) is the top mechanic at a used car dealership. He fixes most of our issues for cost of parts plus $20 or whatever...a (very) little something for his time. Not only that but he usually lets us borrow his car as a loaner when he repairs whatever we've got going on.

Funny side story: the car we usually borrow (wife's uncle's) when we're getting something worked on? A 1989 Accord with close to 400k miles on it. Not much of a looker but runs like a champ. According to him, it's never left him stranded. It's also been stolen from them and recovered, twice. That baby just keeps going and going and going...Energizer bunny style.

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JupiterJones
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:02 am

I finally gave up on my previous vehicle when the door literally fell off in my hands.

Rode my bicycle* to the car dealership that morning.



* Which might have put me at a wee bit of a negotiating disadvantage... :P
Stay on target...

guitarguy
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by guitarguy » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:31 pm

Ironically I found a 2008 Grand Prix for sale listed for $7k today. If I can get it for around $6k or so I may pull the trigger. 100k miles, but supposedly highway miles. Looks good from the craigslist pics but still have to see what kind of shape it's in. CarFax looks good.

If I can get this for around $6k and get around $2k selling mine, I think I'd be sitting pretty good with spending only $4k net and getting *hopefully* a good car for the next 6-7 years / 80k miles.

Not in a hurry to buy though. If this falls through, another will pop up. But I think I've decided to start looking and shopping on my terms rather than waiting until my current car totally dies out. I really don't want to end up stranded...and that's the kind of major repair I'd be waiting for if I kept it until it was totally dead.

EDIT: Also found a 2007 with only 56k miles on it, listed for $9900. It's a year older but has much less miles, is "fully loaded", and all else equal...looks like a better choice.

Are there any general thoughts from those who buy used cars on "older car with less mileage" vs "newer car with more mileage"? One thought is older cars with low mileage are likely city driven a lot...harder miles. Newer cars with higher mileage usually have highway mileage..easier miles.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by btenny » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:54 pm

I'm with Barefoot, driving it into the ground is having your trade-in TOWED to the dealer, I did this once and was not happy. I had to decide on the next car I wanted way too fast and buy that next car because my old one died. Plus my old car had known issues that my wife had hated for years but I did not trade at that time.

Now I trade in my cars when they get to about 120K miles and things are starting to break and need repair on a regular basis. The issue is the need to put in repair $$ every year and/or big $$ for renovation stuff like new tires, new windshield, fixes to upholstery and some mechanical stuff all needing to be done at once. Then there is also the issue of better safety equipment on newer cars. All told I guess I trade about every 12 years or so.

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LH
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by LH » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:45 pm

2003 Honda odyssey 200kplus, last December transmission went out, I think 2.2 or 2.6 k to replace. Replaced. So far going strong since then. Also 13 year old Nissan maxims with 80k on it.

1) cost of insurance new vs old
2) cost of car tax new vs old
3) opportunity cost of replacement, net, with money put to off mortgage vs net cost new buy-selling old of buying new car
4) repair costs

Also dunno what I could have gotten for a 12 year old immobile Honda odyssey, but I could certainly get more now repaired, so it's been worth it so far, even if I sell it. Say get 500 for immobile car. Say new costs 30500.
Tax on 30500 vs tx on I dunno 4k?
Insuring 30500 vs I dunno 4k?
Opportunity cost of 30k-2.2k=28k at 4 percent interest, really 3 percent when home mortgage tax deduction accounted for.... Is about 800 dollars a year.

So 800 a year, plus the tax and insurance benefit, easily hits 1k Plus a year.

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ClevrChico
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by ClevrChico » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:02 pm

For me the deciding factor was adventure after adventure. An example of an adventure is losing control of the throttle pedal and driving home with only cruise control.

westie
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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by westie » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:57 pm

when the cost of new tires is more than the car is worth...

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by leo383 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:16 pm

So far, we have decided to give up on a car when we finally get a repair that breaks the camel's back. The "are you kidding me" repair.

A $3k repair on a car that's probably worth much less than half that (old Nissan Altima). The third fuel system repair in a year (89 Accord). That kind of thing.

I know the financially it's probably best to always repair a car until it becomes unsafe, but there has come a point for us and our cars where we just say enough repair-wise.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by WHL » Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:33 pm

I've got a 2005 Silverado with 145k. Owned it since November 2005, bought CPO with 6k miles. Just put over 3k miles on it in the last three weeks, no issues. I love this truck. I'm ashamed that I am somewhat behind in routine maintenance (tranny filter / oil, rear diff fluid, coolant change, brake fluid, new shocks, etc.) but I have been living in an apartment for the last four + years and have been unable to do most maintenance. It's really disheartening, because I typically take very good care of my valuables.

I plan to keep this truck for as long as it runs, which I hope is a minimum of 8 years. I too am saving for my next vehicle (750/month, 11k saved to date) and will pay cash for the next truck.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by Carlton » Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:12 pm

Until the car starts "feeling" old mechanically. I maintain my vehicles well, and enjoy driving so I really don't want some rattle-trap with worn out seats and suspension. Before I stated working in the city and commuting by train (only a 5 mile R/T to the station) I would start looking at around 100-125K miles for a replacement. Still can get a few bucks selling a well-running/appearing car even at 100K.

Also, I buy new cars that cost much less than I could really afford, so getting a new car every 7-8 years isn't a financial burden. Next year I'm looking for a replacement CUV and will probably consider a Mazda CX-5 (or CX-9 if I can get a smoking deal). I could buy a Lexus, Accura or BMW etc, but they are overpriced IMHO.

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by RTR2006 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:32 pm

I bought a 2001 Mercedes CLK 320 convertible new in late 2000 that now has almost 210,000 miles on it. It has had its ups and downs, but I expect to keep it until it dies or a single costly repair makes continued ownership impossible. I am not so far from retirement, and as far as I'm concerned, it wouldn't be a bad car to tool around in as there's no better and more enjoyable car for those 'top down' days in Napa or along the northern Calif coast... BTW on a nice commute day the car still gets about 30 mpg... also not bad for a 6.


RTR

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Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Post by goodbishop » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:21 pm

Mine might not be as good - had my Focus for 11 years and 100k miles... it's time for me to get a new car.

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