How do you decide when to buy car?

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sandramjet
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How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by sandramjet » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:53 pm

I have always bought lightly used cars an driven them as long as possible. My problem is deciding when to fix or when to get a new(er) car. For example, my current car is about 16 years old with about 260k miles, but currently it needs some electrical repairs. I am trying to decide whether to fix or buy another. For me, I have no hard and fast rules about this...I usually go on "gut feel" and sometimes on how frustrated I might be with having to do more repairs!
I am just wondering what process others might use to decide whether to fix or replace.

At least in my case, it is not really about the money directly... that is, I have enough to buy another, and would not be looking to buy a new car or one that is behind my means.

Thx!

jambros3
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by jambros3 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:17 pm

260,000 on a car is fantastic.

I generally have a rule when a car needs to be replaced. I feel if there are drive train ( transmission, power transfer case) or electrical issues. It is time to replace the car. I feel the costs of fixing these issues can get pretty high. Also, the electrical issues I have has are not fixed the first time.

But, there are exceptions:
If the car is a Mercedes Diesel, then I would fix it and keep going. I know a lot of those cars last to a 1,000,000 miles.
The car is a collectors edition.

Wannaretireearly
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Wannaretireearly » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:32 pm

Good question
Sold a 10 yr old vw and was glad to get rid of it cos of. Nagging issues
Own a 11 yr old Toyota which I don't see replacing til I see my first repair over $1000

Don't have any patience for continuous issues/repairs past 10 years old
Buy Low, Sell High

crit
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by crit » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:49 pm

The eternal question.

There's always the calculation of value vs. repair cost. But aside from that:
1) Predictability. You can choose whether or when you can put up with the unpredictability of repair costs; or whether you have the resources (time and money) for the transaction of swapping.
2) Saleability. Is it difficult to extract the hypothetical value from your car now? In other words, the kbb value may be $X,000 but it's a major PITA to sell a car with Y00,000 miles, because people looking to buy a car want one with (Y-y)00,000 miles, donating isn't a thing unless you itemize, and dealers ... let's stop there. I found it much easier to sell a car at 100,000 miles than with 200,000; and I think I got much closer to the kbb value that way.

cherijoh
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by cherijoh » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:51 pm

I used a combination of increasing maintenance costs and reduced reliability for my first 2 cars, with the first car lasting a few years longer than the second - it was my "problem child". I got to the point where I was reluctant to take that one on a road trip and that was the deciding factor. My third car was still going strong after 15 years and almost 200K miles when it was totaled in an accident. Buying a car within a week with no prior notice is not fun, so perhaps now is a good time for you to start looking for your next car.

With the age of your current vehicle, the newer safety features available in late model cars might also justify replacing sooner rather than later.

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Watty
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Watty » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:56 pm

I look at the cost per year to own a car, excluding the things like gas, tires, liability insurance, routine maintenance etc that you will have with any car.

It basically boils down to;

1) depreciation
2) Non-routine maintenance
2) Higher comprehensive insurance on a new car.

It is not the lowest way to own a car but my plan is to buy new base model cars like Honda's and Toyoto'a because they are reliable and hold their value well, then to sell then when they are about ten year old or have 150K miles on them. It is surprising what a well maintained car like that will sell for.

The last one I sold was a nine year old Camry that had 130K miles on it and I was able to sell it for about a third of that it cost when it was new. While I had it there were only a few non-routine repairs that I had to pay for.

If I had kept it longer it would have likely needed more maintenance and it would still be depreciating about a thousand dollars a year or so.

Part of making this work is that I wait until I can find a very good deal on the next car I buy and I take the time to sell the car myself and I price it to get top dollar when I sell it. I have had to buy a car in a hurry during a cross country move and that makes buying a replacement car a lot more expensive than if you can wait for a good deal.

livesoft
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by livesoft » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:19 pm

1. Is current car less than 10 years old?
Yes. Stop here.

2. Is current car under 200,000 miles?
Yes. Stop here.

3. Is current car still drivable?
Yes. Stop here.

4. Is this the year we are using the standard deduction?
Yes. Stop here.

5. We can buy a car this year.
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Ron Ronnerson
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:05 pm

For me, it must have at least 150k miles on it or be at least 10 years old. I drove my previous car for 15 years (Honda Accord) and recently bought a new one (Corolla). I had planned to drive the Accord, which only had a bit over 150k miles, for another couple of years. However, we recently became parents and my 2-door Accord was proving to be difficult to get the baby into as she got bigger and bigger. I feel like I got adequate use out of the old car and plan to do the same for the new one. I won't drive it until the wheels fall off but won't replace it until I'm at least beginning to think there is a decent possibility that could happen.

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by rayout » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:37 pm

260K is pretty good. I bought my first car (1994 Civic) with 150K miles and it made it to 200K before I sold it with some nagging brake issues. I picked up a 2005 Prius with 155K miles to replace it. Put about 30K miles on it so far. Going to shoot for 250K before I change vehicles.

I am not sure if I am lucky or not but I don't seem to be running into very many issues with "high mileage" cars - Toyotas/Hondas of course.

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cheese_breath
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by cheese_breath » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:50 pm

I hate to say it, but with me it's mostly a gut decision too... plus sometimes after having the same car for a long, long time the urge for a new one becomes overpowering. Case in point, I dumped my '93 olds 6 years ago even though it was still running great. Due to DW's health conditions all our travel has to be by car, and didn't want to risk a 16 year old car breaking down in the middle on nowhere. Last I knew about a year ago it was still running fine with it's new owner.
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willie838
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by willie838 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:03 am

dunno

i'm hoping to get 500k out of my 03 civic.

it's at 240 right now and is totally solid, original clutch, routine maintenance.

i just have to address the standard rust in the rear quarters this spring and i'll be good to go visually and mechanically.

terran
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by terran » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:13 am

livesoft wrote:1. Is current car less than 10 years old?
4. Is this the year we are using the standard deduction?
Yes. Stop here.
What effect does this have? Do you donate your old car?

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telemark
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by telemark » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:26 am

The last few times for me have been when the car was in an accident and the insurance company decided not to repair it. But I wouldn't recommend that as a general rule.

JLJL
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by JLJL » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:50 am

terran wrote:
livesoft wrote:1. Is current car less than 10 years old?
4. Is this the year we are using the standard deduction?
Yes. Stop here.
What effect does this have? Do you donate your old car?
Let me take a stab... claiming state and local sales taxes during a year they are itemizing? Especially if it is a Lexus.

Barefootgirl
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:15 am

When I'm at my last resort: taking a cab to the dealership to buy my next one. :mrgreen:

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Toons
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Toons » Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:21 am

I replaced two cars recently with one car
Traded in a 2012 Fit,2013 Crv for a 2015 Crv,
Why?
Less to take care of and appreciation for the new upgraded features on the CRV :happy
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:27 am

My current car is 8 years old, has 110k miles, runs great. But, I have a deposit on a Tesla Model X, and as soon as they've reached me on the waiting list (6,xxx), I'm getting a new car. :sharebeer

Mitchell777
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Mitchell777 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:26 am

I do it on gut or sometimes emotion. One car let me sit twice, not engine or transmission problems, and I'd had it. Last car I got rid of because I wanted newer safetly features I did not have. Really hated to part with the car but the commute is on a dangerous road. Bought a newer car, more expensive that past cars, as I'm at a point where I want to spend more (on things I'll enjoy) just as when I was younger I wanted to save more (for the future and the future is here)

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mhc
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by mhc » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:27 am

When the current car is inconvenient. I want reliable cars. The last car I bought was based on having additional family members, which obsoleted the previous car. The purchase before that was based on needing at least one car that could make it through significant snow.

livesoft
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by livesoft » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:32 am

JLJL wrote:
terran wrote:
livesoft wrote:1. Is current car less than 10 years old?
4. Is this the year we are using the standard deduction?
Yes. Stop here.
What effect does this have? Do you donate your old car?
Let me take a stab... claiming state and local sales taxes during a year they are itemizing? Especially if it is a Lexus.
That's correct. You are an excellent reader of the forum. :)
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likegarden
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by likegarden » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:41 am

We usually buy cars new. We look at reliability, replace a car with sizable car repairs of $3,000. per year, miles more than 120,000. and over 10-12 years old.
(We do not count battery, tire, brake replacements as car repairs.)
Right now we drive a 2 year old Toyota Camry and a 11 year old Buick Century. The Buick Century had only $500 car repairs over those 11 years and has 90,000 miles, is a nice driving car, so will continue for a few years more.

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plannerman
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by plannerman » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:51 am

I'll give you my wife's reasons for buying a new Lexus, notwithstanding her 2004 RX330 with 110,000 miles on it, is probably the best car we have ever owned.
1) I'm 72 years old
2) This is probably the last new car I will ever buy
3) We won't miss the money
4) Our granddaughter just received an internship that as a practical mater requires a car--and would she be delighted to get the hand me down RX330
5) I want one

plannerman

gbru316
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by gbru316 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:54 am

When my faith in it's reliability no longer exists.

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bnwest
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by bnwest » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:59 am

Every 10 years, I buy a new car whether I need a new one or not.

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midareff
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by midareff » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:02 am

I replaced cars when they had demonstrated unreliability ... for some it was right after the expiration of the warranty, for others it was >10 years. At this point in life I doubt it will be later than the expiration of the new warranty.

PowDay
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by PowDay » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:06 am

You've already won the game having gotten 16 years and 260k miles out of your car. The difference in yearly expenses between getting 16 years or 18 years out of it is negligible.

If you have the money. go buy a new car and check back in around 2031, the forum will recommend the most economical self driving flying hovercraft :happy

randomguy
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by randomguy » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:58 am

crit wrote: 2) Saleability. Is it difficult to extract the hypothetical value from your car now? In other words, the kbb value may be $X,000 but it's a major PITA to sell a car with Y00,000 miles, because people looking to buy a car want one with (Y-y)00,000 miles, donating isn't a thing unless you itemize, and dealers ... let's stop there. I found it much easier to sell a car at 100,000 miles than with 200,000; and I think I got much closer to the kbb value that way.
Why are you interested in getting KBB value? Even if you get 0 dollars for you 200k car , the cost of running between 100k and 200k is likely to be less than the cost of running between 0-100k and getting some resale value if you have a reliable car.

I find cars are good for about 150k miles over 12-15 years. I am sure if I was doing 100 mi/day highway commutes (driving 20k+/yr) my cars would last more miles. But I am doing a ton of 10 min drives these days which are a lot more stressful on ICE engines. When I used to live in a snow belt state 30 years ago, we got new cars every 8 or so years. That was about how long it took for the car to rust out:)

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vitaflo
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by vitaflo » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:35 pm

When the repairs to get it to keep running cost more than the trade in value. Usually this means something like $2k. I did not heed this advice with the car I had in the 90's. Dumped $2500 into it to fix it, 8 months later it broke down on a long trip and I was stranded. Got 180k total miles and 10 years out of it, but couldn't trade it in for a new car.

The car I had in the 00's needed a bunch of exhaust work done and new tires at 165k, 9 years in. Cost was going to be $2k, trade in value was about $2k, so I traded it in instead of fixing it and bought a new car. Wasn't about to have that car break down on me like the last one.

Getting stranded with a car you've sunk money into to keep going will teach you very quickly when it is time to cut your losses and get something new. I figure if I'm over 150k and closing in on 10 years and repairs are needed, it's time to put the old reliable out to pasture.

furwut
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by furwut » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:39 pm

I think a good rule of thumb is when you feel its necessary to call ahead every place you're going and ask them to send out a tow truck if you don't show up.

crit
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by crit » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:44 pm

randomguy wrote:
crit wrote: 2) Saleability. Is it difficult to extract the hypothetical value from your car now?
Why are you interested in getting KBB value? Even if you get 0 dollars for you 200k car , the cost of running between 100k and 200k is likely to be less than the cost of running between 0-100k and getting some resale value if you have a reliable car.
I'm interested in getting money from it, period. The kbb value is there as an example. A more specific example:
A 2000 Acura TL with 225,000 miles in 'very good' should have a private sale value of $2800.
A 2005 Acura TL with 150,000 miles in 'very good' should have a private sale value of $6200.
So the depreciation of the car over the last 5 years is, on paper, $3400.

So, my 'Saleability' point asks the OP's question in the form of: should I sell a younger car for $6200, or pay $3400 more in depreciation over the next 5 years to run it? My point is: it's much more likely that he'll be ABLE to sell it for $6200 as a younger car -- people still want it. 5 years later, selling an older car is much more difficult -- it may need some repair, it's more likely to die sooner, fewer people want it. So he'll pay the $3400 cost of depreciation (which is less than the first 100k miles, sure, but you're paying that in both cases), and another $2800 when he ends up junking it for $0. That $2800 is a hidden cost until no one responds to your ad, then you absorb it.

Let's say for simplicity the car cost $20k to start with.
Sell after 10 years for $6200: $1380/year.
Sell after 15 years for $2800: $1140/year. On paper, lower cost.
Fail to sell after 15 years ($0) : $1333/year. And this is only depreciation, not taking into account increased repair costs between years 10 and 15. One expensive repair, and you're back up and over your cost at 10 years.

The marginal expense of driving it starts to go back up when you can no longer actually sell it and get any value from it. That's why saleability is an issue for me in the question of when to trade cars. I'd rather sell at 10 years, and be driving a newer more reliable car.

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by KyleAAA » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:51 pm

For me, it's when maintenance becomes an annoyance (i.e. the cost of repairs isn't the main factor). Since I currently own a Toyota, I'm 11 years in and still going strong. I think 10-12 years is probably near the sweet spot, though.

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by arizona pokerface » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:44 pm

jambros3 wrote:260,000 on a car is fantastic.
+1

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:38 pm

crit wrote:Let's say for simplicity the car cost $20k to start with.

Sell after 10 years for $6200: $1380/year.
Sell after 15 years for $2800: $1140/year. On paper, lower cost.
Fail to sell after 15 years ($0) : $1333/year. And this is only depreciation, not taking into account increased repair costs between years 10 and 15. One expensive repair, and you're back up and over your cost at 10 years.

The marginal expense of driving it starts to go back up when you can no longer actually sell it and get any value from it. That's why saleability is an issue for me in the question of when to trade cars. I'd rather sell at 10 years, and be driving a newer more reliable car.

I think a starting cost closer to $30k is probably more accurate. That of course effects the subsequent calculations.

Also the argument that at some point a car has no value is two edged. Once the value goes to zero depreciation also goes to zero and the total the cost goes down again.

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by randomguy » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:36 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
crit wrote:Let's say for simplicity the car cost $20k to start with.

Sell after 10 years for $6200: $1380/year.
Sell after 15 years for $2800: $1140/year. On paper, lower cost.
Fail to sell after 15 years ($0) : $1333/year. And this is only depreciation, not taking into account increased repair costs between years 10 and 15. One expensive repair, and you're back up and over your cost at 10 years.

The marginal expense of driving it starts to go back up when you can no longer actually sell it and get any value from it. That's why saleability is an issue for me in the question of when to trade cars. I'd rather sell at 10 years, and be driving a newer more reliable car.

I think a starting cost closer to $30k is probably more accurate. That of course effects the subsequent calculations.

Also the argument that at some point a car has no value is two edged. Once the value goes to zero depreciation also goes to zero and the total the cost goes down again.
Quick google give MSRP for 200 TL at 29k
So
a: Sell at 10 years (29000-6200)/10= 2280
b: Sell at 15 and get money (29000-2800)/15= 1746
c: Sell at 15 and get nothing (29000/15)/15 = 1933
d: OP Sell at 7 years (100k miles) (29000-10000)/7 = 2714

Now holding the car fixed at 29k is a bit of cheat (The TL was like 24k in 2007) but that actually works against holding the car. You can see the pretty huge difference between driving a car for 100k miles versus 200k depreciation wise. How much of that value you give back in repairs is hard to say. But I am willing to be on average it is less than 15k.

Personally I think the theory that the car is unsellable is a bit simplistic. If a car runs you are going to sell it for 1000-1500 on craigslist. Now the day it doesn't run, you go from that 1k to 0 pretty quick:)

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by bottlecap » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:14 pm

When you drive a vehicle 260,000 miles, there is no one on the planet that can tell you whether it is time for a replacement better than you. Either it needs a repair that will restore your confidence in the vehicle or it needs a repair that won't. If it's one that won't restore your confidence, then it sounds like it's time for a new car.

At about 240,000 miles, my vehicle needed a new differential. The cost to repair was about $2,000, likely somewhat more than the vehicle was worth. My mechanic said, "Maybe it's time for a new vehicle." I asked whether in his experience a replacement differential was likely to cause further problems. He said no. I asked whether there was anything else that he was concerned with on the vehicle. He said, no, it was actually in good shape, but at 240,000 miles, you never know. I wrestled with it a while. I told him that if he could do it for $2,000 or less, to do the repair. He found an inexpensive differential (supposedly new, too) and got it done for $1,200 out the door. Three years and 45,000 miles later, it's still running well. Money well spent.

The bottom line is that there is no hard and fast rule. You know your vehicle, likely better than your mechanic. If it's something that your guy says can be fixed and won't give you any more trouble and you think the rest of the vehicle has more miles in it to justify the expense, the repair is feasible. If you just want a new vehicle, I'd say that's fine, too. The one you've got doesn't owe you anything at this point.

Good luck,

JT

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by arizona pokerface » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:30 pm

I have often wondered what I should do if my old car breaks down, is towed in, and then I find out it needs a repair that is more expensive than it's worth. Do I just have it towed away and sell it as scrap?

Thanks

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by surfhb » Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:44 pm

My 93 Toyota Pick up has around 511,000 miles on it now. With all the work and upkeep costs it was still much cheaper than buying a new car. It still looks new too :)

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:07 pm

arizona pokerface wrote:I have often wondered what I should do if my old car breaks down, is towed in, and then I find out it needs a repair that is more expensive than it's worth. Do I just have it towed away and sell it as scrap?

Thanks
That or you could donate it to a charity that repairs them and sells them cheaply to low income people.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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topper1296
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by topper1296 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:24 pm

I'm driving an 02 Acura TL that I bought used. I've been driving it for over 10 years and a while back when I took my Acura in for an oil change the dealer told me it is starting to show signing of needing several repairs in the near future (new shocks, new engine mounts and some other things I can't remember right now). I'd rather put that money into a new car since I feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of my Acura and I'm on "borrowed time" right now driving a car over 10 years old. I joined an organization last year that will qualify me for the Subaru VIP program and I will probably be buying a Subaru Forester in the next month or so. On a related note, check out Subaru if you're tall. They have amazing head room which is a must for me at 6'5.

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Dandy » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:28 am

I used to hold on to cars with a goal of 10 years or 100k miles. Some of that was due to short finances and some to being frugal. I bought inexpensive cars and by the time 10yrs or 100k miles occurred they were usually not in good shape. There was also a bit of frugal pride in seeing how much value I could squeeze out of each car.

Old habits die hard. Even though finances are not an issue I still found myself recently with 2 cars, one 13 years old and one 10 years old. Being retired we don't put too many miles on like in the commuting to work days. Now, I look at cars differently. I put much more emphasis on safety. Last year I traded in my 13 yr old car and bought a new Subaru Forester. A much safer and more reliable car to transport me, my wife and on occasion by grandchildren.

We still have a 11 year old Honda Civic with over 100k miles on it. My wife loves it. I am hoping next year we can buy a newer and safer model for her that she will like just as much. Better safety features as well as better mileage has changed the game a bit as far as what a good car buying decision is -- at least for me. I'd advise looking to take advantage of upgrading to cars that have more up to date safety features and better mileage - not always new but probably newer than 10 years.

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Sheepdog » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:19 am

When? Ours is a timed cycle. Our last New car was in 1999, a special present for my wife in my first year of my retirement. That ended our New car era. Since then our purchases have been 1 to 2 year old pre-owned cars with around 10 to12,000 miles. For no special reason, we purchase each on an 8 year cycle, well before they are "used up". They will always be in very good condition. I know that makes no sense, but we look forward to it.
My wife's next one is expected to be in 2016 (will trade her 2007 model for a probable 2014-15 model) and mine will be in 2019 (will trade a 2010 model for a probable 2017-18 model). Repeat...this makes no sense, but what the heck. Because of our ages I assume we will be down to one after that round.
People should not say everything they think. They should think about everything they say.

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bottlecap
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by bottlecap » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:37 am

topper1296 wrote:when I took my Acura in for an oil change the dealer told me it is starting to show signing of needing several repairs in the near future (new shocks, new engine mounts and some other things I can't remember right now).
You might want to get the opinion of someone who doesn't want to sell you a new car! I'm loathe to ever take my vehicle to a dealer, but when I have to, it's funny how the conversation always turns to how nice the new model version is this (and every) year. They didn't have the gall to go as far to suggest that my current one was about to break down, however.

JT

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:49 am

bottlecap wrote:
topper1296 wrote:when I took my Acura in for an oil change the dealer told me it is starting to show signing of needing several repairs in the near future (new shocks, new engine mounts and some other things I can't remember right now).
You might want to get the opinion of someone who doesn't want to sell you a new car! I'm loathe to ever take my vehicle to a dealer, but when I have to, it's funny how the conversation always turns to how nice the new model version is this (and every) year. They didn't have the gall to go as far to suggest that my current one was about to break down, however.

JT
But topper's experience isn't unique. Every time I take mine in for an oil change (using a discount coupon) they always do a 'courtesy check' and usually find something they think needs attention. Mostly I ignore it, but if there really is a problem I'll usually take it somewhere less expensive to have the work done.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by victorb » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:27 am

I used to drive cars as long as I could and had a good mechanic friend. On two cars, I had over 200k and had to replace gas tanks on both of them.That was no fun, but a good learning experience. As I have gotten older, safety and creature comforts have become more important. The newer cars with all the safety devices have changed my position and I want newer cars.
A friend of mine escaped serious injury or death when he was hit in an intersection and all the air bags deployed.
The blind spot detection, lane change detection, etc.... are great and I will need them more as I get older.
So my views have changed as I have gotten older and have more money to spend on cars. I still don't go overboard, but my precious cargo(wife/children) is better protected in the newer cars. It is just not how long they last anymore.

letsgobobby
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:32 am

First car was a hand me down worth nothibg. It rusted out within 6 months and had to be towed away.

That drove getting the second car, a 10 year old hand me down from an uncle worth $2600.

That got totaled by a truck making an illegal turn. I bought a 4 year old Accord with 80k miles for $7000.

I drove that for 9 years and a total of over 200k miles til the water pump died. We also wanted a 4 door car at that point so bought a new 2006 Rav4.

6 years later I took up a much longer commute. My vehicle at the time was a 16 year old Camry. When it got to 225k miles, my dog had throw up on the seats, it needed new tires, and had accumulated a variety of small and medium cosmetic and mechanical needs, I gave it away and bought a Prius. My wife now drives that, and I got the Rav4.

So it's a mix of miles plus needing repairs plus a change in life situation that has led us to changing cars.

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by crit » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:23 pm

Quick google give MSRP for 200 TL at 29k. So
a Sell at 7 years (100k miles) (29000-10000)/7 = 2714
b Sell at 10 years (29000-6200)/10= 2280
c Sell at 15 and get money (29000-2800)/15= 1746
d Sell at 15 and get nothing (29000)/15 = 1933

... You can see the pretty huge difference between driving a car for 100k miles versus 200k depreciation wise. How much of that value you give back in repairs is hard to say. But I am willing to be on average it is less than 15k.
(I reordered the list in year order)

There are interesting rules of thumb here:

To get $15k as the difference in cost between 7 years / 105k miles and 15 years, you calculated
(29000 - 2800+ extra_spending)/15=(29000-10000)/7, so the extra_spending is $14,500 over the last 7 years, or roughly $2000/yr. So unless you find yourself spending $2k/yr on a medium-old car, keep it.

But to look at the difference in the last 5 years (between 10 and 15 years, or 150k and 225k miles),
(29000-2800+ extra)/15 = (29000-6200)/10. In this case, extra = $8000, spent in this case over 5 years. So when you find yourself spending $1600 in a year for an older car, it's time to sell.
Personally I think the theory that the car is unsellable is a bit simplistic. If a car runs you are going to sell it for 1000-1500 on craigslist. Now the day it doesn't run, you go from that 1k to 0 pretty quick:)
My anecdata may be odd, but: 1) I had an Accord (an Accord!) that had 240,000 that was supposedly worth $2k or so. Ran fine and reliable, would have been a great car for someone. I could not sell it! After two months of dead leads and nothing, I donated it. 2) I later sold another Honda product at 100k, and it went quickly for a few hundred over private sale value. 3) My now-spouse once left an older Civic at the parents' house because moved to the city, no one drove it, months later wouldn't start, ended up junking what should have been $3k. These experiences are what lead me to consider what happens to yearly cost at the end timepoints. If it is substantially hard to sell a car, you will end up making choices that cost more than it seems (it didn't seem like leaving the car at the parents would cost $3k, for example) -- so in my experience, and calculations, you are better off selling it ahead of time, when you CAN sell it, and getting the value from it (at all).

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by poker27 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:51 pm

IMO not only is it a financial, but only a 'need' situation. My SO is a nurse, works nights, and works in the suburbs. So she needs a reliable car that is not going to be in the shop often.

She currently has a 2011 Sonata with 75k miles, I hope we can get to a minimum of 150k miles before we have that discussion.

On the other hand, my car averages 100 miles a month, and doesnt move from the garage (I take public transit everywhere, have a motorcycle for summer, and usually takes the Hyundai). So if my car would tank, I could be without one.

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verbose
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by verbose » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:55 pm

We waited too long last time. I like to wait until a car just isn't reliable, but we had a 2004 Ford Freestar that never really met the definition of "reliable" to begin with. In retrospect, I should have been saving for a replacement from the moment I acquired that vehicle.

It was a gift from a relative and arrived with a deteriorating transmission, which we had to have rebuilt. After several more issues (engine problems, electrical problems, you name it), I set a goal of "just 50,000 more miles." It didn't make it. I knew that reverse wasn't working so well but it could usually be pushed backwards. So I took it on a road trip with a bunch of passengers (that's what a van is for, right?) and the "going-forward" part of the transmission failed while at our destination. My passengers lost faith in the van and took a bus home. After it started "going forward" again, I limped it home expecting it to stop moving at any moment, but it made it. The van ended up being worthless. Charity gave it a value of $500, which is pretty much the lowest value a donated car gets.

On the other hand, I sold my 1985 Accord in 2001 with 140,000 miles, and I still think I sold it too early. It was deteriorating pretty badly (body and interior due to lack of a garage for most of its life), but it ran (as long as it got an alignment with every oil change). I was so embarrassed over driving such an ugly car that I sold it while it still had some life. The buyer was very happy to get it and I saw it still on the road two years later (easy to recognize by the jaunty angle of the rear bumper and the uneven paint job that resulted from a "cash" accident repair).

arizona pokerface
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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by arizona pokerface » Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:19 pm

@verbose

How long did the Freestar actually last you?

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Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

Post by Bonhomie » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:59 pm

I drive a '93 Camry with only 150k miles and think about this all the time.
Shouldn't we be evaluating cost of car ownership over one's entire lifetime? Buying a new(er) car is expensive because of upfront costs. Holding on to an old car can be expensive because of depreciation, repairs, and/or cost of not being able to sell.

In my situation, I decided to pay for $2000 worth of repairs to my Camry this year because it was cheaper than $5k in car payments. Like some mentioned, I *think* my car will hold up. Honestly, if I sink $2k into my car every year... The cost vs buying a new $20k car doesn't break even until about 10 years out. The catch is that at the end of 10 years the new car still has value...

Maybe a lifetime cost analysis will be enlightening, but I haven't seen anyone lay it out. Seems like looking at a given time window of car cost is like looking at a time window for the stock market.

Any insights?

Bonhomie

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