Repair it? Or get something new? [Car]

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Altephor
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Repair it? Or get something new? [Car]

Post by Altephor » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:16 am

I have an 02 Eclipse GT at the moment. The car is in decent shape with about 130k miles. I just put a new oil pan on it for around $200. However, it is not going to pass inspection in MA due to multiple holes in the exhaust, and may also fail for a leaking front strut (not sure if this will fail it, the exhaust will for sure). When I took it to a local shop, they essentially said the exhaust would need to be fully replaced in order to fix the problems. I am taking it to another shop that does custom exhaust work and has a good reputation for being able to repair old systems. Repairs would probably range from 500-1200 depending on if the strut also needs repairing. I originally paid $8k for this car in 2009. Total repairs since then have probably cost 4-5k not including what it needs now.

My other option is to trade in for something a little newer. I'm currently looking at possible 2013 Scion BRZ/Scion FR-S. My trade in value for the Eclipse would likely be around 1-1.5k, which in addition to my mutual fund (I would need to sell off my taxable account), would give me a 9-10k down payment on a newer vehicle. This would leave me with a 6k emergency fund and my checking account, which generally has 3-4k in it. There are multiple cars nearby that have good mileage, condition, color etc that I would enjoy driving. The FR-S/BRZ gets around 7 MPG better than the Eclipse. My commute to work is 7.5 miles each way, no highway, so I'm not too worried about RWD in the winter with a good set of snow tires.

So I'm stuck.

Pros to Repairing:

Lower cost now (wouldn't need to sell mutual fund)
Own the car outright
Relatively low miles for the age

Cons to Repairing:

Will likely need more repairs as time goes on
Car is beginning to show it's age (cracked dashboard, dings, scratches)
(Ex)girlfriend moved out, no access to a second car if the car breaks down

Pros to Something New:

It's a newer, nicer car, low miles
Possibility of factory or dealer warranty
Better gas mileage (fairly negligible at only 5-7 MPG better)
More fun to drive (RWD Lightweight vs Heavy FWD)

Cons to Something New:

RWD could be a problem in the snow
Need to sell off my mutual fund (bad timing in the market, less safety net)
Car payment (have never had one, have excellent credit though)
Higher insurance (not sure how much higher, currently pay $60/mo at Geico)


There is of course the option of buying something newer that isn't a BRZ/FR-S, like a Civic Si. But generally, cars I would be interested in are around the $20k price range. I am not willing to buy a car that I won't enjoy driving even if it's to save me money, since either way I would need to sell off my mutual fund. I'm not going to spend 10k on a car that I hate that I will have to drive for 5-7 years.

General thoughts?

barnaclebob
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:45 am

What are the requirements the exhaust has to meet? Could it be repaired with some JB weld, hose clamps and exhaust repair couplers? ( i dont know if that is a fire hazard, haven't done the research so take that for what its worth)

What do you mean the full exhaust? Up to the cylinders or from the cats back?

What is the condition of the chassis and floor pan as far as rust goes?

How motivated are you to replace a strut yourself? You can use the jack that comes with the car to lift the wheel and get it off. Tools to compress the strut/spring and a torque wrench can be rented for free from most auto parts stores. Its not a complicated job, just unbolting the old one and bolting the new one in.

Although with 4-5k in repairs over 5 years it seems like this car isn't too good in the low cost to category. This is a tough one given that you haven't build up a lot of savings but at least you have put yourself in a pretty good situation by not having to drain everything for a newer car.

If you are contributing to a roth IRA still and any retirement benefits that your work provides then I would probably go for the newer car.

sls239
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new?

Post by sls239 » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:47 am

The stock market is no place for money that you will need soon for something your income depends on.

I'd suggest selling the mutual fund no matter what.

That also takes it out of the emotional equation, which is also important, IMO.

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riptide
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new?

Post by riptide » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:49 am

The repairs for your current vehicle have cost way too much, and they will continue. I'd say get the new car and enjoy it! You say you are getting a 2013 , which is smart, don't buy a brand new one. You will be better off buying the used Scion or Si and you will enjoy it. You will not have to keep making repairs as you are now, that is just like a car payment.
If you have to sell some of or all your fund...the market is still at a high I believe compared to last five years. I don't think it is a terrible time to sell if you need the money. With you excellent credit you can get an excellent low interest rate like 1.99% at a credit union. Good luck.
Brokerage account 70/30 | VG total Market 40% | VG total Intl 11% | VG small cap value 12% | VG Reit index 7% | VG Total Bond 30% | TSP Account 75/25 | C Fund 45%, S 15%, I 15%, G 25% | EE Bonds=Emergency Fund

Altephor
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new?

Post by Altephor » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:09 am

barnaclebob wrote:What are the requirements the exhaust has to meet? Could it be repaired with some JB weld, hose clamps and exhaust repair couplers? ( i dont know if that is a fire hazard, haven't done the research so take that for what its worth)

What do you mean the full exhaust? Up to the cylinders or from the cats back?

There are multiple holes, including in the flex pipes, which the first shop told me could not be repaired due to the placement and the relative condition of the piping. It's possible that the custom shop may be able to repair without replacing the headers, otherwise all the way to the cylinders needs replacing.

What is the condition of the chassis and floor pan as far as rust goes?

The car is relatively free of rust. I haven't looked closely at the floorpan but I believe it's in good shape, could be wrong. The oil pan was replaced because the original was rusted out and leaking, so there is definitely rust under there, not sure how much.

How motivated are you to replace a strut yourself? You can use the jack that comes with the car to lift the wheel and get it off. Tools to compress the strut/spring and a torque wrench can be rented for free from most auto parts stores. Its not a complicated job, just unbolting the old one and bolting the new one in.

Would be extremely uncomfortable replacing suspension parts myself.

Although with 4-5k in repairs over 5 years it seems like this car isn't too good in the low cost to category. This is a tough one given that you haven't build up a lot of savings but at least you have put yourself in a pretty good situation by not having to drain everything for a newer car.

If you are contributing to a roth IRA still and any retirement benefits that your work provides then I would probably go for the newer car.

No Roth, my job is with the state so there is a mandatory 11% withholding for my pension.
sls239 wrote:The stock market is no place for money that you will need soon for something your income depends on.

I'd suggest selling the mutual fund no matter what.

That also takes it out of the emotional equation, which is also important, IMO.

I've had the mutual fund for a few years. It's still net positive despite recent downturn in the market. It was originally started as a 3-5 year plan for future goals, be it a new car, a wedding (had a serious g\f at the time), or a house. Would have liked the Eclipse to last longer for more time in the market, but seems to no longer be the case.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new?

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:16 pm

Altephor wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:What are the requirements the exhaust has to meet? Could it be repaired with some JB weld, hose clamps and exhaust repair couplers? ( i dont know if that is a fire hazard, haven't done the research so take that for what its worth)

What do you mean the full exhaust? Up to the cylinders or from the cats back?

There are multiple holes, including in the flex pipes, which the first shop told me could not be repaired due to the placement and the relative condition of the piping. It's possible that the custom shop may be able to repair without replacing the headers, otherwise all the way to the cylinders needs replacing.

What is the condition of the chassis and floor pan as far as rust goes?

The car is relatively free of rust. I haven't looked closely at the floorpan but I believe it's in good shape, could be wrong. The oil pan was replaced because the original was rusted out and leaking, so there is definitely rust under there, not sure how much.

How motivated are you to replace a strut yourself? You can use the jack that comes with the car to lift the wheel and get it off. Tools to compress the strut/spring and a torque wrench can be rented for free from most auto parts stores. Its not a complicated job, just unbolting the old one and bolting the new one in.

Would be extremely uncomfortable replacing suspension parts myself.

Although with 4-5k in repairs over 5 years it seems like this car isn't too good in the low cost to category. This is a tough one given that you haven't build up a lot of savings but at least you have put yourself in a pretty good situation by not having to drain everything for a newer car.

If you are contributing to a roth IRA still and any retirement benefits that your work provides then I would probably go for the newer car.

No Roth, my job is with the state so there is a mandatory 11% withholding for my pension.
sls239 wrote:The stock market is no place for money that you will need soon for something your income depends on.

I'd suggest selling the mutual fund no matter what.

That also takes it out of the emotional equation, which is also important, IMO.

I've had the mutual fund for a few years. It's still net positive despite recent downturn in the market. It was originally started as a 3-5 year plan for future goals, be it a new car, a wedding (had a serious g\f at the time), or a house. Would have liked the Eclipse to last longer for more time in the market, but seems to no longer be the case.
If you're going to put your responses within the original quote please use a different color. I almost skipped right by them.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

btenny
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new?

Post by btenny » Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:33 pm

You need a better car. From the repairs you list yours seems to be rusting out and breaking down too much. I suggest a slightly used Subaru Imprezza. From the little looking I did you can find a used Imprezza for $10-$12K with 60k or so miles. These cars last for 150k miles or more and are cheap to maintain and run great and have AWD for tough MA winters. Going used and older will allow you to pay cash and replenish your money fast. The Imprezza with a stick shift is fun to drive and runs great and looks nice IMO.

See here.
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale ... 1981&Log=0

Or you can buy a almost new Imprezza for $16K or so. But from your discussion of your funds you may have to finance this. Your choice. See here.
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale ... 2013&Log=0

ralph124cf
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new?

Post by ralph124cf » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:11 pm

Recent year high demand used Japanese cars are going for not much less than the new models, due to dealer incentives.

This is one of the few times that I would recommend considering leasing a new car.

Ralph

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LadyGeek
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new? [Car]

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:04 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (car). I retitled the thread.
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Watty
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new?

Post by Watty » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:07 pm

Altephor wrote:I originally paid $8k for this car in 2009. Total repairs since then have probably cost 4-5k not including what it needs now.

My other option is to trade in for something a little newer. I'm currently looking at possible 2013 Scion BRZ/Scion FR-S. My trade in value for the Eclipse would likely be around 1-1.5k,
Is that trade in value "as is" or with the needed repairs?

$8K + $5K -$1k= $12K in depreciation and non-routine maintenance that it has cost you. That is $2,000 per year for the the six years you have had it. Looking back it would likely have been less expensive to have bought a new car in 2009.

Keeping cars when they get to the point where they need a lot of maintenance would make more sense if you could do most of the repairs yourself.

I would replace it. The only question is if it makes sense to fix it up before your sell it.

Altephor
Posts: 132
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new? [Car]

Post by Altephor » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:43 pm

Guess I will be fixing it while I save and make some adjustments and monitor my monthly costs before spring and buying a new WRX. The girlfriend just dumped me last month and moved out so I'm taking the time through the winter to make sure my expenses settle where I expect them too.

dailybagel
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new? [Car]

Post by dailybagel » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:58 am

Guess I will be fixing it while I save and make some adjustments and monitor my monthly costs before spring and buying a new WRX. The girlfriend just dumped me last month and moved out so I'm taking the time through the winter to make sure my expenses settle where I expect them too.
I caught the allusion to a recently-ended in your original post. Wanted to say sorry and hang in there.

I say, if you can find a 2013 Scion FRS, that sounds like a very good option.

Altephor
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Re: Repair it? Or get something new? [Car]

Post by Altephor » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:25 pm

dailybagel wrote:
Guess I will be fixing it while I save and make some adjustments and monitor my monthly costs before spring and buying a new WRX. The girlfriend just dumped me last month and moved out so I'm taking the time through the winter to make sure my expenses settle where I expect them too.
I caught the allusion to a recently-ended in your original post. Wanted to say sorry and hang in there.

I say, if you can find a 2013 Scion FRS, that sounds like a very good option.


Yeah it's tough. The one constant in my life seems to be that after relationship trouble, car trouble follows soon after. Such is life, I guess. It's tough because now my inspection sticker is expired, so I'm wary to travel and get a ticket. Points on your license for an expired inspection in MA.

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