Fix or replace my vehicle

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miamivice
Posts: 620
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by miamivice » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:05 pm

OK Bogleheads,

I think I need a different vehicle but I'm feeling a bit guilty about spending the money. Wanted to see what your thoughts were.

Current car: 18 year old SUV. 215,000 miles. Primary commuting vehicle for me.

Required servicing:
New struts ($1100)
New wheel bearing ($120)
New tires ($600)

Other issues:
Stereo volume doesn't work
Some buttons on steering well (climate & stereo control) are cracked/don't work
Drivers seat heater doesn't work
Drivers rear window doesn't go up/down
Tailgate randomly unlatches when unlocking car
Garage found seeping power steering pump
Oil leak at a seal under car, underneath is real mess

Value:
Estimated current value of car is about $1500 to $2000 if the struts, tires, and bearing bearing are replaced. Without the work, it's worth somewhere between $500 and $700.

Satisfaction with car:
Low. It's been a real maintenance headache for the 7 years that I have owned it. There has been only short periods where it's been working 100%, the rest of the time something has been broken on the vehicle. I've spend about $10,000 repairing the vehicle over the 7 years that I've owned it.

Bogleheads - would you recommend fixing or replacing?

barnaclebob
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:11 pm

I normally advocate for fixing but this is a pretty clear replace in this case, mainly because of the leaks along with your low satisfaction of the vehicle. I also assume you don't DIY your maintenance.

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dm200
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:11 pm

Clearly - get rid of it and replace with something you like.

bubbadog
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by bubbadog » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:12 pm

Replace. It has lived a good long life and given you many years of service. Put it out of its misery.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:13 pm

Replace. At that high mileage, one morning you will see it on it's back with its wheels in the air. :shock:

cherijoh
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Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by cherijoh » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:17 pm

miamivice wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:05 pm
OK Bogleheads,

I think I need a different vehicle but I'm feeling a bit guilty about spending the money. Wanted to see what your thoughts were.

Current car: 18 year old SUV. 215,000 miles. Primary commuting vehicle for me.

Required servicing:
New struts ($1100)
New wheel bearing ($120)
New tires ($600)

Other issues:
Stereo volume doesn't work
Some buttons on steering well (climate & stereo control) are cracked/don't work
Drivers seat heater doesn't work
Drivers rear window doesn't go up/down
Tailgate randomly unlatches when unlocking car
Garage found seeping power steering pump
Oil leak at a seal under car, underneath is real mess

Value:
Estimated current value of car is about $1500 to $2000 if the struts, tires, and bearing bearing are replaced. Without the work, it's worth somewhere between $500 and $700.

Satisfaction with car:
Low. It's been a real maintenance headache for the 7 years that I have owned it. There has been only short periods where it's been working 100%, the rest of the time something has been broken on the vehicle. I've spend about $10,000 repairing the vehicle over the 7 years that I've owned it.

Bogleheads - would you recommend fixing or replacing?
What kind of gas mileage are you talking about? Is it above 10 mpg? An 18-yr old SUV is not my idea of a commuter car.

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dm200
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:24 pm

From the description, there seem to some severe safely risks and "issues".

Without the work, it's worth somewhere between $500 and $700.
Who would pay this much and why?

bampf
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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:19 pm

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by bampf » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:25 pm

I fix my own cars for the most part. It is a lot of work but I enjoy it and I like my cars. If you don't like the car, why would you fix it? Buy something you like. Take care of that car.

TRC
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by TRC » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:27 pm

Replace it.

If you're single and looking for a girlfriend / boyfriend, replace it tomorrow.

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F150HD
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by F150HD » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:30 pm

its not always about the :moneybag

If one cannot get to work, one cannot earn a paycheck.

There's also the safety factor, not only for you, but in the event something fails and you injure someone else (liability).

Get a new vehicle.

denovo
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by denovo » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:31 pm

Duh, replace it.

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Kenkat
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Kenkat » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:32 pm

Time to go-oh, time to go-oh...

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sunny_socal
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by sunny_socal » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:47 pm

You Won.

It's time for a new car :beer

runner3081
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by runner3081 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:50 pm

dm200 wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:24 pm
From the description, there seem to some severe safely risks and "issues".

Without the work, it's worth somewhere between $500 and $700.
Who would pay this much and why?
Someone who will part it out. Even in that shape, it can be stripped and sold in pieces. Very easy to make money if you can buy cars for $500-$700, though it takes a lot of work.

iamlucky13
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:57 pm

I lean very strongly towards repairing as my default choice, but from what you describe, I say replace it if you can afford to.

Even after repairing, your driving experience will still be poor, and you'll be at risk of further problems.
dm200 wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:24 pm
From the description, there seem to some severe safely risks and "issues".

Without the work, it's worth somewhere between $500 and $700.
Who would pay this much and why?
That is the rough ballpark minimum value for a car that runs. Even with those problems, it is drivable, and a DIY'er can get the parts to do those repairs for about half what the shop quoted.

Even a completely dead car can potentially still be worth a couple hundred dollars between parts and recycling value.

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wander
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by wander » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:22 pm

I think it's about time to let it go. The "other issues" listed above are the ones that give me no interest to drive it any longer.

tibbitts
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by tibbitts » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:41 pm

Obviously replace the car.

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Fletch
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Location: USA

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Fletch » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:09 pm

Replace: :D Keep: :oops:
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.

Point
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Point » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:15 pm

Reliability, prediciability, and safety. These are key.

Replace.

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Watty
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Watty » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:34 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:41 pm
Obviously replace the car.
+1

In addition to the money I would think that it likely has safety issues at this stage. Breaking down at the wrong time and place can also be very dangerous.

finite_difference
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by finite_difference » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:38 pm

I think Bogleheads are unanimous on this one :)
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Daryl
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Location: Malvern, PA (I like to sleep near my money!)

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Daryl » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:11 pm

finite_difference wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:38 pm
I think Bogleheads are unanimous on this one :)
Just wait for the follow-up, "What kind of car should I buy?"
Approved choices include: Honda Civic/Accord, Toyota Camry, Tesla, anything German (in that order)

an_asker
Posts: 1910
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by an_asker » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:13 pm

Let me plug my vote in with the unanimity :-)

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bottlecap
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Location: Tennessee

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by bottlecap » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:37 pm

I drive an 18 year old SUV. I'd never let that many things continue to be wrong on the vehicle.

However, if you don't like it, get rid of it. You've owned it long enough. It's got enough miles on it.

That's maybe the second time I offered that advice!

JT

Rashen
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Rashen » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:55 pm

just curious - is it an american-made car?

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Watty
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Watty » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:59 pm

One more thought. If you do get the work done then they will likely find a significant amount of other works that also needs to be done while they are working on the car.

EZ James
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Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:46 pm

Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by EZ James » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:27 am

I would get rid of it in a heartbeat because there is more at stake than money in my case.

This week I traded in a 2010 Toyota Matrix in pristine condition and only 26 K miles.

The reasons to justify this are that the Matrix had huge blind spots from the side mirrors and inadequate sun visor coverage. For me these are significant safety issues especially considering that I am elderly.

The new car is a 2017 Toyota RAV 4 Platinum model that greatly improved those two complaints. It also has radar, sonar and automatic headlights.

The radar and sonar are so slick! I was ho-hum about the headlights until I tried them. They are simply amazing. I can see better on low beam now than on high beam before. And I have not been blinked once when the computer puts them on high beam.

I also have profound hearing loss but I can hear the navigation voice very well, much better than with the gps I was using before. That's the result of an improved sound system with 11 speakers.

I never would have thought 7 years would make such dramatic differences.

The car also has telemetry which some might object to. I think you can opt out of part of it but to me the feedback it provides to Toyota is a good idea. It also has an event recorder which I imagine is standard with any late model car.

This was kind of a necessary splurge. I have never owned or wanted a luxury car and this one is in the sweet spot for me.

student
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by student » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:05 am

The cost of fixing it is more than the value of the car and from your previous posts, you are doing well financially, so I think replacing the car is a good choice for you.

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lthenderson
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by lthenderson » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:20 am

miamivice wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:47 am
Apparently, I've made a series of decisions that while individually were good, collectively they have resulted in significant debt that I've taken on. First I bought a house a couple years ago and rather than taking out the mimimum loan (due to low interest rates) I took out the maximum loan possible. Then recently I opened a HELOC as an "emergency fund" / home repair fund for some big ticket home repairs that needed to be done. But, I ended up paying cash for some of the home repairs and used the entire HELOC to make a large purchase.

So, I've maxed out the HELOC, have no emergency fund*, maxed out on loans, and if anything dire happens (like I suddenly need to replace my car (it currently has 210,000 miles) then I will need to liquidate stocks to pay the bills.
miamivice wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:21 am
OK, I come up with a small chunk of change, and trying to figure out how to spend it. I'm getting a little bored with investing and thinking that I'd like to convert some of my stock assets into land or vehicle assets. I'd like to get some opinions about which would make the most sense.

Option 1: Purchase a chunk of beautiful raw land for recreational purposes. While the exact cost is undisclosed, let's call it 10x (where x is the price of option 2 below). Benefits are land values generally appreciate well (this particular chunk of land has appreciated handsomely in the past and I expect that it will continue to do so in the future), so it's not exactly a cost. Rather I'm moving money from one investment to another investment. Downside is that the chunk of land is beautiful yet remote so I won't do much with it.

Option 2: Purchase a used car to replace my 14 year old vehicle that I'm driving that has 212,000 miles on it. Some of the steering wheel buttons in my current car no longer work, some windows no longer go up and down, the stereo volume knob is broken, and the drivers seat heater no longer works. Oh I also need to replace one or more of the wheel bearings as they are making excess noise. I'm clearly on borrowed time and will need to replace the vehicle in a couple years. However, I'm well aware that vehicles are not investments and simply expenditures, and I am trying to minimize expenditures.
I'm assuming from your post about wanting to build a cabin, you went against advice of almost everyone on the board and bought the land mentioned in Option 1 of the quote above. I think your vehicle problem has finally come home to roost after all these many months of talking about and then ignoring it.

wrongfunds
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by wrongfunds » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:04 am

What is the particular reason that this question is even being asked? I can bet that even OP knew the answer. What is that makes him to yearn for the go ahead from the complete strangers over the internet?

If OP had put his current net worth (aka "only $nn millions), then at least it would have been straight case of humblebrag :-)

I am also curious as to how a vehicle which was 14 years in July 2017 became 18 years on Oct 2017 :?:

kazper
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by kazper » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:23 am

It seems like the biggest expense would be the struts. Do you need all 4 replaced? I would guess so based on the amount. Replacing struts/shocks actually isn't all that difficult usually. If you're so inclined, you could learn how to do it relatively quickly and save a ton of money.

Still, given ALL of the other problems with the car, I think its time to put it out to pasture.

Teague
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by Teague » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:31 am

At first I thought the OP was talking about my car! 215K mile SUV, 15 years old, could use new struts, seeps a little oil here and there, stereo volume doesn't work right, the whole thing could use about $2K in repairs. It's worth about $2-3K if if repaired.

I've decided to keep it.
Semper Augustus

inbox788
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by inbox788 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:39 am

miamivice wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:05 pm
Current car: 18 year old SUV. 215,000 miles....It's been a real maintenance headache for the 7 years that I have owned it. There has been only short periods where it's been working 100%, the rest of the time something has been broken on the vehicle. I've spend about $10,000 repairing the vehicle over the 7 years that I've owned it.
Year, make and model? What was the purchase price? How many of those miles did you add? Where have you been getting maintenance and repair done? What have been the repairs and costs?
Last edited by inbox788 on Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

bloom2708
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Re: Fix or replace my vehicle

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:39 am

It sounds like this vehicle has reached the end. I tend to favor incremental repairs. Much cheaper than a new car. But, you may have let things go too far and a new/used car for commuting is likely a good move.

One question is, how are your finances looking? Do you have any cash money saved up for a car or down payment on a different car?

Today, you could drive to the nearest car dealer, pick a car and probably be home in under 2 hours with a new car and a new car smell car loan. That is the American way!

I won't tell you to do that. But, you might end up doing that. Somewhere there is a land where houses don't have a mortgage, cars don't have a car loan, boats don't have a boat loan, iPhones don't have a monthly payment, etc etc.

Good luck and keep us posted on your car plan!
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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