Am I wasting money on my old car?

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Keith43
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Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by Keith43 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:13 pm

All prices in New Zealand dollars. ($1 US = NZ$1.45)

I have a 1996 Toyota Corolla 118,000 miles. Get it serviced every 6 months as I know bugger all about cars and am prepared to have an expert check it out.

It requires $1500 worth of work on it (including service, new cambelt and water pump).

I have the savings/income where I could purchase a 6 year old Corolla or Mazda 2 for $7500 (woohoo look out big spender!).

Just checking that I am not throwing away good money after bad.

The kicker is that I have to park it outside in a not so affluent area, so it is exposed to weather/thieves.

As you have probably worked out, I'm not a big car guy and see them more as an appliance that does a job rather than a status symbol.

Thanks,

runner3081
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by runner3081 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:21 pm

If it was me and the car has been reliable, I would get it fixed in a heartbeat. Should be no problem to pull 175-200k out of that car.

Newer car = more licensing and insurance costs. Also, buying one that is 6 years old will very likely need some pricey maintenance at 100K.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:32 pm

A 1996 Corolla is an extremely reliable well made very simple car that can go 250-300k miles it it is maintained by the book. If it is in otherwise good shape I'd suggest you pay the $1500 maintenance cost to keep it going and drive it another 3-4 years years (but it will last way,way longer than 3-4 years if maintained). But at some point in the future it might make sense to sell the old Corolla while it still has some value, and get something like a 3 year old Prius (assumes gas prices continue to climb).

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CaliJim
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by CaliJim » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:35 pm

It's up to you.

It's not the miles. A well maintained and carefully driven Corolla will easily go 200,000+ miles.

It's the age (and lack of safety features too). Rubber and plastic things break down after 10 years... 20+ years is a long time.
It is likely that your car is of an age where it is likely to have more and more $800/$1000/$1500 repairs required on an annual basis. And Yes, 6 year old car will have maintenance expenses too, but not as many and it *should* be more reliable. But as another said, around 100k miles is a point where many cars need a significant $$$ tuneup.

From a financial perspective, repairing is often cheapest... but... how inconvenient would be for you to be stranded when it breaks down. What is it worth to you to reduce that risk?

If it was me... I'd go for the newer car....
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Pajamas
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:41 pm

Eh, that's right at the amount where you start to wonder about putting it into an older car. I would be very hesitant to do so on one that is 22 years old even though that is a pretty reliable car. (I had a Corolla many years ago that had already been driven into the dirt when I got it and I drove it for several more years. Looked a lot like yours except it had angles instead of curves.)

The problem is that it is at the point where repairs that cost that much can happen at any time. When the next one is necessary, you'll do it because you just paid for this repair. It will be the third major repair before you'll decide it isn't worth it and at that point, the current value of your car plus the cost of the two major repairs would have easily paid for half of its replacement. I'm guessing it will probably need new tires and some minor repairs soon, too, simply because that seems to always be the case in situations like this.

Better to sell this one now to someone who can fix it themselves for the cost of parts, if it is possible to do that.
Last edited by Pajamas on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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eye.surgeon
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by eye.surgeon » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:44 pm

Forget repair costs, a 22 year old economy car is a death trap compared to any current car. Put a price tag on your life, it's time to upgrade.
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Keith43
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by Keith43 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:07 pm

I'm a bit cynical of the "newer cars are safer" line. Surely how you drive it is going to be the most important factor for safety.

Driving at 60m/h is going to be safer that 70m/h.

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Pajamas
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:13 pm

Keith43 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:07 pm
I'm a bit cynical of the "newer cars are safer" line. Surely how you drive it is going to be the most important factor for safety.

Driving at 60m/h is going to be safer that 70m/h.
A problem you have no control over is how OTHER people drive.

Newer cars are definitely safer. Airbags are a real lifesaver. Here's a test with a car similar to yours:

https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-cultur ... the-1990s/

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eye.surgeon
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by eye.surgeon » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:32 pm

Keith43 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:07 pm
I'm a bit cynical of the "newer cars are safer" line. Surely how you drive it is going to be the most important factor for safety.

Driving at 60m/h is going to be safer that 70m/h.
See for yourself and decide...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ttkVRwOtVE
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CaliJim
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by CaliJim » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:02 am

Eye guy: Good video.
Clearly the front fell off the older car, and that is not normal.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3m5qxZm_JqM
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wander
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by wander » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:10 am

No, you are not wasting on your old car.

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hand
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by hand » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:34 am

Keith43 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:13 pm
All prices in New Zealand dollars. ($1 US = NZ$1.45)

I have a 1996 Toyota Corolla 118,000 miles. Get it serviced every 6 months as I know bugger all about cars and am prepared to have an expert check it out.

It requires $1500 worth of work on it (including service, new cambelt and water pump).

If you aren't knowledgeable about cars you need to be knowledgeable about selecting a good mechanic who recommends work that aligns with your needs (short term vs. long term, your wallet vs. theirs). If you can do neither, owning an older car is unlikely to be economic.

Perhaps you have a knowledgeable friend or acquaintance who can look at the car and the scope of work proposed to determine if reasonable?
Cambelt (timing belt) is likely due because of mileage and waterpump is typically more cost effective to do as part of this job. Neither of these items speaks to a fundamental flaw with the car, just required / deferred maintenance.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by ssquared87 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:38 am

eye.surgeon wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:44 pm
Forget repair costs, a 22 year old economy car is a death trap compared to any current car. Put a price tag on your life, it's time to upgrade.
+1

As someone who suffers from permanent back pain as a result of a car crash in which I wasn't at fault nor had I had any possible way of avoiding it, getting a newer vehicle that is constructed using high strength steel would be worth the upgrade. Had I been driving 96 corolla when I was rear ended by a semi going 45+mph while I was stopped at a light, I'd be dead right now. My 2011 BMW 3 series did a fabulous job of saving my life and minimizing my injuries.

Forget all the electronic gizmos blind spot warning crap. What's more important is the strength of the safety cage and the car's performance in crash tests. If you're worried about blind spots or forward collision warning, set your mirrors properly and pay attention to the road and not your phone and you shouldn't have a problem.

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prudent
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by prudent » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:57 pm

I agree that much-improved safety is a great reason to ditch a 20-year-old car.

Also consider that repairs on a car that old are not going to affect the car's value. We once had done major repairs on a 15-year-old car that was still under 100k miles and very solid - it just needed some work that a car that old sometimes needs. New tires, exhaust work, brake system work, came to about $1400 worth. Figured on using that car for another 5-6 years. On paper it didn't make sense to invest that much in a car worth about $4k but in the big picture it was a sound move. A couple months later it was in a minor collision. Insurance said the repairs would cost more than half the value and totaled it. Though we lobbied hard for a bigger payout based on all the recent work done (and receipts to prove it), they adjusted the payout by only a tiny amount. We couldn't have known that the car would end up in an accident, but almost all of that repair cost was down the drain. Minor risk, admittedly.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by Hulu » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:07 pm

Agree with upgrading as newer and heavier cars are seem more crashworthy. Though it's a bit of a crapshoot when you consider other drivers. I'd also suggest wearing a seat belt, driving while alert and avoiding roads when possible.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by bottlecap » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:12 pm

I don’t think you’d be wasting the money. You could drive it some more.

However, it’s more than twenty years old. How much longer are you going to drive it? If you’re thinking about getting a new (to you) car in the next 3 years, sounds like now might be a good time to cut bait.

Good luck,

JT

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dm200
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by dm200 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:35 pm

1. Does the car fully meet your needs?

2. Is there any known problem making the car unsafe to drive?

If 1 is Yes and 2 is No, then I believe repairing the car makes good sense..

Then, again, it would not be unreasonable to replace it either.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:59 pm

I say fix it. Does a 6 year old Corolla or Mazda 2 have a timing belt? If so, and the belt has not been changed, then guess what? You'll need to immediately change the belt.
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wander
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by wander » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:00 pm

ssquared87 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:38 am
As someone who suffers from permanent back pain as a result of a car crash in which I wasn't at fault nor had I had any possible way of avoiding it, getting a newer vehicle that is constructed using high strength steel would be worth the upgrade. Had I been driving 96 corolla when I was rear ended by a semi going 45+mph while I was stopped at a light, I'd be dead right now. My 2011 BMW 3 series did a fabulous job of saving my life and minimizing my injuries.
I am curious, how do you know that the 96 corolla could not survive rear ended when the BMW 3 could?

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by neilpilot » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:45 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:59 pm
I say fix it. Does a 6 year old Corolla or Mazda 2 have a timing belt? If so, and the belt has not been changed, then guess what? You'll need to immediately change the belt.
Guess what, the OP is considering a repair that includes a "new cambelt", which is the timing belt.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by bubbadog » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:50 pm

wander wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:00 pm
ssquared87 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:38 am
As someone who suffers from permanent back pain as a result of a car crash in which I wasn't at fault nor had I had any possible way of avoiding it, getting a newer vehicle that is constructed using high strength steel would be worth the upgrade. Had I been driving 96 corolla when I was rear ended by a semi going 45+mph while I was stopped at a light, I'd be dead right now. My 2011 BMW 3 series did a fabulous job of saving my life and minimizing my injuries.
I am curious, how do you know that the 96 corolla could not survive rear ended when the BMW 3 could?
They don't.

denovo
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by denovo » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:41 am

Keith43 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:13 pm
All prices in New Zealand dollars. ($1 US = NZ$1.45)

I have a 1996 Toyota Corolla 118,000 miles. Get it serviced every 6 months as I know bugger all about cars and am prepared to have an expert check it out.

It requires $1500 worth of work on it (including service, new cambelt and water pump).

I have the savings/income where I could purchase a 6 year old Corolla or Mazda 2 for $7500 (woohoo look out big spender!).

Just checking that I am not throwing away good money after bad.

The kicker is that I have to park it outside in a not so affluent area, so it is exposed to weather/thieves.

As you have probably worked out, I'm not a big car guy and see them more as an appliance that does a job rather than a status symbol.

Thanks,
If you decide to go a new car, I say go for a new corolla. Finance it if you have to since I suspect the rates are good. There isn't much of a monetary benefit in going used for toyotas and the safety features are worth.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by NHRATA01 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:44 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:59 pm
I say fix it. Does a 6 year old Corolla or Mazda 2 have a timing belt? If so, and the belt has not been changed, then guess what? You'll need to immediately change the belt.
Both the Mazda and Toyota motors have a chain.




I would say a 22 year old car, regardless of it's reputation for durability is going to have continuing issues just as a function of time as rubber components such as seals, hoses and suspension bushings are going to dry out and become compromised.

As repeated a few times, safety has moved light years forward in 22 years.

Also if it's your thing, emissions have likewise advanced quite a bit in 22 years.

ssquared87
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by ssquared87 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:55 am

bubbadog wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:50 pm
wander wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:00 pm
ssquared87 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:38 am
As someone who suffers from permanent back pain as a result of a car crash in which I wasn't at fault nor had I had any possible way of avoiding it, getting a newer vehicle that is constructed using high strength steel would be worth the upgrade. Had I been driving 96 corolla when I was rear ended by a semi going 45+mph while I was stopped at a light, I'd be dead right now. My 2011 BMW 3 series did a fabulous job of saving my life and minimizing my injuries.
I am curious, how do you know that the 96 corolla could not survive rear ended when the BMW 3 could?
They don't.
I do

Here’s a crash test between a 98 Corolla and a 2015 Corolla. The 98 couldn’t stand up to a 2015 3klbs compact car, there is absolutely no way it will stand up to a 40k lbs truck traveling at a higher speed

https://www.autoblog.com/amp/2017/05/16 ... ety-video/

the body structures are completely different. A 96 Corolla does not have a safety cell built of ultra high strength steel. The passenger compartment would crumbles like a tin can. The newer corollas and my 2011 328 have extremely strong passenger cells made of ultra high strength steel such as boron.

In my crash, I was struck from behind by a 40k lbs box truck traveling at 45-55mph and pushed into the pickup truck that was in front of me. The passenger cell of my car did not deform at all. The trunk was basically gone but there was no intrusion into the rear passenger compartment. The front of my car hit a pickup truck in a similar fashion to a frontal offset test. The right front side was completely destroyed but the passenger compartment was perfect. All the doors except the right rear opened normally.

Besides the structural differences it’s basic physics. In an impact more energy is transferred to the lighter vehicle. A 96 Corolla weighs about 1400 lbs less than my 2011 328 so that alone would make a huge difference.

.
Last edited by ssquared87 on Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Blueskies123
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by Blueskies123 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:24 am

And on a newer car you will have more airbags that will most likely work.

david99
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by david99 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:34 pm

I had a 2000 Toyota Corolla that I recently sold to CarMax. The gas line started to rust out and leak gas. The mechanic said that it wasn't worth fixing and also the brake lines were very rusty. The car ran very well and only had 98k miles, but I decided to sell it and get a new car. I suppose that if you live in a warm climate rust won't be that much of a problem, but I live in New England.

I bought a new Prius Prime that was very inexpensive due to the state rebate of $1500 and the federal tax credit of $4500.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by FireFool » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:29 pm

While Corolla's have a reputation for easily going 250k miles the issue you are/will be facing is age. I owned a vehicle from new for 18 years and like yours it didn't have all that many miles (128k) . While the engine/drivetrain may have a lot of life left you will see more and more issues just due to age. Wiring will start to short out due to the insulation drying out and/or wearing - causing things as benign as brake lights not working to fuel pumps not functioning. The rubber body mount and front/end steering bushings will dry out and literally fall off the vehicle - you'll not just have more rattles but the handling/steering will deteriorate as well. The foam in your drivers seat will start deteriorating if it hasn't already - just plain out uncomfortable. Plastic components throughout the vehicle will just crack and fail - this will range from interior parts (like the steering wheel itself) to things like the hood release cable. Gaskets and seals will dry out or deteriorate - this will range from minor oil leaks to potentially a head gasket. Of course belts and hoses that haven't been replaced already will also be ready to fail. You state that you aren't a car guy, I am - but even so the number of odd ball things I had to repair wore on me. Ultimately what did my vehicle in was an excess of rust throughout it. If you aren't mechanically inclined an older vehicle becomes economically nonviable and unreliable very quickly. That's not even considering the huge advancements in vehicle safety that have occurred over the past two decades. You've already gotten your money's worth out of that vehicle - move on to something newer.

TheAccountant
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by TheAccountant » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:01 pm

Keith43 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:13 pm
All prices in New Zealand dollars. ($1 US = NZ$1.45)

I have a 1996 Toyota Corolla 118,000 miles. Get it serviced every 6 months as I know bugger all about cars and am prepared to have an expert check it out.

It requires $1500 worth of work on it (including service, new cambelt and water pump).

I have the savings/income where I could purchase a 6 year old Corolla or Mazda 2 for $7500 (woohoo look out big spender!).

Just checking that I am not throwing away good money after bad.

The kicker is that I have to park it outside in a not so affluent area, so it is exposed to weather/thieves.

As you have probably worked out, I'm not a big car guy and see them more as an appliance that does a job rather than a status symbol.

Thanks,
First of all, 118k on a 96 Corolla isn't even broken in yet.

Check this calculator out: https://www.atra.com/fixortrade

As you can see, it rarely makes sense to buy a new car versus repairing the one you currently have.

Assuming this car isn't rusted out, you'd be crazy to ditch it just because it needs some repairs. There's also zero guarantee a used car won't need repairs - in fact, it probably will.

The selling point for me is having to park in a non-affluent area - you should definitely be rocking that corolla in this case!

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by inbox788 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:44 pm

TheAccountant wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:01 pm
First of all, 118k on a 96 Corolla isn't even broken in yet.

Check this calculator out: https://www.atra.com/fixortrade

As you can see, it rarely makes sense to buy a new car versus repairing the one you currently have.

Assuming this car isn't rusted out, you'd be crazy to ditch it just because it needs some repairs. There's also zero guarantee a used car won't need repairs - in fact, it probably will.

The selling point for me is having to park in a non-affluent area - you should definitely be rocking that corolla in this case!
I'm not sure, but it seems the comparison is missing some relevant items. I don't see residual value for either vehicle at end of comparison, which seem it would favor the newer or more expensive car. This would probably show up most if you were to compare a newer car to a very old one needing expensive repairs, so keep that in mind. [I put in $5k and $10k in repairs in my comparison and the used car still came out ahead] I can't put the finger on other items, but it's only a first order estimate, and it's only a tool that should be used with that in mind.

Sometimes, an older car is a bigger target for thieves because their parts are more valuable/needed. Don't know about vandalism. Plus if you have a nicer car, you may consciously or subconsciously choose better places to park.

But I see your point. A '96 any car is quite old by years, but a Corolla that just went over 100k recently is quite young. I've heard good things about '95-00 Civics and relatively bad things about those '00-05 (build/reliability wise) and I wonder if the same applies to Corollas.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by TheAccountant » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:47 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:44 pm
TheAccountant wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:01 pm
First of all, 118k on a 96 Corolla isn't even broken in yet.

Check this calculator out: https://www.atra.com/fixortrade

As you can see, it rarely makes sense to buy a new car versus repairing the one you currently have.

Assuming this car isn't rusted out, you'd be crazy to ditch it just because it needs some repairs. There's also zero guarantee a used car won't need repairs - in fact, it probably will.

The selling point for me is having to park in a non-affluent area - you should definitely be rocking that corolla in this case!
I'm not sure, but it seems the comparison is missing some relevant items. I don't see residual value for either vehicle at end of comparison, which seem it would favor the newer or more expensive car. This would probably show up most if you were to compare a newer car to a very old one needing expensive repairs, so keep that in mind. [I put in $5k and $10k in repairs in my comparison and the used car still came out ahead] I can't put the finger on other items, but it's only a first order estimate, and it's only a tool that should be used with that in mind.

Sometimes, an older car is a bigger target for thieves because their parts are more valuable/needed. Don't know about vandalism. Plus if you have a nicer car, you may consciously or subconsciously choose better places to park.

But I see your point. A '96 any car is quite old by years, but a Corolla that just went over 100k recently is quite young. I've heard good things about '95-00 Civics and relatively bad things about those '00-05 (build/reliability wise) and I wonder if the same applies to Corollas.
Adding residual value would favor the used car even more because the newer one is going to cost more in depreciation over the next 5 years.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by inbox788 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:02 pm

TheAccountant wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:47 pm
Adding residual value would favor the used car even more because the newer one is going to cost more in depreciation over the next 5 years.
I don't think the calculator linked and discussed is consistent with that idea. Whether you're using the calculator or doing your own, be careful not to miscount or double count costs/expenses and values.
TheAccountant wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:01 pm
Check this calculator out: https://www.atra.com/fixortrade

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by TheAccountant » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:56 pm

You usually upgrade cars for the convenience factor, not to save money. Even with repairs factored in, that new car is going to depreciate as much as the repairs in the first year. Then you have sales tax, registration, etc. The math almost never works out.

parigi723
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by parigi723 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:11 am

Hello:
I keep on putting money into my 2001 Ford 250 with 120 Ks.but it runs so well.knock on wood(my head :o )

ponyboy
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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by ponyboy » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:52 am

I question why you get your car serviced every 6 months? Do you mean oil changes? Anything other than an oil change is a waste of money every 6 months.

Id fix it if I were you. Thats low miles for such an old car. Thats a vehicle that can easily go 200k+ miles without major work. Timing belts/idlers/water pump arent high priced items...but there is some labor involved. Although $1500 seems really high. I received a quote from a subaru stealership for our 2006 forester and all parts/labor was $1200. I decided to do the work myself. $400 to complete the job and pay my buddy $100 for assistance. Its not difficult...just looks intimidating on the surface. Took someone (me) that has zero experience with timing belts 5 hours to complete.

Also...stop getting it serviced every 6 months...minus a $30 oil change. All the other junk they do...filters, fluids, etc...waste of time and money. Once a year at most for all of those...and even thats overdoing it.

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Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

Post by dknightd » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:09 am

If it is otherwise in good condition, and meets your needs, I'd have it fixed. Those are normal maintenance items at about this age. The price seems a little high, but I'm not familiar with that particular car, and what your prevailing costs are. So it could be about right. The caveat is you might also be looking at more normal maintenance items coming up. Ask your mechanic what he/she thinks. Sometimes it is just best to move on. Especially if you are paying high hourly rates to have somebody else do the work.
My rule of thumb is if the repair costs more than 1/2 the value of the car, I move on. The work you are having done (or thinking about having done) is usually preventative maintenance. Which means the car probably runs and drives fine, and has a good maintenance history, so should be easy to sell should you decide to do that.

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