Need a vehicle, need advice

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Submariner1980
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:36 pm

Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by Submariner1980 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:36 pm

Bogleheads,

My wife and I (both in our 30s) are in need of at least one vehicle.

Current situation:
- I drive a pickup with 200k miles that I have owned for 16 years
- Wife drives a crossover SUV with 145k miles that she has owned for 10 years
- Both vehicles have started to have reliability concerns - more frequent repairs, oil consumption, warnings lights, etc.
- I just took a job that will require a handful of long road trips this year (ranging from 8 to 17 hours), as well as a slightly longer daily commute between now and September; in September, I will likely return to a short commute
- Trade-in value of each vehicle (according to KBB) is $1,000 to $1,500
- Salary in the new job is $45k
- We have about $13k in savings for vehicle purposes
- No debt outside of our mortgage (~$1200/month PITI, $170k remaining)

I'm exploring my options and want to make a sound decision. I have come up with the following possibilities:
- Purchase a vehicle with the $13k, use it until September, then go back to using my truck. My wife would then use either this new-to-us vehicle or her current vehicle, and we would sell the other;
- Finance a new-to-us crossover style SUV for my wife with 20k-40k miles on it, buy a 100k mile Honda/Toyota/Hyundai for myself; pay for my vehicle with the cash, use the remaining cash for her downpayment;
- Finance a new-to-us crossover style SUV for my wife with 20k-40k miles on it, and I drive my wife's more reliable crossover with 145k on it. Use the cash to minimize the payment on the new vehicle.

It has been a decade since we have had to consider new vehicles, so I am seeking Boglehead counsel. What would you do? One of the options I listed, or something else entirely?

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Sandtrap
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Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:44 pm

Sell truck. Purchase low mileage used Toyota.

Keep Crossover SUV since spouse drives less.

Later on, as finances are back on track, Sell SUV, purchase used low mileage Toyota SUV for spouse.
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HotRod140
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:24 pm

Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by HotRod140 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:56 pm

I own an 11 yr Old Honda Pilot. Never has ever failed me. Wife owns Hybrid Rav4, another winner. Can’t go wrong with either

Beehave
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Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by Beehave » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:29 pm

Unless you really, really need a truck or crossover, I'd recommend finding a Toyota Corolla (new or used) that was built at Toyota's Cambridge, Ontario plant. They are rock solid reliable, get good fuel mileage, are low-priced, and new ones come with advanced safety features standard. Repairs should be infrequent and inexpensive and available anywhere. I expect insurance is low-cost also.

Early in your career sacrifice image and maximization of comfort in transportation and instead buy what's intensely practical.

See https://www.assemblymag.com/articles/94 ... in-quality

P.S. there were reports in 2015 that Toyota was going to cease production of Corollas in Cambridge and build larger vehicles there instead. From what I can see, that did not happen and they still produce Corollas there. Corollas are produced elsewhere as well, including at a new plant in Mississippi. Toyota invested a lot in that plant and I would assume quality there is also top-notch, but I have not seen any report.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:50 pm

For your "several long trips this year", how does your company reimburse you for using a personal auto? It would be nice to be able to rent a car and expense it.

Ideally you would want to replace your least reliable auto. And, give that replacement to your wife, that way she has a reliable auto to use when you are away on a long business trip.

Exclusive of your business trips, could you continue to use the most reliable vehicle to drive as a daily vehicle?

So, rent vehicle for long business trips if company picks up the rental/gas/tolls.

Buy a "new to you" daily driver for wife.

Sell least reliable vehicle after buying "new to you" vehicle for wife.

You keep most reliable existing vehicle as your daily driver.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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fortfun
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Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by fortfun » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:57 pm

Submariner1980 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:36 pm
Bogleheads,
How are your retirement savings? If inadequate, I'd try to keep using both vehicles as long as possible, or until a costly repair. What make/model, year?

You could always rent an inexpensive vehicle for the 2 longer road trips that you'll take later this year.

researcher
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Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by researcher » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:02 pm

Submariner1980 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:36 pm
- Wife drives a crossover SUV with 145k miles that she has owned for 10 years
- Both vehicles have started to have reliability concerns - more frequent repairs, oil consumption, warnings lights, etc.
- Trade-in value of each vehicle (according to KBB) is $1,000 to $1,500
I'd be highly suspicious of that KBB value. What make/model is the crossover SUV?
I just sold an 11 year old mainstream compact SUV with 147K miles for $8200 (private party).

Also, what reliability concerns are you having with the SUV?
You should be able to get at least a few more inexpensive years out of the SUV before you have to think about replacing it.

As others have said, I would sell the truck private party, then pay cash for a lightly used Toyota Corolla or similar.

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Watty
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Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by Watty » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:10 pm

Submariner1980 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:36 pm
One of the options I listed, or something else entirely?
I would probably work a few months in the new job to make sure that it is working out OK before spending a lot to swap the cars around.

Buying a crossover SUV adds a lot to the cost of a replacement car, it would be good to consider getting a smaller less expensive car and that would also save on gas.

When I have looked at buying a Toyota or Honda buying a new car often makes sense because a used Toyota or Honda does not depreciate fast enough so I would keep an open mind about buying a new inexpensive model if you can't find a good deal on a used one.

If you decide to buy a used car the best deals are probably in other brands that depreciate a lot faster.

When you sell the truck or SUV try selling it yourself. You will get a better price and the dealer will not be able to play games with you regarding the trade in price.
Submariner1980 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:36 pm
- Finance a new-to-us crossover style SUV for my wife with 20k-40k miles on it, buy a 100k mile Honda/Toyota/Hyundai for myself; pay for my vehicle with the cash, use the remaining cash for her downpayment;
You would likely be better off to just keeping your wife's SUV for a few more years instead of buying some other car that already has 100k miles on it.

I would take that option off the table.
Submariner1980 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:36 pm
- Finance a new-to-us crossover style SUV for my wife with 20k-40k miles on it.....
A good SUV with that millage would still be pretty expensive.
Submariner1980 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:36 pm
What would you do?
I would buy this 2018 Toyota Yaris for cash for less than $12K if I could not find an even better deal on a small used car.


https://www.hertzcarsales.com/certified ... f48b75.htm

It has 9,000 miles left on the full warranty and a LOT left on the 60 month/60k mile power-train warranty so with the Toyota reliability and the warranties you should have years without any non-routine maintenance.

I would then drive the SUV for at least another few years while I saved up to be able to buy a replacement car for cash or with a very small car loan.

Disclosure: My situation a different but I bought a new Corolla last year for less than $16K and with local taxes and registration it was about $17K out the door. I would rather have that then a five year old SUV with 40K+ miles that cost almost as much.

Omalley
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Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by Omalley » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:13 pm

In addition to purchasing a 'new to you' vehicle for your household, I would recommend considering keeping your truck with only liability insurance. I assume you have dropped collision coverage on your current vehicles due to their low market values.

We have an older third vehicle that has proved invaluable over the years when one of the two newer/reliable vehicles wouldn't start for whatever reason. It is easier to grab the keys to the third vehicle, take off the battery trickle charger and head to work on-time, leaving the diagnosing of the newer vehicles' problem until that evening.

Designating the third vehicle as low mileage (under 5k/yr) keeps insurance costs low. Carrying cost (insurance /registration) for the third vehicle is under $300/year.

researcher
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Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by researcher » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:25 pm

Omalley wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:13 pm
In addition to purchasing a 'new to you' vehicle for your household, I would recommend considering keeping your truck with only liability insurance.

We have an older third vehicle that has proved invaluable over the years when one of the two newer/reliable vehicles wouldn't start for whatever reason.

Designating the third vehicle as low mileage (under 5k/yr) keeps insurance costs low. Carrying cost (insurance /registration) for the third vehicle is under $300/year.
I disagree with this advice.

It doesn't appear that you are in the position to waste any money on keeping an unnecessary 3rd vehicle around.
In addition to the $ you will spend on insurance/registration, you still have to repair/maintain that 16 year old 200K mile vehicle.
It will continue to cost you $ to keep it roadworthy.

Lastly, do you (and your neighbors) really want to look at a nearly 20 year old junker truck rusting away in the driveway/road?

Up until recently, both of my cars were 11+ years old with 140K+ miles. Neither one has ever left me stranded.
Even if they did, I could rent a car for far less than the carrying costs of a 3rd vehicle.

Topic Author
Submariner1980
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by Submariner1980 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:02 pm

Thanks all for the responses. Wife and I are reading through and evaluating. I will keep the board posted.

For some additional light on the situation:
-This job is a "happiness/fulfillment" move. I quit a 6 figure job that I hated; this job will be so awesome, I will love every minute of it. Complete career change to childhood dream job. Making 1/3 of previous salary was a conscious, thoroughly evaluated decision. While not guaranteed, previous life and work experience could prove to accelerate earnings in the intermediate term.
-While not in great shape, we do have ~$400k in retirement savings between Roth and Traditional IRAs and 401ks.

Thanks again.

Topic Author
Submariner1980
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: Need a vehicle, need advice

Post by Submariner1980 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:03 pm

Submariner1980 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:02 pm
While not guaranteed, previous life and work experience could prove to accelerate earnings in the intermediate term.
Just to be clear, I do not want to make financial commitments (eg, financing a vehicle) using the assumption that I will be making more in the future.

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