Car repairs: what to do next time

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Calico
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Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Calico » Mon May 20, 2019 9:58 am

So I may have done a stupid thing. I have a 2005 Pontiac Vibe (that I still love by the way) with 160k on it. I just had a bunch of maintenance stuff done to it: oil change, air filter, oil filter and cabin air filter change, tire rotation and balance, new front roters and brakes, new rear drums and brake pads, transmission flush, new serpentine belt, a service where they clean injectors (and a bunch of other cleaning stuff in a package deal). The whole thing cost me $1700 (most of it labor/I live in a high COL area). I was thinking that sounds right since I thought the car was worth about $5k. Well, I look it up on KBB and my car is probably worth about $3k now (I am guessing good condition since people often mistake it for new/it's garage kept). They say you should never pay more than half of what your car is worth in repairs. So I think I broke that "rule." It's not like the car broke down, I brought it in to get "tuned up" (the only thing I wasn't really expecting was the belt replacement. The rest I knew it was due for).

Anyway, for next time, if there are more repairs, is it best to just get rid of the car if those repairs are over $1500? Does maintenance really count when you use that rule of thumb? I mean, tires when I need them will be a small fortune too. I really do like my car a lot and I don't "want" a new one, but I am going to need one at some point (probably when my daughter turns 16 and I need another car). And after all that service, the car runs as smooth as silk now and sounds like it's 10 years newer. The car quieted down a lot/less road noise, it brakes more smoothly, and the engine just sounds "happier," and it idles much more quietly/smoothly.

So far, in the past year, my car has needed a total of $2200 in maintenance. That includes this $1700 bill and oil changes and a new battery and starter in the last year. Seems cheaper than a replacement car but at what point is this car a whole in the road that I am throwing money into if the car itself is only worth $3000?

bloom2708
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by bloom2708 » Mon May 20, 2019 10:02 am

I think you are fine. Almost everything you mention is a "wear" item. They have to be replaced at some point.

If you like the car, the value doesn't matter. $2,200 < $25,000 or $30,000.

Now, if the engine or transmission fails, that would be a spot to consider a different car. I also wouldn't fix a car that is rusted out. It sounds like you are outside of the rust belt, so that is likely not an issue.
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onourway
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by onourway » Mon May 20, 2019 10:07 am

Sounds like you got a pretty fair deal for all that work, honestly.

I personally think that rule of thumb about vehicle value is complete hogwash. Who cares what the vehicle is worth unless you are actively looking to sell it? What matters is the overall condition of the vehicle, and how much additional life you will get out of it for the money spent. The other thing about that rule is that it often comes up when people have delayed a huge amount of maintenance and are suddenly hit with a large bill for normal maintenance stuff (like your work). You don't get rid of a vehicle because it needs new brakes and fluids. :oops:

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greg24
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by greg24 » Mon May 20, 2019 10:11 am

You paid the relatively steep price of maintenance, but now all the major maintenance items are done. Now just drive it as long as possible without spending any more on maintenance.

Last year, we spent $3k on three fairly big repairs for a $5k minivan. When we committed to do it, I was hoping that the expenditure would give us 3 more years of driving. If it doesn't, we will survive either way. So far, we've gotten one year out of it.

Just drive it as long and as cheaply as possible. In the future, if you do need $1500 in repairs, if may be time to ditch the car.

asif408
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by asif408 » Mon May 20, 2019 10:16 am

That doesn't sound unreasonable. The transmission flush and the cleaning of the fuel injectors sound debatable without knowing more about your car maintenance history, and those are typically services they try to upsell those along with routine maintenance items like oil changes and tire rotations.

If it bothers you enough, changing the air and in cabin filters can be done for less than $15-20 yourself, usually you'll pay 3-5x that if someone else does it, and it literally take less than 10 minutes to do both in most cars. To me, that's the lowest hanging fruit and something you only need a flat head screwdriver to do in most cases. Just above that, the oil change can be done yourself for under $25 with a few tools, and a tire rotation is pretty easy as well if you have jack stands and a jack. Neither one of those should take more than an hour to do. Brakes and changing the belt take a bit more work but aren't out of the realm of possibility for a DYIer. It just depends how you value your time and if you are reasonably handy with mechanical things and have the necessary tools.

But you'd have to do most of those types of maintenance items on any car, new or old. I think the bigger issue is when major parts start breaking more frequently that aren't routine maintenance items that I would consider getting a new car.

Scrapr
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Scrapr » Mon May 20, 2019 10:18 am

that is a heckuva deal on that maintenence list. I'm not sure I've heard of brake drums being replaced on a car. Turned? You bet. But new drums? Not really. Did the pads wear down until it was metal on metal? That would have had to go on for a while. And you don't strike me as one that would let that go. In our truck fleet drums run $500 ea. Although I did see an invoice on a rental fleet drum that was <$100 ea.

I have heard Commercial fleets sell when lifetime repairs reach 50% of vehicle cost. That was pretty accurate on my 05 Volvo I bought for $40k and put in just over $20k and the AWD went out. I don't track lifetime repair on our truck fleet though

You did fine on the repair if you want to drive it. You probably got another 5-8 years out of this list

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Watty
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Watty » Mon May 20, 2019 11:05 am

Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 9:58 am
Well, I look it up on KBB and my car is probably worth about $3k now
One thing to remember about prices like that is that is just an average, half of the cars that are that model, mileage, and condition will have sold for more than $3,000.

The sales history is also skewed since the people with cars in better condition tend to not sell the car.
Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 9:58 am
Anyway, for next time, if there are more repairs, is it best to just get rid of the car if those repairs are over $1500? Does maintenance really count when you use that rule of thumb?
A big thing you are missing is if a car would normally be worth $3,000 but it needs $1,000 in repairs then it could only be sold for $2,000, if that.
Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 9:58 am
Seems cheaper than a replacement car but at what point is this car a whole in the road that I am throwing money into if the car itself is only worth $3000?
One thing to also factor into your calculations is that the car is still depreciating. If you keep it for another two year(24 months) and put a lot more miles on it then it might only be worth $600 then since it would be 16 years old and have 180k+ miles.(These are made up numbers.) If that is true then it will have depreciated another $2400. That is $100 a month in depreciation. If you also have to spend $25 a month($300 a year) in non-routine maintenance that brings the cost of depreciation and non-routine maintenance up to $125 a month.

In comparison I bought a new Corolla last year for about $17K out the door. If I keep it for 10 years(120 months) and can sell it for $5,000 then it will have cost me $12,000 in depreciation but I would expect for there to be very little non-routine maintenance. That is $100 a month in depreciation and even if you add $5 a month for non-routine maintenance($600 over 120 months) that still $105 a month.

That does not include routine maintenance, brakes, tires, gas, etc that you would have with any car. Insurance would be a bit higher with a newer car but it might also get better gas mileage and it it like a much safer car since it has a lot of normal safety advances and some advanced safety features like automatic braking which would somewhat offset that.

In your case if you could sell your current car for $3,500 and get into a new Corolla for $17,500(?) that would only cost you $14,000 to upgrade.

You could do similar math with buying a five year used old car. ESC became standard in 2012 and that seems to be a real good safety feature to have and crash test results also improved around 2012 when they added new offset crash tests. If you look for a used car you might want to look for a 2012 or newer car.

I think you did the right thing by getting those repairs done but if you are not on a real tight budget(been there done that!) you might consider starting to look for your next car. At some point keeping an an older car only makes sense if you can do a lot of the work on it yourself.

One huge advantage of buying a replacement car before you need to is that you can wait until you can find a great deal and if it takes you six months or a year to find a great deal that is no problem. I have had to buy a replacement car in a hurry and in addition to being stressful that makes it hard to find a really good deal.

ohai
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by ohai » Mon May 20, 2019 11:17 am

The math likely favors repairs. If your car is worth $3k in its current state, it will be worth maybe $4000 after repairs that cost you $1500 (a dealer would presumably have lower cost of repairs). To get an equivalent $4000 car, it will cost you even more after taxes and fees, plus the time to transact. So, if you're ok with this car, you should probably just fix it and keep it running.

miles monroe
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by miles monroe » Mon May 20, 2019 11:24 am

Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 9:58 am
They say you should never pay more than half of what your car is worth in repairs.
depends on who "they" is.

AAA says 50%. clark howard used to say 50% -- but when he read what consumer reports said he said he may need to change his advice.

consumer reports and edmunds both say repair up to 100% the value of the car.

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Calico
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Calico » Mon May 20, 2019 11:37 am

A couple of points based on other posts, I am actually looking for a replacement car. Not to buy right now, but if I see a good deal, I may seriously consider it. I will need another car in a year when my daughter turns 16. I have a few makes and models in mind both new and used (mostly used though).

As for my car's condition, it's pristine. I am not kidding when I say a lot of people think it's new or newer than it is. There is no rust and it's in a garage at home and at work. The only time it is outside is when it's sitting in the grocery store parking lot and such. I think that's why it looks so good. Plus, I don't abuse it. I take good care of it. Every little paint chip I touch up so it won't rust. After salty roads, I wash the brine off ASAP. I don't trash the interior either. The only wear is in the floor mat where my driving foot rests.

I mean it when I say I really like this car a lot. If it were somehow possible, I would keep it forever. This car has never let me down. It got me though what we called locally as "Snowmaggodon" a few years ago. It had the right combination of ground clearance and good traction so I didn't get stuck like the other little cars, but fuel efficiency so I didn't run out of gas during the 8 hour traffic jam like so many of the SUVs and pickups. It's never broken down (knock on wood) and is so versatile with cargo space that I've hauled anything I've needed to in it. And it's old enough that I don't worry about it getting a door ding or two (even if I am out there with touch up paint as I check the dings).
onourway wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:07 am
Sounds like you got a pretty fair deal for all that work, honestly.

I personally think that rule of thumb about vehicle value is complete hogwash. Who cares what the vehicle is worth unless you are actively looking to sell it? What matters is the overall condition of the vehicle, and how much additional life you will get out of it for the money spent. The other thing about that rule is that it often comes up when people have delayed a huge amount of maintenance and are suddenly hit with a large bill for normal maintenance stuff (like your work). You don't get rid of a vehicle because it needs new brakes and fluids. :oops:
That's what I was thinking. I couldn't make sense of the rule of thumb about when a car costs too much to keep considering wear items (like the tires I mentioned... which will be next most likely. I give them another year).
Scrapr wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:18 am
that is a heckuva deal on that maintenence list. I'm not sure I've heard of brake drums being replaced on a car. Turned? You bet. But new drums? Not really. Did the pads wear down until it was metal on metal? That would have had to go on for a while. And you don't strike me as one that would let that go. In our truck fleet drums run $500 ea. Although I did see an invoice on a rental fleet drum that was <$100 ea.

I have heard Commercial fleets sell when lifetime repairs reach 50% of vehicle cost. That was pretty accurate on my 05 Volvo I bought for $40k and put in just over $20k and the AWD went out. I don't track lifetime repair on our truck fleet though

You did fine on the repair if you want to drive it. You probably got another 5-8 years out of this list
I may be wrong on the drums. The receipt just said, "rear brake pads and drums." Perhaps they just tuned those. There was so much done and the car was in the shop two days that it's a lot to remember. The total for the rear brakes was about $400 including labor (parts was half of that for drums and shoes). The pads were down to 2/32. They said it was good enough to pass state safety inspection and I didn't need to do the brakes now. But that was the minimum to pass and I plan to drive to the beach a few times this summer and I want good brakes for stop and go traffic. So I said to do the brakes.

Gladiators2Swansons
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Gladiators2Swansons » Mon May 20, 2019 11:44 am

Watty wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 11:05 am

One thing to also factor into your calculations is that the car is still depreciating. If you keep it for another two year(24 months) and put a lot more miles on it then it might only be worth $600 then since it would be 16 years old and have 180k+ miles.(These are made up numbers.) If that is true then it will have depreciated another $2400. That is $100 a month in depreciation. If you also have to spend $25 a month($300 a year) in non-routine maintenance that brings the cost of depreciation and non-routine maintenance up to $125 a month.

In comparison I bought a new Corolla last year for about $17K out the door. If I keep it for 10 years(120 months) and can sell it for $5,000 then it will have cost me $12,000 in depreciation but I would expect for there to be very little non-routine maintenance. That is $100 a month in depreciation and even if you add $5 a month for non-routine maintenance($600 over 120 months) that still $105 a month.

That does not include routine maintenance, brakes, tires, gas, etc that you would have with any car. Insurance would be a bit higher with a newer car but it might also get better gas mileage and it it like a much safer car since it has a lot of normal safety advances and some advanced safety features like automatic braking which would somewhat offset that.

In your case if you could sell your current car for $3,500 and get into a new Corolla for $17,500(?) that would only cost you $14,000 to upgrade.

You could do similar math with buying a five year used old car. ESC became standard in 2012 and that seems to be a real good safety feature to have and crash test results also improved around 2012 when they added new offset crash tests. If you look for a used car you might want to look for a 2012 or newer car.

I think you did the right thing by getting those repairs done but if you are not on a real tight budget(been there done that!) you might consider starting to look for your next car. At some point keeping an an older car only makes sense if you can do a lot of the work on it yourself.

One huge advantage of buying a replacement car before you need to is that you can wait until you can find a great deal and if it takes you six months or a year to find a great deal that is no problem. I have had to buy a replacement car in a hurry and in addition to being stressful that makes it hard to find a really good deal.
How is spending $14,000 to save $20/month in non-routine maintenance a good decision?

barnaclebob
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by barnaclebob » Mon May 20, 2019 11:53 am

These werent repairs, they were maintenance. If the car is reliable, you made the right choice IMO. Vibes are the same as Toyota Matrixs (matricies?) and are good cars.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon May 20, 2019 12:22 pm

Whoever "They" is that said not to spend more than half the car's value......I would not listen to them. If your car is worth $300 and for $1000 you can keep it running another year, who cares what it's worth.

On the services they did......some of them are run of the mill maintenance. Others are things you could do or could not do. The fuel cleaning is a scam. Changing the cabin filter is an overpriced service item. I've never changed a cabin filter on any car ever. What did my 1975 Honda Civic CVCC cabin filter cost? Zero. They didn't even exist.

Typically an engine air filter is really easy to change and if you bought one at an auto parts store and before paying, asked "Is this really hard to do?", chances are, if they're not busy, they'd come out with you and spend the 3 minutes it takes to change it.
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cshell2
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by cshell2 » Mon May 20, 2019 12:26 pm

I just stuck $1100 into my 2005 Honda Odyssey with 220K miles worth maybe 3K. It was for a worn out ball joint and brakes all around. It has been an extremely reliable vehicle for me the past 10 years or so and even if it goes belly up in 6 months I'll still be out ahead of replacing it with something that costs a lot more and getting something worth the same seems more like just exchanging the devil I know for the devil I don't.

160K miles on a Vibe is not much. Depending on how much you drive, you could have years left in it.

rj342
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by rj342 » Mon May 20, 2019 12:36 pm

cshell2 wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 12:26 pm
I just stuck $1100 into my 2005 Honda Odyssey with 220K miles worth maybe 3K. It was for a worn out ball joint and brakes all around. It has been an extremely reliable vehicle for me the past 10 years or so and even if it goes belly up in 6 months I'll still be out ahead of replacing it with something that costs a lot more and getting something worth the same seems more like just exchanging the devil I know for the devil I don't.

160K miles on a Vibe is not much. Depending on how much you drive, you could have years left in it.
I'm in a similar position -- I have 1999 Ford F-150 XLT club cab with only 136k on it. In the last few months spent about $2500 on it at different times: power steering pump and lines, brake cylinders, and worst was the AC (mandatory here on the Gulf Coast). Engine and transmission are great - just half to add about a quart between oil changes at 6 months. No rust, no delaminated clear coat, interior in quite good condition. I am kind of in that zone where some things impacted by age even though miles not there.
All of these items should be good for the rest of the truck's lifetime. I expect to drive it at least 3-4 years, could even get another 10.
Part of my calculation is the absurd prices on full sized trucks these, and due to their durability either people hold on to them, or if they upgrade more often, the price on a moderately used truck is still pretty high.

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Nate79
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Nate79 » Mon May 20, 2019 12:46 pm

Nothing wrong with doing regular maintenance for wear and tear. Most of this work was building up over time, meaning if thought of as a monthly maintenance charge it's mostly the same thru a car's life whether new or used, maybe slightly more when used. Repair is another story. Older cars barely depreciate and you are in the extremely low depreciation rate time. Congrats for running the car into the ground and having an extremely low operating cost including depreciation for your transportation.

Chip
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Chip » Mon May 20, 2019 12:56 pm

Scrapr wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:18 am
I'm not sure I've heard of brake drums being replaced on a car. Turned? You bet. But new drums? Not really. Did the pads wear down until it was metal on metal? That would have had to go on for a while. And you don't strike me as one that would let that go. In our truck fleet drums run $500 ea.
Drums do "wear" out. They have a maximum allowable inside diameter (usually stamped on the drum). After a few trips to the brake lathe they'll exceed that diameter and it's time for new ones. I had to replace a few in the past. It's analagous to brake rotors having a minimum allowable thickness after turning.

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Watty
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Watty » Mon May 20, 2019 1:04 pm

Gladiators2Swansons wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 11:44 am
How is spending $14,000 to save $20/month in non-routine maintenance a good decision?
By looking at the total cost of ownership over the next ten+ years.

You can change the assumptions and make a more detailed cost model but unless you are able do a lot of the work on the car yourself then it will be be hard to keep the depreciation and non-routine maintenance costs below $100 to $150 a month which is similar to what I expect a modestly priced car like a Corolla to cost over the next ten years.

There have also been a lot of safety improvements especially in the last ten years and that is also worth something, at least to me. Likewise a much newer car will likely be a lot more reliable.

Buying something like four your old For or Hyundai might have even better numbers since they have already depreciated a lot and some of those have decent reliability reputations.

The key thing I was trying to point out was that since the OP's car is still worth at least $3,000 that the depreciation is still a significant factor that may make the monthly cost not be all that low.

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bottlecap
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by bottlecap » Mon May 20, 2019 1:17 pm

You are fine. "They" that espouse the "rule" know not of what they speak.

Could you have done things for less than you paid? Likely. I wouldn't lose sleep over it at this point, though.

Drums are replaced when they wear out. So unless they didn't need replacing, what they told you is right.

JT

MichCPA
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by MichCPA » Mon May 20, 2019 1:30 pm

The basic question in relation to replacement cost comparison is this: If I bought another version of the same car at replacement cost, would I expect to have this same cost.

Oil change =yes, Replacing major steering components, oil leaks, etc=No

If you aren't avoiding a cost, by switching to a different car, why would you use that cost to make a decision to switch?

MichCPA
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by MichCPA » Mon May 20, 2019 1:38 pm

Gladiators2Swansons wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 11:44 am

How is spending $14,000 to save $20/month in non-routine maintenance a good decision?
To be fair, if I had to have my car fixed on a regular basis, my time would alter that cost equation pretty quickly. I also don't think you would need to spend $14k to do better than an almost 15 model year old hatchback at 160k miles.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by neilpilot » Mon May 20, 2019 1:47 pm

Even though I didn't see if the OP took the car to a dealer or an indy repair shop, it's very likely that the $1700 maintenance listed might have cost significantly less if done by an indy shop, and if possibly unneeded items (a transmission flush as opposed to a fluid change, and a cleaning package) were skipped. Sure many of the items listed are easy DIY, but many here consider even an air filter change beyond their abilities.

I did note that the OP considers an additional car necessary when their daughter turns 16. I realize that needs vary, but find is amusing that as soon as 16 y/o child meets the minimum age for a driver license parents consider a car a necessity.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Psyayeayeduck » Mon May 20, 2019 2:02 pm

I approach car maintenance costs as a renewal service of your car for a period of time (usually 6 months). So if I had a car maintenance cost of $1700, I would ask myself if I would pay $283.33/mo ($1700 divided by 6 months) to continue driving my car. Then compare that amount to someone who is paying a monthly car payment and determine if keeping your car is worth it. If you are a standstill, then I would include insurance payments of your current car with someone with the car payment scenario and ask the same question to myself again.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by miamivice » Mon May 20, 2019 2:06 pm

As others have said, almost everything the OP did to the car was maintenance rather than repairs. That is, the $1700 is simply replacing items that purposefully wear themselves out in the operation of a vehicle, and this could would be incurred on a brand new car just as quickly as the current vehicle.

There is no need to compare the maintenance cost of your vehicle to the value of the vehicle.

If you had done repairs, such as fixing a transmission, or replacing a CV joint, or the like, that would have been different situation.

beardedbrit
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by beardedbrit » Mon May 20, 2019 2:21 pm

I'd probably have done what you did in your situation. However, it all depends.

I elected to replace an 18 y/o Toyota Siena after a year when the total costs for both routine and unexpected (a/c, front struts) maintenance came to far more than the car was worth; the fact that my wife did not want to drive it and we are past the driving-kids-to-college stage in our lives made it an easy decision. So I now have a bright red (mid-life-crisis color ) Camry which I expect will last until senility stops me from driving safely.

TN_INVEST
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by TN_INVEST » Mon May 20, 2019 2:25 pm

This group is a pretty resourceful group. Id encourage everyone to learn some basic car maintenance skills. Some things are not very difficult at all (cabin filter, air filter, flush radiator, etc).

And if you don't mind getting a little dirt under your nails, you can save a ton of money.

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Calico
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Calico » Mon May 20, 2019 2:32 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 1:47 pm
Even though I didn't see if the OP took the car to a dealer or an indy repair shop, it's very likely that the $1700 maintenance listed might have cost significantly less if done by an indy shop, and if possibly unneeded items (a transmission flush as opposed to a fluid change, and a cleaning package) were skipped. Sure many of the items listed are easy DIY, but many here consider even an air filter change beyond their abilities.

I did note that the OP considers an additional car necessary when their daughter turns 16. I realize that needs vary, but find is amusing that as soon as 16 y/o child meets the minimum age for a driver license parents consider a car a necessity.
I took it to an independent shop, I live in a very high cost of living area unfortunately.

I really need to do a cost benefit analysis on the idea that I need to get another car when my daughter turns 16. I am a single mom and right now I have to take a lot of time off work and leave work early to get her to and from various practices. Band camp (three weeks in the summer) will be the worst as it both starts after I am supposed to be at work and ends before I leave work. I am looking forward to her getting a car so I don't have to drive her around everywhere. So perhaps it is a want, but I really hate burning vacation and personal hours on stuff she might be able to drive to herself.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by aristotelian » Mon May 20, 2019 2:38 pm

The question (financially) is how the $1700 compares to the alternative cost to own a vehicle. If the $1700 buys you a couple more years with this car, you will come out ahead. The Toyota engine in the Vibe should have plenty of life to it. If the car overall is in good shape (no rust), you could easily get another 50K miles out of it.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by cshell2 » Mon May 20, 2019 2:43 pm

Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:32 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 1:47 pm
Even though I didn't see if the OP took the car to a dealer or an indy repair shop, it's very likely that the $1700 maintenance listed might have cost significantly less if done by an indy shop, and if possibly unneeded items (a transmission flush as opposed to a fluid change, and a cleaning package) were skipped. Sure many of the items listed are easy DIY, but many here consider even an air filter change beyond their abilities.

I did note that the OP considers an additional car necessary when their daughter turns 16. I realize that needs vary, but find is amusing that as soon as 16 y/o child meets the minimum age for a driver license parents consider a car a necessity.
I took it to an independent shop, I live in a very high cost of living area unfortunately.

I really need to do a cost benefit analysis on the idea that I need to get another car when my daughter turns 16. I am a single mom and right now I have to take a lot of time off work and leave work early to get her to and from various practices. Band camp (three weeks in the summer) will be the worst as it both starts after I am supposed to be at work and ends before I leave work. I am looking forward to her getting a car so I don't have to drive her around everywhere. So perhaps it is a want, but I really hate burning vacation and personal hours on stuff she might be able to drive to herself.
Also single parent. My son started driving last year and it was AMAZING. It's costly to have another vehicle and insurance on a teen boy is not fun, but the time free-up for me was huge. Especially when you factor in we live out of town and he now helps out by shuttling his brother places as well.
Last edited by cshell2 on Mon May 20, 2019 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by miamivice » Mon May 20, 2019 2:43 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:38 pm
The question (financially) is how the $1700 compares to the alternative cost to own a vehicle. If the $1700 buys you a couple more years with this car, you will come out ahead. The Toyota engine in the Vibe should have plenty of life to it. If the car overall is in good shape (no rust), you could easily get another 50K miles out of it.
Yes, but a brand new car will have brakes that need to be replaced, tires that wear out, oil that needs to be changed, and air filters that need to be replaced. In the OPs case, buying a newer car wouldn't have eliminated any of these expenses. It'd be akin to buying a new car because the fuel tank is empty on the current vehicle.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Watty » Mon May 20, 2019 2:49 pm

Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:32 pm

I took it to an independent shop, I live in a very high cost of living area unfortunately.

I really need to do a cost benefit analysis on the idea that I need to get another car when my daughter turns 16. I am a single mom and right now I have to take a lot of time off work and leave work early to get her to and from various practices. Band camp (three weeks in the summer) will be the worst as it both starts after I am supposed to be at work and ends before I leave work. I am looking forward to her getting a car so I don't have to drive her around everywhere. So perhaps it is a want, but I really hate burning vacation and personal hours on stuff she might be able to drive to herself.
If your daughter will be 16 soon it might make sense for her to learn to drive on the Vibe and use it for a few years.

You could then get a replacement car for yourself and she would not be driving the better car so the insurance costs might be less.

A big tradeoff though would be that the Vibe might not have as high a safety rating as some other car you might get for her to drive.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by aristotelian » Mon May 20, 2019 3:07 pm

miamivice wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:43 pm
aristotelian wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:38 pm
The question (financially) is how the $1700 compares to the alternative cost to own a vehicle. If the $1700 buys you a couple more years with this car, you will come out ahead. The Toyota engine in the Vibe should have plenty of life to it. If the car overall is in good shape (no rust), you could easily get another 50K miles out of it.
Yes, but a brand new car will have brakes that need to be replaced, tires that wear out, oil that needs to be changed, and air filters that need to be replaced. In the OPs case, buying a newer car wouldn't have eliminated any of these expenses. It'd be akin to buying a new car because the fuel tank is empty on the current vehicle.
I am agreeing with you.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by dogagility » Mon May 20, 2019 7:08 pm

Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 9:58 am
So I may have done a stupid thing. I have a 2005 Pontiac Vibe (that I still love by the way) with 160k on it. I just had a bunch of maintenance stuff done to it: oil change, air filter, oil filter and cabin air filter change, tire rotation and balance, new front roters and brakes, new rear drums and brake pads, transmission flush, new serpentine belt, a service where they clean injectors (and a bunch of other cleaning stuff in a package deal). The whole thing cost me $1700 (most of it labor/I live in a high COL area).
What to do next time? Here's my advice.
Buy the necessary tools for about $250... ratchet set, wrench set, torque wrench, floor jack, jack stands, car ramps, oil catch pan.
Change your own oil/filter ($30), air filter ($15), cabin air filter ($15), transmission fluid ($10), and front and rear brake pads/rotors ($250).
Rotate your own tires (free!).
Don't "clean" the injectors (not necessary).
Change the serpentine belt if you're ambitious ($35).

Boom!... about $600... saved yourself $1100. Will be less the next time since you already have the tools. And this is only for one car. And this can all be one in a weekend once you get the hang of it. And it's kinda fun too.

Maintenance items like these are easy to perform. YouTube is your friend if you don't know how.

As Eric O from South Main Auto says, "If I can do it. You can do it!" https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtAGzm ... ko1PBhzTHA :beer
Taking "risk" since 1995.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by LadyGeek » Mon May 20, 2019 7:15 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (car).
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon May 20, 2019 7:17 pm

Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 9:58 am
So I may have done a stupid thing. I have a 2005 Pontiac Vibe (that I still love by the way) with 160k on it. I just had a bunch of maintenance stuff done to it: oil change, air filter, oil filter and cabin air filter change, tire rotation and balance, new front roters and brakes, new rear drums and brake pads, transmission flush, new serpentine belt, a service where they clean injectors (and a bunch of other cleaning stuff in a package deal). The whole thing cost me $1700 (most of it labor/I live in a high COL area). I was thinking that sounds right since I thought the car was worth about $5k. Well, I look it up on KBB and my car is probably worth about $3k now (I am guessing good condition since people often mistake it for new/it's garage kept). They say you should never pay more than half of what your car is worth in repairs. So I think I broke that "rule." It's not like the car broke down, I brought it in to get "tuned up" (the only thing I wasn't really expecting was the belt replacement. The rest I knew it was due for).

Anyway, for next time, if there are more repairs, is it best to just get rid of the car if those repairs are over $1500? Does maintenance really count when you use that rule of thumb? I mean, tires when I need them will be a small fortune too. I really do like my car a lot and I don't "want" a new one, but I am going to need one at some point (probably when my daughter turns 16 and I need another car). And after all that service, the car runs as smooth as silk now and sounds like it's 10 years newer. The car quieted down a lot/less road noise, it brakes more smoothly, and the engine just sounds "happier," and it idles much more quietly/smoothly.

So far, in the past year, my car has needed a total of $2200 in maintenance. That includes this $1700 bill and oil changes and a new battery and starter in the last year. Seems cheaper than a replacement car but at what point is this car a whole in the road that I am throwing money into if the car itself is only worth $3000?
Other than the cleaning and the cabin air filter, I think it's probably all fine. I don't use the 1/2 rule. I use the 1 rule. If the repairs cost more than it's worth, then I throw it away.
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Calico
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Calico » Mon May 20, 2019 8:07 pm

I appreciate the do it yourself ideas but I really won't be buying a jack and all that. First, I don't know where I would store all that stuff. While my townhouse has a small garage, it's very small. I can barely get out of the car in the garage let alone work on a car or store stuff in there (and I don't want to work on my car in the street). Plus, I really don't know that I have the strength to do some of the DIY repairs. I recently tried to change the battery (which is bolted down) and I just coulnd't muster the strength to turn the bolt. Ever since I had surgery on my wrist I don't have the strength to do what I used to be able to do. I eventually had my boyfriend do it for me when he came over. I can't imagine trying to take the tires off now (there is a reason I have AAA). I have done a few minor things like replace bulbs and I probably could do filters--I can do fine dexterity type things (small hands help). But anything that needs strength or a lift, forget it.

No, I think paying someone to fix my car is worth it. Last time I had something like this done was three years ago. Most times I am in and out of the shop under $50. I am okay doing my own electrical work on my house, painting, yard work, cleaning and such. I even repair my own appliances (as long as I don't have to move them). Anything heavy duty, I pay for.
cshell2 wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:43 pm
Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:32 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 1:47 pm
Even though I didn't see if the OP took the car to a dealer or an indy repair shop, it's very likely that the $1700 maintenance listed might have cost significantly less if done by an indy shop, and if possibly unneeded items (a transmission flush as opposed to a fluid change, and a cleaning package) were skipped. Sure many of the items listed are easy DIY, but many here consider even an air filter change beyond their abilities.

I did note that the OP considers an additional car necessary when their daughter turns 16. I realize that needs vary, but find is amusing that as soon as 16 y/o child meets the minimum age for a driver license parents consider a car a necessity.
I took it to an independent shop, I live in a very high cost of living area unfortunately.

I really need to do a cost benefit analysis on the idea that I need to get another car when my daughter turns 16. I am a single mom and right now I have to take a lot of time off work and leave work early to get her to and from various practices. Band camp (three weeks in the summer) will be the worst as it both starts after I am supposed to be at work and ends before I leave work. I am looking forward to her getting a car so I don't have to drive her around everywhere. So perhaps it is a want, but I really hate burning vacation and personal hours on stuff she might be able to drive to herself.
Also single parent. My son started driving last year and it was AMAZING. It's costly to have another vehicle and insurance on a teen boy is not fun, but the time free-up for me was huge. Especially when you factor in we live out of town and he now helps out by shuttling his brother places as well.

That's what I am hoping too. The free time it will create might be worth it. Not only will I not lose time, I won't stress as much when I am stuck in traffic trying to get from work to home and to the school. Of course, maybe I will stress worrying about my daughter driving. At least it's all city, so I don't have to worry about high speed wrecks.
Watty wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:49 pm
Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:32 pm

I took it to an independent shop, I live in a very high cost of living area unfortunately.

I really need to do a cost benefit analysis on the idea that I need to get another car when my daughter turns 16. I am a single mom and right now I have to take a lot of time off work and leave work early to get her to and from various practices. Band camp (three weeks in the summer) will be the worst as it both starts after I am supposed to be at work and ends before I leave work. I am looking forward to her getting a car so I don't have to drive her around everywhere. So perhaps it is a want, but I really hate burning vacation and personal hours on stuff she might be able to drive to herself.
If your daughter will be 16 soon it might make sense for her to learn to drive on the Vibe and use it for a few years.

You could then get a replacement car for yourself and she would not be driving the better car so the insurance costs might be less.

A big tradeoff though would be that the Vibe might not have as high a safety rating as some other car you might get for her to drive.
That's kind of the idea. I would get the newer car since I would be doing highway driving, she's mostly be on city streets. Fender bender territory for an accident. I think I don't make that clear when I talk about getting a replacement car. Most people usually think I mean getting a newer car for my daughter and I keep the older one. I just assume it would be like the way my family did it, kids get the beaters. I need to be more clear about that.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by inbox788 » Mon May 20, 2019 8:10 pm

dogagility wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 7:08 pm
Don't "clean" the injectors (not necessary).
I didn't see any repairs, just expensive (overcharged?) maintenance. Only the brakes were more costly item, especially if they really did replace the rotors and drums.

OP, do you know how they cleaned the fuel injectors?

My idle was getting a little irregular, and I tried a bottle of Techron Fuel System Cleaner, which seems to have helped.

Also, my mechanic recommends flooring the engine once in a while to help clean out carbon deposits. I don't know if it really helps, but it's fun.

What kind of shop is this? Is this an independent mechanic?

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Calico
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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by Calico » Mon May 20, 2019 8:36 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:10 pm
dogagility wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 7:08 pm
Don't "clean" the injectors (not necessary).
I didn't see any repairs, just expensive (overcharged?) maintenance. Only the brakes were more costly item, especially if they really did replace the rotors and drums.

OP, do you know how they cleaned the fuel injectors?

My idle was getting a little irregular, and I tried a bottle of Techron Fuel System Cleaner, which seems to have helped.

Also, my mechanic recommends flooring the engine once in a while to help clean out carbon deposits. I don't know if it really helps, but it's fun.

What kind of shop is this? Is this an independent mechanic?
It's an independent shop. They came highly recommended by a lot of neighbors.

The exact wording on the invoice for the injectors is: "Using specialized tools to clean fuel injectors, throttle body, pleum, air intake system and intake valves. Remove combustion chamber deposits."

Whatever they did with that, it stopped the shaking (vibrating) when the car idled. Or maybe it was the changing of the transmission fluid (although I'd think that is something I would notice when the car is shifting gears, not idling). I can't imagine a new serpentine belt would make the engine run that much smoother. The old belt was okay, just old and starting to dry out and was getting cracks. It worked but I had one break on me in another car years ago... I don't want that to happen again. And nothing else done really would have helped the idle either (not brakes or tires for sure. I don't think oil change or filters would either).

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon May 20, 2019 10:17 pm

Personally, I am more concerned with the length of time that I will be able to keep a vehicle running as opposed to what it is worth. If I can put $1500 into a vehicle and get 2-3 more years out of it, I would be inclined to send it. If I am heading to the shop every month or two with another repair, I would ditch the car.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by blastoff » Mon May 20, 2019 10:39 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:10 pm
dogagility wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 7:08 pm
Don't "clean" the injectors (not necessary).
I didn't see any repairs, just expensive (overcharged?) maintenance. Only the brakes were more costly item, especially if they really did replace the rotors and drums.

OP, do you know how they cleaned the fuel injectors?

My idle was getting a little irregular, and I tried a bottle of Techron Fuel System Cleaner, which seems to have helped.

Also, my mechanic recommends flooring the engine once in a while to help clean out carbon deposits. I don't know if it really helps, but it's fun.

What kind of shop is this? Is this an independent mechanic?
the italian tuneup! in all seriousness, it can help for certain cars.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by inbox788 » Tue May 21, 2019 12:03 am

Calico wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:36 pm
The exact wording on the invoice for the injectors is: "Using specialized tools to clean fuel injectors, throttle body, pleum, air intake system and intake valves. Remove combustion chamber deposits."

Whatever they did with that, it stopped the shaking (vibrating) when the car idled. Or maybe it was the changing of the transmission fluid (although I'd think that is something I would notice when the car is shifting gears, not idling). I can't imagine a new serpentine belt would make the engine run that much smoother. The old belt was okay, just old and starting to dry out and was getting cracks. It worked but I had one break on me in another car years ago... I don't want that to happen again. And nothing else done really would have helped the idle either (not brakes or tires for sure. I don't think oil change or filters would either).
I looked around and I'm guessing this might be the type of specialized equipment they used. About $200 on Amazon.

scotty kilmer - How to Clean Fuel Injectors in Your Car (Without Removal)
https://youtu.be/bKGI9N_yWd0?t=30

As far as car shaking, could be anything, and cleaning out the injectors is one of the possibilities. I don't know about the serpentine belt (fan belt; maybe if was loose), but agree, it's unlikely to be the other changes.
https://www.thoughtco.com/is-your-car-i ... igh-281322

scotty kilmer - Is an Italian Tune Up Good for Your Car's Engine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhtXdrrSrq4

You've got a relatively rare reliable car (matrix in pontiac clothing), so it's worth it to keep it up. It's probably worth more than the numbers.

So, next time you feel vibrations, try the Italian Tune Up, then spend $10 on Techron Concentrated Fuel System Cleaner (not the Injector Cleaner) with the Italian Tune Up, and if those don't work, then maybe it's time for another specilized equipment (Sledgehammer/"Orange Fanta" -- probably similar cleaners, just more concentrated and tubed directly into the engine).

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 21, 2019 8:31 am

I think those are more rules of thumb rather than hard and fast rules. The condition of the car and how long you are going to keep it would be factors too. If you spend 50% of the value of the car now and need to spend another 50% in 6 months, not so good. I think your maintenance/repairs were okay, but I would avoid non-essential maintenance if I wasn't going to keep the car a long time. I've never replaced belts or had injectors cleaned, but I've never had a car for 160k miles. 100k miles was the max I've had a car. Dealers and manufacturers, in my opinion, push things to make money.

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Re: Car repairs: what to do next time

Post by mmmodem » Tue May 21, 2019 8:58 am

The rule I follow is:
If (Repair cost) + (Value of car as is) > (Value of the car repaired). Then you sell.

The reason is simple: If you can buy a used vehicle in the same condition as your vehicle repaired for less money, why wouldn't you? Why pay more money?

And people normally say this, next, "Because I know the history of my car, I don't want to take chances on someone else's problem."

And I retort, "Yes, you do know the history and your vehicle is broken. That's why you're repairing it. And are you really sure you know your car that well? Are you a mechanic?"

In your case, these are maintenance items and not repair, so not quite the same thing. However, given you have a teenager to hand down the vehicle, then the maintenance is definitely a good idea. It all likelihood, they will add a few dents and scratches as they learn to drive anyway. Better to learn on a 15 year old car. The stress savings of knowing your child will drive in a vehicle that you trust and you will only have to decide on adding one more vehicle instead of adding and replacing two vehicles is worth something.

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