When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

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rashad3000
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When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by rashad3000 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:42 pm

I just had $1692 worth of work done to my 2003 Honda Pilot. I had to get new rear brakes and I had to replace the ignition lock and all other locks (in addition to getting a new key fob). I called around and this was about $200 less than everyone else.

Upon inspection, the service manager said I also had a couple of leaks, which were kind of expected with a vehicle that age. He said one would be $1600 to fix and the other $1500 to fix. I told him that I wouldn't put that much money into a car that age. He said he agreed with me. He told me that I should be able to get to 300,000 miles without fixing any of those problems (I'm currently at 223,000 and drive about 6,000 - 7,000 miles per year). I would honestly be happy to get 5 more good years out of the Pilot. It runs great and has been very dependable.

Before spending $1700 on the repairs, I almost bought a 2008 Honda CRV for $7000. Part of me thought it made more sense to just get something newer and pay a $5300 difference. At the same time, I figured that if I threw the $1700 into the Pilot and I am lucky and don't have any major issues in the near future, I come out in a good situation.

I guess it is time for me to start contributing to a sinking fund to replace this vehicle. I'll literally drive this until there is a repair that is over another $1000. Then I will look at paying cash for something 5-8 years old.

What's your criteria on when you stop fixing a car and buy another one?

delamer
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by delamer » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:55 pm

First, I would not drive a 15 year old vehicle. There have been too many safety improvements in the intervening years.

When I have had to make a similar decision, I always check the value of the vehicle as a trade-in. If the vehicle is worth $8,000, I’d probably do a $1,000 repair. If the vehicle is only worth $3,500, I would sell.

onourway
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by onourway » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:57 pm

I tend to take the long view with vehicle repairs. If you've spent $1600 this year, but nothing for the past couple of years, you are way ahead. If you will spend another $1500 on this vehicle, but that makes it last another 3 years, that's a great deal. I generally assume that keeping a vehicle running will cost about $100/month amortized over the life of the vehicle.

Nissanzx1
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Nissanzx1 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:00 pm

About 1.5 years ago I put $3600 into my Honda Element that had a book value of about $3600. I looked at several factors such as: cost of a similar 4x4 vehicle, cost of sales tax (9.25% here), the fact that I have religiously maintained this one and who knows about the used one I would be buying... that and I only had about $4000 in cash at the time for vehicle fund. Decision was easy for me.

sschoe2
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by sschoe2 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:00 pm

When you start triaging problems and ignoring some it is time. I would plan on replacing it soon as the next major problem and it is gone.

treypar
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by treypar » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:05 pm

I purchase my cars new and then hold them for ten years. This strategy has worked well for me so far since trade in values have been good. I get benefit of the new technology on the new car and have avoided the major repairs on my old car. I typically purchase Honda or Acura cars.

rashad3000
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by rashad3000 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:06 pm

Thanks for the replies so far.

I want to add:

1. I just got tires over the summer and paid $400. I previously replaced them 3 years earlier.
2. I pay for oil changes 2-3 times a year.
3. I paid about $450 last year to replace the timing belt.

So even factoring in the $1700 repair, it has been relatively cheap to operate. I paid $6500 OTD in October 2011. It has been a real blessing for me.

rashad3000
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by rashad3000 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:08 pm

treypar wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:05 pm
I purchase my cars new and then hold them for ten years. This strategy has worked well for me so far since trade in values have been good. I get benefit of the new technology on the new car and have avoided the major repairs on my old car. I typically purchase Honda or Acura cars.
Many people don't think it makes sense to buy new, but I like your strategy! Maybe I will look at doing this in the near future. Or even buying a 2 year old vehicle, driving it for 8, then selling.

delamer
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by delamer » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:12 pm

rashad3000 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:06 pm
Thanks for the replies so far.

I want to add:

1. I just got tires over the summer and paid $400. I previously replaced them 3 years earlier.
2. I pay for oil changes 2-3 times a year.
3. I paid about $450 last year to replace the timing belt.

So even factoring in the $1700 repair, it has been relatively cheap to operate. I paid $6500 OTD in October 2011. It has been a real blessing for me.
Out of curiosity, I checked the value of your vehicle as a trade in at edmunds.com, assuming average condition (and using my zipcode).

It is worth $145 as a trade-in. If you sold it to a private party, you’d get $744.

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vineviz
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by vineviz » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:19 pm

onourway wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:57 pm
I tend to take the long view with vehicle repairs. If you've spent $1600 this year, but nothing for the past couple of years, you are way ahead. If you will spend another $1500 on this vehicle, but that makes it last another 3 years, that's a great deal. I generally assume that keeping a vehicle running will cost about $100/month amortized over the life of the vehicle.
I tend to look at it this way too.

I do my best to estimate how many months each repair is likely to "buy" me, especially maintenance that is due to nothing but wear (brakes, a/c refrigerant, cooling system, etc). I recently put $1,300 into my 1994 Honda without batting an eye because the car runs great, has been well-maintained, and is likely to give me another 10-15 years on top of the 24 years it's already given me.
"Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections than has been lost in corrections themselves." ~~ Peter Lynch

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bottlecap
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by bottlecap » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:53 pm

Generally, don't fix small leaks. Certainly not for $1,500 a pop. If you are tempted to do these things that dealers tell you, stop taking it to dealers.

To drive an old car, you've got to become savvy about these things. Otherwise replace every 10 years. Or lease.

JT

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:20 pm

I had the old Bronco into the shop the other day. I had a little list of things that "weren't right". I've had it a long time and am in tune with its moods. As I suspected, the front end situation was more serious than alignment needed. Upper and lower ball-joints. That'll be about $900. Ah well. I'm still considering the driver's side window. They say it's missing some teeth off the gear and would need a new regulator. It stays up just fine, so I've been living with a window that won't roll down. I'll keep thinking about it.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

A440
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by A440 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:30 pm

I told my teen son to "roll down the window" the other day and he gave me a confused look. :D

Mike Scott
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:42 pm

Drive it until it needs another major repair then let it go. Be thinking about how to replace it. It may be soon or several more years depending on what goes next. The price of new cars can be so close to the price of a lightly used car that it does not always make a lot of sense to buy used. Buy new and expect 10-20 years use if everything goes well.

blevine
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by blevine » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:17 pm

treypar wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:05 pm
I purchase my cars new and then hold them for ten years. This strategy has worked well for me so far since trade in values have been good. I get benefit of the new technology on the new car and have avoided the major repairs on my old car.
+1

MathWizard
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by MathWizard » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:20 pm

My strategy has evolved over time.

From college thru grad school, anything that would get me from point A to B, all repairs myself, even in a parking lot or in the driveway in the snow.

Just out of grad school married and infant son along, 13 yes old car gave troubles after dark along a lonely stretch of rural interstate, car would only do 45. Trying to limp home, front tire blew. Radio had just announced 25 below 0, 70 below winchill.
This was pre cellphones, and it would have been a several mile walk to the nearest warm building.

The spare was half flat and I was coming around to tell my wife what was going on when the only other car on the road was a patrolman who stopped to ask if we needed a ride. Somebody was looking out for us.

Traded up really soon after that.

Now the criteria is "would I trust the car to be out in conditions like that."

I do have a 15 yr old car that I drive locally, but just traded up to a 2 year old car that we use for long trips.

rashad3000
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by rashad3000 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:21 pm

My dream car is the Land Cruiser. I see some 20 year old Land Cruisers for $20,000.

Maybe in a few years, I will get a new one for around $80,000 and drive it for 20 years. Evidently, they must be really solid vehicles.

runner3081
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by runner3081 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:12 pm

I think you should hold onto the car. You have to remember, only part of your cost was for a repair, brakes are maintenance.

That 2008 CRV is likely going to need maintenance (brakes, tires, etc) in the near future as well.

Stick it out until a >$2K cost comes up and is required to fix.

TheAccountant
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by TheAccountant » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:20 pm

You need to track your costs per mile and compare that number against what a new car would cost.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:29 pm

My personal formula combines cost with inconvenience. Sorry, but it is a proprietary formula and very flexible so I can't be more specific.

From the OP, I'm guessing the leaks are from a front seal and a rear seal which I have declined to have replaced on older cars. Haven't had one fail completely yet, so OP may be able to stumble along for quite a while with those issues.

If it were me and if I were satisfied with the performance of the current vehicle (other than potential repair costs), I would start thinking about what my replacement vehicle will be and start preparing myself mentally and financially for the move. Then when the time comes, due either to repair costs or inconvenience, you at least know the direction you will be heading and should be without a functioning vehicle for a shorter period of time.

TheAccountant
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by TheAccountant » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:07 pm

My daily driver has had a leaking (more like weeping) axle seal since it was 1 year old. Replacing it did nothing to fix it.

Just keep the fluids topped off (you should be checking everything regularly anyway) and you’ll be fine.

ragabnh
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by ragabnh » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:10 pm

I have a 1978 Toyota Corolla that runs well enough for me, it has 380k, I have maintained through the years and it was very dependable, I think I can drive it another 20 years and may be to hell or heaven who knows. :sharebeer

Dead Man Walking
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Dead Man Walking » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:40 pm

TheAccountant wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:07 pm
My daily driver has had a leaking (more like weeping) axle seal since it was 1 year old. Replacing it did nothing to fix it.

Just keep the fluids topped off (you should be checking everything regularly anyway) and you’ll be fine.
+1 Over the last 55 years, I've owned several vehicles that leaked fluids - oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, etc. If the fluid leaking is brake fluid, fix it asap. Other fluids are cheaper than the cost of the fixes you mentioned.

DMW

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Watty
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Watty » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:03 pm

rashad3000 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:42 pm
Upon inspection, the service manager said I also had a couple of leaks, which were kind of expected with a vehicle that age. He said one would be $1600 to fix and the other $1500 to fix.
"service manager" sort of sounds like you were having the work done at the dealership.

Independent mechanics will often cost a fraction of what a dealership charges so if you have been taking your car to a dealership then you might want to find an independent mechanics. Combined $3,100 is more like major engine work than a couple of leaks.
delamer wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:55 pm
First, I would not drive a 15 year old vehicle. There have been too many safety improvements in the intervening years.
+1

Does a 2003 even have side airbags and ESC much less like the new safety features?

One advantage of shopping for a replacement care before your old one dies is that you can wait for a fantastic deal and only but the car when you find one. This is especially important when you are shopping for a used car and it may take a while to find a great deal. I have had to buy a replacement car in a hurry and while I like to think I did OK I am sure that I could have gotten a much better deal if I did not need to buy a car within a week or so.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:13 am

rashad3000 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:21 pm
My dream car is the Land Cruiser. I see some 20 year old Land Cruisers for $20,000.

Maybe in a few years, I will get a new one for around $80,000 and drive it for 20 years. Evidently, they must be really solid vehicles.
I have a buddy with two. One is pretty old, early 90s. It's pretty solid BUT parts for it are hard to find and expensive. So when there is something, it might cost 2X-3X more to fix than a similar vehicle with more common parts.

The other one is almost new. He spotted it at a local Toyota dealer where it had been sitting on the lot for months. He kept pinging them on it until he got the price he wanted.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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camillus
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by camillus » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:42 am

rashad3000 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:42 pm
I almost bought a 2008 Honda CRV for $7000
I just wanted to point out that either strategy, keep the old car or buy the less-old car, is a probably a good one from a "cost to own" point of view.

I suppose I would minimize angst about the decision by resolving to start a sinking fund and thinking about 1) what kind of car would suit your situation, and 2) what total purchase price would be reasonable.

When the time comes to buy a used car, you can go to autotrader and the like and zero in on the car that you like with criteria on mileage and age, and you should be able to find a decent deal. Monitoring car websites for months and months is what I typically do, but it is probably not good for me.

Car buying decisions tend to catch people up in emotion and salesmanship and decisions go sideways. I'd spend some time thinking (without looking) at what kind of car would be a good next one.

If you find yourself needing more resolution or worrying, go ahead and get out of the old car.
It's more of a mental threshold than a mechanical one.

sheepla
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by sheepla » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:11 am

Nissanzx1 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:00 pm
About 1.5 years ago I put $3600 into my Honda Element that had a book value of about $3600. I looked at several factors such as: cost of a similar 4x4 vehicle, cost of sales tax (9.25% here), the fact that I have religiously maintained this one and who knows about the used one I would be buying... that and I only had about $4000 in cash at the time for vehicle fund. Decision was easy for me.
Until Honda starts making the Element again (probably never), I'll continue to put money into my 2004 Element. I need it to last me pretty much forever since I've yet to find another vehicle that I am even close to loving as much.

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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by carolinaman » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:41 am

In addition to cost, reliability is an important criteria for me. If I have a vehicle that I cannot trust for a trip or that I am having to do too many repairs, regardless of expense, it is time to replace it. However, some things are just wear and tear like the brakes cited by OP that are required to keep a vehicle in good running order.

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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by workerbeeengineer » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:43 am

carolinaman wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:41 am
In addition to cost, reliability is an important criteria for me. If I have a vehicle that I cannot trust for a trip or that I am having to do too many repairs, regardless of expense, it is time to replace it. However, some things are just wear and tear like the brakes cited by OP that are required to keep a vehicle in good running order.
Agree that reliability is very important. I especially do not want DW or DD to get stuck somewhere, so I drive the oldest vehicle in the fleet. We also have Triple A as a hedge against that happening.

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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 am

rashad3000 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:42 pm
I just had $1692 worth of work done to my 2003 Honda Pilot. I had to get new rear brakes and I had to replace the ignition lock and all other locks (in addition to getting a new key fob). I called around and this was about $200 less than everyone else.

Upon inspection, the service manager said I also had a couple of leaks, which were kind of expected with a vehicle that age. He said one would be $1600 to fix and the other $1500 to fix. I told him that I wouldn't put that much money into a car that age. He said he agreed with me. He told me that I should be able to get to 300,000 miles without fixing any of those problems (I'm currently at 223,000 and drive about 6,000 - 7,000 miles per year). I would honestly be happy to get 5 more good years out of the Pilot. It runs great and has been very dependable.

Before spending $1700 on the repairs, I almost bought a 2008 Honda CRV for $7000. Part of me thought it made more sense to just get something newer and pay a $5300 difference. At the same time, I figured that if I threw the $1700 into the Pilot and I am lucky and don't have any major issues in the near future, I come out in a good situation.

I guess it is time for me to start contributing to a sinking fund to replace this vehicle. I'll literally drive this until there is a repair that is over another $1000. Then I will look at paying cash for something 5-8 years old.

What's your criteria on when you stop fixing a car and buy another one?
There’s a cost of operation and a cost of convenience.

The reality is, where can you buy a new car for $1500/yr. No where. Even if it costs you $2000/yr to keep this car running, it will be cheaper than buying a new $20,000 car.

Then there’s the cost of convenience. If it costs you $1500/yr to keep the car running and it is in the shop at possibly inopportune times for 5-10 days a year, it might not be worth it to you.

When repairs cost more than 50% of the value of the car, I would stop repairing it. For someone who drives as little as you do, you might want to consider leasing a dealer loaner car for very low miles. Leasing isn’t a bad deal if you stay on the low end. You can get a compact car for under $150/mo all in. Now you’re at $1800/yr in payments + perhaps one $50 oil change a year. Sure you likely would have increased insurance since you’ll need collision, but it shouldn’t be much especially on an inexpensive car.

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wabbajack
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by wabbajack » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:56 am

delamer wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:55 pm
First, I would not drive a 15 year old vehicle. There have been too many safety improvements in the intervening years.
+2
What's your net worth compared to the cost of the vehicle? The most dangerous thing most people do every day is driving.

rockonhumblepie
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by rockonhumblepie » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:20 am

I buy 2 to 3 year old truck/car with low miles and keep it 10- 20 years.

Of course my family has named each ride and do own maintenance,fluids,brakes etc.

More of a relationship with the old Ford's.

Any good machine from this century is safe enough for my bunch.Wear it out!

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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by WhiteMaxima » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:25 am

Simple. Assume your cost of operate a new vehicle is $0.1. Then calculate your break even miles when investment in repair used car. lets's say you repair cost is $100. So divide $100/$0.1=1000 miles. This is your break even point. If your number doesn't cover this cost, then time to move on.

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Watty
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Watty » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:29 am

rashad3000 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:42 pm
I almost bought a 2008 Honda CRV for $7000.
.....
What's your criteria on when you stop fixing a car and buy another one?
I would have been the guy selling you the 11 year old CRV for $7,000 even if there was nothing wrong with it.

My general plan is buy new cars that don't depreciate quickly and have good reliability then sell them when they are about ten years old or have maybe 120,000 k miles. With a car like a Honda or Toyota you stand a good chance of not needing much non-routine maintenance over that time frame.

Back in 2008 I would guess that you could have bought the CRV new for around $20,000 depending on the options. Unless you got unlucky you would have little non-routine maintenance in the first 11 years. That means that in 11 years you would have had $13,000 in depreciation and maybe $1,000 in non-routine maintenance. $14,000/11 years = $1,273 a year in depreciation and non-routine maintenance. That is $106 per month.

You would have also had operating costs and routine maintenance but you would have had that with any car. Some things like insurance will cost more with a newer car but the new cars also tend to get better gas mileage which would somewhat offset that.

The kicker is if the person with the 2008 CRV kept it then it would still be depreciating maybe $1000 a year and would likely start needing more non-routine maintenance so their monthly cost of ownership could actually be higher.

Unless you enjoy working on cars and can do most of the maintenance yourself it gets hard to justify keeping an older car while it still has a good resale value.

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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:43 am

delamer wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:55 pm
First, I would not drive a 15 year old vehicle. There have been too many safety improvements in the intervening years.

When I have had to make a similar decision, I always check the value of the vehicle as a trade-in. If the vehicle is worth $8,000, I’d probably do a $1,000 repair. If the vehicle is only worth $3,500, I would sell.
Safety improvements? If the older car has airbags, ABS and seat belts that's already fairly "safe." Backup cameras and bluetooth are nice but not must-have. Collision detection systems are becoming common but I don't think I'd splurge on a new vehicle just to get those.

Anyway OP, "leaks" are very often reported and are just an excuse for the dealership to make some money. Are there puddles in your garage? I'd keep topping off the fluids and keep driving that vehicle.

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willthrill81
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by willthrill81 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:47 am

treypar wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:05 pm
I purchase my cars new and then hold them for ten years. This strategy has worked well for me so far since trade in values have been good. I get benefit of the new technology on the new car and have avoided the major repairs on my old car. I typically purchase Honda or Acura cars.
We did this earlier this year too. We bought a new Buick Encore (love it BTW) and plan to keep it for at least ten years. That comes to a purchase cost of under $2k annually, which is pretty cheap driving.

We bought a 2001 Ford Focus used and drove it for over ten years. That came to a purchase cost of under $1k annually. And it was perfectly reliable. :D
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Jazztonight » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:53 am

ragabnh wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:10 pm
I have a 1978 Toyota Corolla that runs well enough for me, it has 380k, I have maintained through the years and it was very dependable, I think I can drive it another 20 years and may be to hell or heaven who knows. :sharebeer
I can't one-up you on this, but I'll just say that I drive a 2001 Toyota Camry with 135,500 miles. It is the best car I've ever owned, and I'll drive it until either it or I dies. And at almost 72, I would not put money on myself in this race 8-)

I've maintained the car religiously, including the body, and have told my wife more than once that I'd replace the engine if I had to.

That said, I only drive about 1,000 miles a year at this point and have a feeling this will be the last car I'll ever own (I live where there is decent public transportation; I can still walk; and there's Lyft, Uber, and rental cars when I need them).
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:57 am

Do it the old fashioned way. Save some money and when you have enough saved, buy a different car.

A 2003 Pilot probably has served you well.

If the old fashioned way is hard, keep driving it. I see a lot of 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s vehicles on the roads.
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Travel1013 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:22 am

ragabnh wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:10 pm
I have a 1978 Toyota Corolla that runs well enough for me, it has 380k, I have maintained through the years and it was very dependable, I think I can drive it another 20 years and may be to hell or heaven who knows. :sharebeer

LOL ...certainly easier to roll down hill than push up hill... 8-)

Incidentally, have driven a Land Crusier for 18 years only making consumable repairs - acquaintance has one with 475K miles!

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fire5soon
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by fire5soon » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:31 am

If you're going to drive an older vehicle you really need to learn how to work on them. I don't mean become an ASE certified mechanic... but learn how to perform routine maintenance and how to inspect it.

My daily driver is 14 years old and not worth all that much. I enjoy working on cars though. My current vehicle has needed several repairs over the years which would not have been financially worth it if I was paying someone else to do it, but is definitely worth it if I'm doing it myself. For example my a/c compressor died about 2 years ago. Cost for someone else to repair is about $1,500 but I did it myself for about $250. I'm by no means a mechanic, but I'm willing to give just about any repair a shot. Even if you're a beginner, there are usually message boards for just about every make & model out there where you can find info specific to your vehicle. YouTube can also be a big help (even if it's to see how not to make a repair :mrgreen: )

Having some auto knowledge can also help even if you don't plan on making repairs yourself. One time I took my car in to get new tires. The tech said I needed new spark plugs for a cost of $400 (you have to remove the upper intake manifold to access the back three plugs). I asked the service advisor why I needed new spark plugs when I had just replaced them myself less than 10k miles ago. The service manager fumbled for a second and said it was just recommended based on mileage. Uh huh... :oops: You will often see service recommendations which don't really need to be made. I'm certainly not saying all mechanics are bad guys. I'm friends with many who are honest, hard working people. My point is if you have an idea of what makes your car tick you might not fall victim to an unnecessary repair recommendation.

Good luck no matter what you do!
A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do. - Bob Dylan

Twood
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Twood » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:42 am

No answer for you (my daily is ~20 years old), but FYI that soft parts like gaskets are on a time (rather than mileage) replacement cycle. After around every 10 years, the rubber just ages out. But I consider that maintenance and am fine with just having replaced all the gaskets and belts within the past year, I like my car and prefer to keep it. So just another expected cost to be keeping in mind as you weigh your decisions.

4th and Inches
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by 4th and Inches » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:24 pm

Does anybody have reliable information that really quantifies how much safer newer cars are compared to older cars? I hear newer vehicles are safer and believe it, but how much safer are they?

For example we have a 2000 Honda Civic. How would you quantify how much safer a 2019 Civic is compared to a 2000? If you scroll down to the other model years you can see that for 2000 most safety things don't appear to have been measured at all. The probably gets even trickier when trying to compare a 2000 to say a 2015 BMW 328i XDrive.

https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehic ... print-view

Edit: While not down to specific makes and models it does look like newer vehicles are progressively getting safer overall.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzela ... e5c0c52104

Specifically, here’s how NHTSA’s data breaks down the frequency of fatalities in crashes by model year:

1984 and earlier: 55%
1985-1992: 53%
1993-1997: 46%
1997-2002: 42%
2003-2007: 36%
2008-2012: 31%
2013-2017: 26%

golfer292
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by golfer292 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:38 pm

All the comments are interesting. I own a 2003 Deville with 100 k miles. It has oil and trans minor leaks. Has anyone tried using high mileage oil and or stop leak to stop or slow the leaks? I think the car is in good shape other than the leaks. I have estimates from dealer and neighborhood shop to fix leaks. It would cost $5k at dealer and $3k at local shop to fix leaks.

ClemsonBogle
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by ClemsonBogle » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:40 pm

If you get a list of what is being repaired vs what is "leaking" maybe that will add some clarity. Rear main is a nasty expensive leak to fix and shouldn't be done unless you need to replace tranny. Also leaking oil is different than leaking coolant etc.
I will say that if you know a little about cars then older cars are much easier.

AKA you said you had a timing belt done, i hope they did the water pump at the same time and front seals and maybe intake gaskets....etc. Cause parts for cars are not that much. Its labor so combining jobs that require no additional labor can be quite frugal.

Your 2003 pilot has the same basic engine as a 2016 and layout etc. 3.5v6 same as a honda minivan too. Even if you had to buy a junk yard engine out of a MUCH newer vehicle with transmission you could do it for less than 2000. Almost always cheaper to repair than replace.

The locks all went bad? That seems like something else BY the way? That isnt wear and Tear?

Bottom line i usually buy high mileage super depreciated as new as i can get cars made by Honda. I have bought accords with 190K and even 210K to drive for a few years and sell for the same that i paid for or more.
I currently drive a 2013 accord with 110K on it bought with 94K 29 months ago for 10K. I expect i could sell it for around the same price today. My goal is to by a 2018 in 20 months for around 13 sell mine for 8 and repeat.

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dm200
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by dm200 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:51 pm

Back when I was employed (needed car to get to work) and had child(ren), we had a family minivan for wife and trips. We kept one for 18 years and 170,000 miles. Questions:
1. Is the vehicle still safe?
2. Can we (especially my wife) deal with more frequent repairs/maintenance?
3. Is my wife happy keeping the car?
4. Compare cost of repair with number of months of equivalent car payment for new vehicle?

Tamales
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Tamales » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:59 pm

You have to first identify a suitable replacement and what it would cost (including insurance costs) before you can make any comparisons or decisions.
If you can't afford the replacement then your decision is made.
If you can afford it, then list pros and cons for each side of the decision, assign some weight to them, and go with the winner.
Many of the pros and cons are speculative, like predicting future repair costs of the old vehicle, or touchy-feely things like assigning a value to improved safety features, or just feeling like it's time for a new vehicle even if you don't need one. You'll figure out which way you're leaning by the way you weight the different pros and cons.

TheOscarGuy
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:01 pm

delamer wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:55 pm
First, I would not drive a 15 year old vehicle. There have been too many safety improvements in the intervening years.
This! I would not drive a car that old, and would probably replace a vehicle that is say 10 or so years old with newer. I worry that even though the vehicle may be reliable I'll miss out on new safety features.

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dm200
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by dm200 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:07 pm

TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:01 pm
delamer wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:55 pm
First, I would not drive a 15 year old vehicle. There have been too many safety improvements in the intervening years.
This! I would not drive a car that old, and would probably replace a vehicle that is say 10 or so years old with newer. I worry that even though the vehicle may be reliable I'll miss out on new safety features.
Regarding safety issues, two questions:
1. For those of us who have been driving without the latest and greatest safety features for many decades, are they as important for us?
2. Objectively, if you compare "safety" of a mid 1960's car to mid 1990's car - is there more of an improvement than from a mid 1990's car to current? [My seat of the pants guess is that the delta improvement in recent years is less]

DW and I each drive 15-20 model year old Toyota Camrys. I feel very safe, as does my wife.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:11 pm

I'd agree with fire5soon but do understand that some people don't have a place to do car repairs. At the very least, I'd recommend going someplace where they don't have a service manager. You've already overpaid for services. When you replace the ignition on an 03 Honda, why did you need to replace anything else. A good general first question for any recommendation of a service place is "What happens if I don't fix this?". So with something like a small valve cover gasket leak, the answer very well may be that you use an extra quart of oil a year. Well.....big deal. Spend the $4 on the extra quart instead of thousands on a fix.
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Conch55
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Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Post by Conch55 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:16 pm

This! I would not drive a car that old, and would probably replace a vehicle that is say 10 or so years old with newer. I worry that even though the vehicle may be reliable I'll miss out on new safety features.
I have a 2003 vehicle too and am facing a repair issue which might be costly. I don't consider my older vehicle unsafe, I've been driving it since it was new with no problems. Since I'm retired I put about 5000 miles a year on it, mostly around town or trips of 250 miles or shorter. My hesitation with owning new/newer vehicles is my state charges personal property tax on the assessed value of the vehicle which can be substantial. My older model is much more reasonable than a newer equivalent. That will influence my repair/replace decision.

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