Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

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Jeep4Life
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Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Jeep4Life » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:36 am

I just accepted a consulting position about 250 miles from my home. The contract says they will pay mileage plus per diem for the nights I spend over there, limited to ~20 hours a week on-site. From the job site to the nearest acceptable hotel is about 40 miles, so I am estimating about 660 miles per week minimum. I just sold the last "commuter" car I owned, took a big hit in the value because of the high mileage after 5 years. So now I am considering just renting cars to drive over to the job site, and keeping the mileage off my personal vehicle, and not buying another "throw-away" car just for commuting. If I get a rental for about $250 for each week, I will get about $400 just for the mileage costs. This also means I don't have to pay license, maintenance, and insurance costs, based on my experience with the last commuter car. Does any BH have input for good or bad for this idea? TIA

123
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by 123 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:44 am

It seems practically to get started going the rental route for a vehicle for the assignment. After a few weeks or months you can re-evaluate to see if the initial expectations have held up. Hopefully you can always get a reliable rental and don't get stuck with any of those "Ugly Duckling" chains that used to limit you to a 50 - 75 mile radius of their location.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

Topic Author
Jeep4Life
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Jeep4Life » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:47 am

123,
I would have to get one that has the unlimited mileage option for the distances I will be driving each week, but I will follow your advice and stick to the major brands. More $$ upfront means less #@&t afterward if anything goes wrong with the vehicle, IMHO.

DoTheMath
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by DoTheMath » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:33 am

If you do go the rental route, I'd talk with the rental companies with locations in your area and ask them about providing bids. I would think if you committed to renting a car every week on a set schedule they should be able to give you a better price than you'd get by just renting off the street. At least it would give you a baseline to compare against renting in the open market to see which would be the better option. Your situation reminded me of an article I once read about Silicon Valley tech workers who live in Boise, Idaho for cost of living reasons and fly back and forth each week. The airline offered package deals if you were willing to commit to some number of flights upfront. Your situation seems like the automotive equivalent.
“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains...” -- John Muir

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:48 am

You sound like you got rid of your "commuter" car but still have another. From your user name, can I assume you have a Jeep still? I mean, unless we're talking about a CJ running 1 ton axles, a 4.56 axle ratio and 42's, why not just commute in the Jeep? As a Wrangler JKU owner running 295-70-17 Dick Cepecs offroad, I've got another set of wheels with the stock Wrangler tires on them and when I'm going to be driving the Jeep a lot, I'll swap them over. By the way, I got those off craigslist....5 alloys with tires for $200.

What you have to think about is the fact that if you own a vehicle, the things that you're paying for.....about 1/3 each are depreciation (both time and mileage), insurance and gas. You still pay insurance even if you're renting and figure half the depreciation is time and you're not avoiding that. So we're talking about only saving half the cost by not driving your existing vehicle.

I'd drive my own vehicle rather than a rental. I think in the end, you come out ahead.
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corn18
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by corn18 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:20 am

For 2 1/2 years, I drove 240 miles up to work on Monday and 240 miles back on Friday (plus mileage while on location). Bought a commuter car (Acura TLX) and put 65,000 miles on it. I got paid $35,000 for all those miles. So any loss of value due to high miles is more than offset by the money they paid me to put them on the car.

I have moved on and do not commute like this anymore. But now I have a 3 year old sedan with 67,000 miles on it that should last me another 10 years. I paid $40,000 out the door for the car. The company paid me $35,000. That's a good deal.

So, for the OP, do the math and I think you'll find that the diminished resale value may be offset by the money they pay you.
Don't do something, just stand there!

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sunny_socal
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by sunny_socal » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:21 am

I'd just drive my own car if I'm getting paid for doing so. Miles don't hurt a car at all. Having it sit in your driveway and then driving it after 1-2w hurts it more (lack of lubrication, tires get hard, battery suffers, belts get brittle.)

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dm200
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by dm200 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:31 am

Jeep4Life wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:36 am
I just accepted a consulting position about 250 miles from my home. The contract says they will pay mileage plus per diem for the nights I spend over there, limited to ~20 hours a week on-site. From the job site to the nearest acceptable hotel is about 40 miles, so I am estimating about 660 miles per week minimum. I just sold the last "commuter" car I owned, took a big hit in the value because of the high mileage after 5 years. So now I am considering just renting cars to drive over to the job site, and keeping the mileage off my personal vehicle, and not buying another "throw-away" car just for commuting. If I get a rental for about $250 for each week, I will get about $400 just for the mileage costs. This also means I don't have to pay license, maintenance, and insurance costs, based on my experience with the last commuter car. Does any BH have input for good or bad for this idea? TIA
That is a lot of driving. Have you looked for other acceptable housing options, such as airbnb or short term apartment or house sharing?

SmallCityDave
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by SmallCityDave » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:34 am

Jeep4Life wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:36 am
I just accepted a consulting position about 250 miles from my home. The contract says they will pay mileage plus per diem for the nights I spend over there, limited to ~20 hours a week on-site. From the job site to the nearest acceptable hotel is about 40 miles, so I am estimating about 660 miles per week minimum. I just sold the last "commuter" car I owned, took a big hit in the value because of the high mileage after 5 years. So now I am considering just renting cars to drive over to the job site, and keeping the mileage off my personal vehicle, and not buying another "throw-away" car just for commuting. If I get a rental for about $250 for each week, I will get about $400 just for the mileage costs. This also means I don't have to pay license, maintenance, and insurance costs, based on my experience with the last commuter car. Does any BH have input for good or bad for this idea? TIA
So you will drive about 32,000 miles per year and they pay $.58 per mile = $18560?

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sunny_socal
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by sunny_socal » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:46 am

SmallCityDave wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:34 am
Jeep4Life wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:36 am
I just accepted a consulting position about 250 miles from my home. The contract says they will pay mileage plus per diem for the nights I spend over there, limited to ~20 hours a week on-site. From the job site to the nearest acceptable hotel is about 40 miles, so I am estimating about 660 miles per week minimum. I just sold the last "commuter" car I owned, took a big hit in the value because of the high mileage after 5 years. So now I am considering just renting cars to drive over to the job site, and keeping the mileage off my personal vehicle, and not buying another "throw-away" car just for commuting. If I get a rental for about $250 for each week, I will get about $400 just for the mileage costs. This also means I don't have to pay license, maintenance, and insurance costs, based on my experience with the last commuter car. Does any BH have input for good or bad for this idea? TIA
So you will drive about 32,000 miles per year and they pay $.58 per mile = $18560?
Sounds like a pay raise to me

boomer_techie
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by boomer_techie » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:09 pm

sunny_socal wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:46 am
Sounds like a pay raise to me
32000 miles / 40 MPH average = 800 hours of driving. $18.4K / 800 hours = $23 an hour. And the OP has to pay for fuel out of that.

Sounds like a below minimum wage gig...

Topic Author
Jeep4Life
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Jeep4Life » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:22 pm

Do The Math,
Thanks for a great idea I hadn't heard of. I will look into it to see if I can get a "block" rate for setting up a regular schedule of picking the car up and dropping it off every week for a several months. I will post results once this starts going....

Topic Author
Jeep4Life
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Jeep4Life » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:30 pm

Jack FFR1846,
So I sold my 1992 Jeep Wrangler, manual trans with 4.0L straight 6 last year, the DW still drives her 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The last commuter car was a 2014 Mustang convertible with the V-6, great mileage on the highway and a great time driving it, though it sucked when paying insurance. I also sold my 2003 F-150, and combined the two sold vehicles into one newer one, a 2014 4X4 F-150. The V-8 engine is great in it, except for the mileage while driving long distances. Another poster mentioned they bought an Acura TLX, I don't fit well in the smaller cars, and getting out of the Mustang was getting problematic on the days my back was acting up. I like the idea of getting rims from Craig's List so cheap, you scored big time!

Topic Author
Jeep4Life
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Jeep4Life » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:33 pm

dm200,
Thanks, but it is a remote location, nothing closer than the 40 miles. Big desert out there, full of nothing, so that is why things are being done there.

SmallCityDave
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by SmallCityDave » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:55 am

Jeep4Life wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:33 pm
dm200,
Thanks, but it is a remote location, nothing closer than the 40 miles. Big desert out there, full of nothing, so that is why things are being done there.
So you will drive about 32,000 miles per year and they pay $.58 per mile = $18560?

Teague
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Teague » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:06 pm

sunny_socal wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:21 am
I'd just drive my own car if I'm getting paid for doing so. Miles don't hurt a car at all. Having it sit in your driveway and then driving it after 1-2w hurts it more (lack of lubrication, tires get hard, battery suffers, belts get brittle.)
I disagree. This suggests that a car with lower mileage would be worth less than an identical car with higher mileage. Which is of course not the case.

The only part that makes sense to me is the battery part, but that's easily headed off with a battery tender.
Semper Augustus

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wabbajack
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by wabbajack » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:37 pm

Jeep4Life wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:30 pm
2014 4X4 F-150.
You have a Raptor?
Seems like this is the ideal vehicle to be taking out on long drives in the desert. MPG would suck, but consider that it's going to be more comfortable than a rental. Based on the $18k figure some other poster calculated, I'd try to work out the difference in cost between driving your truck vs rental and gas. I suspect driving the truck will be slightly more expensive, but the convenience factor might outweigh that.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:38 pm

Good new info, Jeep4Life.

I'm more and more convinced you're going to be better off driving your own F-150. Renting a "reasonable" car is not going to be the $19.99 a day thing. I'd think the cheapest way to go might be a mini van and probably at least $45 a day. Whether you use your car or a rental, you're paying for gas. Whether you drive your car or a rental, you're driving the same number of hours. Your truck suits you.....it would be silly going in and the rental place saying they don't have anything bigger than a Hyundai Elantra and you get stuck for a week (reservations mean zero with respect to holding a car). Sure, the 4x4 doesn't get great mileage, but gas is still pretty cheap and they're paying you a ton of money to drive. When this gig finishes, your truck will have some miles on it. Big deal. If it really bothered you, you could trade up to a newer truck.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

Topic Author
Jeep4Life
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Re: Rent a car or buy a throw-away?

Post by Jeep4Life » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:52 pm

Jack FFR1846,
I'm going to have to run the numbers again, but it seems the F-150 will cost a lot more for gas than renting a ~Ford Escape-type vehicle. The idea of driving my F-150 is VERY appealing, so I will check it out. Thanks for opening that conversation, this is why I posted to the BH forum.

Wabbajack,
Not a Raptor, XLT with some upgrades to make it really nice in and out, more like a Lariat or KR. Didn't plan on being called back to work when I sold the previous vehicles, so just trying to figure out the best path forward from a BH point of view.

Boomer_Techie
The hourly rate is three digits, plus mileage and per diem, so not a pay cut. Thanks for talking about real numbers, but I think I am ahead in this one.

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