How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

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softwaregeek
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How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by softwaregeek »

I have an older 2005 Camry. It's starting to get a number of issues, and recently I paid about $900 to have an evap cylinder replaced. I've probably put several thousand dollars into it into the past couple of years. I did buy new tires and brake pads but it probably could use another thousand or two of wear items like shocks and struts. I've also done the radiator, the AC, and I think the oxygen sensors.

At what point do I give up on the car? I estimate that the car is probably worth just a few thousand dollars. But it runs very well.,
DarkHelmetII
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by DarkHelmetII »

My 2 cents:

If a beater car for occasionally putsing around town, keep it. If you're commuting 40 miles a day get a new car.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

My "rule of thumb" for my 19 year old vehicle is that if the repair expenses are more than one year of car payments, I will get a new vehicle. Over the years, my expenses have not met that criteria, some years there are no expenses other than an oil change, one year I needed a new AC compressor, new rotors which a friend put in.

New tires, brake pads are normal wear and tear. Its a toss up really.
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simplesimon
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by simplesimon »

I just spent $3k to fix my 2008 Subaru Outback (leaking head gasket, new transmission lines, and front control arms) and was thinking the same question last week.

I don't expect to drive more than 5,000 miles per year going forward and believe that the alternatives are a more expensive car, a car with more unknowns, or both.
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Cyclesafe
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by Cyclesafe »

Few buyers would look at a car that has significant issues. In my experience, its better to sell a car before these issues manifest. IOW's if I have even a feeling that a major problem might be occurring in the near future, but have no actual knowledge that this is the case, I would sell the car with all nothing but honest objective caveats about its condition. If there is knowledge, its too late. I'd either scrap the car or fix it, starting the cycle of angst once more.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by abuss368 »

We just went through this. 12 year old Hyundai Santa Fe which was an awesome and excellent car over the life of it. Last two years it started. Could not get out of dealership for less than $800 - $2,000 each time. Things just went wrong.

One will hear a lot about how cars go 150,000 and more miles today (and a lot do). But you never hear how much is put into them to get there. I have talked to many mechanics (including my neighbor who is a mechanic) and they have all said that.

We were planning to keep (before the maintenance issues) for our daughter to use as a first car.

In hindsight, when looking back at how much we put into it during the last couple of years, we probably have 1 - 2 years of equivalent loan payments for our new car. Made no sense.

The other part that really opened my eyes which I was not appreciating as much was the difference in safety. Cars are so much better today in terms of safety. For my family, I can not put a price tag on that.

I was happy to trade in the 12 year old vehicle.
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bottlecap
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by bottlecap »

This is a personal thing. As noted by some posts above, some people are loathe to put a couple grand into a car to fix it and would rather spend 20 to 40 grand on a new vehicle.

If I like the vehicle and it otherwise runs well, spending a little money on it is nothing. I shoot to get 10 cents per mile out of any repair.

Maintenance and tires doesn’t really count for this. It sounds to me that you don’t even really know what needs replacing on your car. If you have an honest mechanic, find out and then decide what you have the stomach for.

JT
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

To a large degree, this depends on the space and ability one has for DIY repairs and maintenance. If you're paying someone $100 an hour to do routine maintenance, then you'd value a newer car more than someone (like me) who pays nothing and does the work himself. Tires still wear out and brakes need replacing in both cases. It's just a matter of what it costs to do these things.
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Watty
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by Watty »

softwaregeek wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:39 am At what point do I give up on the car? I estimate that the car is probably worth just a few thousand dollars. But it runs very well.,
Keeping a car that is more than 15 years old probably works best when you can do most of the maintenance yourself. If you can't do many car repairs yourself then it gets really hard to justify keeping them longer than that.

One advantage of replacing a car before your have to is that you can take your time and find a great deal on your next car. If you are looking at buying new then you can wait until there are good incentives and a dealership is willing to deal. If you are looking at buying used you can wait until you find a gem since there is a lot of overpriced junk out there.

I have had to buy a replacement car in less than two weeks and that is not a good way to get a great deal. When I did that the supply of new cars I wanted was low so there were not good deals on new cars. I was working so I did not have a lot of time to go look at a lot of used cars either. I ended up buying a Camry from a Hertz used car lot and it actually worked out well for me but I am sure that if I could have taken several months to car shop I could have gotten a better deal.

Depending on what type of car you are looking at buying you can likely save a thousand dollars or more by buying your next car when you can find a great deal. Between getting a few thousand dollars by selling your current are and getting a good price on your next car it might make sense to replace when you can find a great deal.

Here is a post where I outlined my car ownership strategy a few days ago.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=306250&p=5073025&#p5073025

Since I plan on replacing my car when it is around 10 years old I start watching for great deals when it is about 9 years old. If I need to I will wait for a great deal up to three years when my current car would be 11 years old.

I would start car shopping now and replace it if you can find a great deal.

Here is a post I did about my experience with getting a good deal by buying one on the internet that you might find useful if you are thinking of buying a new car.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=239526&p=3746230
softwaregeek wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:39 am I have an older 2005 Camry.
One thing to watch out for is that they generally make cars larger over the years. I bought a 2018 Corolla two years ago that is almost the same size as an early 2000s Camry that I had. If you are happy with your current Camry then it would be good to at least look at cars like the Corolla or Civic that you might think of as being a smaller car.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by tdmp »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:43 am My "rule of thumb" for my 19 year old vehicle is that if the repair expenses are more than one year of car payments, I will get a new vehicle. Over the years, my expenses have not met that criteria, some years there are no expenses other than an oil change, one year I needed a new AC compressor, new rotors which a friend put in.

New tires, brake pads are normal wear and tear. Its a toss up really.
I like this “Rule of thumb”.
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JoMoney
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by JoMoney »

The rule of thumb, is ditch the car if the cost to fix it is 50% of the replacement value.
If fixing it won't allow you to sell the item (either to someone else, or what you'd be willing to pay for it) and recoup the cost of fixing it, it's not worth fixing.

Even broken cars have some salvage value, so even the 50% mark might be high, since you could sell the car broken and buy a similar working replacement, and be better than break-even than fixing and selling.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by panhead »

bottlecap wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:34 am If I like the vehicle and it otherwise runs well, spending a little money on it is nothing. I shoot to get 10 cents per mile out of any repair.
JT
Interestingly enough I use the same metric! I also try to stick to this metric with purchase price of a vehicle, ie, if I spend $15,000, I'd like to get 150k miles out of the car. This can be a bit harder to achieve but I am there with the truck I bought in `08.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by Sandtrap »

It might be a good idea to replace the car while it is running decently.

A newer used or new Honda or Toyota or Kia?

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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by mmmodem »

bottlecap wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:34 am This is a personal thing. As noted by some posts above, some people are loathe to put a couple grand into a car to fix it and would rather spend 20 to 40 grand on a new vehicle.

If I like the vehicle and it otherwise runs well, spending a little money on it is nothing. I shoot to get 10 cents per mile out of any repair.
+1
We've put about $4000 into DW's vehicle every year since we've owned it. Most people wouldn't bat an eye about the expense and actually think it's kind of low. That's how much we owe yearly in car payments. Contrarywise, in my older vehicle, I spent ~$800 in a set of new tires, oil change, wipers, and a tail light bulb last year. Both vehicles do the same thing. I know what I prefer to pay for.

Anyway, I use the same formula as the insurance companies use to total your car. If repair/maintenance + value of car as-is > value of repaired vehicle, I would sell. So if $1000 + value of your Camry is greater than a used comparable 2005 Camry, I would sell. In your case, it's probably borderline.

Most of my vehicles are driven to a little under 200k miles before we sell it. It did not take a lot cost to maintain because we purchase reliable vehicles. My formula above hasn't yet allowed me to sell a car. I get rid of cars because I get the itch for a newer one.
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Kenkat
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by Kenkat »

I also have a 2005 Camry. I’ve had a little less repair cost than you have on yours (mine has 140k miles).

In my case, as long as I am spending under around $1000 for non-maintenance items per year, I think it is worth keeping the car as long as it feels safe, drives well and looks ok. When I start approaching $2000/yr., that begins to feel like money better spent on a new vehicle.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by lthenderson »

softwaregeek wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:39 am At what point do I give up on the car? I estimate that the car is probably worth just a few thousand dollars. But it runs very well.,
For me, it has nothing to do with car value. It has everything to do with what the repair costs and the expectation of how many years you will get out of the vehicle if doing said repair. I put in $1600 to repair a $800 vehicle and drove it another six years before selling it for $800. So that particular repair cost me $133 per year that I kept driving it. There is no way in heck a new car would be cheaper than that so it was an excellent deal and well worth it even though it cost me two times what the car was valued at.

This "rule" of percentage of total value came about back when cars were notoriously unreliable and parts of them were always breaking down. These days, even cars that consumer reports labels as bad buys are still factors better than cars back then.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by furwut »

DarkHelmetII wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:39 am My 2 cents:

If a beater car for occasionally putsing around town, keep it. If you're commuting 40 miles a day get a new car.
+1. For me, it was weighing the inconvenience of a breakdown versus the cost of a new car. Definitely would not want to travel with a car I wasn’t confident of mechanically.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by neilpilot »

tdmp wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:52 am
Mr. Rumples wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:43 am My "rule of thumb" for my 19 year old vehicle is that if the repair expenses are more than one year of car payments, I will get a new vehicle. Over the years, my expenses have not met that criteria, some years there are no expenses other than an oil change, one year I needed a new AC compressor, new rotors which a friend put in.

New tires, brake pads are normal wear and tear. Its a toss up really.
I like this “Rule of thumb”.
Except I suspect many Bogelheads pay cash for their car, so this rule of thumb is meaningless. I know my largest annual car payment over the past 50 years is $0.

BTW the OP's car is a 2005, or 15-16 years old.
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Watty
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by Watty »

Car safety is another factor to consider. ESC became standard equipment in 2012 and they also started doing a new side offset crash test in 2012 and some cars did not do well in the new test so some manufactures made improvements to do better on that test.

There are lots of opinions on how much the safety improvements are worth but you should do your own research on that.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

Maintenance expenses, I am generally ok with unless I let a lot of them pile up at once.

Repair expenses, on the other hand, are a deal-breaker for me if they start climbing unexpectedly. I have no hard and fast rules, but if the repair costs and the inconvenience hit a trigger point with me, I am done. Most vehicles I have purchased new seem to last ~10 years/200,000 miles before they exceed my tolerance.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by jcoll1 »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:43 am My "rule of thumb" for my 19 year old vehicle is that if the repair expenses are more than one year of car payments, I will get a new vehicle. Over the years, my expenses have not met that criteria, some years there are no expenses other than an oil change, one year I needed a new AC compressor, new rotors which a friend put in.

New tires, brake pads are normal wear and tear. Its a toss up really.
As a former shop owner and someone who ran my vehicles into the ground the above advice is hard to beat. You are obviously beyond the point of no return. If you can stand the car for what it is, keep it going using the above parameters. Rust is what will kill that car. When it starts to show signs of structural deterioration it's time to let it go. Don't try to fight the rust, it's a losing battle and you won't win.
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by jcoll1 »

lthenderson wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:39 am
softwaregeek wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:39 am At what point do I give up on the car? I estimate that the car is probably worth just a few thousand dollars. But it runs very well.,
For me, it has nothing to do with car value. It has everything to do with what the repair costs and the expectation of how many years you will get out of the vehicle if doing said repair. I put in $1600 to repair a $800 vehicle and drove it another six years before selling it for $800. So that particular repair cost me $133 per year that I kept driving it. There is no way in heck a new car would be cheaper than that so it was an excellent deal and well worth it even though it cost me two times what the car was valued at.

This "rule" of percentage of total value came about back when cars were notoriously unreliable and parts of them were always breaking down. These days, even cars that consumer reports labels as bad buys are still factors better than cars back then.
You are on point with this assessment. This is IMHO a very sensible way to value your transportation needs.
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softwaregeek
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Re: How much maintenence expense to ditch an older car?

Post by softwaregeek »

neilpilot wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:30 pm
BTW the OP's car is a 2005, or 15-16 years old.
Yeah, I don't do the car payment thing. Everyone else at my company drives a fancy car. They can point and laugh, but it's 100% paid for.
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