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Using a car until it 'dies' Login/Join 
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Picture of konata88
posted
For those of you who use a car until it's basically 'dead' what is your trigger to replace? In the past, I would change cars while the car was still in good shape (< 10 years old, < 100K miles, etc).

When we bought our current cars, we decided we would use them until they 'died' as they were expensive (for us). The ES is 19 years old now - body, interior are still in great shape. Car seems to be operating fine. But having to replace the alternator now when the car has a 'worth' of about $3000 is getting me to think.

I'm fixing this. But wondering what is the typical trigger to just buy new? Keep fixing things until something major breaks (piston rings, transmission, head gasket, etc)?

The alternative is to buy another car but that costs $25K. On one hand, NPV seems better to keep fixing. But then at some point the car will 'die' and I'm spending part of the $25K to keep fixing the car.

Do you guys use some criteria to decide?




"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - B.Franklin
"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it." L.Tolstoy
 
Posts: 7611 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I usually keep my daily driver for 10 years and 125-150k. By that time it’s getting pretty worn and I’m just tired of it. I have no patience for unreliability so it’s just not worth it to me to keep something that starts to need repairs more and more often.
 
Posts: 964 | Registered: January 25, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
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To me it has to be some relatively catastrophic issue that rivals what the car is worth.

It also depends how badly you need a reliable car for work or other purposes. For me, I rarely leave 15 miles from home, so if I break down it’s really no big deal - at the same time I rent a car for long work or personal trips.
 
Posts: 39685 | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lawyers, Guns
and Money
Picture of chellim1
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quote:
I'm fixing this. But wondering what is the typical trigger to just buy new?

I have put a whole lot of miles on several cars.
I had a two-door Acura Legend with a manual transmission that still ran great when I donated it. The clutch went out and small things were nickle/diming me to death.

Another Acura, a 2003 TL-S, needed a new transmission at around 200K miles. I did a cost/benefit analysis and decided to do it. I have a good transmission shop nearby and offered him cash for a good price. That car was junk without the new tranny, but good for at least another 100K miles with it.

I think it all depends on if you still like driving the car or if you're sick of it.


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Posts: 14710 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: April 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of konata88
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Yes, reliability is very important. I will change if I consider the car unreliable. Don't want my wife to be stuck anywhere.

That's probably what is getting me thinking. I think the car is still reliable - engine and transmission don't really show signs of acute failure anytime soon. But I'm wondering if the alternator is a sign. We did do comprehensive tune-up a few years ago. And the tranmission actually was replaced already (at 80K miles? at 130K right now).

If the AC or something expensive fails, seems like it would be better to just change cars. But we want to maximize this expense since cars are so expensive now. We're getting ready for retirement so every penny counts.




"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - B.Franklin
"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it." L.Tolstoy
 
Posts: 7611 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ice age heat wave,
cant complain.
Picture of MikeGLI
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quote:
Originally posted by 1s1k:
I usually keep my daily driver for 10 years and 125-150k. By that time it’s getting pretty worn and I’m just tired of it. I have no patience for unreliability so it’s just not worth it to me to keep something that starts to need repairs more and more often.


I agree, if it's a daily, I'd drive it until it was no longer practical or until I could no longer depend on it to get me where I need to be.

I've also evaluated it based on what it costs me to maintain versus what I'd spend on a new-ish car payment. Most cars i'd shop for new or lightly used would be $500/month or more, that's a lot of maintenance and care if you'd rather continue driving the existing vehicle.




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Posts: 8386 | Location: Orlando, Florida | Registered: July 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Not really from Vienna
Picture of arfmel
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Some people gauge the time to replace an old vehicle by having to spend an amount equivalent to a new car payment on 3 consecutive months, on repairs. That seems reasonable to me, for a vehicle I drive. I try to keep my bride equipped with a vehicle less than 5 years old and under 100k miles because we live in a remote area and she don't know nothin 'bout machinery.




 
Posts: 23132 | Location: Young American Teen Club | Registered: January 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of konata88
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I'll have to think about that. We buy cars in cash so we don't have monthly payments. But I could probably simulate that based on an assumed down payment and 5 year term. On an annual basis, I'm thinking payments would be about $3500 while repairs are costing about $500-1000.

But then if you normalize across 10 years, then the annual payments are about $2500 (cost of car over 10 years) vs the $500-1000.

So fixing at this point seems to have merit until it's considered unreliable (total failure could happen any day)....?




"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - B.Franklin
"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it." L.Tolstoy
 
Posts: 7611 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Get my pies
outta the oven!

Picture of PASig
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For me it’s going to be:

AC compressor
Engine
Transmission

In my Civic, 193,000 miles

I figure I’ve got a good 50,000 to go at least.


 
Posts: 23727 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I believe in the
principle of
Due Process
Picture of JALLEN
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I had a Volvo 245 for ~11 years, >300k miles, and sold it to Bob The Plumber who drove it for another more than 30k miles before trading it.

I had another Volvo sedan, 1985 I believe, which I took to my mechanic shop and told them to “make it new.” I then took it to a paint and body shop to “make it new.” When I took it to the interior shop, they replace the head liner, advised against redoing the seating which was leather. This worked out extremely satisfactorily. I did another 1987 Volvo like this and sold it to my son who was very happy with it, for years before getting rid of it.

My current car is a 2004 Lexus LS430. It is in terrific shape with ~180k miles. It ought to be. It stickered at $65,000!

We have a 2009 RX350 too.




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

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Posts: 48114 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Partial dichotomy
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The older I get, the more I don't want to fuck with car problems. I need it to work. I have only one car and it's only me in the household, so no easy back up plan. My last Honda CR-V was 8 when I traded it in on my current one. I plan to do the same thing with this one. I take very good care of my cars and got an excellent trade in value on it on my old one.


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Posts: 33945 | Location: NW Indiana | Registered: November 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alienator
Picture of SIG4EVA
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The cars typically outlast me. Sold my sister my old 96 Civic hatch and it's still going with 300,000+ miles on it. Sold my brother my old 98 Camry and it has 200,000+ miles on it and still going. My 02 Civic has 195,000 miles on it and nothing wrong at all. I try to sell before they have major issues but usually it's when I get tired of replacing parts. For the Camry, I did the timing belt, axels, new engine seals, brakes, radiator, intake pipe, and spark plugs.


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Posts: 5407 | Location: NC | Registered: March 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ice age heat wave,
cant complain.
Picture of MikeGLI
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by konata88:
I'll have to think about that. We buy cars in cash so we don't have monthly payments. But I could probably simulate that based on an assumed down payment and 5 year term. On an annual basis, I'm thinking payments would be about $3500 while repairs are costing about $500-1000.

But then if you normalize across 10 years, then the annual payments are about $2500 (cost of car over 10 years) vs the $500-1000.

So fixing at this point seems to have merit until it's considered unreliable (total failure could happen any day)....?


The ES certainly has the pedigree to run for a very long time, but replacing the transmission at 80k is concerning.




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Posts: 8386 | Location: Orlando, Florida | Registered: July 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of konata88
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Ok. thanks guys.

We have the money to buy a car. Every fix take money out of that fund. But the fund can be replenished and grow over time. I guess one criteria could be whether we are extracting money faster for fixes than we can replenish. The other thing is that perhaps it's about time if I'm even thinking about this. Unconsciously, perhaps I'm starting to think that the car is being unreliable even though there aren't any real signs of impending catastrophic failure.

Perhaps we should start looking for a sale....




"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - B.Franklin
"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it." L.Tolstoy
 
Posts: 7611 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Yanert98
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I've got almost 250K on my old LandCrusier and it's still going strong.

The trigger for me will be the day I loose confidence in it. I know that's emotional but it's all got at this point as I love the car and would hate to part with it.

I don't have a hard trigger on repair $ yet -- as a new LC is @70k and my maintenance costs always look cheap compared to that!!


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Posts: 2333 | Location: Migrating with the Seasons | Registered: September 26, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
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Picture of jhe888
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I drove a Honda until it died. It was reliable right up until the head gasket failed. At that point, the cost the repair was well over the value of the car, and the car was showing its age cosmetically. I deemed it dead at that point.

I agree with the person who framed it in those terms, when repairs are more than a payment for a new car for three or four out of five or six months, or if a catastrophic failure causes the need for repair worth more than the vehicle, it is dead.




The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
 
Posts: 46279 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
If you're gonna be a
bear, be a Grizzly!
Picture of Todd Huffman
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I'll drive one until the engine or transmission goes, or until it becomes too costly to fix. As long as we have one good one to drive out of town, I'm ok with driving an older vehicle.




Here's to the sunny slopes of long ago.
 
Posts: 3127 | Location: Morganton, NC | Registered: December 31, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Cruising the
Highway to Hell
Picture of 95flhr
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Reliability and the cost of repairs, replacement cost and value of the vehicle are my triggers.

I have no real magic formula, but if the vehicle becomes non reliable, nickle and diming me to death and or just no longer feasible to repair due to cost vs value, it's time to look for something new(er).

Example: No sense spending a few hundred a month to keep repairing it if I can't count on it to get me where I need to go, when I spend that much a month on a different vehicle that I can trust to get me there.




“Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”
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Posts: 5679 | Location: Near the Beaverdam in VA | Registered: February 13, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of konata88
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Yes, that sounds like the situation I'm in. Maintenance is a pain but it's much cheaper than buying new. But at some point, it makes sense to bite the bullet. I just don't want to do it too early. The less we replace cars at this point, the better off we'll be.




"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - B.Franklin
"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it." L.Tolstoy
 
Posts: 7611 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have kids and a wife so safety and convenience features are also a top consideration for us. We had a 2003 Avalon and 2008 GX470 we just moved on from. We bought a 2015 F150 and a 2018 Mazda3. The safety features, even in comparison to my GX470, are really night and day. Both vehicles get substantially better gas mileage, though in the Avalon's defense it is a large sedan vs a small coupe.

I'm pretty sure my wife could have driven that Avalon to Babylon and back another 500,000 times but she was just tired of it. So maybe there's one more thing...keeping the wife happy factor. My wife now smiles as she pulls out of the driveway, and that my friends, is priceless!
 
Posts: 4860 | Location: CO | Registered: October 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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