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Using a car until it 'dies' Login/Join 
Just because you can,
doesn't mean you should
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I keep cars for a long time normally and have been in the automotive business, both retail sales and in the service end.
The biggest missed opportunity is at the front end. The maximum depreciation (discount to me) is in the first two years.
I try to find something that is as close to my wants and needs as possible that doesn't have high miles for the age and is properly maintained.
Look up the actual selling price of the car you want then look at prices for a two year old version.
Also factor in the lower price of insurance for a slightly older model and keep the deductible up a little higher.
Back to the original point, almost any modern car that is properly maintained should easily run 150,000 miles reliably. Many can do double that with good care and a little luck.
Most car replacements are because you want it, not need it.
 
Posts: 4317 | Location: North GA | Registered: August 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Character, above all else
Picture of Tailhook 84
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For me it's an unscientific mix of maintenance cost, downtime occurrences and length of each occurrence. For example, I loved the 2004 F-150 SCrew 4x4 I bought new, but I finally grew tired of the recurring costs of maintenance. The stupid coil over plug issues and the standard 5.4 Triton engine rebuild at 106k miles for head gasket issues just wore me down. I replaced 10 coil over plugs while I owned it, and the neighbor who bought it (fully aware of the past issues) has replaced two more in the 6 months since he bought it. Is continuing to do so worth it? Apparently the new owner thinks so, but he wrenches on his own race car so maybe it is.

Each time my 2004 was down for maintenance I drove the 1991 F-150 4x4 which I also bought new. Although I've replaced the 2004 with a clean 2013 Ram, I now use my '91 as my daily driver (14 miles round trip down a rough country road). The truck is old and rattles a bit, but it is reliable and has the best A/C of any vehicle I own. Plus it's always the winner of the door-ding game played in the company parking lot. When will I replace it? At my age, probably never since it only has 126k on it. Besides, every old man needs an old pickup.

The 2013 Ram is a nice truck and has a lot of bells, whistles and electronic do-dads. But I don't think for a minute that these will last longer than 10 years or 100k miles, so I'm already planning on when and how to replace it when those expensive items begin to give me trouble. When they do and it's in the shop, I'll drive the '91.


*******************************
"Hug your family. Thank your friends. Tomorrow comes too soon." rainman64
 
Posts: 1986 | Location: West of Fort Worth | Registered: March 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
eh-TEE-oh-clez
Picture of Aeteocles
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Every repair extends the life of a vehicle. Even a car that nickel and dimes you, is still going to be more economical than buying a new car, as each nickel and dime spent is adding usable miles to a car that is already paid for. There is also no reason that an old car must become unreliable--you could proactively replace and repair just about every system in order to make a car as reliable as you need.

In the end, I think the best way to determine when to replace a car is its value to you. When the car is worth more to someone else than it is to you, then that's when you should sell it. If a car doesn't run, or you don't believe in it's reliability, then it may be worth zero to you and letting go is easy. If you tire of the car, or it doesn't fit your needs, it may be worth less to you than it would be to someone else--even if it's a perfectly running low mileage vehicle.

Don't look at how much you spend to keep the car running, Look to see if the car is still worth $3k to you to keep as a beater.
 
Posts: 10384 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Unknown
Stuntman
Picture of bionic218
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quote:
Do you guys use some criteria to decide?


Yes. I do. I have one criteria:

Can I "buy" it? Not finance it, not lease it, but outright buy the replacement car.

If yes, I can shop cars. If not, I can buy parts and get greasy.
 
Posts: 10057 | Location: missouri | Registered: October 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just got to that point last August. I have a 2007 Pathfinder that I have 335k on the car. Engine still runs strong, no motor noises, body has no rust but a few minor scrapes and dents. Still would be running it but at the state's annual inspection, my mechanic basically said it needed about $600 worth of front end work (tie rod ends, upper ball joint on one side, lower on the other, and a strut, which means replace them all to me). Plus I have a code that is throwing a check Engine light. The light can stay on if the mechanic gets a state waiver that I spent $xx dollars trying to remediate the issue. You can get a one-time waiver but the next year you have to do it all again. So with labor and other stuff, I figured I was looking at $1200+ to get through inspection. And if I did that, I would have a car that is good to drive for another year but still had 335k on the clock. I just took the money I would have spent on the work and used it as part of the down payment on a 2016 4Runner.
I have a buddy that is a vo-tech auto shop teacher, he is buying the car from me for a few hundred bucks. He will get the parts and his classes will do the mech and body work as a class project this fall and he will drive the car for another year or two.....so I guess the answer for me is the cost of repairing in my case finally didn't make sense to take that option.
 
Posts: 41 | Location: Western PA | Registered: March 30, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Raptorman
Picture of Mars_Attacks
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My Frontier has 300,000 on it and still going strong.

Only thing I have done is maintain it.

Filters, plugs, wires, brakes, oil, coolant, belts, bulbs, tires.



Here are the majors

200,000 - Timing Belt, water pump

225,000 - Starter, valve cover gaskets

250,000 - Clutch

275,000 - Replace rotors, shocks

300,000 - AC compressor, all coolant hoses


____________________________

Eeewwww, don't touch it!
Here, poke at it with this stick.
 
Posts: 30805 | Location: North, GA | Registered: October 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sgalczyn
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2000 Subaru OB wagon
338,000 miles



"No matter where you go - there you are"
 
Posts: 3361 | Location: Eastern PA-Berks/Lehigh Valley | Registered: January 03, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of YellowJacket
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I think about a couple of things:

1. are the repairs starting to cost more than it is worth?
2. are the repairs happening so often that its comparable to a car payment?
3. do I fear the car is going to leave me stranded?
4. am I ready for all of the technological advances that have occurred since I bought the car (hands free, safety features, fuel mileage, et. al.)?
5. have I saved money for down payment/outright purchase of a new (to me) car? I don't buy new cars... always a couple of years old and 30-50k miles or even more on trucks.



"The frost on the ground probably envies the frost on the trees."
 
Posts: 8508 | Location: Marietta, GA | Registered: February 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shaman
Picture of ScreamingCockatoo
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2001 Honda CR-V 350,000 miles
New engine at 290,000
Will completely rebuild suspension soon.





He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.
 
Posts: 38469 | Location: Atop the cockatoo tree | Registered: July 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of konata88
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Wow. For some, cars never die.

My ES with 130k miles is still like a teenager.




"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: 7597 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am currently driving a Tahoe I bought new in 1999. It has 170K on it, and I have had no major repairs. I hope to drive it another 75K at least. The wife's "new" car (we bought it last July) is a 2006 Honda Element with 95K on it.
Since the Tahoe we have not bought new cars. It's just not worth it with the immediate depreciation.
Also, my best buddy is an auto mechanic, so if something comes up we take it to him.


P220, P6, P226, P245, SP2022 9mm, SP2022 40s&w, P250c 9MM
 
Posts: 90 | Location: Lynden WA | Registered: January 02, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
thin skin can't win
Picture of Georgeair
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quote:
Originally posted by Aeteocles:
Every repair extends the life of a vehicle. Even a car that nickel and dimes you, is still going to be more economical than buying a new car, as each nickel and dime spent is adding usable miles to a car that is already paid for.


Thank you! This is exactly the counter-argument I make to the folks insisting that the only way to own a German car is to have one under warranty due to the expensive repair costs. That's just nuts, as the hit in year one of a new car is FAR beyond any repair short of an engine or trans.

To the OP, we are almost-until-it-dies folks and try to get out before it goes to zero value or once I don't have confidence in it being reliable to hop in and and drive cross-country. Putting some money in repairs on a car whose history I know has almost always been as good as hopping into another that I do not.



You only have integrity once. - imprezaguy02

 
Posts: 8806 | Location: Madison, MS | Registered: December 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shaman
Picture of ScreamingCockatoo
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Even the transmission is not rocket surgery





He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.
 
Posts: 38469 | Location: Atop the cockatoo tree | Registered: July 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Mensch
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------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Yidn, shreibt un fershreibt"
 
Posts: 14428 | Location: Ivorydale | Registered: January 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Usually around 200,000 miles, that’s when the gremlins usuallly start to show. Also that’s about 10 years for me and by then I’m tired of it and wanting something new.
 
Posts: 471 | Location: washington state. | Registered: June 30, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Beanhead
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I drove my 07 VW Jetta TDI until 2016 when the engine finally lost power. It has 287,000 miles on it. I was pretty pissed as I was hoping to hit 400,000 with it.

Then I got a 14 Ford Fusion Energi, a plug in hybrid that I got 80 mpg. Then I got in an accident that they totaled the vehicle. It really wasn't that bad. But I had a rider that provided me with a check for a new 2018 Ford Fusion Energi.

So I got a 2017 Toyota Avalon. Read on Forbes that the car should be good for at least 200,000 miles without a problem. I am going to put that theory to test.
 
Posts: 774 | Location: Wisconsin  | Registered: May 27, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The longest I've owned a car is 12 years. I remember during that time reading research that suggested the cost to own is a bell curve of sorts:

From memory (which means add your own fudge factor), the first seven years are relatively cost-free, other than basic maintenance. From seven to 12 years, costs go up as things like belts (serpentine and otherwise), hoses, wires and things like that wear out and need replacing. From twelve to twenty years, the graph levels out, but at 20 years, it begins to go up again.

For what it's worth...




Don't believe everything you think.

NRA Benefactor/Patriot Member
 
Posts: 1060 | Location: Virginia, USA | Registered: December 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
eh-TEE-oh-clez
Picture of Aeteocles
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quote:
Originally posted by fpuhan:
The longest I've owned a car is 12 years. I remember during that time reading research that suggested the cost to own is a bell curve of sorts:

From memory (which means add your own fudge factor), the first seven years are relatively cost-free, other than basic maintenance. From seven to 12 years, costs go up as things like belts (serpentine and otherwise), hoses, wires and things like that wear out and need replacing. From twelve to twenty years, the graph levels out, but at 20 years, it begins to go up again.

For what it's worth...


The maintenance costs might be a bell curve...but not the cost to own.

The depreciation costs in year one, two, and three, are probably going to more than any single repair you will ever make on the car.

The car then depreciates pretty steadily (punctuated by sharp drops in value every 3-5 years when a new body style of that model is released) until you get down to a point where the car is worth as much as it's minimum utility. A well maintained car never really ever depreciates to zero--even a 300,000 mile Honda Civic will be worth a grand or two to someone who needs a reliable beater.
 
Posts: 10384 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Page late and a dollar short
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Rust.................


"Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others." -John Maxwell
 
Posts: 5213 | Location: Livingston County Michigan USA | Registered: August 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I bought a 1986 (really a 1986 1/2) Mazda RX-7 GXL. I drove that thing for nearly 200,000 miles if it wasn't in fact over 200,000 miles. At the point where the rotor seals failed and it left me stranded a couple of times, that's when I got rid of it. My mechanic sold it at auction for $1,000 and I gave him half. Hell...the Bridgstone Potenzas and the wheels on which they were mounted were worth more than that.

I replaced that car in 2000 with a more practical 1997 Toyota Corolla DX 1.8L, which still resides in my garage with 187,436 miles. It is my "airport car", so it's driven less than 50 miles per week since I bought a new 2011 Toyota Venza, which is being driven less than 6,000 miles/year.



"If you’re a leader, you lead the way. Not just on the easy ones; you take the tough ones too…” – MAJ Richard D. Winters (1918-2011), E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil... Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel." - Isaiah 5:20,24
 
Posts: 4981 | Location: NW Houston | Registered: April 04, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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