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Old 08-23-10, 08:24 AM   #1
rumrunn6
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when does auto maintenance become car replacement shopping

at what point do you decide the old baby isn't worth keeping around anymore? mileage? body condition? $$ spent annually to keep it going?

I don't mind putting money into a car I really like and shopped over a year to find 4 years ago, but with 155,000 miles and $4k per year in repairs - is it time to go?
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Old 08-23-10, 08:28 AM   #2
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When it starts to nickle and dime you.

What kind of car are we talking about?
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Old 08-23-10, 08:32 AM   #3
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Lots of potential reasons. A good one is when you are facing a potential repair that exceeds the value of the car.

My Pathfinder failed as many inspections as it passed, if you are only considering initial tries. But it was ultimately very reliable and I never feared taking it on a long trip. In the end, frame rust did it in. But I seriously considered fixing it anyway.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:44 AM   #4
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When the repairs average more a month than a car payment and the cars a pos anyways. I had a Toyota van that bled me dry. The A/C even broke on the way to trade it in.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:45 AM   #5
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$4K a year is probably when I would start car shopping. I've just recently started socking away $200/month for our minivan's impending maintenance (2001, 175K miles). If it starts to exceed that allowance, it's time to go. Big ticket items will probably do it also - like if the engine fails.

There are lots of options for replacing the vehicle though - you don't have go out and drop $30K on a new car. Used is the way to go. I'll bet you could get a reliable 3-5 year old honda/toyota for a good price and not have high maintenance bills for a looong time.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:48 AM   #6
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its a 2001 Ford Escape. Its the right vehicle for me and my lifestyle. I bought it used June 2007 but here it is August 2010 just 3 years later with 155,000 miles
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Old 08-23-10, 08:51 AM   #7
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Rust is the deciding factor for me.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:22 AM   #8
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Not an issue for me here in Texas. I've been lucky so far with our current vehicles. My wife's 2003 Taurus has 130k miles and needed $650 of work done this past weekend, but that's been the biggest repair on the car so far. My 2005 Hyundai Elantra is still under full warranty... for about another 500 miles. The 1995 Escort Wagon that my wife drove before the Taurus is being driven by my oldest son even after he totaled it. Looks like hell but runs reliably. We got a 1998 Tracer (aka Mercury version of the Escort) for my younger son to drive and it's okay except the AC doesn't work.

In my experience, it's all about the maintenance. If you change your oil, AT fluid and radiator fluid per the owner's manual, a car will last a long time.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:24 AM   #9
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just blew a clutch line, then after getting back and losing my clutch again I'm told the clutch master cylinder needs replacing ...
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Old 08-23-10, 09:32 AM   #10
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its a 2001 Ford Escape. Its the right vehicle for me and my lifestyle. I bought it used June 2007 but here it is August 2010 just 3 years later with 155,000 miles
A nine year old car with the average miles per year is going to start showing its age. I have always kept up with maint on mine to a T. But they DO die. I've had to let go of a car because it was starting to ask for more and more here and there. I figured if I kept replacing things, it's eventually going to be a new engine with an old (but good looking) body.

Why have the headache and stress of having to worry what's going to happen next? Your family's safety may be at stake.

I found the best deals are on a car that is 1-3 years old. It would still be under warranty and some are lease returns which SHOULD have been maintained on schedule per contract. Some people may not agree with me on this but I'd rather buy from a name brand dealer than a corner lot. Reason being is that when the name brand dealer finds a trade in or lease return not up to their standards, they auction them off and the corner lots get them. If the car meets their standards they will be proud to back up the car. The name brand dealer will also furnish the maintenance records via VIN.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:39 AM   #11
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Well certainly when you're looking for parts in the junkyard and the parts cars start to look better than what you're fixing...
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Old 08-23-10, 09:42 AM   #12
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I found the best deals are on a car that is 1-3 years old. It would still be under warranty and some are lease returns which SHOULD have been maintained on schedule per contract. Some people may not agree with me on this but I'd rather buy from a name brand dealer than a corner lot.
In theory I agree but in practice I've never been able to find that discounted lease return. Times I've been shopping, the lease returns were priced to 97% of new, but a model year or 2 plus 50-70k miles older.

I definitely agree that corner lots are not reliable like ever.

A guy I work with goes to those same auctions and buys to resell individual cars. He mostly just sells to people he knows and I would trust him much more than any fly-by-night setup, even though he has less assets (or debts) piled up around him, I just know he does good work and wouldn't resell a car he wouldn't want to buy in the first place.

The closest corner lot to my office is actually run by a name-brand dealer in town. I figure they have this place to separate liability on these cars from the ones at their main lot on the other side of the freeway.

Our last car was maybe even less likely than that hypothetical lease return, a German VW repatriated by a returning soldier. We were the 1st people to contact him when his newspaper ad hit the paper's website. Not counting on that again (though we are still near a different set of bases)
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Old 08-23-10, 09:59 AM   #13
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Regarding returned leases and prices:

I was wheelin' and dealin' when I was shopping for my latest cars. One possibility was a lease return and I did in fact mention the price as being a tad high.

He said that regardless, this car was valued at X amount, according to KBB.

Being the tightwad that I am, I had asked him the average lease payment for a car of this caliber. I then calculated how much of the car was actually paid, vs original sticker price. Pointed out to him that a LARGE amount of the original price was already paid and that the asking price of this used lease return a ridiculous request. He went to talk to his manager, and came back with a lower price.

I ended taking another car at another dealer because the car I settled on was a WAAAAAAAAAY better car for the price.
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Old 08-23-10, 10:14 AM   #14
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When the warranty runs out or I just don't like it any more, the car is gone.
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Old 08-23-10, 10:29 AM   #15
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If the manufacturer has built a car worthy of it, the warranty is longer.
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Old 08-23-10, 12:37 PM   #16
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To me it's purely economic.

How much will it cost you to keep the car for the next X amount of time vs. the cost of a new car over that same amount of time?

Since cars are in fact the worst investment ever made, it's pretty much a pure cost analysis. Get a good mechanic to evaluate the overall health of the car and the cost to fix things wrong and what will go wrong (obviously catastrophic failure would not be included, but it cannot be foreseen in either new or used cars).

Because I can fix a lot of things myself, I tend to drive a car til the wheels fall off. If it costs me more than a grand or two a year in non PM costs, it's time for me to look for something new(er).
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Old 08-23-10, 01:27 PM   #17
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If the manufacturer has built a car worthy of it, the warranty is longer.
Hardly. Hyundai used to be the opposite: Their cars were so bad, no one would buy them unless they had a long warranty. Because they tended to sell to bottom feeders and first time buyers, there was a lot of ignorance regarding maintenance and they could refuse to honor the warranty due to lack of proper maintenance. Two things happened, though: Hyundai owners started to do their maintenance correctly, and Hyundai started building a better product. I have a Hyundai right now and it is a pretty wonderful groovy car, but that's only after a lot of pain at the Hyundai company and in their customer base.
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Old 08-23-10, 01:59 PM   #18
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If my son had not run into a tree with my 2000 Subaru Outback with 327,000 miles on it, it would still be a daily use, on the road car.... The 1995 Impreza was sold when it had 287,000 miles on it, and needed a new gas tank; the kid who bought it for $500 replaced the gas tank himself (@$400) and then drove it for another 90,000 miles before he retired it because it developed an oil leak that he didn't fix and the engine eventually blew. SO, if you're looking for a new, used car, check the car-fax & feel comfy buying a nicely used Subie.
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Old 08-23-10, 04:48 PM   #19
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I have an '05 Mazda 3 that I bought brand new. I'm on my second engine* the transmission light is on. I will spend all the money I need on common repairs and maintenance, but the second I gotta spend 2gs or more... done. Thats more towards a new down payment for something that isn't going to crap out on me in a year. I bought a Ford Thumnderbird and drove it for two year before it blew a tire on the highway. I pulled over and saw it was leaking oil and water... I bought my Mazda that day.

The car is a monster. I drove the **** out of it. destroyed all four alloy rims. blew the engine my damn self...so not knocking Mazda in any way.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:32 PM   #20
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If my son had not run into a tree with my 2000 Subaru Outback with 327,000 miles on it, it would still be a daily use, on the road car.... The 1995 Impreza was sold when it had 287,000 miles on it, and needed a new gas tank; the kid who bought it for $500 replaced the gas tank himself (@$400) and then drove it for another 90,000 miles before he retired it because it developed an oil leak that he didn't fix and the engine eventually blew. SO, if you're looking for a new, used car, check the car-fax & feel comfy buying a nicely used Subie.
There's 172 000km on my car, 2000 Impreza TS. I thrash it and it loves it, it's a great car for me.

If you buy a used Subie, get either the 2.2l SOHC or the 2.5l SOHC. The 1.8 absolutely sucks, it's too slow, and the DOHC 2.5 has headgasket problems. There's a million little things to look for but body-wise, watch for rear quarter panel rust.

If you look at one that is not a 2.5RS, (the boy-racer model with the wing, sunroof and hood
scoop), that has disc brakes in the rear, that's not stock and it was most likely driven hard.

If you end up looking at a Subaru and you have any questions, I probably either know the answer or I know somebody who does so PM me.
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Old 08-24-10, 05:48 PM   #21
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I had the head gasket replaced on my 2000 outback at about 197,000 miles. That car's engine is the "poster-engine" for oil changing at a Charleston WV dealership - they couldn't belive how clean it was when they were changing the head gasket, so they took pictures! Anybody need a parts car?
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Old 08-24-10, 07:07 PM   #22
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I usually allocate 5-10% of a car's current value for the past 12-months maintenance. Once it's over 10% I start looking for another car to replace it at 15%. Once it costs me 20% in maintenance in the past 12-months, I stop driving it completely and look at replacements pronto.
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Old 08-28-10, 07:39 AM   #23
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I had the head gasket replaced on my 2000 outback at about 197,000 miles. That car's engine is the "poster-engine" for oil changing at a Charleston WV dealership - they couldn't belive how clean it was when they were changing the head gasket, so they took pictures! Anybody need a parts car?
Hopefully, you had the headgasketS changed and not just one. . A boxer motor has two.

As for a parts car, sure, if there's an EJ257 and a six speed in it

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Old 08-28-10, 11:09 AM   #24
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yes, plural on the head gasket(S) - but, no, automatic tranny
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Old 08-28-10, 01:51 PM   #25
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For me it's when I no longer feel the car will be able to handle a long trip without issues. It's when a car starts to have issues 3 or more times per year. That's usually in year 5 or 7.
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