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Old 03-16-11, 12:13 AM   #1
midschool22
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At what point would you replace your vehicle?

I was wondering at what point would you want to replace your current vehicle? Does it make sense to keep fixing the same car for many years or decades if you drive it very little (like I do) or would you rather keep it for five to seven years and then get another even if it works fine? I guess my line of thinking is you are paying for it either way so what does it matter?
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Old 03-16-11, 12:38 AM   #2
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If the car is paid for, it is probably worth fixing every once in a while. If you are happy just making payments all the time, I would lease one if you do not put many miles on it. I have both cars paid for and set up a money market account that I put 500/mo in. I use it to make repairs and if the wife just feels like she needs/wants a new one we go buy it. Just don't make repairs that cost more than the value of the car.
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Old 03-16-11, 01:02 AM   #3
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Just don't make repairs that cost more than the value of the car.
This is what I'm wondering. My truck is paid for, sixteen years old with only 90,000 miles on it and runs fine. I drive it about 80 miles A MONTH. Every year I have about $300-500 in routine maintenance. KBB tells me the value is $2K-2500. At that rate, should I keep it five more years and sell with only 95,000 miles?
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Old 03-16-11, 02:24 AM   #4
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I would. You're not going to lose much more value. You might think about putting Stabil or some other type gas stabilizer in your tank if you don't use it that much. Why are you considering selling?
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Old 03-16-11, 05:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by midschool22 View Post
I was wondering at what point would you want to replace your current vehicle? Does it make sense to keep fixing the same car for many years or decades if you drive it very little (like I do) or would you rather keep it for five to seven years and then get another even if it works fine? I guess my line of thinking is you are paying for it either way so what does it matter?
That is a decision only you can make. Is the car reliable except for routine maintenance? Or is it something major every month or so. I am from the school that teaches me that new cars with warranties are the ticket for me. Only because I learned many years ago that no payments are nice (and no collision ins) but spending money I did not really have for water pumps, alternators, u-joints, and freeze plugs becomes a PITA! Besides, I like the feeling of my wife driving a new truck or car every three years. Yes, new cars break down but the fact of new-ness outweighs old-ness.
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Old 03-16-11, 06:46 AM   #6
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A 16-y-o vehicle is a LOT easier to work on in your driveway; newer ones REQUIRE a shop.

Just one reason why I went car-free in '04.
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Old 03-16-11, 06:51 AM   #7
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I tend to buy cars and drive them until they die or become uneconomic to repair. I had the same 1986 Mazda pickup, bought new, for 25 years until I traded it in last year on the Kia Soul. My Escape was bought new in 2004. We had my wife's Mercedes for only five years though, and we traded it in on a new Kia Optima when the Mercedes became uneconomic to repair. In the last two years, we had put half the blue book value into repairs, and we decided to get rid of it before it needed the next expensive repair. My thought is if it is paid for and you can continue to fix it cheaply, keep it.
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Old 03-16-11, 07:35 AM   #8
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At the point I can't (or don't want to) fix what maybe wrong with it. Luckily I'm a pretty handy guy so 99% of the things that go wrong I can handle myself.
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Old 03-16-11, 12:25 PM   #9
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I would. You're not going to lose much more value. You might think about putting Stabil or some other type gas stabilizer in your tank if you don't use it that much. Why are you considering selling?
At this point, I'm not thinking of selling. It runs fine and has no issues other than routine maintenance ($300-500 year). Maybe I should have asked the question this way-

Would you rather drive one car for 20 years and keep fixing it or get a different car every three to five years? I think with the money you spend buying cars every three to five years for 20 years, that money should be more than enough to fix the one car for more than 20 years. Does that sound right?
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Old 03-16-11, 12:56 PM   #10
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Keep it and fix it.

Personally, I think the amount of money spent on a monthly car payment outweighs the cost of maintenance not considered routine. Remember, that brand new car will require routine maintenance.

Also, I feel it is economically beneficial to pay cash for a car. Really want a new car but can't afford to pay cash? Buy a cheap used car with a loan if needed. Take the extra money that would go towards the car payment and insurance of a new car, sock it into a savings account. Given a few years of driving the used car around, you can have enough to pay for a new car.

At least... that's how I look at it. I just can't bring myself to take a loan out on a car.
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Old 03-16-11, 03:02 PM   #11
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I drive a 1997 Ford Explorer Sport. It's a great little vehicle for biking hauling and recreation. It's gets decent gas mileage and I can park in compact spaces.

For a series of 4 years I had to make some major repairs... $1500, $2200, $1750 and last year $2800. The car is only worth $500. I don't even carry collison insurance on it anymore but... But, $2800 is still cheaper then a car payment (considering a standard car payment of $350 - $350 X 12 = $4200), increases in insurance, vehicle registration and maintenance repairs. Plus its a great little car. The engine is practically brand new. I have 174K miles on it and it should get me way pass 200K. I'm going to literally drive this car into the ground. I don't care if its fancy and blingy - its practical, reliable and cheap - just what I like.

Either way cars are not cheap but I think it silly to buy a new car just because you have to put some money into an old one.

And yes each month I put the amount I would pay for a car payment into savings. If and when, I will be able to buy a car for cash... haven't had a car payment in 10 years... don't want to start now!
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Old 03-16-11, 04:18 PM   #12
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I think it depends largely on the individual's desire and ability to fix the car. My Accord is about 18 years old now, and it has been remarkably reliable for every owner including myself, even at ~292,000 miles. I fix almost everything myself so it ends up costing only parts, which is usually way less than labor.
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Old 03-16-11, 06:52 PM   #13
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I think it helps if you can do some work on the car yourself.

Assuming you want the most economical transportation, I think you should plan to keep a car to at least 150k miles, maybe closer to 200k miles. You might just get tired of messing with it before then. Also if you travel out of town a lot and need a reliable vehicle, this is not a good plan.

Assuming you want economical transportation, you shouldn't buy a car new. Buy a 3 or 4 year old car, low mileage, and pick a model that is not so popular that its resale value is abnormally high, but pick a model that is made well enough to be reliable. Then keep it and drive it until you can't stand it anymore.
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Old 03-16-11, 06:59 PM   #14
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Keep it. Fix it. The sales tax alone on a new car is enough of a deterent for me. Besides, when you buy a new car, a lot of times your just buying a dream that lasts for about 3 weeks.
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Old 03-16-11, 10:56 PM   #15
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When you meet your mechanic on the steet and they call you by your name and gives you a high five.

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Old 03-17-11, 10:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midschool22 View Post
At this point, I'm not thinking of selling. It runs fine and has no issues other than routine maintenance ($300-500 year). Maybe I should have asked the question this way-

Would you rather drive one car for 20 years and keep fixing it or get a different car every three to five years? I think with the money you spend buying cars every three to five years for 20 years, that money should be more than enough to fix the one car for more than 20 years. Does that sound right?
I've driven my last 2 cars (not counting my current one) for about 14 years each and put about 140K on each.

Assuming nothing major happens, it's cheaper to keep your truck and drive it. If the engine totally blew, it would still be cheaper to put a new engine in than to buy a new cr.

One thing you should do is take it our for a good 1 hour highway trip every month. You really need to let the engine and exhaust system get good and warm to eliminate any moisture buildup. The idea of Stabil in the gas is a good one.
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