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  1. #1
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    Dilemma about cars- To Buy, or Not To Buy.

    Ok, gonna try and keep this short and sweet...

    Since last August, my daily driver has been a 1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible with about 175000 miles on it. The PO told me that the original 3.1 V6 engine had been swapped for one with about 65000 miles on it at the time of the swap, but he didn't have any proof that this had been done. It's a pretty enjoyable car and I don't pass myself coming or going cause there aren't but about three other cars like it in town that I know of.

    Well, the problem is that the car's showing its age a bit and starting to have some issues. About a month ago, the fuel pressure regulator failed, causing a big fuel leak and damaging two of the injectors. The repairs took three or four days because it took my father and I that long to get all the needed parts together and installed. Kind of inconvenient, but not too expensive. This week, the a/c went out. Down here in the sticky, humid South, I consider automotive a/c to be a necessity. The car's auxiliary fan failed, allowing refrigerant pressure to get too high, damaging the compressor. $800+ later, it's all good now, though I swear cars used to be more like mobile refrigerators than they are now.

    On top of that, while doing a replacement of the front brake pads a few weeks ago, I noticed the grease seals on what appears to be the ball joints were cracked. Seeing that, it made me assume that the bushings on the lower control arms would also be getting old. Can't see that stuff without taking it apart. Also, at the next front brake job, it'll also be time to put on new calipers and flex lines. I've been told the ball joint job is $600+, and that the brake job shouldn't be too hard except for bleeding the anti-lock system.

    I guess I'm starting to question whether this car needs to be my daily driver and if it's something I can really count on to get me where I need to go. I've looked into the idea of buying a brand-new car, and that's just not realistic for me right now. I simply don't want to be on the hook for new car payments. So that leaves pre-owned cars, the best selection of which seem to be in the Atlanta metro to the south of me. I could finance a used car, get a decent bang for the buck, and have it paid off much more quickly than buying a new car. Reliability and comfort are important.

    But this leaves what to do with the Olds. I don't really need another project as I have a 1974 MGB for that purpose. But it seems kinda sad to get rid of the Olds cause it's fun, a little different, and pretty comfortable even when all four seats are filled. If it were less of a fun car, this decision wouldn't be an issue.

    So Foosters, how would you handle this situation?

    Thanks,
    -Bill

  2. #2
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
    So Foosters, how would you handle this situation?
    This is a bike forum, so going car free has to be suggested.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    At least the OP had the presence of mind to post here in Foo instead of LCF...

  4. #4
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    This is a bike forum, so going car free has to be suggested.
    Trust me, I knew that would happen at least once.

  5. #5
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Swamp buggy

  6. #6
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Buy used. Avoid Mopar products. Insist upon Carfax reports. Note that any body work done to repair damage from a collision will not show up in the vehicle's history if the dealer did the work in their own body shop. Also check the bolts that hold the hood and the ones inside the engine compartment that holds the fenders- you shouldn't see any scoring from a wrench.

  7. #7
    Senior Member tunavic's Avatar
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    Easy. Find a good used Toyota Camry to buy and sell the Cutlass privately. Don't blindly rely on Carfax reports as they often aren't accurate. Check the car out yourself or have a qualified mechanic do it for you.

    The hard part of that advice is finding a used Camry at a good price (at least here in SoCal it can be difficult).

  8. #8
    Senior Member pgjackson's Avatar
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    New cars are for suckers. I just got a 2008 BMW that is immaculate with low miles for 1/2 the original sticker price (the BMW dealer even threw in a 12 month bumper-to-bumper warranty). You could put it on the new car lot and you wouldn't be able to tell it is used. Save money and buy used.
    "These are questions for wise men with skinny arms." - Khal Drogo
    2011 Rossetti Vertigo w/ SRAM Rival 16.1lbs

  9. #9
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    I have two hybrid cars that both get better fuel economy than my 2004 Honda ST1300 motorcycle. They do not accelerate from 0-100 mph in 8.4 seconds however.

    Get a Honda ST1300. Sure it only gets 38-40mpg, but the throttle is like the space warp button in asteroids.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Get a used Toyota Corolla/Camry between 10-15 years old. Will set you back $1500-2000 max and they've got another 10-years/150k-miles of life left. Gets 30-35mpg and can carry 4-people and tonnes of groceries easily. Toyotas are also much cheaper to maintain than Hondas. Labour is about the same, but replacement parts are much cheaper.

    Last summer, we replaced all four brake-pads + 2 front-rotors for $100. We also had the AC recharged for $30. ND AC-compressors are the best, Porsche and Mercedes uses them.

    We were on vacation in Santa Barbara last month for 3-weeks and the alternator light went on in my wife's Camry. Tested volts at battery and at alternator with DVM and it wasn't charging the battery. I think this particular car was built in a U.S. plant since it had a Delco alternator (crap compared to ND). Went over the Kragen/Oreilleys and bought a replacement ND unit for $49.95 and swapped it in within 30-minutes in the parking-lot of the hotel.

    This was the 1st major non-maintenance item that's failed in the entire 10-years she had the car. Although it's a known weak-point in this particular model as the alternator is small (runs hard & hot for its output), and is situated close to the exhaust-headers, making heat an even bigger problem. I'm going pull the headers and send them to Swain for ceramic-coating to keep heat inside the pipes.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 06-22-12 at 05:53 AM.

  11. #11
    Banned Indy_Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
    New cars are for suckers. I just got a 2008 BMW that is immaculate with low miles for 1/2 the original sticker price (the BMW dealer even threw in a 12 month bumper-to-bumper warranty). You could put it on the new car lot and you wouldn't be able to tell it is used. Save money and buy used.
    Depends on the car, been looking at Subaru Foresters for my Mother in law. Those darn thing just don't depreciate quick enough to justify used. Of course she wants new anyways as she is 75 and has never had a new car in her life.

  12. #12
    Curmudgeon in Training 20grit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Avoid Mopar products.
    Why?

    Granted, there are a select few that have been problems (no brand is without its turds), but I can't say my family has had many issues over the last 45 years or so.

  13. #13
    Banned Indy_Rider's Avatar
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    One thing to take in consideration is finance rates if you are financing it. With some of the finance deals and rates on new cars, they end up being cheaper than a low mileage used car.

    While your Olds may have had the motor replaced, the rest of the car is a car with a 175K on it, which means lots of maintenance and upkeep. So from a dependability standpoint, it wouldn't be the best.

  14. #14
    Look! My Spine! RubenX's Avatar
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    My car is so old I had to made a cast statement on my inventory program.

    $mycar = new carobj();
    $mycar = $Rube->Assets->Vehicles("Hyundai");

    The above code gives an error: "Unexpected old_bucket value when car was expected". :\ So I had to modify:

    $mycar = new carobj();
    $mycar = (car) $Rube->Assets->Vehicles("Hyundai");

    It runs but I still get a warning: "Warning, Line 2: Using old_bucket as car";
    "Hoy es un dia normal, pero yo voy a hacerlo intenso" ~ Juanes

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
    Ok, gonna try and keep this short and sweet...

    Since last August, my daily driver has been a 1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible with about 175000 miles on it. The PO told me that the original 3.1 V6 engine had been swapped for one with about 65000 miles on it at the time of the swap, but he didn't have any proof that this had been done. It's a pretty enjoyable car and I don't pass myself coming or going cause there aren't but about three other cars like it in town that I know of.

    Well, the problem is that the car's showing its age a bit and starting to have some issues. About a month ago, the fuel pressure regulator failed, causing a big fuel leak and damaging two of the injectors. The repairs took three or four days because it took my father and I that long to get all the needed parts together and installed. Kind of inconvenient, but not too expensive. This week, the a/c went out. Down here in the sticky, humid South, I consider automotive a/c to be a necessity. The car's auxiliary fan failed, allowing refrigerant pressure to get too high, damaging the compressor. $800+ later, it's all good now, though I swear cars used to be more like mobile refrigerators than they are now.

    On top of that, while doing a replacement of the front brake pads a few weeks ago, I noticed the grease seals on what appears to be the ball joints were cracked. Seeing that, it made me assume that the bushings on the lower control arms would also be getting old. Can't see that stuff without taking it apart. Also, at the next front brake job, it'll also be time to put on new calipers and flex lines. I've been told the ball joint job is $600+, and that the brake job shouldn't be too hard except for bleeding the anti-lock system.

    I guess I'm starting to question whether this car needs to be my daily driver and if it's something I can really count on to get me where I need to go. I've looked into the idea of buying a brand-new car, and that's just not realistic for me right now. I simply don't want to be on the hook for new car payments. So that leaves pre-owned cars, the best selection of which seem to be in the Atlanta metro to the south of me. I could finance a used car, get a decent bang for the buck, and have it paid off much more quickly than buying a new car. Reliability and comfort are important.

    But this leaves what to do with the Olds. I don't really need another project as I have a 1974 MGB for that purpose. But it seems kinda sad to get rid of the Olds cause it's fun, a little different, and pretty comfortable even when all four seats are filled. If it were less of a fun car, this decision wouldn't be an issue.

    So Foosters, how would you handle this situation?

    Thanks,
    -Bill
    Stick with the local flavor when selecting a ride.
    How about jacking up the rear end on that Olds,wide tires on the back,confederate flag on the front hood?Forget about comfort,it's all about image.

    "just a good ol boy,never meanin no harm............."
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubenX View Post
    My car is so old I had to made a cast statement on my inventory program.

    $mycar = new carobj();
    $mycar = $Rube->Assets->Vehicles("Hyundai");

    The above code gives an error: "Unexpected old_bucket value when car was expected". :\ So I had to modify:

    $mycar = new carobj();
    $mycar = (car) $Rube->Assets->Vehicles("Hyundai");

    It runs but I still get a warning: "Warning, Line 2: Using old_bucket as car";
    Loan the dude your Haynes book and a free session in Rubens Kitchen Car Works TM.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I'd say put the olds up on craigslist and only sell it to someone you feel like will really love it... They're nice cars, but I know from experience that the 90's olds' can be very finicky. And any car with that sort of mileage is going to require a lot of upkeep. Toyota is a good bet, but don't cheap out. Any car you can buy for under 3k is likely going to need a lot of work in order to be reliable AND decent looking. What would be your price range if you were to buy a used car outright? Any body style preferences? Power, gas mileage, etc? With those answers I could probably provide you with some good suggestions. I'm no mechanic, but cars are my obsession and I keep in touch with prices pretty well.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Assuming that overall cost of ownership is important here...

    The mention of finance rates for used vs. new is right, you have to price it both ways. Also the finance rates and available terms will change depending on the age of the used car. I once bought a 4 year old used car because I thought I couldn't afford a 2 year old used car, but then I found that I could only get a 24 month loan on the 4 year old but I could get a 36 month loan on the 2 year old and my payments would have been less.

    Pick a model that has good reliability but isn't trendy or in demand, then you can either find new ones at good discounts or used ones at low prices. Find one that is in good condition and relatively low mileage, then keep it until somewhere 100k and 150k miles. You can go longer but reliability starts to suffer and this isn't good for a daily driver.

    Find a friend/relative/good independent garage for maintenance and repairs. Do not go to the dealer except for warranty repairs.

    OTOH if you always want to drive a nice and relatively new car and you don't want to have to deal with maintenance then get a lease. Your payments will be less than they will be if you buy a car new, but you will have always have payments and never get to a point where you have the car paid for and don't have payments.

    For people that have a 2-car household- buy the 2 year old used car, get a 36 month loan, after driving the car 3 years it is paid for and you buy a 2 year old car for the significant other with a 36 month loan. Drive those cars another 3 years, at the end of which your 5 year old second car is paid for and you sell your 8 year old car car and buy another 2 year old car for yourself. In my family we drive about 12k miles per year each so we can actually keep our cars beyond 8 years old, maybe 10 years old or more. That allows us to have a year or two in each of these cycles where we don't have any payments.

  19. #19
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Take all the glass out of the Olds, and rent a booth at the carnival. Sell swings with a sledge hammer at 3 swings for $5. I did this once with a car I retired, and made $7,000.00 clear profit over the rental of the booth and cleanup of the messed up car. I also sold the car to compressed steel after for another $50 for scrap by weight. This was all for a 1981 Olds Omega I paid $500 for in the first place and drove for a couple years. After 2 years I blew the second engine and decided the Omega was a good candidate for replacement and let people beat it up with a sledge hammer.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  20. #20
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    I've arranged to look at a car tomorrow, and went ahead and set up financing so I could buy it if I like it. No pressure to dispose of the Olds at this time, though that could change. It was my third post-divorce car. Granted, I shouldn't have sold the first one, but we all make mistakes. Frankly, I've had more fun in the Olds even if it lacks the flair of an E30 BMW. Been some places, courted a really sweet woman, had some fun. And there's just something about an American-made ragtop that's a little worn around the edges.

    Toyotas are in pretty short supply around here on the used market. Thought about going that route even though they seem a little appliance-like.

    While I would happily bust up an Olds Omega or its Buick Skylark counterpart (long story), I can't see this Olds meeting such a destructive fate.

    Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. We'll see how this goes...

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