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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-23-12, 02:03 PM   #1
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What the car free guys miss out on

I thought you would enjoy this. I still have two cars, mine and my wife's. In the last month, we've had the following repairs:

My wife's 2003 Taurus: Two weeks ago, a new starter, in the shop now for a new camshaft position sensor synchronizer (yeah, I never heard of it either): about $650
My 2005 Hyundai Elantra: Last week after a bunch of diagnostics, a new mass airflow sensor, then yesterday a new battery: about $450.

So yeah, about $1100 sunk into the cars over the last few weeks.

Ride on, car free people.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 04-23-12, 02:05 PM   #2
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You miss commuting by bike, don't you?
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Old 04-23-12, 02:16 PM   #3
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I just thought it would be fun for the car free folks to see how much we spend on your cars. Post your repair costs here!
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 04-23-12, 03:06 PM   #4
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My wife's van is in need of brake work, body work, a new exhaust system and registration some time over the next month or so. It just had $400 of raditor work 2 weeks ago. They told her the brake work could go anywhere from $150-$800.I don't believe that she actually got an estimate for the exhaust yet.I am going to do the body work.
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Old 04-23-12, 04:04 PM   #5
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2007 Honda Accord 195,000 miles: $314 to replace O2 sensor and trouble shoot something else. $1186 to replace main computer control, fuse block, electric window main switch, rotate and balance tire, oil change. BTW company car and the company pays for it.

1996 Ford F350 145,000 miles replace fuel injectors $1100. Fill it up $128 basically used for heavy hauling for the farm.

Yes vehicles are expensive.

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Old 04-23-12, 04:55 PM   #6
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Oh man where do I begin. I'm suspended right now so I'm not driving it, but I still own a car. My 1984 MB 500sel has had the following in the past year and a half, luckily I've only had it for a year and didn't have to pay for the timing chain and camshafts
Timing Chain and camshafts:$3200
Alternator and various vacuum leaks:$700
Upper control arms and tie rods: A little over $200 DIY
Various bulbs, worn interior trim, relays, and the parts to fix the rear reclining seat: about $500
To come this year: rear window seal and subsequent rust repair: $250-300 if I do the rust repair myself.
Entirely new exhaust from headers down: About $2k
Transmission modulator and probable k2 piston spring: $100 DIY job
Driveshaft guibo joint/flex disc:$100

Not to mention, it's got a 30 gallon tank and gets about 14mpg city. Oy vey. I am actually looking forward to not having to deal with her for a few months.
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Old 04-23-12, 08:19 PM   #7
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Ah, I vividly remember the car repair bills. Seemed like we always need to borrow money from my parents or my husband's parents to handle them. Doesn't break my heart one little bit to have those out of my life. For the price of those repairs I could buy a brand new bicycle!
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Old 04-23-12, 08:20 PM   #8
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Both my wife and my car are still covered by warranty. So $0!
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Old 04-23-12, 08:23 PM   #9
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Both my wife and my car are still covered by warranty. So $0!

But I'm putting lots more miles on my bike as well as costs. I just checked and need a new chain and cassette. Too bad they aren't on warranty.
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Old 04-23-12, 10:16 PM   #10
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I need an oil change, trans fluid change, air filter, spark plugs, both rear window regulators, swap back to my summer tires, and some body work since my car got hit in the parking lot a few weeks ago in a hit and run. Luckily I can do it myself so it does not cost too much, just a PITA.
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Old 04-23-12, 10:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
I thought you would enjoy this. I still have two cars, mine and my wife's. In the last month, we've had the following repairs:

My wife's 2003 Taurus: Two weeks ago, a new starter, in the shop now for a new camshaft position sensor synchronizer (yeah, I never heard of it either): about $650
My 2005 Hyundai Elantra: Last week after a bunch of diagnostics, a new mass airflow sensor, then yesterday a new battery: about $450.

So yeah, about $1100 sunk into the cars over the last few weeks.

Ride on, car free people.
A lot of it is your car choice. I would call a 2003 Taurus and an 05 Hyundai some of the more unreliable and least valuable cars from that time period.

Then again I used to help people fixing their late model honda's a lot and they would have some expensive failures as well.


I have an 01 Ford focus hatchback I bought for $1500 and I've used it for the past few years and it has been pretty trouble free. But I fix stuff myself so the leaky valve cover gasket when I bought it was just the $40 part and the dying engine mount was again just an $80 part. It's kind of like fixing bike problems.. can be expensive to take it to the shop but if you know how to do it yourself it's much cheaper.
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Old 04-24-12, 12:12 AM   #12
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Both my wife and my car are still covered by warranty. So $0!
Fluids, and basic maintenance (brake pads/shoes, wiper blades, fuses, lights, etc) are not covered under any warranty I have ever heard of, and neither is fuel.. am I missing something here?
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Old 04-24-12, 12:43 AM   #13
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I thought you would enjoy this. I still have two cars, mine and my wife's. In the last month, we've had the following repairs:

My wife's 2003 Taurus:
I spent many hours when I was married, with my head under the hood of my ex-wife's Taurus. I don't miss it a bit.

My best repair was when the parking-brake cable snapped. I got a bicycle brake cable and it fit exactly into the clip on the brake lever. I couldn't attach it to the T handle so I routed the cable through the dash and curled it up to make a loop to pull on. Replacing the parking brake cable with Ford parts would have required removing the dashboard.
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Old 04-24-12, 12:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
I thought you would enjoy this. I still have two cars, mine and my wife's. In the last month, we've had the following repairs:

My wife's 2003 Taurus: Two weeks ago, a new starter, in the shop now for a new camshaft position sensor synchronizer (yeah, I never heard of it either): about $650
My 2005 Hyundai Elantra: Last week after a bunch of diagnostics, a new mass airflow sensor, then yesterday a new battery: about $450.

So yeah, about $1100 sunk into the cars over the last few weeks.

Ride on, car free people.
Great idea for a thread!

I've just had some serious work done on one of my bikes: 70.00, a drop in the bucket compared to the kind of money you're talking about. I'm so glad I'm car free!
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Old 04-24-12, 03:31 AM   #15
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Ah, I vividly remember the car repair bills. Seemed like we always need to borrow money from my parents or my husband's parents to handle them. Doesn't break my heart one little bit to have those out of my life. For the price of those repairs I could buy a brand new bicycle!
That has been my contention all along! Or buy a few months worth of transit passes if you live where there is transit. My most expensive bike even with the upgrades was still under $1000.

Every time my brides mentions my bicycle addiction (which is rarely) I just show her the latest repair bill from my BIL's gray market Porsche or his antique airplane... His last turbo overhaul cost close to $10k

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Old 04-24-12, 07:32 AM   #16
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A lot of it is your car choice. I would call a 2003 Taurus and an 05 Hyundai some of the more unreliable and least valuable cars from that time period.

Then again I used to help people fixing their late model honda's a lot and they would have some expensive failures as well.
Actually, this is notable in that it is so rare; they've both been good cars.

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I have an 01 Ford focus hatchback I bought for $1500 and I've used it for the past few years and it has been pretty trouble free. But I fix stuff myself so the leaky valve cover gasket when I bought it was just the $40 part and the dying engine mount was again just an $80 part. It's kind of like fixing bike problems.. can be expensive to take it to the shop but if you know how to do it yourself it's much cheaper.
I used to do more work myself, but when they are time critical (i.e., need to drive the car to work), I'll pay for the convenience of having someone else do the work, especially if there is diagnostics involved. I would have to take time off work if I did them myself, and by the time I was done, it's cheaper to pay someone who knows what they're doing.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 04-24-12, 09:20 AM   #17
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Latest car bill: $40 bucks. Paid the father a bottle of whiskey to change the oil in my car and rotate the tires. Good thing he's a mechanic by trade . Car should be due for a repair in about 40k miles by my estimate and research, so at my going rate of driving, about 7 years or so.

My old 1994 Safari van (recently sold) was becoming a bit of a money pit. I had to put about 1500 bucks into it (including oil changes, most repairs myself, new tires) over the course of 4.5 years of driving. But honestly, I paid $1500 for the van, put about 25000 miles on it and sold it $1600. Cheap ride, less than 6 cents a mile

I have also really good luck with cars. 1 flat tire since 2000 and never a break down yet on my personal cars.
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Old 04-24-12, 09:20 AM   #18
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I just thought it would be fun for the car free folks to see how much we spend on your cars. Post your repair costs here!
Why not post the cost of apt rental or mortgage payments too? It might be "fun" for the homeless and they could appreciate how much money they are saving every month.

Seriously, exercises like these assume that a bicycle is a suitable substitute for an automobile, only far cheaper and without the costs. A foolish and bogus exercise for most people with family obligations and/or desire not to spend all their free time in a dense urban area tethered to the demands of public transport and or weather conditions.
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Old 04-24-12, 10:17 AM   #19
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When I still owned a car it was a 1982 Toyota Tercel. I did the work myself. Brake pads were less than $15 for set of fronts, you could spend more on pads for your bike.

Unfortunately in its old age first gear went out and the clutch began to slip. Things I couldn't fix myself, but I sold it to somebody who could!
On the other hand when the rear suspension rusted out, Toyota replaced it for free - a $1200 job - because apparently the parts had not been properly rust proofed when the car was made.
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Old 04-24-12, 10:57 AM   #20
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My first car was a Lincoln Continental. Between insurance, gas, a new strut, a failed $2000 transmission repair, new tires, and insurance in just two years I dumped $5,000 into that car and drove it only 5,000 miles coming out to a whopping $1 per mile. Our current motorized transportation is a Kawasaki Ninja 250, which we have ridden only 10,000 miles over 5 years, and has cost about $10,000 between maintenance (routine maintenance is fairly expensive on the bike since it needs regular valve adjustments), insurance for 5 years, gas, resale depreciation (the bike was bought new), etc., so it seems there's just no real escaping the $1 per mile rule, especially if you don't drive much.

We'll be moving to Seattle in a couple months and leaving the motorcycle here, becoming even that little bit more "car free". Now that we're both past 25 years old, it is a lot cheaper to rent a car once a month or so, then to own a motorcycle. Good riddance to one more money pit.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:39 PM   #21
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Why not post the cost of apt rental or mortgage payments too? It might be "fun" for the homeless and they could appreciate how much money they are saving every month.

Seriously, exercises like these assume that a bicycle is a suitable substitute for an automobile, only far cheaper and without the costs. A foolish and bogus exercise for most people with family obligations and/or desire not to spend all their free time in a dense urban area tethered to the demands of public transport and or weather conditions.
I don't need your stinkin' pity.

Besides, I thought this "exercise" only assumed that the OP is happy that he doesn't have to pay for ccar repairs. And he thought other carfree people on the so-called carfree forum might share in his happiness. He was probalby as surprised as anybody when it devolved into an "exercise" on DIY auto repairs.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:53 PM   #22
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Why not post the cost of apt rental or mortgage payments too? It might be "fun" for the homeless and they could appreciate how much money they are saving every month.

Seriously, exercises like these assume that a bicycle is a suitable substitute for an automobile, only far cheaper and without the costs. A foolish and bogus exercise for most people with family obligations and/or desire not to spend all their free time in a dense urban area tethered to the demands of public transport and or weather conditions.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:57 PM   #23
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A lot of the exorbitant costs structure is due to cars being slightly"over-engineered".

Nowadays, most parts seem to come as components that the end user can't easily repair. Repairs require trained technicians who charge at >$100 an hour. Technicians require a bunch of computers and software to figure things out.

If cars were like bicycles, you would be able to repair a carburetor with a kit. You'd be able to replace your CV joints without expensive tools.

Didn't cars used to be like that? Did people used to repair their own?
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Old 04-24-12, 05:11 PM   #24
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Both my wife and my car are still covered by warranty. So $0!
I didn't realize one could get a warranty on a wife. How long is she covered?
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Old 04-24-12, 05:42 PM   #25
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A lot of the exorbitant costs structure is due to cars being slightly"over-engineered".

Nowadays, most parts seem to come as components that the end user can't easily repair. Repairs require trained technicians who charge at >$100 an hour. Technicians require a bunch of computers and software to figure things out.

If cars were like bicycles, you would be able to repair a carburetor with a kit. You'd be able to replace your CV joints without expensive tools.

Didn't cars used to be like that? Did people used to repair their own?
Yup... I still have a few of those. My automotive technology expertise stops around 1984. In the 1950's-1970's about all you needed to work on cars was a basic service manual and a decent set of wrenches and screwdrivers, now you need a computer lab. I was an ASE certified mechanic from around 1980-84. Then went off on a different career path. I can maintain all of the older equipment I have on the farm, anything newer is a crap shoot. My 2007 Honda Accord is a prime example, the local shop charges $99 an hour, the mechanic has a laptop with Honda software installed on it, I can't do that...but I can tear down and rebuild my 1952 Chevy 1.5t truck and still get parts for it.

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