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Specific example of cost of car ownership

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Specific example of cost of car ownership

Old 08-25-11, 12:15 PM
  #1  
myrridin
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Specific example of cost of car ownership

I recently was in a car accident and had my car totaled... While driving my bike down to the local REI for a class on brake maintenance... Just finalized the settlement for the car with my insurance company and thought some might be interested in actual costs for car ownership for a specific person.

The car: 2008 Honda Accord Sedan. Top end 6 cyl. model with leather interior and moon roof along with a few other options. Sticker price when purchased: $31,578

Mileage: 37,000
Negotiated purchase price for new vehicle: $24,998
Insurance settlement: $23,500
Net capitol cost: $1,500
Gas consumption: 1,500 gallons
Estimated gas cost: $4,125
Maintenance costs: $750
Insurance costs: $2100
License fees: $300

Total out of pocket: $8,775

Period of ownership: 42 months

Monthly net total car cost: ~$200

Real numbers for a single person. While they may not be generally descriptive, they are indicative that car ownership and use is not as expensive as some here claim...
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Old 08-25-11, 12:22 PM
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Um, take out that insurance settlement. Most people do not total their cars, and most people do not get 90% of purchase price for a car with 37K miles on it.

Heck, the car depreciates somewhere around 20% in the first year, and then 10% annually after that.

Your insurance settlement is akin to not taking depreciation into account over the lifetime of the vehicle. And, since it only had 37K miles on it, major maintenance would have been covered, by and large.

Usually, by 50K miles, one needs a $175 engine tune (New cables, plugs, and computer diag and recal), a new alternator ($80 if you do it yourself, $200 if you take it to a shop), et al.
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Old 08-25-11, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
Um, take out that insurance settlement. Most people do not total their cars, and most people do not get 90% of purchase price for a car with 37K miles on it.
Exactly.

What would have gotten for the car if you had simply sold it? Surely not $23,500...
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Old 08-25-11, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
Um, take out that insurance settlement. Most people do not total their cars, and most people do not get 90% of purchase price for a car with 37K miles on it.

Heck, the car depreciates somewhere around 20% in the first year, and then 10% annually after that.
You miss the point... I have no connections to the motor industry-so no special breaks. What you see is the result of negotiating. At no point (even when I drove off the lot) was the car worth less than I payed for it... And while not everyone gets there car totaled, they do get trade-ins (another negotiation)... So the value used is valid... The net capitol cost for that car was $1500 spread over a 42 month period.

Anyone who wants the same type of value retention can do so by following a few simple and easily understood principals... Cars don't have to cost what many here claim.
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Old 08-25-11, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
Exactly.

What would have gotten for the car if you had simply sold it? Surely not $23,500...
Likely more--I happen to be very good at negotiations. That was based on the "average" value for my car.
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Old 08-25-11, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
You miss the point... I have no connections to the motor industry-so no special breaks. What you see is the result of negotiating. At no point (even when I drove off the lot) was the car worth less than I payed for it... And while not everyone gets there car totaled, they do get trade-ins (another negotiation)... So the value used is valid... The net capitol cost for that car was $1500 spread over a 42 month period.

Anyone who wants the same type of value retention can do so by following a few simple and easily understood principals... Cars don't have to cost what many here claim.
Wrong.

As soon as you sign the paper turning ownership over to you, it becomes "Pre-owned". That takes 10% off the Blue Book value right there.

Each year, take another 10% off, assuming a perfect maintenance record, and pristine condition (No paint nicks, no dirt in the interior, etc).

True, you got that value through negotiations. Only, however, because your car was totaled. Not everyone totals a car. And, very rarley, does ANYONE get 95% of the initial purchase price of a car on a sale.

If one sells to a dealer, you are lucky to get 80% of Blue Book in your hand (They need to make money on the sale). If you sell to another person, and they happen to pay cash, you are lucky to get 90% of the Blue Book value, most likely less, since they are paying up-front in cash.

Dealing with an insurance company is different, since they MUST pay you the value of the car, since that is the purpose of insurance. Had you had car payments, and were underwater on your car (Likely after year #1, and prior to year 7 of ownership) your insurance would have paid LESS than what YOU STILL OWE on the car.

And, true. Cars don't have to cost what people claim. I mean, you really can get away without doing oil changes, but once every 18 months. And, you can get away with never doing a radiator flush, or tranny flush.

And, you COULD buy a car for $800. You'll probably get swamped by maintenance, and the most likely will not last long (Since an $800 car is most certainly near end of engine and transmission life).

But your example assumes most owners will get 95% of their purchase price in an insurance payout, which is nigh unlikely.

I don't think you are so good at negotiations, rather you dealt with a poor negotiator. I, as someone who has worked in the auto industry, would never have paid you more than $20K for your car. At cost price for a new car, same make and model would have been about that much.
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Old 08-25-11, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
Wrong.

As soon as you sign the paper turning ownership over to you, it becomes "Pre-owned". That takes 10% off the Blue Book value right there.

Each year, take another 10% off, assuming a perfect maintenance record, and pristine condition (No paint nicks, no dirt in the interior, etc).

True, you got that value through negotiations. Only, however, because your car was totaled. Not everyone totals a car. And, very rarley, does ANYONE get 95% of the initial purchase price of a car on a sale.

If one sells to a dealer, you are lucky to get 80% of Blue Book in your hand (They need to make money on the sale). If you sell to another person, and they happen to pay cash, you are lucky to get 90% of the Blue Book value, most likely less, since they are paying up-front in cash.

Dealing with an insurance company is different, since they MUST pay you the value of the car, since that is the purpose of insurance. Had you had car payments, and were underwater on your car (Likely after year #1, and prior to year 7 of ownership) your insurance would have paid LESS than what YOU STILL OWE on the car.

And, true. Cars don't have to cost what people claim. I mean, you really can get away without doing oil changes, but once every 18 months. And, you can get away with never doing a radiator flush, or tranny flush.

And, you COULD buy a car for $800. You'll probably get swamped by maintenance, and the most likely will not last long (Since an $800 car is most certainly near end of engine and transmission life).

But your example assumes most owners will get 95% of their purchase price in an insurance payout, which is nigh unlikely.

I don't think you are so good at negotiations, rather you dealt with a poor negotiator. I, as someone who has worked in the auto industry, would never have paid you more than $20K for your car. At cost price for a new car, same make and model would have been about that much.
Sorry, but your wrong. I did the same thing with my last vehicle, only it was traded in. I don't have those numbers in front of me, but the total capitol cost for the previous car was between $2,000 and $2,500 for a four year period... You quote "rules of thumb" and forget that transactions are negotiated (including those with insurance companies) I have done this many times over my lifetime. New cars, with low annual capitol costs... So you are missing the point. I am providing a specific example of something I have done repeatedly... though admittedly I get better at it each time Cars are simply not that expensive.
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Old 08-25-11, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
Sorry, but your wrong. I did the same thing with my last vehicle, only it was traded in. I don't have those numbers in front of me, but the total capitol cost for the previous car was between $2,000 and $2,500 for a four year period... You quote "rules of thumb" and forget that transactions are negotiated (including those with insurance companies) I have done this many times over my lifetime. New cars, with low annual capitol costs... So you are missing the point. I am providing a specific example of something I have done repeatedly... though admittedly I get better at it each time Cars are simply not that expensive.
Well, I personally, do not believe you, that after a 4 year ownership, you were able to get better than 80% of Kelley Blue Book value on any vehicle. Even in pristine condition, assuming about 10K per year in miles. Now, if you never drove it, and were only getting 1K per year, maybe. But, I doubt you got 94% of purchase price from the sale.

It is my opinion from working in the auto sales industry.
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Old 08-25-11, 01:39 PM
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The cost of your new car is irrelevant. You paid $31,578 and got 23,500 for it. The capital cost for that particular car was $8078.

Here are your real numbers:

Net capitol cost: $8078
Estimated gas cost: $4,125
Maintenance costs: $750
Insurance costs: $2100 ($50 /mo for a new car? Who's your insurance co.?)
License fees: $300

Total out of pocket: $15,353

Period of ownership: 42 months

Monthly net total car cost: $365.54
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Old 08-25-11, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kvnrvn View Post
The cost of your new car is irrelevant. You paid $31,578 and got 23,500 for it. The capital cost for that particular car was $8078.

Here are your real numbers:

Net capitol cost: $8078
Estimated gas cost: $4,125
Maintenance costs: $750
Insurance costs: $2100 ($50 /mo for a new car? Who's your insurance co.?)
License fees: $300

Total out of pocket: $15,353

Period of ownership: 42 months

Monthly net total car cost: $365.54

Excellent example of your inability to do basic math. I paid $25,000 (after tax, tag, and title) The sticker price was what you mentioned, which only a fool pays...

Oh and my insurance company is State Farm... $600 per year for fairly extensive coverage... Impeccable driving record, excellent credit, and good negotiation skills... something anyone can have.

Last edited by myrridin; 08-25-11 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 08-25-11, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
Well, I personally, do not believe you, that after a 4 year ownership, you were able to get better than 80% of Kelley Blue Book value on any vehicle. Even in pristine condition, assuming about 10K per year in miles. Now, if you never drove it, and were only getting 1K per year, maybe. But, I doubt you got 94% of purchase price from the sale.

It is my opinion from working in the auto sales industry.
Believe what you like. Given your working in the auto sales industry I can understand you lack of faith in people... simple example of self-reflection. I have never left the lot with a new car that wasn't worth more than I paid for it... Only purchase cars that have the best resale records and reliability records. Make use of downturns in sales to pressure dealers... It isn't that tough. Can't remember the name of the author or book who I first encountered the "method" from.
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Old 08-25-11, 02:30 PM
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How did you bike fair in the accident? Also totaled?
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Old 08-25-11, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
How did you bike fair in the accident? Also totaled?
Bike was on a yakima roof rack and got away without a scratch. If I had been using a trunk or hitch rack it would have been a different story. I was rear ended by five vehicles...
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Old 08-25-11, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
Insurance costs: $2100

While they may not be generally descriptive, they are indicative that car ownership and use is not as expensive as some here claim...
What state was the vehicle insured in? Some people claim that their car is expensive to maintain because insurance costs are very high.

Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
Bike was on a yakima roof rack and got away without a scratch. If I had been using a trunk or hitch rack it would have been a different story. I was rear ended by five vehicles...
Now I believe your initial claims even less. I do not know how it is possible to be rear ended by 5 cars. It is not really even possible to be broadsided by 5 cars. There is not enough surface area on the vehicle in any one spot to be struck 5 other vehicles...unless someone was throwing Hot Wheels at your back bumper.

ANY 08 Accord with 37K is not worth $23,000. You should feel lucky you received that much from an insurance company.

Lastly, $200 dollars may be considered a lot of money to some people, and little to others. Stating that it is not a lot to you is relative...to you.
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Old 08-25-11, 09:44 PM
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Just an FYI: you're driving well below the average annual mileage while getting better-than-average mpg.
These are not typical numbers for most people.
Your annual mileage: 10572 at 24.6 mpg =429 gallons annually
average car: 12500 at 21.5 mpg =581 gallons annually
average light truck: 14000 at 17.2 mpg =813 gallons annually
(average numbers pulled from the EPA.)

One of the deciding factors in my getting back into bicycling and working towards parking the car permanently was having to get new tires, oil changed, and a minor repair (a grease boot replaced) in the same month. In one week I dumped $650 on my car. That's not including my monthly fuel expenses: about $150-200 at 25-ish mpg. (Subaru Forester)
Yeah...car-lite is a no-brainer for me. Even allowing myself a tank of gas (~300 miles) a month, I'm still saving about $6-8 a DAY.

Several of the minimalist sites and the like that I frequent use $8000 annually for the average cost of owning a car in the United States. From my experience, that's about right.
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Old 08-25-11, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jared. View Post
Now I believe your initial claims even less. I do not know how it is possible to be rear ended by 5 cars. It is not really even possible to be broadsided by 5 cars. There is not enough surface area on the vehicle in any one spot to be struck 5 other vehicles...unless someone was throwing Hot Wheels at your back bumper.

Lastly, $200 dollars may be considered a lot of money to some people, and little to others. Stating that it is not a lot to you is relative...to you.
I took it to mean he was at the front of a 5-car pileup. Domino effect.
$200 is about what I spend on food each month, just to throw a reference out there.
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Old 08-25-11, 09:54 PM
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I'm a bit skeptical of the OP's numbers, but agree that cars can be a lot less expensive than AAA claims. However, no matter how frugal you are with cars, not owning a car at all will always be way less expensive.
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Old 08-26-11, 12:04 AM
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I can do basic math just fine. If capital costs are $500 per year then a $20000 car has to have a useful life of 40 years. (500 x 40 = 20000 - basic math). Your numbers don't add up.
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Old 08-26-11, 01:21 AM
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If those are his numbers then those are his numbers. I don't see the reason to call him a liar. He obviously made out well with the insurance company. I would suspect that was negotiated a little too and if he was in a favorable position to get a little more from the insurance company good for him.
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Old 08-26-11, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
Believe what you like. Given your working in the auto sales industry I can understand you lack of faith in people... simple example of self-reflection. I have never left the lot with a new car that wasn't worth more than I paid for it... Only purchase cars that have the best resale records and reliability records. Make use of downturns in sales to pressure dealers... It isn't that tough. Can't remember the name of the author or book who I first encountered the "method" from.
I wonder the name of this dealer you are buying cars from... I'd like to see how long they stay in business, paying more for cars than what they sell them for...
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Old 08-26-11, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Metal Man View Post
If those are his numbers then those are his numbers. I don't see the reason to call him a liar. He obviously made out well with the insurance company. I would suspect that was negotiated a little too and if he was in a favorable position to get a little more from the insurance company good for him.
The insurance settlement isn't too hard to believe. It's the point of insurance: To pay out what the value of the car is.

What I find suspect, is the "negotiating" involved, where a car dealer pays more for a car than what they can sell it for.

Dealers MUST pay no more than Kelley Blue Book, due to the costs involved in getting it ready for the next buyer, operating costs, and shelf costs (The cost involved in keeping it on the lot for about 6 weeks which is average). If a dealer pays more, they are losing money.
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Old 08-26-11, 08:12 AM
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Another Specific Example

This post caught my attention since I just sold my 4 cylinder 06 Accord to go car lite (wife still has a car). I sold it to a family member, so I may have gotten more for it selling to another party. If my negotiation skills were as awesome as the OP, my numbers would be lower, but here is my best guess at actual costs. Assumptions were $2.85 a gallon and 25 mpg. Length of ownership was 5.5 years, and purchased new.

Car Purchase Price 16000
Sell Price 8000

Net Car Cost 8000
Insurance 2695
Registration 250
Inspection 300
2 Sets of Tires/Oil Changes 1500
Gas for 75000 miles 8550

Total Car Cost $21,295

Monthly Cost $323

If I would have sold the car for 16000, my monthly cost would be $201, a bit closer to the OP's numbers.
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Old 08-26-11, 08:58 AM
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if i owned a car in my current situation, i'd have to rent a parking spot in my building for $250/month (street parking is not a viable option in downtown chicago). that's right, 3 grand a year just to store something that i would rarely use. all other average monthly costs of car ownership would then be tacked onto that $250 figure.

car-sharing makes infinitely more fiscal sense for me for the infrequent occasions when i need a car.
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Old 08-26-11, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
Monthly net total car cost: ~$200

Real numbers for a single person. While they may not be generally descriptive, they are indicative that car ownership and use is not as expensive as some here claim...
Ho-hum. Another set of dubious figures from our resident car lover.

Obviously you've made pretty good money for a street designer, but even $200 is a lot of money to me and my family. Your credit and negotiating skills are incredible (literally)--most people pay more than 200 just on the loan payment.
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Old 08-26-11, 09:24 AM
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Here's my numbers:

Purchase Price: $17,000 (Including interest on loan)
Years Owned: 5
Fuel: $10,400 ($40 per week, 5 years)
Insurance: $3000 (assuming $600 per year, for full coverage)
Maintenance: $6000 (New tires annually, two oil changed per year, and some miscellaneous items)
Total: $36,400 over 5 years.
Per-month cost: $606 per month (Not including parking fees, bi-annual registration, and annual safety inspections)

So, I guess if you buy a new car every year, you'll come out ahead. Or, if you drive a Yugo. However, most people do not do this. And, I can guarantee, I will not get $16K when i sell my vehicle, seeing as current Blue Book value is:
$5550 if I trade it in.
$8240 if I sell it myself.

So, if I figure in $10K...
$440 per month.
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