It's. it a given a car will be underwater on day one (downpayment??) and I think rolling in other debt is less common than you think; at least not common enough to pose a real threat to the market.
I want actual numbers about rolled-in debt. I don't know how common it is. I think it's too common for it not to be taken into account - but I don't like to guess, I want to see!
I'm sure with a bit of motivation and creativity a person could remove that GPS if they were so motivated. The sales agreement probably forbids it but if you are wrapped up in owning a particular car that you can't afford...
The GPS + interlock units are fairly easy to remove ...... if you know what you're doing. Dealers will never touch them, and most independent mechanics don't want to touch them because they don't want to deal with potential fall-out. Not to mention that some of them are the ones who actually install them in the first place. (Some independents really enjoy playing both sides - charge $150 to install one, then a week later charge $150 to remove it.)
They tend to be more complex than the average idiot can deal with. It's more than just unplugging it or popping a fuse.
The two big reasons for this is that labor rates at dealers and stationary repair garages are insane, with $125 to $150/HR being common.
Hah! I've been paying $100/hr or more in hourly labor for normal cars. $125 or $150/hr is totally reasonable... where I live. Actually, my preferred independent shop is known for RV repair.
That said, of course doing work yourself is great. In my shadetree experience, I'm about 3x slower than professionals - well, maybe 2x slower on simple things, maybe 5x slower on complex things I've never done. Based on my hourly post-tax post-savings rate (that is, disposable income), one hour of shop labor is around five hours of my time. So I figure I never lose on a job unless I fuck something up in the process.
RVs have a great benefit of being big and sitting tall, so you can easily get under one. On the down side, they're much heavier, so if you need to lift it, you need a much meatier jack and much much meatier jack stands.
I wonder what motorhome expenses really *are* like, just owning it or even living in it full-time. I've fantasized about being a full-time RV'er more than once and it strikes me as possibly a good way to retire. Just take off with the canary and the Chihuahua, and see the world. But maintenance couldn't possibly be cheap or easy.
On a somewhat different note, having criss-crossed the country a bunch of times over the past five years, I always recommend alternatives to RVs.
If you want a car you can live out of long-term, I would highly recommend a van or a pickup truck with one of those bed-mounted house thingies. Camper vans are the cheaper way to do it, but you'll need to put in a lot of sweat equity. Alternatively, a modern-small pickup truck (so like a Tacoma, which I believe is the smaller one between that and the Tundra) with another ten-ish grand for the thing you stick in the bed of the truck... it has surprisingly a lot inside. Everything you need, and it comes all ready to go, turnkey. But more expensive, obviously.
Why do I recommend this over an RV, completely ignoring costs?
In short: size, weight, capability, fuel, and power-to-weight (including courtesy). Let me explain.
Size: Many, and I mean _many_ of the best places in this country either prohibit RVs, or highly discourage RVs, or make RVs inconvenient. Basically every single national park has areas where RVs are either not permitted at all, or where there is special RV parking off to the side, or where RVs are allowed if under a certain size but highly not recommended. In addition, parking is always going to be a hassle. In addition, some roads with no posted signs are going to be a huge hassle due to being too narrow to want to drive an RV on it. And when I say some roads, I again mean many of the best roads in the best places.
Weight: These things are heavy, which makes everything more complex. From servicing to not being allowed on certain bridges to not being able to take sharp corners at a reasonable pace.
Capability: RVs suck at off-roading. Sure, you have decent ground clearance, but you're not going to be able to take many of the more popular off-road roads because... well, no can do, between being top-heavy, not having a proper suspension, etc. While you can find capable RVs, it's way easier to get a capable truck, or a camper van (stock or with a couple inch lift kit.) Not to mention that they're easy to get stuck, due to being heavier. And if you want AWD to make it easier, that's cost again.
Fuel: Ties back into weight. You'll burn a lot of fuel.
Power-to-weight: This is my final point, and it's one that (along with size) affects not just you but everyone else. Generally speaking, RVs have shit engines. It used to be that you could easily buy an RV with a big block 454, and with a bit of work and a thousand bucks you could get the fucker to make 350 (modern-rated) horsepower. Now, a lot of people here will scoff - what do you need so much power for? The weight, of course. These things are heavy as fuck. Try driving one without a big engine up a big hill. You go slower and slower, struggling to maintain speed. The thing downshifts to get you up, so you're burning fuel and heating up the engine and transmission a shitload. And the most beautiful parts of this country tend to be either mountainous, or have large ascents or descents. Basically every national park has areas where you need to be able to go up-hill. And again, size - you can't take corners for shit. So you'll be the asshole driving in Yosemite at 23 mph with two dozen cars behind you. And you're already making terrible time, so if you're like too goddamn many RV drivers, you don't use the turnouts, and you just piss everyone off, including me, so this is my selfish plea: don't get an RV unless you're courteous and you can drive quickly up hills and around corners.
RV owners tend to annoy me, RV renters tend to infuriate me. They're even worse about courtesy. I almost never go out for a fun drive in some lovely part of the country without getting stuck for miles behind an RV. All I pray for is a tenth of a mile of visibility and no upcoming traffic and no cops, because to put it bluntly, I've given up waiting for a sign of courtesy - I just put the hammer down and go.
Now, camper vans and trucks, properly outfitted, have few to none of these issues. Much better on gas. Can go off-road. Can take corners. Can go up hills. Can park anywhere. Can drive through narrows. Etc.
Of course, I also believe that RVs are too soft
. Then again, I sleep in my corvette these days, so maybe my idea of what too much luxury is is different from yours.