Author Topic: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement  (Read 7537 times)

CharChar

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Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« on: April 13, 2016, 10:58:43 AM »
Some of you may have seen my other posts for advice on cars I have considered purchasing. I've pretty much decided that if I'm going to give up a car that I love for the purpose of reducing maintenance and monthly fuel expenses, I'm going to replace it with the best possible alternative as far as reliability, cost & fuel economy, which I'm finding to be the Prius. So I took my 2007 BMW to the local Toyota dealership to see what the trade in value would be - $6000. About what I expected. So here are my questions:

Have any of you ever leased a new car and is that something you would advise avoiding? Pros and cons?
Should I even consider trading my car in at a dealership? I don't want to finance anything but if I found something around $10k I may be able to pay off the difference in cash. Selling privately would require me to go without a car (which I can't do) until I found a new one, unless I got a loan for the new car and paid most of it off after selling the BMW.

I make ~40k/yr with about $5k cc debt (mostly from the house we are flipping & about to sell). Monthly expenses total about $1200 including mortgage. ~9k cash savings. So what's the most Mustachian route for me? :)


NoStacheOhio

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2016, 01:03:36 PM »
Depending on the state sales tax situation, trading in at a dealership could save you a fair chunk of money.

Leasing isn't horrible on the right car (needs high residual), but it's not a great idea. I leased Hondas for close to 10 years, and finally stopped this year. The payments weren't bad, but you never get anywhere. It's a permanent car payment.

Financing in order to bridge cars isn't necessarily a bad idea, especially if there's a significant difference between what the dealer is going to give you and what you can get private party. Don't forget everything is negotiable though; see if you can get more on the trade.

Alternatively, how soon are you selling the house, and how much are you going to pocket from the sale? Will that free up some cash to where you could buy a more reasonable car outright if you just waited a few months?

CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2016, 02:05:56 PM »
That last comment you made is definitely possible. We will be selling the home very soon. I would really like to get a car (prius) with exceptional fuel economy & lower maintenance costs that I can drive for a long time, maybe until it dies. If I truly think I can and will buy a leased car at the end of the 3 year term, would this make it more beneficial? I don't want to just "rent" it and have my money go nowhere, so I would try to avoid that.

I don't necessarily love the idea of getting a brand new car. But this would come with your 3yr/36k mile bumper to bumper and they cover scheduled preventative maintenance for 2 years. I am nervous about buying from a private party. BUT I think an even better option would be to find a used car dealership with a Prius selection. However, as with everything else, that's at least an hour away from me.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2016, 02:13:52 PM »
CharChar, I have a Ford C-Max plug-in hybrid that I bought new a couple of years ago. I'm on the C-Max forum on a regular basis, and the people who leased this car are quite frustrated when their leases are up because Ford won't back down on the price, even though market value is way below the post-lease purchase price Ford wants. So although many of them love their cars and want to keep them, they're turning them in because it doesn't make sense to purchase them. You might want to do some research on this for any hybrid or plug-in hybrid you are considering. They're going down in value pretty fast.

CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2016, 02:27:18 PM »
Thank you for that insight. I am leaning away from the leasing option, but since I'm not familiar with it, I wanted to get some other opinions. My biggest problem is really that I don't have many options near me. Im thinking I'll plan a day in the city to do some shopping around. Its so hard for me to find the time, not to mention the long drive, but it's looking like that will be my best bet. Anyone in the Kansas City area have any recommendations for where to look for a used Prius?

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2016, 02:42:59 PM »
Hey CharChar - glad to meet you.

I've owned two Prius's (Prii?), and love them both.  My son currently drives GenI Prius #1, and I drive GenIII Prius #2.
It's a solid car - no trick to drive it: to push the RIGHT pedal  to GO, and the LEFT pedal to STOP.  I get ~44Mpg city / ~53Mpg highway.
The cargo area is great - fold the back seats down, and you can fit almost anything inside.  In the Seattle area, those all-weather floor mats more than pay for themselves - that's been my only upgrade (besides LED interior lights as bulbs have burned out).

Purchased the 2010 Prius (cash) in 2012 for $21K.  Currently have 85K miles on it, and no problems - gas, oil changes, and tires are only operating expenses.  I expect this car to get 250K-to-300K miles.  Seeing them used via CraigsList (2010 model) for between $8,000 - $10,000.  I would never lease (some reasons mentioned above).

Jack

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2016, 02:47:55 PM »
First of all, what kind of 2007 BMW is only worth $6K?

Second, how much do you drive? Between the fact that your current car is that cheap and the fact that you love it so much, I'd be inclined to tell you to keep it unless you're putting so many miles per year on the car such that the difference in fuel economy would really be that significant. (And if you do drive that much, and can't cut it out, then you should skip the Prius and go straight for the first-gen Honda Insight.)

Third, if you do replace the $6K BMW with a Prius, it should be a $6K Prius, not a new one! Buying (or worse, leasing) a more expensive car defeats the purpose.

CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2016, 03:22:24 PM »
I really appreciate everyone's thoughts!

Mother Fussbudget I was a little concerned with how they would drive. My BMW has twin turbo engines and that is definitely something that would take some getting use to. I did test drive a 2012 & 2016. Obviously the 2016 was much smoother so that is something I would just have to live with. Other than that, I thought it was pretty OK. I almost liked the 2012 over the 2016.

Jack, I thought $6k was a little low but exactly what I expected from a large dealer. It is in very good shape with a few minor exterior scratches and very little wear on the interior. Chocolate leather brown seats, sunroof, blue tooth, etc. Another reason I'm hoping to find a decent used dealership. I have looked into the Honda insight and I love the newer ones but I prefer a 4 door car so the first gen won't work for me. I estimate that I drive at least 12,000 miles a year (a lot of stop and go at work as well). And I absolutely agree with the last statement you made and that's originally what I wanted to do but I am having a heck of a time finding something in that price range that seems reliable!

Jack

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2016, 03:53:17 PM »
Twin turbos? So you're talking about a 335i? Hell, if you're willing to sell that for $6K then I'll buy it! (And if it's got a manual transmission then I might not even be joking about that...)

FYI, there's no reason a $6K Prius -- or just about any $6K Toyota sedan, for that matter -- wouldn't be reliable. Perhaps you should consider looking further away for the right car, or being less picky about the model (e.g. expand your search to include Corollas, Yarises, and non-Toyota compact sedans).

Also strongly consider private-party sales, on both the sell and the buy side.

ysette9

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2016, 04:24:05 PM »
I know people jump to the idea of a Prius when you talk about fuel economy, but seriously, they aren't the only cars out there. It would be well worth it to open your aperture to small cars such as the Yaris, Honda Fit, or Golf TDI that will have lower purchase prices and only slightly greater fuel cost than a Prius. Setting aside the whole TDI recall stuff going on right now, my Golf TDI cost about the same new as my mother's Prius. She gets about 45 miles/gallon and I get about 42. Since my engine is diesel it will run approximately forever whereas she will eventually have to look into replacing her batteries. I'm not arguing that the Prius is bad (except I can't stand driving those suckers) but that it isn't the only good option available. Especially if you want something reliable in the $6K range, you may be better of with a small regular car instead of a hybrid.

CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2016, 04:40:43 PM »
I didn't say I was willing to sell it for $6k!! Haha. It is automatic. Yes I love my 335xi, its so fun to drive and I did think about just keeping it. Which is why I am focusing on the Prius, because I want the best if I'm going to give up my car. To my knowledge, none of the other models you mentioned get near 50 mpg do they? If so then I will definitely expand my search, because that is one of the biggest factors for me at this time. If I were to get a car with, say, 34mpg, that's still much better than my Beemer but why not go for the gold and get 50mpg? That's my thinking.

I will still consider private party transactions. But even most of those are an hour or so away. A special trip will be required but I may end up doing that this weekend. Hell if I could do it right, I could buy something cheaper than what I get for my BMW and use that to cover tags, registration, etc. That would be the perfect scenario.

ysette9: Thank you for those suggestions. You are right, I jumped right into looking at hybrids. I would even drive an EV if I were in a different location where it made sense. I will look into some of the models you mentioned. It does make it difficult, though, when I see/hear so many people talk about how much they love their Prius. I don't particularly love they way they look, especially older models, and the fact that it is a hybrid was the only reason I started looking into them.

Anyone else have thoughts on non-Prius fuel efficient, reliable cars(hybrid or not)?

Miss Piggy

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2016, 05:31:21 PM »
My PHEV C-Max is currently reading 85.7 MPG on the MPG-meter. (Is there a name for that?) That's after going about 6 weeks without being able to charge it (so driving only in hybrid mode) because my garage has been used as a staging area for a kitchen remodel. I drive about 6,000 miles per year and fill the tank (15 gallons, I think?) maybe 3 times a year, so for me, this car gets better-than-outstanding gas mileage. That said, I work from home and do primarily local driving, so the 20 to 30 electric miles I can drive on a charge take me most  places I need to go.  YMMV.

I know people love their Prii, but there really are other good options out there, especially if you're mostly a local driver.

aFrugalFather

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2016, 05:36:13 PM »
I didn't say I was willing to sell it for $6k!! Haha. It is automatic. Yes I love my 335xi, its so fun to drive and I did think about just keeping it. Which is why I am focusing on the Prius, because I want the best if I'm going to give up my car. To my knowledge, none of the other models you mentioned get near 50 mpg do they? If so then I will definitely expand my search, because that is one of the biggest factors for me at this time. If I were to get a car with, say, 34mpg, that's still much better than my Beemer but why not go for the gold and get 50mpg? That's my thinking.

I will still consider private party transactions. But even most of those are an hour or so away. A special trip will be required but I may end up doing that this weekend. Hell if I could do it right, I could buy something cheaper than what I get for my BMW and use that to cover tags, registration, etc. That would be the perfect scenario.

ysette9: Thank you for those suggestions. You are right, I jumped right into looking at hybrids. I would even drive an EV if I were in a different location where it made sense. I will look into some of the models you mentioned. It does make it difficult, though, when I see/hear so many people talk about how much they love their Prius. I don't particularly love they way they look, especially older models, and the fact that it is a hybrid was the only reason I started looking into them.

Anyone else have thoughts on non-Prius fuel efficient, reliable cars(hybrid or not)?

If you like driving, going from a BMW to a prirus may be a shock.  I think a nice compromise with driving dynamics, bang for the buck and fuel economy is the Mazda sedan lineup (3 or 6 depending on how much you value MPG). 

Jack

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2016, 06:45:44 PM »
I didn't say I was willing to sell it for $6k!! Haha. It is automatic. Yes I love my 335xi, its so fun to drive and I did think about just keeping it. Which is why I am focusing on the Prius, because I want the best if I'm going to give up my car. To my knowledge, none of the other models you mentioned get near 50 mpg do they?

According to the EPA, TDIs don't get 50 mpg. However, in actual reality they do. Perhaps more importantly, they'll drive a lot more like your BMW than a Prius would. (Many on this site would not recommend a TDI because they're German and complicated... but hell, you already own a BMW so you're used to it!) The more I read this thread, the more convinced I become that a TDI would be the ideal solution for you. If you like that idea, go to tdiclub.com for more advice about which model years etc. are best.

(By the way: if you drive a TDI and are disappointed by the acceleration, know that they respond very well to a few inexpensive ECU and fuel system tweaks. Think 50% more horsepower than stock for less than $1k.)

Finally, I hesitate to mention it since it would still be anti-mustachian, but if you wanted a car like you currently own but that got better fuel economy, there's also a diesel 3-series...

CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2016, 07:47:01 PM »
Ok so my next question about the TDI is how much does the maintenance cost? My BMW comes with a $100 oil change. I dont want that. And thats one of the other big reasons i initially looked at hybrids. If the fuel economy is that good, im definitely intrigued.

ysette9

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2016, 09:18:40 PM »
Yes, people are pretty cult-ish about their Prii. It's probably best if you just drive one and see for yourself. Personally I like to drive a fun car (the Golf TDI is my compromise for a family car) and I found the Prius to be super touchy on the brake, terribly unresponsive on the gas, and just boring to handle all together. Not mushy like a big american boat, but not fun. The TDI has a somewhat better suspension, is really nimble, and the high torque of the diesel engine gives it some fun out of a red light even though it isn't a high horsepower engine.

As for maintenance, the first thing is that different models of VWs are made in different countries. From what i have heard you are good if you get one built in Germany (Golf) but not so much for ones built in Mexico. The other thing that is cool about the diesel in addition to the 500+ mile range is that it only needs an oil change every 10k miles. Yes, they are still 100$ oil changes but when you are only doing it once a year, it's not so bad.

I haven't driven the Mazdas myself but have heard good things about them. I have driven a Ford Focus (not Escort!) as a rental car a few times and was mildly impressed. My sister likes her Fit though it is going to feel underpowered and a bit tin can-y to you after a BMW. It'd probably good to just go test drive a few options.

Jack

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2016, 09:31:53 PM »
Ok so my next question about the TDI is how much does the maintenance cost? My BMW comes with a $100 oil change. I dont want that. And thats one of the other big reasons i initially looked at hybrids. If the fuel economy is that good, im definitely intrigued.

It depends on the model year. For 1998-2003 TDIs (ALH engine), any full-synthetic diesel oil meeting API CJ-4 is fine. (Shell Rotella T6 5W-40 is $30 or less for a gallon at Wal-Mart.) Pumpe Düse TDIs (model year 2004-2006) strictly require VW 505.01 spec oil, and modern common-rail ones (2009+ -- there were no '07s or '08s) strictly require VW 507.00. See this tdiclub.com forum thread for (much!) more information.

On the bright side, the oil change interval is 10,000 miles (and the OCD TDIClub people have used oil analyses to prove that's adequate), so even if you spend double on the oil it doesn't matter because you're only changing it half as often. Since I do oil changes myself, I much prefer the higher-cost/longer-interval option. Having to service my American and Japanese cars every 3K miles sucks!

Oh, and do the oil changes yourself -- mechanics really soak you for synthetic oil (probably so they can advertise lower prices for dino oil, I guess), so you can save a lot of money that way.

In general, TDIs are still German cars, so they're going to have some maintenance costs. Maintenance will be cheaper than it is on a BMW, though!

If you do go the TDI route (and don't mind an older car), I recommend a 2002-2003 model (Golf, Jetta or Beetle) with a manual transmission. (FYI, beware non-tiptronic automatics -- they're terribly unreliable. If you insist on a slushbox, go 2004 or newer.) Then spend $500 or so on an ECU tune and larger fuel injector nozzles so that it has 135 hp / 200+ ft-lb of torque instead of the stock 90 hp / 155 ft-lb.

As for TDIs vs. Mazdas: IMO, a TDI is less fun to drive than a Miata, but more fun than a (non-Mazdaspeed) 3, 5, or 6.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2016, 05:48:51 AM »
If you like driving, going from a BMW to a prirus may be a shock.  I think a nice compromise with driving dynamics, bang for the buck and fuel economy is the Mazda sedan lineup (3 or 6 depending on how much you value MPG).

^This.

I have a base model Mazda3 with the six-speed and I'm averaging ~38 mixed city/hwy/rush hour traffic. It's not exactly fast, but the suspension setup is great, and it's pretty engaging to drive.

humbleMouse

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2016, 09:06:09 AM »
I am just going to put in a shameless plug for getting a saab.  If you like driving fast cars with leather seats, hard to beat a saab.  Just make sure there is a good independent saab fixer somewhere around where you live and you're good.  They get good gas mileage and are much cheaper than bmw's.  Also 0-60 in 7 seconds.

I agree that 6k for a twin turbo bmw is ridiculous.  Put it on craigslist and get more.  Buy the car you want with a loan in the mean time - you don't want to be rushed when making car buying decisions. 

CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2016, 10:40:49 AM »
I did test drive a 2012 & 2016 Prius. The 2016 was obviously a much smoother drive (including braking) but I don't need or really want that newer car. After driving them and then getting into my BMW, I could feel the difference right away.

I use to own a Mazda 3 a few cars ago. It was a good car but didn't stick out as something I wanted to seek out again real soon. My bf drives a VW Passat. I generally like VW's so I'll be doing a lot more research, starting with the tdiclub.com forum. I've looked at a few saab's online but haven't done much research on them. They are definitely good looking cars. Thanks for the suggestion :)

Hopefully, I will be able to learn how to do an oil change this summer, as its something I've wanted to learn for a few years. But if nothing else, I will have my bf do them for me, at least if I'm going to continue to own something that is not a hybrid. Man this thread opened up a lot of options for me to look into. I do want to support the hybrid/electric industry, but that may be something easier done a few years down the road. Thanks for everyone's help. I've got lots of work to do!

neo von retorch

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2016, 11:06:32 AM »
I drove a ~2010 Mazda3, and I didn't care for it at all. But I ended up buying a 2013 CX-5. The latest generation is worlds apart. But then a ~2014 Mazda3 (the redesign) is probably newer than you're looking for anyway. I wonder if a car like the 2004-2008 Acura TSX would work for you. The 2.4L is not quite as efficient (26-29 mpg) as the more economical options you've been considering, but it's a hell of a lot more like the BMW in driving experience.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2016, 11:47:07 AM »
I drove a ~2010 Mazda3, and I didn't care for it at all. But I ended up buying a 2013 CX-5. The latest generation is worlds apart. But then a ~2014 Mazda3 (the redesign) is probably newer than you're looking for anyway. I wonder if a car like the 2004-2008 Acura TSX would work for you. The 2.4L is not quite as efficient (26-29 mpg) as the more economical options you've been considering, but it's a hell of a lot more like the BMW in driving experience.

Most of the Acuras are still burning premium

neo von retorch

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2016, 11:58:05 AM »
Which makes a difference of about $12 for every 1000 miles driven... If the only consideration is economics, I'd certainly not recommend the Acura. But if "enjoying driving" is worth some money to you, then I wouldn't put a ton of stress on the type of fuel used :)

Jack

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2016, 02:29:16 PM »
An Acura TSX is not significantly better in fuel economy over the car the OP already has, but it is significantly worse in power (200 hp vs. 300 hp) and driving dynamics (FWD vs. AWD).

Reddleman

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2016, 03:35:51 PM »
Wow.

I just find it crazy that most people seem to think that you can't find a reliable car for under $6k.  Okay, so it is unlikely that you can find one as nice (or new) as the 335 for that, but it is definitely possible. 

Any well-maintained, decently engineered compact car made in the last 20 years would fit.  Honda Civic, Fit, Accord.  Toyota Corolla, Camry.  Mazda 3/5/6. Even trucks would work, although the base Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma would be the only ones that reach over 25mpg highway.  And all of the above come available with a manual transmission and are very cheap to maintain/repair virtually anywhere.

Heck, you could find an original owner Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, or MMM's Scion XA for well under $6K- with maintenance records!  All will make it at least as far as any new car at considerably less cost per mile.

Granted, none will be that impressive to anyone, so if your image is important in your current career (this is actually pretty important in some instances) a Prius might have a better chance of passing muster.

Not trying to hate on the desire for a nice driving experience- I have a 20 year old BMW. . .


CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2016, 04:23:32 PM »
Thanks Reddleman. I have read all of MMM's vehicle posts and when he mentioned certain cars at lower prices, I did searches and thought, where the heck are people buying this car for that price?! I definitely wouldn't be opposed to an older car that was well taken care of, but when I see 130k+ miles on any car, I get a little scared. I know 130k isn't bad, but when I started searching for a replacement for my BMW, I wanted to find a car that I could drive for a long time. Although if I do not go with a hybrid this time, that won't be as important, since I'll likely want to get a hybrid or EV once they are more available and the newer, better models are less expensive.

I have owned a few manual transmission vehicles and enjoy driving them, but I do a LOT of stop & go driving for work unfortunately. So for now I'll stick with automatic. I'm certainly not expecting to find a car as nice as what I'm driving now. But I sure do hope I can find something as comfortable.

Reddleman

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2016, 06:20:06 PM »
Kinda odd, but I haven't bought a car with less than 130k in . . . um, ever?

I think it really does take a change in mindset, however, to do this.  While most people buy cars with the idea that "I want it to be reliable and not cost alot in repairs", it's kind of a false logic.

Take BMW for instance.  Most modern BMWs are really well built, but even with well under 100k miles they start to require some serious maintenance costs.  Cooling systems are a notorious weak point, and should be completely replaced every 60-80k miles to prevent catastrophic failure.  Dealer price for this "maintenance" varies, but is about $2k.  Other modern cars require regular timing belt changes for similar reasons.  Depending on design, it is usually between $500-$1000.  Repair of any other major or minor system (emission, A/C, suspension, sensor/control, etc.) will cost at least in this range. 

Slightly older cars with higher production numbers are often much simpler, and have greater availablity of both cheap parts and knowlegeable local repair.  For instance, they built approx. 250k Ford Rangers a year between 1999 and 2005.  That's 1.5 million vehicles.  You can get them repaired anywhere and parts are slightly more expensive than dirt.  It also means that you can buy one in excellent condition any day of the week for anywhere between $3-5k.  They also are known to easily go to 200/300k miles without any major problems. 

Adding in the cost of regular service and parts (tire replacement would be half that of the BMW!) You're looking at well under $1000 a year in non-fuel costs, pretty much indefinitely. 

As for reliability, I'd put a money down that it is more likely you would be stuck on the side of the road in any modern european car than a $3k 2001 Ranger.  Or a Scion XA, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla, etc. . .




neo von retorch

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2016, 06:43:23 AM »
An Acura TSX is not significantly better in fuel economy over the car the OP already has, but it is significantly worse in power (200 hp vs. 300 hp) and driving dynamics (FWD vs. AWD).

Yes, I won't argue that it's only better with no downsides. As for gas, one uses 5+ gallons every 100 miles. The other uses about 3.7. It's not "insignificant". As she said, she hopes to find something "as comfortable" and has considered the Prius. If she's considering a Prius, a TSX would be a very comfortable alternative. I'm not saying it's the peak, optimal replacement, because I'm not obsessed with perfect. Plus, a TSX is basically a Honda (with leather inside). There's no reason she can't do all the work herself, and have the car last to 200,000 miles.

Quote
I'm going to replace it with the best possible alternative as far as reliability, cost & fuel economy, which I'm finding to be the Prius

If OP wants optimal / best, and she's already found it, well there's no reason to discuss alternatives ;)
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 02:26:30 PM by neogodless »

CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2016, 01:56:32 PM »
Ok so my next question about the TDI is how much does the maintenance cost? My BMW comes with a $100 oil change. I dont want that. And thats one of the other big reasons i initially looked at hybrids. If the fuel economy is that good, im definitely intrigued.
If you do go the TDI route (and don't mind an older car), I recommend a 2002-2003 model (Golf, Jetta or Beetle) with a manual transmission. (FYI, beware non-tiptronic automatics -- they're terribly unreliable. If you insist on a slushbox, go 2004 or newer.) Then spend $500 or so on an ECU tune and larger fuel injector nozzles so that it has 135 hp / 200+ ft-lb of torque instead of the stock 90 hp / 155 ft-lb.

As for TDIs vs. Mazdas: IMO, a TDI is less fun to drive than a Miata, but more fun than a (non-Mazdaspeed) 3, 5, or 6.

Let me clarify, I am a she, not a he...not that that matters, but there it is.

So what do you mean by non-tiptronic automatics? How do I check for this?

I found this VW: https://kansascity.craigslist.org/ctd/5535587546.html Its a Jetta TDI and it seems like an excellent deal, especially with that lifetime warranty. What do you think? I looked up the fuel economy and google says 36 city/41 hwy.

Kinda odd, but I haven't bought a car with less than 130k in . . . um, ever?

I think it really does take a change in mindset, however, to do this.  While most people buy cars with the idea that "I want it to be reliable and not cost alot in repairs", it's kind of a false logic.

Take BMW for instance.  Most modern BMWs are really well built, but even with well under 100k miles they start to require some serious maintenance costs.  Cooling systems are a notorious weak point, and should be completely replaced every 60-80k miles to prevent catastrophic failure.  Dealer price for this "maintenance" varies, but is about $2k.  Other modern cars require regular timing belt changes for similar reasons.  Depending on design, it is usually between $500-$1000.  Repair of any other major or minor system (emission, A/C, suspension, sensor/control, etc.) will cost at least in this range. 

Slightly older cars with higher production numbers are often much simpler, and have greater availablity of both cheap parts and knowlegeable local repair.  For instance, they built approx. 250k Ford Rangers a year between 1999 and 2005.  That's 1.5 million vehicles.  You can get them repaired anywhere and parts are slightly more expensive than dirt.  It also means that you can buy one in excellent condition any day of the week for anywhere between $3-5k.  They also are known to easily go to 200/300k miles without any major problems. 

Adding in the cost of regular service and parts (tire replacement would be half that of the BMW!) You're looking at well under $1000 a year in non-fuel costs, pretty much indefinitely. 

As for reliability, I'd put a money down that it is more likely you would be stuck on the side of the road in any modern european car than a $3k 2001 Ranger.  Or a Scion XA, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla, etc. . .





OK you got me there. Definitely puts a few things into perspective. I feel a little more confident about looking at certain cars in older models :)

Thank you, you all are amazing!!

Jack

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2016, 03:27:49 PM »
So what do you mean by non-tiptronic automatics? How do I check for this?

VW has three kinds of "automatic" transmissions. The first is a normal automatic with a torque converter, where the only setting for normal driving is "D". The second is a Tiptronic automatic, which also has a torque converter but in addition to "D" allows you to slide the shifter sideways and then select gears manually by moving the shifter momentarily to "+" and "-". The third is the DSG (direct shift gearbox) which does not have a torque converter but instead has clutches like a manual transmission, but has two of them and controls them via computer. It has a "D" mode and "+" and "-" functions on the gear lever, plus steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. (The tiptronic might have paddle shifters too, but I don't think so.)

You can tell them apart by looking for the "+" and "-" by the shifter, or by model year: the "regular" automatic was used up to model year 2003. The Tiptronic was used from 2004-2006, and the DSG was used in 2009+ models -- I think, anyway.

The normal automatic was terrible (search TDIClub for "01M" if you want to learn why). The tiptronic is, as far as I know, fine. The DSG is fancy and expensive, but might be reliable enough to be recommended, for all I know -- research the issue on TDIClub if you decide to go for a 2009+ (not that you should, but if you do).

Any manual transmission is the best choice, of course. ; )

I found this VW: https://kansascity.craigslist.org/ctd/5535587546.html Its a Jetta TDI and it seems like an excellent deal...

The car in the Craigslist ad looks like a decent prospect, especially with the low miles and appearance of being in decent condition. In particular, if you want an automatic TDI, then it's a good choice. (I have no idea whether the price is reasonable or not; I'm just speaking about the make/model and condition.)

FYI, I've talked up to this point about differences in engine (rotary-injection vs. pumpe-duse vs. common-rail) and transmission (normal vs. tiptronic vs. DSG), which both follow the 99.5-03/04-06/09+ model year cutoffs. However, there's another consideration: Mk4 vs. Mk5. For the Jetta, Mk4 was 99.5-2005, while MK5 was 2005.5-2011. The pumpe-duse, Tiptronic Mk5 (which is what the car in the Craigslist ad is) was only made from 2005.5-2006 (i.e., more-or-less one model year). It is larger, fancier and more modern than the MK4, but uses a slightly different engine than other 2004-2006 TDIs (engine code "BRM" instead of "BEW") so maintenance and replacement parts are slightly different. I don't think there's any problem with that; it's just something to be aware of when ordering parts.

Anyway, you should certainly have a guru check it out if you're considering it, and read up on what to look for.

For example, that car's odometer reading is in the right range that the timing belt (and associated parts: tensioner, water pump, and pulleys) should have been replaced recently (if it hasn't been done, get it done by a guru immediately after buying -- and factor that $500-1000 cost into the price!).

TDIs have interference engines, which means if the engine timing is off (or if any part of the timing system breaks) then valves can hit pistons, resulting in engine failure and several thousand dollars worth of damage. This failure often results from an unqualified mechanic doing a sloppy or incomplete job when changing the timing belt. For example, he might skip the water pump replacement to save money, or use the "mark and pray" timing method instead of hooking up a computer diagnostic tool to set it precisely. Unfortunately, many mechanics, including the ones at VW dealers(!), are often unqualified to work on TDIs. A guru will be able to tell whether the timing belt (and other maintenance) was done competently or not.

(Now that I've scared you, calm down: as long as you don't try to skimp on the maintenance, TDI engines are nicely reliable to many hundreds of thousands of miles.)

...especially with that lifetime warranty.

I would consider a lifetime warranty offered by a used-car dealer to be irrelevant and probably worthless. A manufacturer warranty has value, but a dealer/third-party one does not. In fact, if I were buying a car from that dealer I might try to ask to skip the warranty in exchange for a lower price. (That tactic might not work, since the warranty kickback is probably a decent chunk of the dealer's profit....)

I looked up the fuel economy and google says 36 city/41 hwy.

For diesels, real-world fuel economy tends to be higher than the EPA estimate (and for hybrids it tends to be lower). That car should be at least in the 40+ MPG (combined) range, if not better.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 03:44:31 PM by Jack »

Jack

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2016, 03:37:05 PM »
By the way, if I were buying a TDI off the Kansas City Craigslist, I think the following might be more Mustachian (i.e., cheaper but still good) choices:

2004 Jetta, manual transmission - $4499 (From the description, this seller sounds like a guru. Buyer beware anyway, of course.)
2005 Jetta (MK4), automatic transmission - $4750
2005 Golf 4-door, manual transmission - $5995
2006 Jetta, manual transmission - $7500

(That's not to say that "buying off the Kansas City Craigslist" is a great idea, of course -- getting the right car is the important thing, even if it takes you several months to find it and you have to fly to a different state and drive it home. Do not limit yourself to the immediate and local.)
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 03:41:40 PM by Jack »

CharChar

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Re: Help me get rid of my BMW...still looking for replacement
« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2016, 04:46:40 PM »
Thanks again Jack! I was wondering about the lifetime warranty. I appreciate you taking the time to pull up a few ads. I will check those out. I wanted to stick with automatic, but I am looking at manuals as well now. Still prefer automatic though. And I started looking in other cities such as Omaha & Manhattan. Will possibly extend my search to Colorado, Arkansas & Oklahoma as well if I can manage to make the trip. BTW, the TDI forum you suggested has way too much info and I love it. I will be using it and your information below to guide me through the process of looking at used TDI's :) I'll still consider test driving a newer Prius if I happen to find one at a good price, but we'll see.

Anyone have thoughts on the Mitsubishi Mirage or Ford Fiesta? I've never been a big fan of either of these vehicle brands and it seems like they may be cheaply made. The Mirage has not-so-good professional reviews but pretty good consumer reviews on Edmunds.com. Just thought I'd check, as they came up in my search for less expensive, non-hybrid, high fuel economy cars.