Author Topic: Need advice on replacing my Corolla  (Read 1319 times)

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« on: July 17, 2017, 08:46:48 AM »
Long time lurker on the forums, first time posting a question and I greatly appreciate any thoughts and advice from the MMM community.

Background:  Husband and I are late 20s, no kids (and no plans for any in near future), no debt, fairly high income, currently saving about 40% of after tax income.  We rent a reasonably priced small apartment and live well within our means, though I know we have plenty of room for improvement.

We currently have two cars; husband has a 1996 Toyota Camry and I have a 2014 Toyota Corolla.  We plan on moving within walking distance to my job when our lease is up.  We will sell my husband's Camry (he drives a company vehicle to work) and keep my 2014 Corolla but will only drive to church, etc as I will be walking to work.  We expect to get $1000 for the Camry. 

So here is our issue/dilemma.  I hate the 2014 Corolla and would prefer an older car.  I had a 2008 Corolla which was amazing, I ran it into the ground and totaled it at about 200k miles (my fault)..  I replaced it with a new 2014 Corolla which I have had for 3.5 years.  I never liked the new one as much because there are just too many bells and whistles which I see as many opportunities for things to go wrong.  The power locks went out a year ago which was expensive to fix (and never happened on my 08 Corolla or 96 Camry).  After trouble with my power steering this week, my car wouldn't crank and it turns out it was a dead battery.  Not a big deal, but I never had to put a new battery in my older Corolla I had for six years.  Basically I am whining about car repairs because I do regret having bought a new vehicle (those were Pre-MMM days) and I honestly think I would be happier in maybe a 2005 Civic or something; I would even prefer manual locks, windows, and transmission, at this point.  So my Corolla's KBB value is about $10k; my husband is in favor of selling it and buying something else at that price or lower.  So my first question is, is this a stupid idea and what car would you recommend or someone who is not a "car person" and wants something fuel efficient and reliable? 

The second part of my question sounds absurd and anti-mustachian to me but here it is.  My very frugal husband's "dream car" is a 1998 Porsche Boxster.  Since these can be purchased for less than the book value of my corolla with the same amount of miles (around 70k miles), he would really like to replace my corolla with an older Boxster.  Is this absurd?  No one in either of our families has ever owned a "luxury" car; they are all Toyota, Ford, Kia drivers.  I am aware Porsche maintenance is super expensive.  What else should we think about?

TL;DR:  Should we replace my 2014 Toyota Corolla valued at $10k with a 1998 Porsche Boxster for $9k?

Sibley

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 10:19:17 AM »
Cargo space for groceries, luggage, etc. It really can be a problem.

Why is a 2014 Toyota having those types of issues though? There's no good reason for it.

FINate

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 10:29:14 AM »
TL;DR:  Should we replace my 2014 Toyota Corolla valued at $10k with a 1998 Porsche Boxster for $9k?

Don't do it! German cars are EXPENSIVE to maintain, especially Porsches! You'll be kicking yourself down the road when faced with super expensive everything: tires, routine maintenance, brakes, plus they are way less reliable.

Keep the Corolla. You've essentially had one real issue with the Corolla (the power locks). Batteries die, it happens, this is not likely an issue with the Corolla (though I don't understand the connection to power steering - can you elaborate on that more?). If you're not driving the car very often you may need to get a BatteryMinder to keep the battery healthy (bad for lead-acid batteries to let them discharge completely).

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 10:38:36 AM »
Cargo space for groceries, luggage, etc. It really can be a problem.

Why is a 2014 Toyota having those types of issues though? There's no good reason for it.

I'm not too worried about cargo space as we will be walking to the grocery store most of the time and we take public transportation to the airport, etc (I wish we could do without a car entirely but not an option yet).

Yeah, I'm not sure if my expectations are unrealistic but I just don't think a newish car should be having issues at all.

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 10:43:49 AM »
TL;DR:  Should we replace my 2014 Toyota Corolla valued at $10k with a 1998 Porsche Boxster for $9k?

Don't do it! German cars are EXPENSIVE to maintain, especially Porsches! You'll be kicking yourself down the road when faced with super expensive everything: tires, routine maintenance, brakes, plus they are way less reliable.

Keep the Corolla. You've essentially had one real issue with the Corolla (the power locks). Batteries die, it happens, this is not likely an issue with the Corolla (though I don't understand the connection to power steering - can you elaborate on that more?). If you're not driving the car very often you may need to get a BatteryMinder to keep the battery healthy (bad for lead-acid batteries to let them discharge completely).


Thanks for your response!  The mechanic said that the car has so many electronic components and they are all heavily dependent on the battery.  When I felt the power steering going out, it was actually the battery going out.  You're right; these are not huge issues.  I think I am just realiing I am more comfortable with an older model or maybe I'm just frustrated that I bought a new car in the first place.  Will not be doing that again!

ChpBstrd

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 10:15:32 PM »
Dropping down to a 1-car family will offset much of the extra insurance, property taxes, and depreciation from driving a late-model vehicle. Plus, barring accidents or thefts, you are set for the next 10-15 years in terms of cars. I'd focus on other areas.

As a 1-car family, you'll find yourself worrying more about reliability. So if you decide to own cars in the 9-12 year old range, you'll trade more frequently. Each of those trades has a cost in terms of sales taxes, time and trouble, bid-ask spreads, and the risk of getting someone's lemon.

Owning a car in the 4-10 year old range costs more, but you can go longer between trades.  Go to Edmunds.com and look up their TCO (total cost of ownership) to see if the difference is worth it to you. Personally, I'd think about your Corolla about as often as you think about your dishwasher. If you're going to own one car for the next 10 years, your current car is almost ideal.

Also, don't beat yourself up over the sunk cost fallacy. The $10k in depreciation you've experienced in 3.5 years is not a relevant factor looking forward.

3.5 years is unfortunately within the normal lifespan range of a small lead-acid battery. I'd chalk that up as a maintenance issue (and a reminder that my 2011 Corolla's battery is the same age - uh oh).

If DH wants an antique Porche project car, perhaps a side gig could be used to earn the dough (makes it fun too). However, it's tough to own a project car if you don't have a garage, so even if this hobby was financed at no cost to retirement savings, it could come back to bite you if the next thing he wants NEEDS is a suburban tract home with 2-car garage. Expect to spend at least $800 on tools to maintain the thing, and check the insurance rates before giving him the green light on this hobby.

The Money Monk

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 10:54:41 PM »
I don't see any problems with getting your 'dream car' when it is so cheap. But that is a very small, impractical car to have as your only car. As much as many people on this forum may disagree with me, if you are going to go that route I would suggest keeping the camry as well. $1000 is chump change really, and insurance is likely next to nothing on that car, so selling it isn't going to make a very big difference in your financial situation.

Alogn with previous commentators, I am also surprised to hear of a newer Toyota having that many problems. Or any problems really, for that matter.

TL;DR - if you are looking for my permission to do something with a fairly low opportunity cost that adds value to your daily life, you have it. You don't need it, but you have it.

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 07:46:38 AM »
I don't see any problems with getting your 'dream car' when it is so cheap. But that is a very small, impractical car to have as your only car. As much as many people on this forum may disagree with me, if you are going to go that route I would suggest keeping the camry as well. $1000 is chump change really, and insurance is likely next to nothing on that car, so selling it isn't going to make a very big difference in your financial situation.

Alogn with previous commentators, I am also surprised to hear of a newer Toyota having that many problems. Or any problems really, for that matter.

TL;DR - if you are looking for my permission to do something with a fairly low opportunity cost that adds value to your daily life, you have it. You don't need it, but you have it.

This was very helpful; thanks.  I should explain we would be keeping the Camry (the insurance is almost nothing, as you say), but our new apartment will require us paying for any additional parking spaces.  Our current apartment complex has been generous about turning a blind eye to our three cars (including company vehicle).

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 08:01:58 AM »
Dropping down to a 1-car family will offset much of the extra insurance, property taxes, and depreciation from driving a late-model vehicle. Plus, barring accidents or thefts, you are set for the next 10-15 years in terms of cars. I'd focus on other areas.

As a 1-car family, you'll find yourself worrying more about reliability. So if you decide to own cars in the 9-12 year old range, you'll trade more frequently. Each of those trades has a cost in terms of sales taxes, time and trouble, bid-ask spreads, and the risk of getting someone's lemon.

Owning a car in the 4-10 year old range costs more, but you can go longer between trades.  Go to Edmunds.com and look up their TCO (total cost of ownership) to see if the difference is worth it to you. Personally, I'd think about your Corolla about as often as you think about your dishwasher. If you're going to own one car for the next 10 years, your current car is almost ideal.

Also, don't beat yourself up over the sunk cost fallacy. The $10k in depreciation you've experienced in 3.5 years is not a relevant factor looking forward.

3.5 years is unfortunately within the normal lifespan range of a small lead-acid battery. I'd chalk that up as a maintenance issue (and a reminder that my 2011 Corolla's battery is the same age - uh oh).

If DH wants an antique Porche project car, perhaps a side gig could be used to earn the dough (makes it fun too). However, it's tough to own a project car if you don't have a garage, so even if this hobby was financed at no cost to retirement savings, it could come back to bite you if the next thing he wants NEEDS is a suburban tract home with 2-car garage. Expect to spend at least $800 on tools to maintain the thing, and check the insurance rates before giving him the green light on this hobby.

Good point.  In the past he would stop at this parents' house (nearby) to do oil changes, brake pads, etc. and that worked well.  Obviously that wouldn't work for any repairs that take longer than a day.

I checked the insurance and even on a 2004 (the newest model we would consider) the insurance is actually slightly less than what I'm paying now. (I still carry comprehensive although I don't pay for rental reimbursement or roadside assistance).

I really to appreciate the feedback.

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2017, 03:13:33 AM »
Without thinking about it too much I would be inclined to keep the newer car since you have more sunk costs there and it should last much longer. Whatever the case you decide I recommend that you judge that car independent of the battery issue. Since Toyota did not make the battery, batteries are somewhat fragile and could have been damaged internally by a drop or a shock like hitting a deep pothole while driving.  That instead you should imagine that you have a high quality after market battery installed and judge the cars suitability for your family based on that. 

I have no idea what Toyota installs in their new cars, but a cheap low end battery might only last 3-4 years. Even with a good quality battery it is hard to get much more that 6 years out of it before it dies. IMO batteries made in the last few years are not as good as ones made earlier...I suspect it is partially a conscious decision to keep prices lower (lesser inflation) as compared to buying a better quality battery decades ago.

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2017, 03:18:12 AM »
The other issue with the battery in the new car may be too many short trips and sitting in between. Which lets the battery discharge without it ever charging back up fully. Which I believe will shorten its life as well.

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2017, 06:36:48 AM »
Batteries used in new Toyota vehicles were generally two brands; Exide for North American made, Panasonic for Japanese made.  I have seen the Exide batteries fully die regardless of usage in as short as a year, and them never lasting very long...  But you may get lucky.  I have seen the Panasonic batteries last as long as eight years, or even longer...  Fact I just serviced one a week ago (added water), that is pushing seven, still working fine.

Severe heat will kill them fast too.  Folks in places like Phoenix replace batteries more often, then say folks in a more temperate climate.  My brother who lives in Gilbert AZ, replaces batteries about every three years.  If you can check the water (electrolyte) level in the battery, make sure to do so, and keep maintained with distilled water.

 

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2017, 07:22:30 AM »
You have two cars, you only need one for infrequent driving, and you would prefer an older car?

Why not sell the 2014 Corolla and keep the 1996 Camry for church and groceries (you didn't mention any problems with it, other than your husband doesn't need it anymore). Invest the profits from selling the Corolla with the expectation that you'll use it to buy your next car when you run the Camry into the ground.

I won't even get started on why the Porsche is a bad choice for a reliable single car, but if you don't like the idea of replacing a battery (routine maintenance, btw), you definitely won't like owning a Porsche...

RWD

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2017, 07:47:07 AM »
TL;DR:  Should we replace my 2014 Toyota Corolla valued at $10k with a 1998 Porsche Boxster for $9k?

The Boxster is a great car and a great value for a car enthusiast. For you though? If you're complaining about power door locks and a dead battery then you're going to hate having to worry about the intermediate shaft bearing (IMS). This can be handled with preventative maintenance, but has always cast a shadow over the pre-2009 986/987 (Boxster/Cayman) and 996/997 (911) models. I imagine a 2009+ Boxster is out of your price range for now ($20-30k). Read more about the IMS bearing here:
https://www.oregonpca.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ORPCA-IMS.pdf

Modern Porsches are actually quite reliable, but when something does break it will be more expensive to fix than your Corolla. Personally I would keep the 2014 Corolla. Honestly it doesn't sound like too much has gone wrong with it. And I like having a USB port for my music.

Rcc

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2017, 07:02:27 AM »
Replying to suggest a third way. Lease a Boxster. I drove a friends and it was rather fun. However, with a lease your husband can tick the dream car box, and let it go later w/o permanent commitment.

Then go buy the corolla of your dreams :)

Bracing for the face punch :)

RWD

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2017, 07:56:14 AM »
Replying to suggest a third way. Lease a Boxster. I drove a friends and it was rather fun. However, with a lease your husband can tick the dream car box, and let it go later w/o permanent commitment.

Then go buy the corolla of your dreams :)

Bracing for the face punch :)

You're suggesting that someone with $10k to spend on a car sign up for $700/month lease payments (plus $6k down payment)? Numbers are from an advertised 36 month lease. Total cost of $31.2k and you don't own anything at the end... It would be cheaper to buy a $10k Boxster every year!

Rcc

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2017, 08:44:12 AM »
Replying to suggest a third way. Lease a Boxster. I drove a friends and it was rather fun. However, with a lease your husband can tick the dream car box, and let it go later w/o permanent commitment.

Then go buy the corolla of your dreams :)

Bracing for the face punch :)

You're suggesting that someone with $10k to spend on a car sign up for $700/month lease payments (plus $6k down payment)? Numbers are from an advertised 36 month lease. Total cost of $31.2k and you don't own anything at the end... It would be cheaper to buy a $10k Boxster every year!

Yeah, guess I was in a tongue in cheek way. I didn't run any numbers (thanks). My passing concern would be, how much maintenance $ would a $10k boxster chew up.

RWD

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2017, 09:21:19 AM »
Replying to suggest a third way. Lease a Boxster. I drove a friends and it was rather fun. However, with a lease your husband can tick the dream car box, and let it go later w/o permanent commitment.

Then go buy the corolla of your dreams :)

Bracing for the face punch :)

You're suggesting that someone with $10k to spend on a car sign up for $700/month lease payments (plus $6k down payment)? Numbers are from an advertised 36 month lease. Total cost of $31.2k and you don't own anything at the end... It would be cheaper to buy a $10k Boxster every year!

Yeah, guess I was in a tongue in cheek way. I didn't run any numbers (thanks). My passing concern would be, how much maintenance $ would a $10k boxster chew up.

Yep, maintenance is definitely a concern. But still much cheaper than leasing in this scenario.

acepedro45

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Re: Need advice on replacing my Corolla
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2017, 02:53:40 PM »
Quote
Why not sell the 2014 Corolla and keep the 1996 Camry for church and groceries (you didn't mention any problems with it, other than your husband doesn't need it anymore).

I had the same thought. This is the most Mustachian choice. OP, do you worry about the Camry's reliability or appearance? Do you have the basic mechanical know-how to keep that Camry running? You might consider the dirt cheap insurance, tax and transaction costs of retaining only the Camry until it dies. Especially if you have access to that company vehicle you mentioned in another post. It's admittedly not the choice for everybody.