Author Topic: Surfing the new/used car wave  (Read 1586 times)

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Surfing the new/used car wave
« on: November 09, 2017, 07:36:39 PM »
I have a friend that has a theory about drinking. You need to drink enough to feel tipsy, but not too much that you get drunk, sick, and don't enjoy the evening. He calls it "riding the wave"...kind of like surfing in that you need to find that sweet spot where everything is flowing smoothly.

So just recently, I took my 6 year old car to the shop for a repair and the mechanic told me he saw some rust under my car. He said it wasn't too bad, but it could get worse. I do live by the ocean, so the salt water is probably the cause of the rust. I've never had a mechanic tell me that even though I have lived by the ocean for more than one car ownership cycle.

Note that this is not the dealer so my mechanic does not gain anything from me buying another car. In fact, he'd probably lose my business if I bought a new car under warranty with the first 3 years maintenance included.

I have about 72,000 miles on this car and wanted to drive it to 200,000 miles, if possible. It is a European model car, so repairs can get expensive. Now that I am FIREd, I will be putting much less miles on it per year.

I always thought that my next car would be a used Japanese low maintenance model such as a Toyota or Honda. I'm tired of paying for premium gas and costly repairs and just need a decent vehicle to get me around. I just thought this would happen when I reached 200,000 miles on my current car. However, if the rust gets worse the value of my current car will plummet.

So the question is, is there a sweet spot where it makes sense to sell a car that is in pretty decent shape before it deteriorates further, and just keep churning cars by buying 1-2 year old used cars and selling them while they still have some value? I am thinking of it like optimizing the best years of a car.

What should I do?

surfhb

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2017, 08:00:53 PM »
I've driven the same Toyota Truck since college....I'm almost 50 years old now.   Just get a used Toyota with 60k miles and drive it for 20 years.   Am I missing something here?

But why are you wanting to get rid of the car?   It only has 72K and works fine.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2017, 08:06:49 PM »
I've driven the same Toyota Truck since college....I'm almost 50 years old now.   Just get a used Toyota with 60k miles and drive it for 20 years.   Am I missing something here?

But why are you wanting to get rid of the car?   It only has 72K and works fine.

Because the mechanic told me of the rust, and it's a moderately expensive car which would resell well at this point. It's European, so the fixes are not that cheap. I did plan to drive it to 200,000 miles, but I'm worried the rust will get worse and then it loses its value. I suppose I can have my brother-in-law's friend who is a mechanic take a look at it and let me know how bad the rust is.

I don't mind running a "cheaper" car to the ground, but maybe I can get out of this car while I can still get a good price on it, then surf the low maintenance used car waves. My first car was a Toyota (many years ago) and I've heard Honda's are low maintenance too, so I am leaning that way for my next car. And I won't buy any car that needs more than 87 octane gas in the future.

BTW, happy to see that someone with "surf" in their name was the first to respond.

JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3981
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2017, 08:17:46 PM »
How much value will your current car lose when it gets rusty, vs how much depreciation will you have to eat when you buy 1-2yo cars every few years?

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 08:21:38 PM »
How much value will your current car lose when it gets rusty, vs how much depreciation will you have to eat when you buy 1-2yo cars every few years?

I think my 6 year old car can sell for about $8k, according to Kelley Blue Book.

If I buy a used Toyota or Honda, I likely won't be churning that too much, as I won't care if it loses value or rusts. I guess I was wondering if I could max out the value of my current car before it depreciates further.

Again, I thought I'd drive this car to 200,000. But what if the rust gets worse over the next few years and then I can't even sell it?

BTW, I have always driven small hatchbacks, so not looking for luxury.

surfhb

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2017, 08:24:54 PM »
I've driven the same Toyota Truck since college....I'm almost 50 years old now.   Just get a used Toyota with 60k miles and drive it for 20 years.   Am I missing something here?

But why are you wanting to get rid of the car?   It only has 72K and works fine.

Because the mechanic told me of the rust, and it's a moderately expensive car which would resell well at this point. It's European, so the fixes are not that cheap. I did plan to drive it to 200,000 miles, but I'm worried the rust will get worse and then it loses its value. I suppose I can have my brother-in-law's friend who is a mechanic take a look at it and let me know how bad the rust is.

I don't mind running a "cheaper" car to the ground, but maybe I can get out of this car while I can still get a good price on it, then surf the low maintenance used car waves. My first car was a Toyota (many years ago) and I've heard Honda's are low maintenance too, so I am leaning that way for my next car. And I won't buy any car that needs more than 87 octane gas in the future.

BTW, happy to see that someone with "surf" in their name was the first to respond.

Take care of it, drive it till the wheels fall off.   At that point you can get a good reliable Japanese car. 

I love the name Daisy too!!

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2017, 08:30:21 PM »
That's what I thought surfhb. Maybe I should stick with the original plan. Although I have spent $2800 this year on repairs/maintenance. I wonder if that would have been much less with a Toyota. I did just FIRE and had a 56 mile round-trip commute for most of the year, so now my maintenance costs should go down.

I am thinking of officially changing my username to Lazy Daisy now that I've FIREd, but don't want to confuse anyone.

Surfing in South Florida is not great, but windsurfing and kitesurfing are very popular, especially kitesurfing.. I have windsurfed in the past, but kitesurfing seems to be much more popular and easier to carry around. Someday I will take that hobby up.

surfhb

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 08:41:03 PM »
We have good kite surfing in Huntington Beach.   The winds kick up in the afternoon.  Iíve always wanted to try it out myself

spartana

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2017, 09:03:45 PM »
We have good kite surfing in Huntington Beach.   The winds kick up in the afternoon.  I’ve always wanted to try it out myself
yes, yes we do ;-)!  Never tried it (yet) myself though but 1990s me did some windsurfing. Ugh so.much.work.

Daisy I am also in.the car buying surf zone and it ain't smooth. 18 year old truck semi died (trans) and repairing it cost more than it's worth so need to get something soon. What though is the question.

However in your case I think that you need tonadd up all the costs over time for a newer car compared to just running yours years longer and see how it plays out. Not only the cost of a new/newer car but things like sales tax and fees, higher insurance and registration each year, opportunity cost, etc... I've done this every time I had to make a choice about getting my car repaired or selling and getting something newer. And each time the math came out to keeping it, repairing it, and just chugging along until it really dies. Even now it would be financially better to keep my truck and repair it even though its resale value is less than the repairs because those added expenses of a newer car would be much more over time. Of course I'll still get newer car cause...shiny ;-)

ETA just saw you posted the value if you sold at $8k. Not worth selling for sure with those lowish miles and value. Maybe see if you can get the rust fixed and just keep driving it. It will probably last you many more years. When I get my car repaired alfor say $1000 and that repair me meant the car lasted another 4 years, I feel that's way worth it. Just the sales tax alone in a newer car would be much more than that.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 09:18:02 PM by spartana »
Retired at 42

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2017, 10:33:13 AM »
Thanks spartana for your perspective.

So I guess the consensus so far is that one should not try to optimize the peak value period of your car before it deteriorates.

I am really hoping the maintenance costs go down now that I will be driving much less.

max9505672

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2017, 11:19:45 AM »
That's what I thought surfhb. Maybe I should stick with the original plan. Although I have spent $2800 this year on repairs/maintenance. I wonder if that would have been much less with a Toyota. I did just FIRE and had a 56 mile round-trip commute for most of the year, so now my maintenance costs should go down.
Unless you really enjoy the car, and exclusively based on a monetary perspective, I would sell it now.

In 6 years of ownership (assuming it was bought new), you already absorbed most of the fastest depreciation rate of the car. Now, the depreciation rate on this car is going to be a lot more ''flat'' then it was. A good way to counter that effect would be to keep the car as long as possible to even out that rate as you seem to have initially planned, which is a good idea.

But, if you want to save even more money and absolutely keep a car, here's what I think you should do. Assuming you have is a semi-luxurious European car, I would sell the car now that it still has quite low mileage/good resale value and get a low mileage, well maintained Japanese econobox. I wouldn't spend more than what you sell your actual car for, and preferably less. Try to find something 6+ y.o. in order to also get the lowest depreciation rate as possible.

With this type of cars, basically everything gets cheaper. You will save on insurance, gas consumption, gas type, parts and maintenance. These car also keep a good resale value, so you might pay a little more to buy now, but the car will depreciate less over the years. On the other though, you might lose some of the comfort and driving pleasure that you actually have.

Toyota's, Honda's, Nissan's, are good examples of extremely reliable cars that basically only cost gas and periodic oil change.

That being said, keeping your actual car for a long period of time isn't a bad decision either, especially if you commute less. Keep it might though that as the years go, you can expect some non-negligible maintenance as some components wear out with time (rust for example) even if you drive less, and they can get expensive of some car models.

I would be happy to help further if needed.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2017, 11:23:17 AM »
That's what I thought surfhb. Maybe I should stick with the original plan. Although I have spent $2800 this year on repairs/maintenance. I wonder if that would have been much less with a Toyota. I did just FIRE and had a 56 mile round-trip commute for most of the year, so now my maintenance costs should go down.
Unless you really enjoy the car, and exclusively based on a monetary perspective, I would sell it now.

In 6 years of ownership (assuming it was bought new), you already absorbed most of the fastest depreciation rate of the car. Now, the depreciation rate on this car is going to be a lot more ''flat'' then it was. A good way to counter that effect would be to keep the car as long as possible to even out that rate as you seem to have initially planned, which is a good idea.

But, if you want to save even more money and absolutely keep a car, here's what I think you should do. Assuming you have is a semi-luxurious European car, I would sell the car now that it still has quite low mileage/good resale value and get a low mileage, well maintained Japanese econobox. I wouldn't spend more than what you sell your actual car for, and preferably less. Try to find something 6+ y.o. in order to also get the lowest depreciation rate as possible.

With this type of cars, basically everything gets cheaper. You will save on insurance, gas consumption, gas type, parts and maintenance. These car also keep a good resale value, so you might pay a little more to buy now, but the car will depreciate less over the years. On the other though, you might lose some of the comfort and driving pleasure that you actually have.

Toyota's, Honda's, Nissan's, are good examples of extremely reliable cars that basically only cost gas and periodic oil change.

That being said, keeping your actual car for a long period of time isn't a bad decision either, especially if you commute less. Keep it might though that as the years go, you can expect some non-negligible maintenance as some components wear out with time (rust for example) even if you drive less, and they can get expensive of some car models.

I would be happy to help further if needed.

Thanks for the input.

It's not super luxurious. It is a Mini Cooper though and I guess tied to the BMW repair costs.

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1466
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2017, 11:48:31 AM »
I think you're thinking about surfing the wrong way, because you're still "surfing" the high depreciation period. 

My car is 9 years old and has 60,000 miles on it.  Based on its current value, the average cost of depreciation alone has been about $225/month.  Now, the engine and all is still in really good shape, so it should reasonably go another 15-20 years (at least) at my current mileage rate.  But say it dies in another 9 years, and at that point it is worth nothing (both extremely conservative).  That would mean that the second half of my car's life cost me less than $50/mo. in depreciation. 

Breaking this down further, based on what I am trying to recall the car was worth a few years ago, I think the first @5 years of my car's life averaged out to around $300/mo. in depreciation, and the last @4 years have averaged out to about $150.  So, yes, that's a big difference -- but there's still a big difference between the $150/mo it has been costing me and the @$50/mo. it would continue to cost me over the next @9 years.

IOW, yes, cars depreciate the most in the first few years, and less as time goes on.  But it's not like the values drop sharply for three years and then stay flat until the car dies.  So if you really want to maximize your cost-effective car ownership, buy really old, cheap cars that are reasonably reliable and drive them as long as you can. 

Second:  forget everything I just said and ditch the Mini -- those are notorious for requiring repairs, and for those repairs being expensive.  ;-)  Buy a reasonably-priced used car, the older the better, and drive it until it dies.

Except probably don't do that now, because used prices are pretty close to an all-time high given the hurricane and such.  If you can wait another year or so, especially without any major repairs or big maintenance work coming due, you'll probably do better.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

Askel

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2017, 11:57:16 AM »
So the question is, is there a sweet spot where it makes sense to sell a car that is in pretty decent shape before it deteriorates further, and just keep churning cars by buying 1-2 year old used cars and selling them while they still have some value? I am thinking of it like optimizing the best years of a car.


My mechanic does this- buys a car right after the big depreciation hit, typically 1-4 years old. He drives it for a couple years, caring for it meticulously and maybe adding a few nice accessories. In 2-3 years he sells it for roughly what he paid for it. And people line up to buy these cars from him because they will be in excellent shape. 

He has a couple advantages in that the shop he works for is also a used car dealer. So he can buy at wholesale, sell at retail, and keep it on dealer plates without ever having to register it.  He's very patient about finding the right deal and very particular about what he buys. 

So yes, there is a wave to ride if you can catch it. I'm tempted to try it, but I don't have his patience in dealing, and certainly don't get the advantages he has.

Bicycle_B

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1221
  • Mustachian-ish in Live Music Capital of the World
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2017, 08:57:38 PM »
Daisy, to me it looks like there isn't a sweet spot such as what you describe.  Individual factors such as Askel describes have impact.  But car markets are deep enough that there is not one certain spot that provides better value for all people IMHO, even though I agree with the Mustachian generality that new is a financial waste and older cars are thriftier on average.

To me it appears that cars most depreciate about 15%/year at all points in their life cycle, modified by purchase price mistakes and a variety of smaller variances. Valuing cars and evaluating the cost of options is complex with used cars, which IMHO causes people to sometimes see patterns that are not really consistent.  I think the people who think there's a sweet spot at 6 years are expressing a pattern that addresses their personal concerns, but isn't any more accurate than the people who say the sweet spot is 2 year old cars or 8 year old Hondas or 12 year old blue Mercedes.  Skill in maintenance, skill in buying/selling, and your own personal details make more difference than which year in the cycle is the magic year to buy or sell.

That said, Minis are notorious for being cute and costly.  If those aren't your values, a switch might be wise for that reason, rather than "this is a sweet spot in the decay cycle". 

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2017, 10:30:42 PM »
Minis are definitely cute. And costly. I guess that's where my concern lies now. It might be better to sell this costly maintenenace car and then get a used Toyota or Honda and run it into the ground.

spartana

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2017, 08:53:28 AM »
Minis are definitely cute. And costly. I guess that's where my concern lies now. It might be better to sell this costly maintenenace car and then get a used Toyota or Honda and run it into the ground.
stealth camper car?? That's my vote. I think now that your FIRE you'll need one of those. One thing you'll have to watch out for if you decide to buy is hurricane flooded cars. I'm sure most car fax reports would indicate that but only if reported. Which may not be the case if there wasn't insurance repairs done or notable damage.
Retired at 42

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2017, 10:27:01 AM »
Minis are definitely cute. And costly. I guess that's where my concern lies now. It might be better to sell this costly maintenenace car and then get a used Toyota or Honda and run it into the ground.
stealth camper car?? That's my vote. I think now that your FIRE you'll need one of those. One thing you'll have to watch out for if you decide to buy is hurricane flooded cars. I'm sure most car fax reports would indicate that but only if reported. Which may not be the case if there wasn't insurance repairs done or notable damage.

I do like the idea of a stealth camper van. I love reading the "FIRE in a Sprinter Van" thread. It would be easier to carry my bikes and kayaks around. Hmmm...

spartana

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2017, 12:30:31 AM »
Minis are definitely cute. And costly. I guess that's where my concern lies now. It might be better to sell this costly maintenenace car and then get a used Toyota or Honda and run it into the ground.
stealth camper car?? That's my vote. I think now that your FIRE you'll need one of those. One thing you'll have to watch out for if you decide to buy is hurricane flooded cars. I'm sure most car fax reports would indicate that but only if reported. Which may not be the case if there wasn't insurance repairs done or notable damage.

I do like the idea of a stealth camper van. I love reading the "FIRE in a Sprinter Van" thread. It would be easier to carry my bikes and kayaks around. Hmmm...
I sold my truck (Ford Ranger) yesterday (so sad) and will likely go the stealth mini camper van route myself next (have been renting a mini van for a couple of months now).  Seems the best option if you dont need to commute any longer and rarely drive but plan to do any long road trips and want to camp in it rather than a tent.  I averaged about 8,000 miles a year on my truck and most of it was for trips. Otherwise a hatchback is great. Cheaper to buy and much better gas mileage.
Retired at 42

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6224
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2017, 03:10:30 AM »
Is the car normally garaged? I would definitely get a second opinion on the rust situation. Also, ask about how quickly it can be expected to reach a critical level. If you decide to sell, I'd wait until I found the replacement econobox first, as the perfect used vehicle might be harder to find.
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1753
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2017, 05:45:57 AM »
With our previous cars we had them tectilated on the under side, to prevent rusting. We live in a place where roads often are salted in the winter, so rust is a potential issue. We haven't done it with our newest car though, because DH thinks modern cars don't need this.

Dave1442397

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 570
  • Location: NJ
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2017, 06:32:58 AM »
As soon as you said Mini, my first reaction is dump it now. Like BMWs, they are notorious money pits.

Sell it and buy a Honda Jazz, or similar vehicle.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6224
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2017, 07:31:03 AM »
BTW, I like your friend's drinking theory. I try to do the same with food as well. Easier not to gain weight than to have to lose it has always been my motto, although freaking menopause is certainly putting that theory to the test.
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

ChpBstrd

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2017, 09:54:13 AM »
What will be the problem if you develop some rust holes in the next few years? In terms of car problems, that's one you can just ignore. It doesn't affect the car's function, it just might be embarrassing if you fall into the trap of thinking of your car as anything else than an appliance. For example, do you care about the rust under your lawnmower? Cars should be the same way.

If you sell your car in 3-5 years, and the rust holes mean you can only get $3k for it instead of $4k, that's probably a smaller loss than you'll suffer going to a dealer for a trade-in. Also, if you trade to a newer car and continue to live by the ocean, you'll just be repeating the rusting process.

Finally, there's no guarantee you'll get rust holes. Car panels are much better protected now than they were years ago. Might never happen. Let it ride!

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2017, 01:17:43 PM »
A lot of good replies. I will try to answer some of them.

The car is parked by the salt water in a garage. The mechanic said the rust wasn't bad, but he was starting to see it. I do plan on asking my BIL's mechanic to take a look at it too. True, any other car I get my then get the same rust issue, but then it wouldn't be an expensive-to-maintain-Mini-that-currently-may-get-a-good-sell-price-at-mint-condition car, but rather a cheaper-to-maintain-econobox-that-gets-me-from-point-a-to-point-b car.

I asked the mechanic how to handle rust while living by the ocean. He said people water the underside of their cars sometimes to clear out the salt water. He mentioned that up north people weatherize their cars for this, but I don't think that's popular to do in Florida.

Yes, I am starting to see that the Mini, although small and economical to run, is a money pit, probably due to it's connection with BMW. Any repair seems to cost at least $800. I've spent $2800 in maintenance alone this year. Also, the car requires 89 octane gas, and with an econobox I can start using 87 octane gas. There's is a big price jump from 87 to 89.

I'm looking at the Honda Fit online. They have rear seat "smart seats" that fold UP in order to fit tall objects. One article said it can hold a child's bike. I was wondering if it would hold an adult sized bike with the front tire removed. I can usually stuff my bike in my Mini with the front tire removed. Removes the need for a bike rack, and also leaving the bike on a bike rack and worried about someone stealing it.


JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3981
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2017, 01:49:48 PM »
"Starting to see" rust means almost nothing - that'll happen on new cars in a year or two in the salt belt. They're fine for a while. Have any pictures?

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2017, 02:16:48 PM »
"Starting to see" rust means almost nothing - that'll happen on new cars in a year or two in the salt belt. They're fine for a while. Have any pictures?

No pics.

Maybe I am just using this as an excuse to get rid of a high maintenance car. It runs well, but like I said any fix is pricey.

RWD

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1605
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2017, 02:28:49 PM »
Second:  forget everything I just said and ditch the Mini -- those are notorious for requiring repairs, and for those repairs being expensive.  ;-)  Buy a reasonably-priced used car, the older the better, and drive it until it dies.
That said, Minis are notorious for being cute and costly.  If those aren't your values, a switch might be wise for that reason, rather than "this is a sweet spot in the decay cycle". 
As soon as you said Mini, my first reaction is dump it now. Like BMWs, they are notorious money pits.

I was also going to say to keep it until I read "Mini". Rust can be fixed/mitigated, but the long term maintenance costs of a Mini are not to be underestimated. It would be much better if you had an actual BMW.
http://www.dashboard-light.com/reports/MINI.html

JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3981
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2017, 04:43:57 PM »
Second:  forget everything I just said and ditch the Mini -- those are notorious for requiring repairs, and for those repairs being expensive.  ;-)  Buy a reasonably-priced used car, the older the better, and drive it until it dies.
That said, Minis are notorious for being cute and costly.  If those aren't your values, a switch might be wise for that reason, rather than "this is a sweet spot in the decay cycle". 
As soon as you said Mini, my first reaction is dump it now. Like BMWs, they are notorious money pits.

I was also going to say to keep it until I read "Mini". Rust can be fixed/mitigated, but the long term maintenance costs of a Mini are not to be underestimated. It would be much better if you had an actual BMW.
http://www.dashboard-light.com/reports/MINI.html

I have a coworker with a Mini...it's a constant stream of expensive trouble.

ChpBstrd

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2017, 07:46:56 AM »
Perhaps the best way to arbitrage this opportunity in terms of money alone is to buy someone else's rust bucket econobox. You pay a lot less upfront due to cosmetic damage that doesn't matter AND enjoy low operating costs. Pride is the only thing in the way.

Too bad they don't make Saturns any more. One of those with the plastic body panels would be perfect for your situation. My wife's old '02 Saturn got 35mpg and the only problem from 0-140k miles was a MAF sensor, which only caused a rough idle and was an easy fix.

max9505672

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2017, 10:56:28 AM »
I'm looking at the Honda Fit online. They have rear seat "smart seats" that fold UP in order to fit tall objects. One article said it can hold a child's bike. I was wondering if it would hold an adult sized bike with the front tire removed. I can usually stuff my bike in my Mini with the front tire removed. Removes the need for a bike rack, and also leaving the bike on a bike rack and worried about someone stealing it.
The Honda Fit is a no brainer, great little car.

You can fit a lot (including an adult sized bike) in the Fit trunk :

https://www.google.ca/search?q=honda+fit+bike&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqsrXAk8HXAhUF66QKHQwRCFgQ_AUICigB&biw=1426&bih=472

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2017, 11:04:08 AM »
I'm looking at the Honda Fit online. They have rear seat "smart seats" that fold UP in order to fit tall objects. One article said it can hold a child's bike. I was wondering if it would hold an adult sized bike with the front tire removed. I can usually stuff my bike in my Mini with the front tire removed. Removes the need for a bike rack, and also leaving the bike on a bike rack and worried about someone stealing it.
The Honda Fit is a no brainer, great little car.

You can fit a lot (including an adult sized bike) in the Fit trunk :

https://www.google.ca/search?q=honda+fit+bike&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqsrXAk8HXAhUF66QKHQwRCFgQ_AUICigB&biw=1426&bih=472

Nice pics! I never tried "standing up" the bike in my Mini. I'm not sure it has the vertical clearing for it. I'd usually put the bike on its side and then fit everything else around it. I'm liking this in the Fit.

Check out this pic with 3 kayaks and 2 bikes. My perfect lifestyle!

https://www.google.ca/search?biw=1229&bih=632&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=v4AMWsiQCceAmQHSuL_AAQ&q=honda+fit+canie&oq=honda+fit+canie&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i13k1.108216.110101.0.110672.9.9.0.0.0.0.168.737.8j1.9.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.9.731...0j0i30k1j0i5i30k1j0i24k1j0i8i30k1.0.IrfbisSWr44#imgrc=wLySblQ95aTiSM:

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2017, 11:06:19 AM »
Perhaps the best way to arbitrage this opportunity in terms of money alone is to buy someone else's rust bucket econobox. You pay a lot less upfront due to cosmetic damage that doesn't matter AND enjoy low operating costs. Pride is the only thing in the way.

Too bad they don't make Saturns any more. One of those with the plastic body panels would be perfect for your situation. My wife's old '02 Saturn got 35mpg and the only problem from 0-140k miles was a MAF sensor, which only caused a rough idle and was an easy fix.

I drove a Saturn for about 8 years in the past.

Yes, the older (and wiser) and more FIRE I am, the more my pride goes out the door. More freedom and fun for me, please!

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2017, 11:07:52 AM »
I have a coworker with a Mini...it's a constant stream of expensive trouble.

Yes, I think this is my biggest concern with keeping the Mini, more than the potential rust. It was nice while it lasted. But the Fit is really growing on me!

Now I have to figure out how to buy and sell a car on Craigslist and learn how to transfer titles and stuff like that.

ChpBstrd

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2017, 04:01:50 PM »
We have a Fit. I recommend saving about $1-2k -even used- by getting the "base" version instead of the much more common "sport" - which consists of alloy rims and a cosmetic spoiler (why?). Also, the automatic handles like a golf cart, but the manual can be quite sporty. We test drove both and got the base manual. It's soooo different.

Also consider the Nissan Versa hatchback. They depreciate like rocks off the new car lot, and represent a great used car value compared to the Fit. (Note: We were unable to find a used Fit with <50k miles in several months of searching that cost less than special ordering a brand new manual base model with no dealer add-on options! So we paid cash for a new car - facepunch me.) Versas on the other hand are common fleet vehicles, which saturates the market for 3 year old models with 30-50k miles. The Versa I test drove a few years back had a CVT that let it run very quietly on the highway and impressive rear leg room. We passed because we thought it important that the seats fold down flat with the trunk as in the Fit, but in hindsight that feature doesn't really do much for us.

There are several posts here about how to transact used cars.

craiglepaige

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 792
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2017, 06:20:38 PM »
Well I can definitely help here as I'm a MINI shop foreman and have been with the brand for over a decade.

MINI's are insanely expensive to maintain, specially the R56 model which is the one you have. Labor is quite intensive because for any small thing you have to remove a whole bunch of other stuff. Because of this, labor costs are high. Also the parts' prices are insane.

At 6yo and 72k miles, you are at the threshold of the car becoming a complete money pit. What I'm seeing now on similar cars is turbos going bad(if you have an S), valve seals leaking, radiators cracking at the seems and the dreaded high pressure fuel pump. Of course that's besides the oil consumption issues which causes timing chain problems. All really expensive.

I would recommend looking into the Honda Fit, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris or Mitsubishi Mirage. Out of those, the Mazda and Honda are the best imo.

You can PM me if you have any questions.
-The conqueror will always become a slave to his conquest.

- Eres Un Esclavo Financiero
https://youtu.be/GO1Fsp4cUTQ

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2017, 07:44:48 PM »
Well I can definitely help here as I'm a MINI shop foreman and have been with the brand for over a decade.

MINI's are insanely expensive to maintain, specially the R56 model which is the one you have. Labor is quite intensive because for any small thing you have to remove a whole bunch of other stuff. Because of this, labor costs are high. Also the parts' prices are insane.

At 6yo and 72k miles, you are at the threshold of the car becoming a complete money pit. What I'm seeing now on similar cars is turbos going bad(if you have an S), valve seals leaking, radiators cracking at the seems and the dreaded high pressure fuel pump. Of course that's besides the oil consumption issues which causes timing chain problems. All really expensive.

I would recommend looking into the Honda Fit, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris or Mitsubishi Mirage. Out of those, the Mazda and Honda are the best imo.

You can PM me if you have any questions.

R56?

Yes, I have an S. Just this year I had to replace the water pump, radiator hose, thermostat seal. The car was leaking a green liquid which triggered the latest fix - totaling around $3k in fixes and maintenance this year.

I guess I am hearing from the expert (you) that it is time to let go. It's the second Mini I've owned so it's time to move on.

Someone above suggested the Nissan Versa. I'm not sure how Nissan's and Mazda's are with reliability, but from what I know (arguably quite little), Honda's and Toyota's have excellent quality records.

spartana

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2017, 09:02:02 PM »
^ Sister has a 2000 Nissan she bought new in 1999 and now has 200k miles on it with never a problem. Regular maintenance and new timing belt at 150k miles and that's it. If you want a newer low miles car look at car rental agencies. They are unloading their 2016s and 2017s now pretty cheaply. Seen a bunch of 2017 Versas and others with around 15k miles for $10k and 2016s with under 30k miles for around $8k. Also other small cars like the Spark, Fiesta, Rio, etc even cheaper and full sized cars like Fusions, Optimas, Altimas and Sonatas with under 20k miles for around $13K -$14k. Mid sized cars like Sentras, Elantras,  Focus, are around $10k to $11k with low miles. I just bought a Nissan mini van so hoping it'll last a long time.
Retired at 42

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #38 on: November 15, 2017, 09:05:11 PM »
^ Sister has a 2000 Nissan she bought new in 1999 and now has 200k miles on it with never a problem. Regular maintenance and new timing belt at 150k miles and that's it. If you want a newer low miles car look at car rental agencies. They are unloading their 2016s and 2017s now pretty cheaply. Seen a bunch of 2017 Versas and others with around 15k miles for $10k and 2016s with under 30k miles for around $8k. Also other small cars like the Spark, Fiesta, Rio, etc even cheaper and full sized cars like Fusions, Optimas, Altimas and Sonatas with under 20k miles for around $13K -$14k. Mid sized cars like Sentras, Elantras,  Focus, are around $10k to $11k with low miles. I just bought a Nissan mini van so hoping it'll last a long time.

Interesting. My ex boyfriend bought his car as an ex-rental.

Where do you look to find ex-rental cars?

spartana

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2017, 09:14:42 PM »
Hertz has a website. Just Google Hertz car sales. Not sure about others but I think Enterprise does too hut I've had bad rental experiences with them. Hertz has 2 ways to buy. Straight from a local or airport location  or from one of their used car lots. The latter sells them for more but they are certified with a 12 month warranty on top of any remaining car warranty. If you but straight from a rental place they are cheaper but yo have to reserve them several days before as they are in active use. They have a rent to buy program too. You rent for a max of 3 days at $50/day (or can test drive for free for several.hours) and if you buy you get the rental fee returned.

Here's an example from my local Hertz place: https://www.hertzcarsales.com/vehicle-details/2017-Hyundai-Accent-Huntington%20Beach-15099169

https://www.hertzcarsales.com/vehicle-details/2016-Nissan-Versa-Huntington%20Beach-14833310

They also come with all the fancy pants stuff like auto, AC, power everything, cruise control...
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 09:23:53 PM by spartana »
Retired at 42

AccidentialMustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2017, 09:24:22 PM »
The magic seat is amazing: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JXqbXf0sFQvsgaS13

That's a 7-8' tall, 5-6' wide tree that we shoved in the fit. DW rode home "loose" in the back with the tree. That's a relative term since there wasn't much "back" left. One thing that isn't always pointed out is that the front seats will fold down horizontal on the flat-folded magic seat. While it means the floor isn't totally flat anymore, its pretty close -- and how we got the tree in there.

Note if you're getting an older model, in particular the GEs, the base model doesn't always come with cruise (didn't in 2009). You need a sport to get cruise. Until ~2012 you needed sport w/navi to get traction control. In FL maybe you don't care, but I live in IL where snow is a thing and I love love love my traction control.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2017, 09:39:21 PM »
Hertz has a website. Just Google Hertz car sales. Not sure about others but I think Enterprise does too hut I've had bad rental experiences with them. Hertz has 2 ways to buy. Straight from a local or airport location  or from one of their used car lots. The latter sells them for more but they are certified with a 12 month warranty on top of any remaining car warranty. If you but straight from a rental place they are cheaper but yo have to reserve them several days before as they are in active use. They have a rent to buy program too. You rent for a max of 3 days at $50/day (or can test drive for free for several.hours) and if you buy you get the rental fee returned.

Here's an example from my local Hertz place: https://www.hertzcarsales.com/vehicle-details/2017-Hyundai-Accent-Huntington%20Beach-15099169

https://www.hertzcarsales.com/vehicle-details/2016-Nissan-Versa-Huntington%20Beach-14833310

They also come with all the fancy pants stuff like auto, AC, power everything, cruise control...

Thanks!

I'm seeing better prices on Hertz than Enterprise.

So many Nissan Versa Note SV's and Toyota Yaris L's. I even saw a Toyota Prius c One (hatchback with great gas mileage). I like that they are certified and come with warranty. I'd have to compare the prices with Craigslist equivalents.

I was looking for a 5-speed manual but maybe I should compromise on that since rental cars don't come in manual transmissions.

I kind of like the seats-fold-flat and the magic seat on the Honda Fits, but buying from these rental agencies seems easy (see the Lazy part of my avatar). And I could rent-to-buy and take it to a mechanic to check it out.

Is this the time of year where the rental companies provide the best deals? Maybe they are liquidating to get 2018 models?

Clean Shaven

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 597
  • Location: Wild Wild West
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2017, 09:45:55 PM »
Based on how I drive rental cars, I would never buy a former rental car.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6224
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2017, 01:44:19 AM »
Based on how I drive rental cars, I would never buy a former rental car.
I have the same concerns.  My parents did this years ago, and the car was not problem-free.

I believe that newer cars are built better, so I'd consider it, but only with an inspection from a trusted mechanic and a screaming price. I'd lean toward newer, with fewer miles. Cars might be built better, but roads and drivers surely have not improved in the last thirty years or more. I much prefer Hertz to Enterprise, so I'm echoing Spartana's comment and adding that Enterprise has their own used car lots at some rental locations.
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

Goldielocks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4769
  • Location: BC
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2017, 03:30:01 AM »
If I had sold our car, at the time the mechanic told us that there was a moderate amount of undercarriage rust (e.g., around the wheels / brakes most obviously), I would be much happier today.  Something about "there is rust, but not a safety issue, just need to change out brakes sooner" was the comment.

It took about 1 year before the rust started to poke through in small (at first) amounts from under the rear plate and rear window on the body of the car.  Looks like hell now.   

I should have swapped out the car for identical year one when we realized the word "rust".  This is not a rust prone area, but the car was from (within province) an area of high salt loading.... and we did not realize.

Let it go.

Indexer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 981
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #45 on: November 16, 2017, 06:49:59 AM »
Is the rust somewhere you can sand it down and then apply a rust proof coating?

http://www.eastwood.com/por-15-black-rust-paint.html

RWD

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1605
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #46 on: November 16, 2017, 06:52:55 AM »
Based on how I drive rental cars, I would never buy a former rental car.
I have the same concerns.  My parents did this years ago, and the car was not problem-free.

I believe that newer cars are built better, so I'd consider it, but only with an inspection from a trusted mechanic and a screaming price. I'd lean toward newer, with fewer miles. Cars might be built better, but roads and drivers surely have not improved in the last thirty years or more. I much prefer Hertz to Enterprise, so I'm echoing Spartana's comment and adding that Enterprise has their own used car lots at some rental locations.

Also keep in mind that cars sold to rental fleets are often not identical to what was sold from dealerships. They are usually decontented to keep prices as low as possible.

Other concerns are potential lack of proper maintenance and incidents that don't show up on Carfax. See this short article:
https://thegarage.jalopnik.com/should-you-consider-buying-a-former-rental-car-probab-1749095429

craiglepaige

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 792
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Surfing the new/used car wave
« Reply #47 on: November 16, 2017, 07:22:17 AM »
Well I can definitely help here as I'm a MINI shop foreman and have been with the brand for over a decade.

MINI's are insanely expensive to maintain, specially the R56 model which is the one you have. Labor is quite intensive because for any small thing you have to remove a whole bunch of other stuff. Because of this, labor costs are high. Also the parts' prices are insane.

At 6yo and 72k miles, you are at the threshold of the car becoming a complete money pit. What I'm seeing now on similar cars is turbos going bad(if you have an S), valve seals leaking, radiators cracking at the seems and the dreaded high pressure fuel pump. Of course that's besides the oil consumption issues which causes timing chain problems. All really expensive.

I would recommend looking into the Honda Fit, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris or Mitsubishi Mirage. Out of those, the Mazda and Honda are the best imo.

You can PM me if you have any questions.

R56?

Yes, I have an S. Just this year I had to replace the water pump, radiator hose, thermostat seal. The car was leaking a green liquid which triggered the latest fix - totaling around $3k in fixes and maintenance this year.

I guess I am hearing from the expert (you) that it is time to let go. It's the second Mini I've owned so it's time to move on.

Someone above suggested the Nissan Versa. I'm not sure how Nissan's and Mazda's are with reliability, but from what I know (arguably quite little), Honda's and Toyota's have excellent quality records.


A 2011 MINI S has a production designation of R55 - Clubman, R56 - Cooper Base/S, R57 - Convertible, R60 Countryman and R61 for the Paceman. 

Since you called it a MINI and not a Clubman, Countryman or Paceman, I figured you had a Cooper since the Convertible isn't really that popular. So the R56 designation.

Your model has the better N18 engine but still problematic. You mentioned you replaced the water pump and thermostat, I would recommend you call your local MINI dealer and provide them with the last seven numbers on your VIN because MINI has extended the warranty period for both items, on some models.

You can PM me the info too and I can check at work. If you do have the extended warranty, my understanding is that MINI will reimburse you. I don't work at the service desk, so I can't answer all the questions but if anything you can contact MINI USA via their 1-800 number and file a claim with them.
-The conqueror will always become a slave to his conquest.

- Eres Un Esclavo Financiero
https://youtu.be/GO1Fsp4cUTQ