Author Topic: Truck Dilemma  (Read 760 times)

txco

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Truck Dilemma
« on: August 09, 2018, 06:00:48 PM »
Hi all, I have found myself at a crossroads (pun intended) with my truck. I have a 2008 truck with 170,000 miles. Most of our entertainment is outdoor activities and road trips up to 6 hours away in the desert or mountains. I would say about 60% of my miles are highway, 30% city and 10% in off pavement/jeep trail style situations. I tried to meticulously maintain the truck through its life but have had to replace the radiator, transfer case, wheel bearings and few other miscellaneous items. Bottom line is I spend a lot of time in my vehicle due to our living situation and hobbies and have a growing fear of reliability. To top it off we are going to be starting a family soon and I would hate to break down with an infant. I cant decide if my fear is irrational and while I definitely dont want to spend the money on a replacement, I have a hard time talking myself out of it at this point.

I welcome any and all thoughts/recommendations on this!!

Simple Dad

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 06:32:15 PM »
I am new to the site, so this is my first post. 

I would say that your situation is very dependent on your financial situation.  Can you afford to replace it?  Can you afford to keep what you have?  Take into account what your current vehicle costs you per month to keep on the road.  Consider insurance, payments and maintenance costs.  Look at a replacement vehicle the same way.  If your current vehicle is constantly breaking down or requiring constant repairs, I would say it's time to replace with something you can easily afford without breaking your budget.  Our family vehicle is an 07 Sienna with 182,000 miles on it.  It has some issues and has hail damage but it gets us where we need to go reliably.  It will eventually break down at some point but it's much cheaper for us to keep it.  We typically buy 2 year old vehicles with around 20,000 miles on them and keep for as long as we can.  We bought our Sienna in 09 and it has been paid for since 2011.  Insurance cost is reasonable and doesn't require a ton of maintenance.  If I spend $1500 per year on repairs and maintenance, it's still much cheaper than a newer replacement vehicle.  Hope this helps.

JLee

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 07:14:16 PM »
Hi all, I have found myself at a crossroads (pun intended) with my truck. I have a 2008 truck with 170,000 miles. Most of our entertainment is outdoor activities and road trips up to 6 hours away in the desert or mountains. I would say about 60% of my miles are highway, 30% city and 10% in off pavement/jeep trail style situations. I tried to meticulously maintain the truck through its life but have had to replace the radiator, transfer case, wheel bearings and few other miscellaneous items. Bottom line is I spend a lot of time in my vehicle due to our living situation and hobbies and have a growing fear of reliability. To top it off we are going to be starting a family soon and I would hate to break down with an infant. I cant decide if my fear is irrational and while I definitely dont want to spend the money on a replacement, I have a hard time talking myself out of it at this point.

I welcome any and all thoughts/recommendations on this!!

What truck do you have? Radiator and wheel bearings aren't all that unusual by 170k..transfer case is a bit.

ketchup

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2018, 07:51:31 PM »
Fear is driving this question.  You say you would hate to break down with an infant. What's the actual worst-case scenario?

Walk through what the actual worst-case would be, step-by-step how you would handle it.  Define specifically what you are trying to avoid.  Now, how can that be avoided or made less of a crisis without buying a new truck?  Is it even worth avoiding at all?

AAA and a charged cell phone are enough "cheap insurance" to cover most breakdowns.  Keep an "emergency kit" in your car too (jumper cables, tire pump, water, snack bars, etc.).  Doing all maintenance promptly and addressing issues as they arise (as it sounds like you do) are a good hedge against breakdowns happening in the first place.  We drive a 2001 and a 2005.  While barring flat tires, neither of these has left us stranded, I've had breakdowns with past vehicles, and AAA and charged cell phones were enough to fix the situation.  Sure, it might ruin a day, but I'll take one ruined day and a good story to tell over spending thousands of dollars extra on a newer vehicle.

And, a decent vehicle will last a lot longer than 170,000 miles if treated right.  My last car was a 2009 Hyundai and it quit at 261,xxx.  Previous automotive death was a rusty ol' 1992 Buick just past 200,000.

JLee

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2018, 08:07:35 PM »
For reference, I'm driving an 05 GX470 with 197k and I sold my last Tacoma to a friend at 282,9xx. He's past 300k now.

txco

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2018, 08:38:42 PM »
Agreed in general and I appreciate the response. It is mostly a fear issue. Financially, its just an opportunity cost question for me.

My problem/fear is break downs while in an area with no cell service or off road which is frequent for me. It has happened to me before and while I dont care too much if Im alone (just really annoyed), I have a harder time if other people are with me. Two years ago I broke down and it included a plane ticket and 500 mile trailer charge to get home. If I was living in a city or area with many small towns and had a small radius, I wouldnt worry about keeping it going as its really easy to deal with a problem.

Fear is driving this question.  You say you would hate to break down with an infant. What's the actual worst-case scenario?

Walk through what the actual worst-case would be, step-by-step how you would handle it.  Define specifically what you are trying to avoid.  Now, how can that be avoided or made less of a crisis without buying a new truck?  Is it even worth avoiding at all?

AAA and a charged cell phone are enough "cheap insurance" to cover most breakdowns.  Keep an "emergency kit" in your car too (jumper cables, tire pump, water, snack bars, etc.).  Doing all maintenance promptly and addressing issues as they arise (as it sounds like you do) are a good hedge against breakdowns happening in the first place.  We drive a 2001 and a 2005.  While barring flat tires, neither of these has left us stranded, I've had breakdowns with past vehicles, and AAA and charged cell phones were enough to fix the situation.  Sure, it might ruin a day, but I'll take one ruined day and a good story to tell over spending thousands of dollars extra on a newer vehicle.

And, a decent vehicle will last a lot longer than 170,000 miles if treated right.  My last car was a 2009 Hyundai and it quit at 261,xxx.  Previous automotive death was a rusty ol' 1992 Buick just past 200,000.

MilesTeg

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 11:05:13 AM »
Agreed in general and I appreciate the response. It is mostly a fear issue. Financially, its just an opportunity cost question for me.

My problem/fear is break downs while in an area with no cell service or off road which is frequent for me. It has happened to me before and while I dont care too much if Im alone (just really annoyed), I have a harder time if other people are with me. Two years ago I broke down and it included a plane ticket and 500 mile trailer charge to get home. If I was living in a city or area with many small towns and had a small radius, I wouldnt worry about keeping it going as its really easy to deal with a problem.

Ketchup gives good advice here, and what s/he's really saying is you need to evaluate your situation and make a call on risk vs reward. My advise is generally not in line with some of the hard core MMMers, but I'll provide it anyway. As long as buying a new car doesn't impact your financial/life goals significantly, then peace of mind and security for your family is a perfectly good reason buy something newer without agonizing over the details. Money -- you can't take it with you; there's no reason to get worked up so much that you fret over saving every last penny. Establish your goals; work toward them; don't fret the rest.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 11:12:51 AM by MilesTeg »

Syonyk

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 03:00:59 PM »
Sounds like you've got a Dodge. :p

I tried to meticulously maintain the truck through its life but have had to replace the radiator, transfer case, wheel bearings and few other miscellaneous items. Bottom line is I spend a lot of time in my vehicle due to our living situation and hobbies and have a growing fear of reliability. To top it off we are going to be starting a family soon and I would hate to break down with an infant. I cant decide if my fear is irrational and while I definitely dont want to spend the money on a replacement, I have a hard time talking myself out of it at this point.

What truck, what engine?  It sounds like that's a reasonably hard life for a truck (the 10% offroad is most of that).  And how many of the repairs have been "vehicle can't be driven out" type repairs versus "Oh, yeah, I need to do that when I get home" repairs?  I categorize them quite differently, and generally consider a vehicle quite reasonable, even if it requires a lot of work, as long as it'll get me home and I can do the work there.

Are you towing a lot?  If so, what?

A new truck is an awful lot of money, and yours isn't that old or high mileage for a truck.  You might consider catching up on anything the book says you should have done by now, and just running those maintenance intervals for severe duty service.  You'll catch stuff before it fails most of the time that way.

Also, are you doing the work yourself, or paying someone?  Truck parts are pricey, but truck labor... oof.  I do most of my own work, so my threshold of what's expensive is very different from most people's.

Radagast

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2018, 07:42:29 PM »
I vote to start looking for a new vehicle. First, I observe that American-made trucks I have driven in similar circumstances were definitely in decline at that mileage and any company would have them on the radar for replacement. Second, I would describe American-made trucks I have driven as rolling piles of garbage until 2011 for Ford and 2013 for Chevy. (I have not driven trucks except American-made, so no comments on Toyotas or Nissans). As a result, I recommend sticking with what you have while you look for a used good-value 2011-2015 or 2013-2015 vehicle that ticks your boxes.

Finally, this is still pretty expensive. You are still looking at $20k upfront plus $0.30 per mile. Is there a small-mid SUV that has similar ground clearance, less than $15k used, and better than 30 mpg highway that you can find to meet your desire?

Retire-Canada

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2018, 08:08:29 AM »
I would keep driving that truck. If you are going to own an expensive vehicle like a full size pick up [I'm guilty of that as well] you need to get your value out of it by using it up as much as possible. If you sell it and buy another as soon as you need to do repairs you are wasting a lot of service life that you have already paid for through depreciation. Do all the scheduled maintenance on time and do any additional maintenance as soon as you notice a problem.

My second point is that you are driving way too much. When I found MMM I was doing a lot of travelling for my interests, social circle and hobbies. I realised that was not compatible with FIRE in a reasonable time frame. So I started looking at all the travelling I was doing and got ruthless on reducing it. Some activities I just cut out until I am retired. I sold my motorcycle. Now instead of driving real far for a weekend I'll wait until I can go for a week and get 9 days of trip for the same gas/maintenance hit I used to get 2 days. It saves me money and it actually makes the trips I do take better because they are less rushed and I have more fun time to the travel time.

If you do both of these ^^ things you save a ton of money and that truck will last you a lot longer.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2018, 08:53:25 AM »
Do you do your own repair and maintenance work, or bring it to a shop?

Concerns about breaking down in the middle of nowhere are totally valid, particularly if you don't typically do your own repair work. Expensive towing and shop costs.

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2018, 05:45:20 PM »
I have a 2004 F-150 with 155K miles on it that is often carrying a 2.5 year old and a 3 week old.  Mine is older than yours and I bought it used last year.  I do have a little bit of anxiety about taking the kiddos traveling - which is regularly a 3 hour drive to see family but I do take my basic tools with me.  My last truck was a 1991 Silverado and got well over 400K miles on it and they only issue I had was a blown 4wd solenoid outside of regular maintenance. 

Hard to believe you can justify a new truck based on the current truck - this one could be just having a few issues now and you can get another 100K of problem free miles.  I have seen people with brand new trucks have more problems than my old Chevy.  None the less, it is a personal decision but I would have trouble justifying that purchase based on the information you have shared.

Radagast

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2018, 12:23:42 AM »
There is also a large fuel economy difference. The 2008 F150 4x4 is rated for 15 mpg combined, the 2011 for 18, while the 2018 is rated for 21 mpg. This takes 667, 556, and 476 gallons per 10k miles. At $3/g it costs $333 per 10k miles more with the 2008 vs 2011 and $573 per 10k miles vs 2018. Not as big a difference as I thought based on subjective pump experience, the newer ones sure go a lot farther on a single tank. So financially I guess the older ones are better. Personally I would not own 2010 and older F or 2012 and older G/C but then personally I do not own a truck, I only drive loaners and company vehicles.

elliha

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2018, 03:17:37 AM »
Most likely you are never going to have a break down with a baby but if it scares you make an emergency pack for the kid too in addition to your regular diaper bag. Buy 2-3 packets of readymade formula, a clean bottle/sippy cup in a plastic bag (if your child is otherwise breastfed and never/rarely have bottles a sippy cup is often easier than a bottle and if you remove the thing that prevents spillage the child can drink from the cup without training), food pouches once the kid reaches 6 months, 4-5 diapers, a small packet of wipes and a pair of pajamas that is 1-2 sizes too big. This way the pajamas can be used as an extra layer if it gets cold. If you have this in the car you can survive a pretty long wait for assistance even with a small human and even if you forget your diaper bag. Kids are not as complicated that they seem when you don't have them in your life. A baby is probably going to be more OK with a breakdown than you.

poetdereves

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Re: Truck Dilemma
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2018, 08:07:12 AM »
If it is a Tacoma Id say sell it as quickly as possible for a steep discount because they never last past 180k (wink wink)...  Id be happy to help take it off your hands.