Author Topic: When is it time to get rid of a car? Drive it til it dies?  (Read 462 times)

zoochadookdook

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When is it time to get rid of a car? Drive it til it dies?
« on: July 12, 2018, 10:31:45 AM »
Hey all

bought a 2004 civic about 4 maybe 5 years ago. $5500. 80k original owner. Great car. I write off most of the miles for work.

It's at 147k now and along with the usual maintnance has been wrecked about 1 year ago (guy ran a light, I only had plpd in michigan so nothing covered it). I originally planned to sell if before another timing belt ($400-500 at 160k) but because i repaired the vehicle from scrap yards and spray paint jobs I spent $1000 or so just getting the body, airbags, seat belts, whatever else was damaged into drivable condition and now it's not worth near the 3500 or so I was hoping to get out of it. It's a spray job and not looking great.

90k mile tires and new rear brakes and drums at 140k. Oil changes every 5k. Just did the spark plugs.

The a/c just went out (which i don't care about anyways) so the belt to bypass that is $50; the timing belt is due $400 in 13k or so.

I'm currently 26 making 24k or so a year self employed.2.5 years living expenses in liquid inventory/banked. 21k roth ira. owe 110k on my home/11k student loans (home is marketable around 200k right now, purchased for 141). Have around $1250 monthly living expenses (mortgage, taxes, bills) and i max my roth ira $450 or so every month. I don't make a lot but i do have a bunch set aside from living years on the road prior to buying my house. Finish my degree in 3 classes this fall. Needless to say i'm pretty frugal. Churning credit cards to pay off student loans is considered fun. Joined this forum to help better my financial knowledge.

I guess when does it math out that a car isn't worth fixing anymore? Let's say I drive this into the ground. At that point i'm assuming my residual value will be 0 anyways (or scrap). A "newer" car at around 5k would require less repairs at some point and hold better residual (as was my original plan) whil requiring less repairs, but what really defines that point? For example if i buy a 2006 civic for 5,000 and expect it to sell it for 3500 in 4 years then do the same it cost me 1500 to run 4 years plus maintnance (ignoring insurance, it's going to be plpd on that price), so if my current car runs me 1500 in 4 years would it be worth considering a newer one?

Sorry if this is too mangled to understand. I'm normally pretty good with numbers but this is kind of a unique situation with a bunch of variables.

Thanks

ematicic

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Re: When is it time to get rid of a car? Drive it til it dies?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 10:42:05 AM »
At the rate of only 16.8K miles a year I would lean towards hanging on to that one as you are well aware of what it needs and what to expect. A new used car could come with unknown maintenance costs, who is to say they aren't selling then, to avoid a maintenance issue? Potentially set up a new car account and limp by and pay cash in 4 years with no interest accumulated.

zoochadookdook

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Re: When is it time to get rid of a car? Drive it til it dies?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2018, 11:25:46 AM »
I honestly don't mind driving the vehicle at all; I've removed all the seats and have enough space to use it for lumber, work equipment, whatever the need be; I just didn't want to miss some magical equation where I could be saving money on transportation (note" I need a car. It is a must have where I live unfortunantly)

ematicic

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Re: When is it time to get rid of a car? Drive it til it dies?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 11:34:19 AM »
Also, you said you were self employed so if there is a chance the appearance of your transportation has a marketing effect it may be financially wise to invest in new transportation that better represents your business. Is that a factor?

zoochadookdook

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Re: When is it time to get rid of a car? Drive it til it dies?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2018, 11:36:56 AM »
Also, you said you were self employed so if there is a chance the appearance of your transportation has a marketing effect it may be financially wise to invest in new transportation that better represents your business. Is that a factor?

Quite the opposite. I frequent pawn shops and such in rural Detroit so they're way likely to bust out my windows/take the car if it doesn't look very nice. That'd be a solid idea though if I was a realtor or such.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: When is it time to get rid of a car? Drive it til it dies?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2018, 01:09:15 PM »
I'm several years ahead of you--my '95 Corolla has 230k miles, and it's at the point where a lot of stuff has started going bad.  In the last year and a half, I've gone through an ignition coil, a radiator, and an exhaust pipe.  In the year before that, I did the timing belt.  The steering rack bellows are torn, and the headliner is collapsing.

But here's the deal:  it's reliable, and @ematicic is 100% correct.  I know the maintenance history on it.  I also know that the things I repair will stay repaired for a good long time (they lasted 23 years before I replaced them, right?).  Yes, I have to put money and time into it now, but it sure beats paying a few hundred bucks per month on a car payment.  Also, because I've been good on the maintenance, the car is worth way more to me than it would be to anyone else.

I say keep the car.  147k is just past the break-in period for a Civic :)  Maybe once you have your degree and have a lot more income, you can consider replacing it.