Author Topic: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself  (Read 8522 times)

Syonyk

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Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« on: January 29, 2016, 07:44:46 PM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/01/28/the-man-who-gets-his-cars-for-free/

For varying values of "cheap" - some of those are rather expensive.

I mostly did this in college.  It wasn't quite so deliberate, but I couldn't afford anything better, so I drove an endless series of beaters that I usually got for a song and dance or close to it, fixed them, drive them for a while, and sold them for a profit when I found a better beater.

It also gave me the skills to do car work for other people - I could eat for close to a month on the profits from a brake job!
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FI-42

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2016, 08:15:00 AM »
I'm in a very fortunate position where I get given a company car.  I'm in the UK so we have to pay what is know as 'benefit in kind' tax - basically, anything we are given by our company, such as a car or health insurance, is taxed so we don't get it for 'free' per se.  Our company gives us a budget with which to get a lease vehicle, and we can then contribute more for a better car, or pocket the difference if we use less.

I have one more year left with my current car, and will get something cheaper that will cover both the tax and also allow me pocket some extra.  I'm expecting to be 200 a month better off (10k over 4 years!).  I've explained to some guys at work that I'm trying to retire early, they don't seem to think it's possible, but they pull a funny face when I say my next car is going to be something less that a luxury BMW (albeit brand new and much nicer than what I can drive once I'm FI).

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2016, 08:29:28 AM »
I tried explaining this article to a colleague at work.  He's a great guy, smart as a whip, and extremely well read on all kinds of topics.

He just could not accept this.

I could hear the mental defense barriers going up as we talked.    The subconscious choice he was making was not to believe it and that's what his questions and comments about it were designed to prove.


Syonyk

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2016, 11:57:57 AM »
(albeit brand new and much nicer than what I can drive once I'm FI).

Careful with that.  Apparently you get used to Things on Cars, and Can't Live Without Them afterwards.

One of my coworkers is discussing replacing his Outback with a something-or-other (he wants a Tesla, and I serve as the voice of reason saying that replacing a $30k car you don't use that often with a $100k car you won't use that often doesn't make sense), and one of his criteria is that it MUST have adaptive cruise control, because it's so nice and he can't possibly go back to not having it.

Never having owned a vehicle with this particular feature, it's not anywhere on my list of requirements, because I literally don't know what I'm missing.  I'm still pretty excited by a cruise control that lets you set the speed by 1mph increments instead of having the "resume/accelerate/coast" set of buttons that was common for decades.
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kiwidollabill

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2016, 12:35:58 PM »
'Car guys' (as apposed to 'car purchasers') will understand all of this.  Most will have something beautifully restored in the garage only for use on sunday while the everyday hack is a beater (mechanics are also notorious for this).

Certainly can be done, I've bought, fixed up and sold a few time with older vehicles and either 'made' money or split even. 

Planning to flip vehicles as a side hussle to justify the expense of building a garage/workshop on my section.

Like anything, it's about 'knowing the market'

Bbbent

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2016, 03:34:00 PM »
I understand this soooo well.  In fact, I might have a man crush on Ben.   Currently driving an '06 Pacifica I purchased from my FIL for $600.   Just drove it halfway across the country and back last month. 

If you like solving problems, and working on machines, and using tools it's truly satisfying.  That doesn't mean you won't have frustrating times where you don't have 'special tool XYZ' and have to make your own, or things go wrong, etc.  And sometimes you have to come up with compromises and creative workarounds.

Example.  Pacifica door module is shot.  Well over $100 for a used one on eBay.   $3.50 for a two-position switch at the Shack (and would've been cheaper from Mouser or other online source).  Now wired directly to the window motor. Works great.  Fun and easy compromise.




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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2016, 04:01:38 PM »
I did this all through my 20s. Last year I bought another "beater" than needed some automotive old age therapy (repairs) and honestly this car has been really nice. Looks nice, reliable, etc. I have a few other friends operating the same way.

If i was single or had more time I'd be doing this more often again. I enjoy working on cars.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2016, 04:04:18 PM »
When I was in high school one of my main sources of income was selling/scrapping cars. There was an auto title loan place that auctioned off cars that it had repoed and I got cars for as cheap as $30, some of them I would fix/resell, some even worked perfectly and I just resold, others I scrapped, and between the car and catalytic converter I'd get about $100/car. I also heard a lot from people about cars that were available, and even found a few cars at storage shed auctions. The moneysaver had lots of prospects in it as well, I didn't use craigslist back then, I'm not sure if it was a thing. Now I'm car free, which is definitely better, I just ride my electric haibike and don't worry about cars.

ketchup

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2016, 04:04:55 PM »
I'm a big fan of cheap cars you fix yourself.  I paid $1000 and $700 for our two cars in 2014.  The only real annoying maintenance/repair item that I've done is a clutch.  Hit a deer once, requiring a new window and headlight.  The cars each now have 30,000-35,000 miles more than when we bought them, and they've probably lost about $100-200 of value in two years.  Per mile all-in (depreciation, maintenance/repairs, tires, insurance, gas) cost has been $0.18-0.22/mile.

Never having owned a vehicle with this particular feature, it's not anywhere on my list of requirements, because I literally don't know what I'm missing.  I'm still pretty excited by a cruise control that lets you set the speed by 1mph increments instead of having the "resume/accelerate/coast" set of buttons that was common for decades.
I'm pretty excited about cruise control that works 100% of the time!  My '92 has 70%-of-the-time functional cruise control and our '99 has no cruise at all.

My one now-used-to-it luxury feature that would bug me to not exist in a future car would be an auxiliary audio input on the radio for my podcasts/audiobooks/music/etc.  Luckily, it seems like most cars made during or after the iPod Boom Of 2004-2007 have factory radios with that feature.  And if it doesn't, it's a $60 aftermarket radio solution.

Our next cars will probably be one "tier" above this (for "business image reasons" unfortunately): The $2000-3000 cars you fix yourself.

Syonyk

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2016, 04:21:17 PM »
Our next cars will probably be one "tier" above this (for "business image reasons" unfortunately): The $2000-3000 cars you fix yourself.

The neat little loophole with "business image" is that if you drive an older luxury car that's well maintained, they can be fairly cheap (not as cheap as a beat to shit Civic, but... still very reasonable), and nobody really looks at you that weird.  It's just your little quirk.

If you're hauling people around, not everyone might appreciate a late 80s BMW, but if it's just you getting places, an 80s or 90s BMW is "classic" and old enough that it's clear you're deliberately driving it, not just driving it because you can't afford to upgrade.
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JLee

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2016, 05:49:44 PM »
Our next cars will probably be one "tier" above this (for "business image reasons" unfortunately): The $2000-3000 cars you fix yourself.

The neat little loophole with "business image" is that if you drive an older luxury car that's well maintained, they can be fairly cheap (not as cheap as a beat to shit Civic, but... still very reasonable), and nobody really looks at you that weird.  It's just your little quirk.

If you're hauling people around, not everyone might appreciate a late 80s BMW, but if it's just you getting places, an 80s or 90s BMW is "classic" and old enough that it's clear you're deliberately driving it, not just driving it because you can't afford to upgrade.

I drove a Cadillac CTS-V for a couple of years. People at work were like damn how's the new guy driving a Cadillac!?

I paid $12k for it and sold it for $13k two years later. :P  I am a car enthusiast to the core, so the opportunity cost of a higher priced (and highly entertaining) vehicle was well worth it.

Syonyk

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2016, 07:41:29 PM »
The CTS-V is the Corvette engine & suspension in a Cadillac, right?

How'd you get one for $12k?  I thought they were $60k+ cars.
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JLee

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2016, 08:41:04 PM »
The CTS-V is the Corvette engine & suspension in a Cadillac, right?

How'd you get one for $12k?  I thought they were $60k+ cars.

IIRC it was $52k new (2004 model year). I paid $12k in December 2011 - they depreciated really fast (and I got a fantastic deal). The 09+ (6.2l supercharged motor) models are still high 20's if you're lucky, but generally $30k+. I don't have one of those, heh.

ketchup

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2016, 09:01:44 AM »
Our next cars will probably be one "tier" above this (for "business image reasons" unfortunately): The $2000-3000 cars you fix yourself.

The neat little loophole with "business image" is that if you drive an older luxury car that's well maintained, they can be fairly cheap (not as cheap as a beat to shit Civic, but... still very reasonable), and nobody really looks at you that weird.  It's just your little quirk.

If you're hauling people around, not everyone might appreciate a late 80s BMW, but if it's just you getting places, an 80s or 90s BMW is "classic" and old enough that it's clear you're deliberately driving it, not just driving it because you can't afford to upgrade.
I drove a 1996 Volvo that I picked up for $2k in 2012 for a while, and it definitely fit the sort of thing you're describing.  But that's not really what I'm going for.

I'm not so much talking about switching to fancy cars as much as simply not having cars that stand out in the parking lot and look like crap.  Our current cars look like crap, and I love them for that.  But my girlfriend is a professional photographer that travels a lot, and it would be better for her to be seen getting out of something "ordinary" like a well-kept 2007 Fit vs our current fleet composed of giant old ugly grumbly station wagon with a deer-damaged hood, fender, and door and beat-up rusty Geo Metro with crappy paint, a missing outside mirror, and a cracked windshield.

I embrace the crappy-looking car image for myself commuting to the office (and parking between shiny big-penis-mobile-A and shiny big-penis-mobile-B), but she can't do that as easily being self-employed as unfortunately image matters more there.  Her clientele are often the rich snooty type that aren't exactly given confidence when this drives up:
(Clickable thumbnail)
  I did replace the headlight assembly (eBay!) after this picture was taken, but it still looks pretty bad.  And it's still a 24 year old car.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 09:14:34 AM by ketchup »

Syonyk

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2016, 09:09:53 AM »
Ah, yeah.  For a freelance photographer, something clean and utilitarian sounds like a good option.  Probably something boxy enough you can put labels on the side.

I drove the beaters in college, but after a while eventually moved up to "still pretty cheap but visually doesn't terrify people" for my general car.  Though I kept a few cheap ones around for teaching people to drive stick on. :)
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ketchup

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2016, 09:20:28 AM »
Ah, yeah.  For a freelance photographer, something clean and utilitarian sounds like a good option.  Probably something boxy enough you can put labels on the side.

I drove the beaters in college, but after a while eventually moved up to "still pretty cheap but visually doesn't terrify people" for my general car.  Though I kept a few cheap ones around for teaching people to drive stick on. :)
Sounds like about what we'll be doing.  "Visually doesn't terrify people" is a good descriptor.

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2016, 09:33:36 AM »
I spent most of my 20's doing the beater cars. It was fun in the summer, but in the wineter, I'm not made of the right stuff to enjoy the bite of cold metal on bare skin while lying in a snowbank. I have never had a garage big enough/equipped properly to enjoy working on cars in - although I have come close once.

The alter-image thing is true though. I couldn't decide what I wanted to get last time I was in the market for a new car, so I bought a Mercedes 240D. The sewing machine engine in it produced no power, and the diesel left a plume of smoke everywhere I went. I can't tell you how many people complimented me on that car, and how many long stories I got to hear in parking lots about how their Dad, grandfather, back in the old country, etc. had the same car.

It was a fun car to drive, but I eventually parted with it when the safety issues with the rotted frame and rear wheel drive were too much to swallow anymore. I'd buy another one for a summer toy though - it was a lot of fun to drive, and cured me of new-car-itis
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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2016, 09:48:59 AM »
I'd like to have the wagon version of that Merc. For weekend use as you described.

There is a website called Bring-A-Trailer that lists cars and writes up articles about them. Saw a wagon like this Merc on there in perfect condition (I recall) for about $4500. It was just on the wrong side of the country from me. It was a gas engine.

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2016, 09:59:51 AM »
I'd like to have the wagon version of that Merc. For weekend use as you described.

There is a website called Bring-A-Trailer that lists cars and writes up articles about them. Saw a wagon like this Merc on there in perfect condition (I recall) for about $4500. It was just on the wrong side of the country from me. It was a gas engine.

The beauty of the 4-cyl non-turbo diesel was that you could literally fix or bypass anything on it with whatever detrius littered the roadside where you broke down. I have never seen a car with such simple mechanics. Having said that, it did break down with surprising regularity. The most extreme failure being when the driveshaft fell out of the bottom of it. I guess that sometimes happens with 30+ year old cars.
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FI-42

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2016, 04:21:44 PM »
(albeit brand new and much nicer than what I can drive once I'm FI).

Careful with that.  Apparently you get used to Things on Cars, and Can't Live Without Them afterwards.


You're right!  But it's deciding what you want/need before looking at cars for prestige.  Some people choose prestige first, then once they've added what features they want end up with a very expensive BMW.  I know I only want aircon, cup holders (I had a car without them once - misery!) and cruise control.

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2016, 05:43:20 PM »
This blog post really got me thinking, but I am NOT a car guy. I am not 100% clueless when it comes to tools and such, and I'm willing to try things, but I currently know almost nothing about mechanical stuff. Is this something I should even think about trying? or should I stick with the 5 to 10 thousand dollar range used cars?

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2016, 06:19:01 PM »
This blog post really got me thinking, but I am NOT a car guy. I am not 100% clueless when it comes to tools and such, and I'm willing to try things, but I currently know almost nothing about mechanical stuff. Is this something I should even think about trying? or should I stick with the 5 to 10 thousand dollar range used cars?

Do you have any friends that like to tinker? For me having one friend who would hold the light and coach me on my car, then get me to hold the light while he explained what he was doing to his car was what made all the difference.
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JLee

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2016, 07:03:39 AM »
This blog post really got me thinking, but I am NOT a car guy. I am not 100% clueless when it comes to tools and such, and I'm willing to try things, but I currently know almost nothing about mechanical stuff. Is this something I should even think about trying? or should I stick with the 5 to 10 thousand dollar range used cars?

Working on cars is not (usually) all that difficult, especially since the age of the internet (notably YouTube). If you introduce complications like diagnosing strange problems, replacing suspension on a rust belt car, etc, then it can become more of a headache.  Oil changes, filters, brakes, accessory belts, batteries - normal maintenance is generally easy.

Bbbent

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2016, 10:30:30 AM »
.... replacing suspension on a rust belt car, etc, then it can become more of a headache. 

Just did this two weeks ago (not my first time).  Definitely requires advanced skills, a good jack, jack stands (SAFETY!!!!), an electric or air impact wrench and a shit ton of sockets, a spring compressor loan from the auto parts store and time.

Oh, and a heated garage. It's wisconsin.

But, anybody can learn how to do those things.  All my life I wish I'd had sons to mentor on these things and I only made daughters.  I should try to meet some local newbs to train up....

Jack

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2016, 12:02:04 PM »
But, anybody can learn how to do those things.  All my life I wish I'd had sons to mentor on these things and I only made daughters.  I should try to meet some local newbs to train up....

Or just train your daughters.

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2016, 12:45:48 PM »
The beauty of the 4-cyl non-turbo diesel was that you could literally fix or bypass anything on it with whatever detrius littered the roadside where you broke down. I have never seen a car with such simple mechanics. Having said that, it did break down with surprising regularity. The most extreme failure being when the driveshaft fell out of the bottom of it. I guess that sometimes happens with 30+ year old cars.

Recently saw a Ford Ranger 4WD sitting on the side of the road with the transfer case nearly lying laying on the road. Don't how he did that - failed to tighten bolts after a repair or rusty mounts or ?!?!?!?

Making Cookies

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2016, 12:52:11 PM »
But, anybody can learn how to do those things.  All my life I wish I'd had sons to mentor on these things and I only made daughters.  I should try to meet some local newbs to train up....

Or just train your daughters.

Hey my FiL's daughter (I married her) rebuilt our engine after I had an injury that messed up my right hand for a few months. She has also changed our oil a few times. Helped install and remove a few engines. And is good at towrope towing. She can tile a mean laundry room floor too. She's plenty girly too.

All it takes is an interest in breaking out of the social gender norms. ;)

FWIW my older son is interested in all things mechanical. My younger son is not. Younger son is a bit of a "rebel". Doesn't want to do much of anything his older brother does first.

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2016, 04:42:59 PM »
I think one of the most important things to learn is how to break bolts.

Then stop doing it.


Bbbent

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2016, 09:41:09 AM »
I think one of the most important things to learn is how to break bolts.

Then stop doing it.

This is very true. And just as important is learning how to -remove- the broken bolt.

In regards to previous discussion, I have tried and tried to get my daughters to have any interest in the mechanical.  Didn't get far

I did develop at least one who rides motorcycles and one who at least understand the way things work and how oil gets changed and tires, etc.. So a little progress. Not as much depth as I would have liked, but 4 of the 5 are adults now, so they'll have to figure it out for themselves.

And, the 23 year old who lives near me is submitting to my desire to straighten out her financial life. So I'm going to get to make a mustachian!

Making Cookies

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2016, 10:25:17 AM »
YAY - good for you.

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2016, 07:45:13 PM »
I was warned by my brother not to read this blog post when it was originally posted because he said it would feed my habit. He was so right.

I have been basically doing this for ten years. Where I live, there are literally ten cars or trucks a day on CL for basically nothing that can translate into reliable transportation or a quick profitable flip. I wish I had more time to do it, because I love working on junk. I haven't spent "new" money (just profits from other flips) on a car or truck in that whole timeframe. And I've gone from two cars to four along the way to accommodate two teenagers. They both have reliable vehicles to drive, cheap, and that equals cheap insurance (relatively) too. And if something major breaks, it's no problem, you just scrap it and go spend $600 on another one.

I joke that the most expensive part of my kids cars are the radios.  Gotta have that Bluetooth hookup! Which looks hilarious in a fifteen year old Focus but they don't care. That's usually the first step with their cars. Yank the original tape deck and slide in the new one. My oldest son's radio has actually been in three different vehicles at this point.

Making Cookies

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2016, 08:36:23 PM »
I've done the same. The radio currently in my Chevy was in our Honda before. The radio in my VW Westfalia has been in three cars before. That radio is so old - it is a slide out anti-theft radio chassis with a foldup handle.

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2016, 08:50:03 PM »
.... replacing suspension on a rust belt car, etc, then it can become more of a headache. 

Just did this two weeks ago (not my first time).  Definitely requires advanced skills, a good jack, jack stands (SAFETY!!!!), an electric or air impact wrench and a shit ton of sockets, a spring compressor loan from the auto parts store and time.

Oh, and a heated garage. It's wisconsin.

But, anybody can learn how to do those things.  All my life I wish I'd had sons to mentor on these things and I only made daughters.  I should try to meet some local newbs to train up....

I think I speak for most young women when I say: teach them!

I haven't owned a car for a few years, and was never a pro, but I am so glad I can
change a tire and my oil and drive clutch. There is no reason your daughters can't learn this. Ask them!

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2016, 11:39:45 AM »
When my wife and I were dating in college, neither of us knew a whole lot about cars. We bought a beater civic and ended up pulling and rebuilding the engine together. Fast forward 4 years and she was a technician at a local shop (I say was because she just left for a better paying job elsewhere last week). The best Master Tech at her shop was a 27-year-old woman. It's not necessarily about gender as much as it is overall interest in not having to rely on somebody else when things break.

Bbbent

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2016, 09:54:07 PM »
Quote
I think I speak for most young women when I say: teach them!

I haven't owned a car for a few years, and was never a pro, but I am so glad I can
change a tire and my oil and drive clutch. There is no reason your daughters can't learn this. Ask them!

You guys must all think I'm a sexist idiot! I'm not.  I attempted to teach every one of them.  The oldest two had zero interest. In fact, neither of them got a license until they were in their 20's.

Better luck with the 2nd two. They at least understand what needs to be done, though they have no interest in doing it.

Still have an 11 year old at home, she's got potential to be a real mechanic. So we'll see...

Making Cookies

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2016, 09:47:11 AM »
Heck - some of the guys these days have no interest in learning about cars or engines... Personally I was only mildly somewhat interested in learning in my teens. I knew more than some of my peers but not enough to bring a car back from some sort of catastrophic failure like a blown engine.

Its when I finally got out on my own in my 20s that I no longer had an easy source of experience to ask questions of.

At that point it was learn (reading books and scratching my head) or spend big chunks of my paltry income to pay someone to do it for me.

The females in my family always got a free ride beyond checking the oil. The fathers either fixed their cars or paid to have their cars fixed. Nobody spent much time telling the girls that they NEEDED to learn a few things for themselves.

My wife was the same way but was eager to learn after we started dating. By that point I knew a few things worth sharing. ;) We built an engine together, did a driveway clutch job, some painting, etc. 

The One Dude

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2016, 08:11:56 AM »
When I was making the last huge transition in my life to business owner, I made the mistake of picking up a BMW with about 10 years on it. I only did this because it had 90k miles and ran great. Well, issues came around. Luckily though, I'm savvy enough and I was able to fix everything myself. Still lots of time involved though.

I've been thinking a lot recently on rentals if you can get a good deal in the "back" of the dealership where they are trying to meet supplier quotas. When you think about it, why would you ever buy a brand new sports car? You could get a great lease on it and drive the heck out of it and then take it back every single year. You'd be driving a brand new Mercedes or similar tiered car for 100k over ten years. I know everyone here is penny hungry, but i've built up enough income streams to consider that. In my mind, as long as the car is 1% or less than your monthly income, why not enjoy it?
I Blog About My Online Business Streams: AlphaJon.com

onlykelsey

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #37 on: July 08, 2016, 08:16:16 AM »
In my mind, as long as the car is 1% or less than your monthly income, why not enjoy it?

Am I missing something or would this require you to earn more than 80K monthly?  100K over 120 months is 833 monthly.  833 monthly is 1% of $83K.

JLee

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #38 on: July 08, 2016, 08:34:31 AM »
In my mind, as long as the car is 1% or less than your monthly income, why not enjoy it?

Am I missing something or would this require you to earn more than 80K monthly?  100K over 120 months is 833 monthly.  833 monthly is 1% of $83K.

If I made 80k/mo I would have the most ridiculous clown-car garage you've ever seen... :P

In a LCOL/low tax area, of course, so I could afford to keep it when I decided I didn't want to work anymore!

Mr-FancyPants

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2017, 09:52:21 AM »
I'm kinda in the same boat with the above - looking at a new car for my road tripping habit, but also not really wanting to get into a beater when doing 4-5hrs of highway driving in rough weather after a day of work, and driving back from the ski hill Sunday in the same weather. 

Whats the Mustachian thing to do when reliability and drivability is more of a concern than total bottom line low cost?

JLee

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2017, 01:25:19 PM »
I'm kinda in the same boat with the above - looking at a new car for my road tripping habit, but also not really wanting to get into a beater when doing 4-5hrs of highway driving in rough weather after a day of work, and driving back from the ski hill Sunday in the same weather. 

Whats the Mustachian thing to do when reliability and drivability is more of a concern than total bottom line low cost?

I have a friend who had a certified pre-owned warrantied vehicle spend 5 months straight at a dealer. I have another friend who had a brand new car bought back by Subaru because they couldn't fix recurring problems.

Meanwhile, I'm driving a 12yo Lexus with 185k miles on it and it ticks along like a Swiss watch.

stealthwealth

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Re: Driving for Free: On cheap cars you fix yourself
« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2017, 02:21:38 PM »
I've been building some spreadsheets lately to better understand where I am on the car ownership curve, versus where I want to be. 

One thing I have determined, is that between insurance, registration, taxes, fuel, tires, oil changes, and DIY maintenance, there is an annual sunk cost of about $2k, give or take depending on how many total miles a car is driven and what fuel economy it gets.  My car is about 32 mpg overall, and I've used it about 10k to 13k miles a year.  Beyond that, it's all depreciation, what did you pay for it, what will you sell it for, and how many years are in between.  In my case, I have owned a 2003 Corolla since new, and with depreciation, my annual TCO is around $3100, with annual maintenance expenses being around $350, fuel around $850, taxes/reg around $200, and insurance around $600.  I have a hard time thinking those costs can come down much, except if I would happen to drive significantly fewer miles in a year, which could save a few hundred.  The car also currently has about 190k miles on it after 15 years, and is probably good for another 60k before it needs any major maintenance items, or four more years.  At which time the annual depreciation will work out to about $850, and if all continues to go as it has gone, my annualized TCO will have been $2850. 

When I think of used cars, the sweet spot for depreciation seems to occur around 7 years, when the car retains a little north of 40% of its value, and assuming you can find a 7 year old car with 70-80k miles on it, you can probably get a solid 10 years for $8k or so with average mileage, so your depreciation out of the gate would be a couple hundred lower.  But when you do the math for an OLDER car, and factor in that there will be higher maintenance expenses due to major maintenances coming due after 250k miles, it can begin to become more expensive again.  My spreadsheet shows the jalopey being $3500 cheaper over a decade, but this doesn't account for inconvenient breakdowns and associated costs (towing, car rental, costs of searching for new vehicles every couple years, etc).

   keep 10   keep 15   keep 20      keep 7         keep 5      keep 3
   7 year old car   new car   new car      new car 7 years         new car      jalopey
purchase price   7200   18000   18000      18000         18000      2000
sales tax   648   1620   1620      1620         1620      180
annual maintenance   600   400   400      300         250      600
fuel cost   836   836   836      836         836      975
miles driven   13000   13000   13000      13000         13000      13000
start mileage   100000   0   0      0         0      250000
end mileage   250000   195000   260000      100000         80000      290000
sell price   2000   3000   3000      7200         10000      1000
years owned   10   15   20      7         5      4
total maintenance costs   6000   6000   8000      2100         1250      2400
total fuel cost   8357   12536   16714      5852         4179      3900
insurance cost   400   600   600      700         800      300
                              
annual tco    $2,420.51     $2,943.71     $2,666.71        $3,610.29           $3,809.71        $2,086.67
decade difference   baseline    $5,232.00     $2,462.00        $11,897.71           $13,892.00        $(3,338.48)
   per mile                           
   0.186193407   0.22643956   0.205131868      0.277714286         0.293054945      0.160512821
« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 10:26:19 AM by stealthwealth »