Author Topic: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....  (Read 5111 times)

brokescientist

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Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« on: December 19, 2018, 09:48:56 AM »
I kind of disagree with the amount of money people spend on their commuting cars.   I think they spend too much!  The key to spending less is having more and being educated and smart.

I currently own 5 cars.... they don't cost me much cash.  Besides the project car which will eventually come into the rolling door of commuters and I don't plan on spending more than 3000 dollars on that particular car over the course of say 2 years. 

If you have a commute especially if its longer than 15 miles, I highly urge everyone to learn mechanics.   Not just changing your oil.  Learn how to change a whole entire suspension.  Learn how to take out an engine.   Learn how to change gaskets, sensors, waterpumps ect.

It's funny.  I bought a stupid non-mustachian car in highschool.  A 1991 toyota MR2 turbo.   That car ended up SAVING me thousands of dollars because I learned how to work on it.


I think commuters should have at least 2 cars.  1 reliable old car that just chills or is used in snow/when your main commuter breaks down/needs repair.   1 Reliable car that gets great MPG and is no thrills basic to get to work and back, with no fancy features that will inevitably break.   And call me crazy but I think there should be a 3rd!!! car in the wings getting ready to take over for the next commuting vehicle. 

This method gives you the flexibility and time to always have a working car on the cheap.  If one breaks down you have another waiting in the wings, allowing you precious, STRESS FREE, no rush, time to get your car fixed and back on the road. 

Mechanics are modern day scam artists.   I hear some ridiculous stories from people.   In fact I am writing this today because I just heard one of my coworkers exclaim that his mechanic charged him 270 dollars to replace an oxygen sensor on his honda accord.    A job that should take about 20 minutes and the parts probably costs around 15 bucks.


Current Stable:

1993 Del Sol Si - On Jackstands almost ready to take on commuting duties
2008 Hyundai Accent - Main Commuter
2001 BMW 325iT -  Wont be buying another BMW unless its an e30.  They are a bare to work on.
1986 Toyota MR2 - Project Future Commuter
2004 Subaru Outback - Snow (i have to commute in all weather conditions due to job) and my pickuptruck (I own rentals/myhouse)

PS www.rockauto.com

junk yard is your friend


2004 outback-  I have replaced all the suspension on the outback.   I got it for 300 dollars.   It runs freaking excellent and has 225,000 miles on it.  I put 30,000 miles on it so far.   Cheap insurance.  I put around 1500 dollars into the suspension.  1800 dollar car.   


2008 Accent super reliable 36MPG my workhorse commuter.   I bought it with 50,000 miles on it for 3200 dollars.  I haven't done much work to it besides replacing the coilpacks, tires, a few sensors, filters and oil.  It now has 120,000 miles on it.

2001 BMW - Don't buy a BMW.  I finally got this running without a check engine light.  Drives excellent.  PITD to work on.  All rubber goes bad at or about 100k resulting in .  Bought it for  $2800 and put about $1000 into it.   My wife's car.  I thought I would build her something nice.

1993 Del Sol Si- currently replacing all suspension/streering components on this.   I got it for free by trading some vehicles around.  Non-running jeep v8 (gift from MIL) traded for a CRV which I traded for this del sol.   Car has 136,000 miles on it.  Gets 35MPG and will be the next commuter.   Just in my driveway on jackstands, runs great.  Getting ready to by the next workhorse.    I will sell the Hyundai for the same amount of money I bought it for when this gets on the road.  If I sell the Hyundai I guess you can say I made money on this?

1986 MR2- bought with a blown up engine that leaks oil like crazy.   Planning on putting in a new engine and replacing all suspension parts while I am driving the Del Sol Si.   When I am done with this car I will simply switch and sell the Del Sol.   



Syonyk

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2018, 10:10:51 AM »
Hah, you're me in college/grad school, just a decade later, and with nicer cars! :p

I've done the RFIV before (Redudant Fleet of Inexpensive Vehicles).  I agree, in general, it's a cheap way to get around, if you're able to do your own work, and have the space to work on them.  It's easily the most valuable skill you can have when starting out without much money to play with, though I would generally encourage trying to get out of that mindset, eventually, as you have more resources.  I'm in my late 30s, and at this point, I don't spend my evenings working on cars so I can get to work the next day, though we still have a small fleet of vehicles, and I still do a ton of my own work.  They just don't need it nearly as often, because they're somewhat nicer ('97 Ford F350, CCLB diesel, used for towing and hauling material, I don't put many miles on it, 2012 Volt that... still worries me long term, but fits with our self consumption of energy goals, and a few motorcycles in storage - my wife and I both ride, though with the kids, she's not riding right now, and I ride a Ural most of the time).

My cheap fleet included multiple "saved from the junkyard" or "intercepted on the way to the junkyard" vehicles.  The $150 Daihatsu Charade was probably the most fun - 1L of 3 cylinder fury, but sub-2000 lbs, an honest 45mpg if you hypermiled a bit, and a royal pain to find parts for because it wasn't in any computers.

It's funny.  I bought a stupid non-mustachian car in highschool.  A 1991 toyota MR2 turbo.   That car ended up SAVING me thousands of dollars because I learned how to work on it.

RX-7s for me.  I wanted a rotary, I got a rotary, the engine blew up 5000 miles later, I rebuilt it with a friend, and... really, after that, nothing scared me.  I'd done moderate amounts of work before that car, but after an engine rebuild, everything else was easy.  I don't do transmissions, though - that's a totally separate skillset and toolset.  I did drive manuals for a very long time because a working manual transmission with fluid in it rarely fails.

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I think commuters should have at least 2 cars.  1 reliable old car that just chills or is used in snow/when your main commuter breaks down/needs repair.   1 Reliable car that gets great MPG and is no thrills basic to get to work and back, with no fancy features that will inevitably break.   And call me crazy but I think there should be a 3rd!!! car in the wings getting ready to take over for the next commuting vehicle.

If you have space, time, and no money, I agree.  If you have a little bit of money and less space, you're better served with a reliable commuter.  Modern (mid 90s and newer) cars are quite reliable if they're a low power, low stress engine, and are occasionally given some oil, so failures are reasonably rare.

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Mechanics are modern day scam artists.   I hear some ridiculous stories from people.   In fact I am writing this today because I just heard one of my coworkers exclaim that his mechanic charged him 270 dollars to replace an oxygen sensor on his honda accord.    A job that should take about 20 minutes and the parts probably costs around 15 bucks.

Ah.  I see you haven't owned anything with a modern, heated, wideband oxygen sensor.  They're more than $15.  They're about $150 for a plug-compatible one.  Quite nice, in terms of getting you output early, but they're not $15 anymore.  Sadly.

And I agree about BMWs.  Let them be someone else's problem.

SquirrelStache

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2018, 10:17:21 AM »
1993 Del Sol Si - On Jackstands almost ready to take on commuting duties

I had a 97 Del Sol that I bought with about 180k miles on it, and finally sold it after passing 300k. I LOVED that car! So reliable, awesome gas mileage, and it always got noticed (especially with the top off).

I agree about learning how to do work on your car yourself. It's been a while since I've done anything, but while the Del Sol was my primary vehicle I changed my own oil, fixed minor issues, and even "fixed my brakes" using a penny (true story lol!).

fell-like-rain

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2018, 10:28:50 AM »
You know, it's funny, because I follow the exact same strategy, only with bikes. I've got my tourer/daily commuter, a road bike, another road bike just cause, and a beater hybrid for winter. I do all my own maintenance, and get a lot of spare parts used/free. Currently dreaming about adding a cargo bike and maybe an MTB...

The main difference, of course, is that I spent maybe $700 total on those 4 bikes, and they take up just 20 square feet of storage space. Also, they don't depreciate and they deteriorate very little. And maintenance costs around $40 per year.

GuitarStv

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2018, 10:29:40 AM »
I don't quite understand.  Why do you have five cars.  If they all work, wouldn't just keeping one car be sufficient?

Cadman

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 10:36:18 AM »
I completely understand. I'm a car buff and have a small fleet of classics (running and non) as well as daily drivers, each for different purposes. All garaged, no storage fees. Because I do my own work and parts are cheap, total outlay is on par with 1 average new car, including total insurance and tags. Yet I have much greater flexibility than I'd have with one new or late model car.

*Knock on wood* maintenance is cheap and less time consuming than scheduling an appointment, juggling my work calendar, arranging transportation and ending up with a big bill and questionable repair.


Brother Esau

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2018, 10:42:10 AM »
You know, it's funny, because I follow the exact same strategy, only with bikes. I've got my tourer/daily commuter, a road bike, another road bike just cause, and a beater hybrid for winter. I do all my own maintenance, and get a lot of spare parts used/free. Currently dreaming about adding a cargo bike and maybe an MTB...

The main difference, of course, is that I spent maybe $700 total on those 4 bikes, and they take up just 20 square feet of storage space. Also, they don't depreciate and they deteriorate very little. And maintenance costs around $40 per year.

Four bikes in my posse as well. All MTB. One 27.5 full suspension, one niner full suspension, one DH and one Fatty. They each are for specific riding conditions. The main justification to me is that I can't accept not being able to ride due to a broken bike. It seems like at least one of them always has some issue that I'm working on. Sorry for the thread derail!

Syonyk

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2018, 10:52:06 AM »
The main difference, of course, is that I spent maybe $700 total on those 4 bikes, and they take up just 20 square feet of storage space. Also, they don't depreciate and they deteriorate very little. And maintenance costs around $40 per year.

Hey, do it right, you can spend $700 on a couple cars too! ;)  Storage space is a bit more, but at that price range, the cars appreciate based on repairs and fuel in the tank.

In the 2003-2008 era:

$100 for a 1988 Subaru DL, bad clutch cable, serious oil leak from the valve cover, bad alternator diodes, a few other things.
$150 for a 1992 Daihatsu Charade, on the "Junk yard offered me $125, beat it and it's yours!" price.
$200 for a 1988 Cavalier, gutted interior.  I proceeded to add a 2' plywood spoiler and piss off all the ricers in town, who broke said wing every few months.
$350 for a 1987 Subaru GL wagon, with low range, from the junk yard.  Fuel pump was shot (pulsation damper failed and it pumped fuel overboard), rear brakes were comically out of adjustment and leaking, various other issues.

And then I had some other cars that cost more, starting in the $2000 range, but cheap cars can be had very, very cheap...

I don't quite understand.  Why do you have five cars.  If they all work, wouldn't just keeping one car be sufficient?

"Work," for a car in that general price range, is a sliding scale of, "Can I make it to work with what's currently wrong on it?"  Small coolant leak?  Probably, but you might not want to drive it in case it gets worse, and the line takes a few hours to replace.  Or the CV joint is clacking really badly, and you don't want to stress it.  Or the heater baffles aren't working right, and the radiator is leaking a bit...

I don't see a need for 5, but when I had a fleet of cheap vehicles, "keeping one working at modern reliability levels" would have cost a good bit more than having a few options.  Though there were certainly nights of, "Ok... go by the parts store on the way home from work, get parts, spend the evening and into the night working on vehicles to have something to drive to work tomorrow."  I won't say it was the most fun, but I really didn't mind it, and it wasn't like I could afford shop fees.

I was in grad school before I was able to afford to take a car to a shop on my own dime.  It was roughly 0F out, and one of my wheel bearings had gone from "This should be done soon" to "This needs to be done now, and you probably shouldn't drive on it" over the course of a week or so.  I wasn't looking forward to working on the car outside (didn't have a garage at that point), and after realizing that I could get a shop to do both sides for a few hundred, and that I actually had the money for that, I wrote a very easy check for someone else to do the work.  I would have needed to take the front suspension apart, then drag the parts into a shop anyway for them to press the bearing races out, and put it back - not hard, other than driving the CV out.  But I ran a non-zero risk of thermal damage to my hands doing it outside.

Yet I have much greater flexibility than I'd have with one new or late model car.

Yup.  I use to joke, "I don't make car payments - I make parts payments.  But if I can't make parts payments this month, I just walk, and they don't take the car back either."  I generally found it was around 6 months and $500 in parts to bring a "new-to-me" cheap car up to my standards, but after that, they usually calmed down and stopped demanding parts.

GuitarStv

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2018, 10:54:39 AM »
How are 5 cars that can't be trusted for regular use better than one car that can?

Boofinator

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2018, 10:58:04 AM »
All garaged, no storage fees.

I understand your point, but how much extra did you have to pay to own a garage that stores the whole fleet versus a smaller garage?

Cadman

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2018, 11:08:52 AM »
All garaged, no storage fees.

I understand your point, but how much extra did you have to pay to own a garage that stores the whole fleet versus a smaller garage?

Two of my hobbies are architecture and construction, so every few years I design and build a new structure. I'm in it for time and materials, but the buildings offer more than just garage space. Whereas some people get a mortgage on a house, I did the same but with land. Then DW and I built the house ourselves years ago, buying the materials as we went.

Syonyk

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2018, 11:24:43 AM »
How are 5 cars that can't be trusted for regular use better than one car that can?

When you can't afford a nice car that can be trusted for regular use, because nobody in their right mind will give you a loan for the $5k one costs...

I don't know the OP's finances, but I definitely wasn't going to be buying a "nice car" on my budget at the time.  A fleet of simple to work on vehicles is a useful alternative.

There are also a wide, wide range of opinions on "trusted" - I considered a car reliable if it would get me back home with fairly minimal side of road work.  Or, at least, didn't strand me that often.  I've had my share of blown heater hoses and such that required side of road repair, after bumming a ride, and after you get tired of them, you learn to inspect your hoses better on a regular basis and replace the soft ones preemptively.  Despite a fleet of cheap vehicles, I only needed an actual tow once, when my front suspension came apart on me (and, to be fair, that was my fault - I'd failed to notice a nut had backed off completely).  Hard on the tires, but otherwise no damage.  I just couldn't fix that on the side of the road.

Most people would consider my vehicles "unreliable" because I was working on them regularly, but I considered them perfectly fine, because I could typically work on them at home.  And I traveled with a lot of tools and spare parts.

"Just buy a reliable car instead!" is a nice thought when you've got the money to do it, but most people working in the sub-$500 car realm can't afford such a thing.

AlexMar

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2018, 11:30:15 AM »
It's not the cost of the car, it's the insurance.  At least around here, even with just us on the policy, we get dinged pretty good for each of our 4 cars.  I've tried a different insurance companies, and nothing helps.  Having a car isn't the problem, it's paying the insurance piper for the privilege.

big_slacker

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2018, 11:31:45 AM »
How are 5 cars that can't be trusted for regular use better than one car that can?

When you can't afford a nice car that can be trusted for regular use, because nobody in their right mind will give you a loan for the $5k one costs...

I don't know the OP's finances, but I definitely wasn't going to be buying a "nice car" on my budget at the time.  A fleet of simple to work on vehicles is a useful alternative.

There are also a wide, wide range of opinions on "trusted" - I considered a car reliable if it would get me back home with fairly minimal side of road work.  Or, at least, didn't strand me that often.  I've had my share of blown heater hoses and such that required side of road repair, after bumming a ride, and after you get tired of them, you learn to inspect your hoses better on a regular basis and replace the soft ones preemptively.  Despite a fleet of cheap vehicles, I only needed an actual tow once, when my front suspension came apart on me (and, to be fair, that was my fault - I'd failed to notice a nut had backed off completely).  Hard on the tires, but otherwise no damage.  I just couldn't fix that on the side of the road.

Most people would consider my vehicles "unreliable" because I was working on them regularly, but I considered them perfectly fine, because I could typically work on them at home.  And I traveled with a lot of tools and spare parts.

"Just buy a reliable car instead!" is a nice thought when you've got the money to do it, but most people working in the sub-$500 car realm can't afford such a thing.

This seems a little odd to me, maybe I'm missing something. You've got a fleet of sub $500 beaters and some kind of stash to buy parts with, presumably also a decent amount of $$ in tools but a $2k-$3k car is out of reach? With the amount of time, money and stress spent on these beaters I'd rather do some gig work and buy a slightly nicer, more reliable car.

I do understand the winter beater thing coming from a mountain town.

kendallf

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2018, 11:32:16 AM »
It's still stupid, but everybody has a passion.

I say this as one of the stupid ones; currently I have 6 cars if you count a couple on the way out or awaiting attention. 

Buying one reasonably reliable used car and maintaining it is absolutely cheaper, especially when you factor in insurance, title work, sales tax, and registration.  If you're working on them and manage to turn a profit, then call it a job or a side gig, to be sure.

I too learned how to work on cars when I was in college and would buy $100 beaters to drive for pizza delivery.  I bought and sold these shitboxes and at one point had 11 cars, two of which ran.  For the past 25 years I've always had cheap daily drivers but I also always had a project or two that siphoned away money and time.  The projects have gotten nicer and I'm not willing to work on daily drivers regularly any more so they're nicer also, so the money has gone up. 

Here's a dose of the real world: my "auto and transportation" costs in Mint are $12,788 for the previous 12 months.  That includes about $3k for insurance, about $2k for an expensive transmission rebuild (parts and some labor to a specialist), gas, and a variety of other parts for two stupid cars (i.e., non daily transportation).  Yeah, I do all of my own work, yeah, I buy the cars cheaply, but no, it's not the most frugal choice, by far.

Syonyk

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2018, 11:39:50 AM »
It's not the cost of the car, it's the insurance.  At least around here, even with just us on the policy, we get dinged pretty good for each of our 4 cars.  I've tried a different insurance companies, and nothing helps.  Having a car isn't the problem, it's paying the insurance piper for the privilege.

Liability only with multi-car discounts when you don't put that many miles on can be had fairly cheap if you shop around.

This seems a little odd to me, maybe I'm missing something. You've got a fleet of sub $500 beaters and some kind of stash to buy parts with, presumably also a decent amount of $$ in tools but a $2k-$3k car is out of reach? With the amount of time, money and stress spent on these beaters I'd rather do some gig work and buy a slightly nicer, more reliable car.

I do understand the winter beater thing coming from a mountain town.

Stash to buy parts with?  No, that comes out of monthly cashflow... and/or from the junkyard.  A used alternator of "Eh, it probably works..." condition from a wrecked car is quite cheap, and as long as the alternator isn't busted up, it's likely to be fine.  Get body parts from cars with major mechanical issues, and mechanical parts from cars that are clearly there because they're wrecked.

A good tool kit for working on a car isn't expensive.  Not like I was using SnapOn or anything.

The problem is that a $2k-$3k car isn't going to be much more reliable than a $500 beater, at least in my experience with vehicles in that price range.  They're nicer - but not more reliable.  Most of the dirt cheap cars have the redeeming quality of very, very few things to go wrong.  The Daihatsu I owned for a while had manual windows that didn't quite work right, but you could keep them up.  It didn't have power steering.  It was, quite literally, the minimum number of things to have a car that "ran and drove," and things like the alternator were mostly optional - I ran it for months with a bad alternator, just charging the battery at home every now and then.

A $500 car and enough cashflow for parts, if you can do the work yourself, is going to be less stressful than a $3k car you're pushing the bounds to afford, that still requires parts.

mm1970

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2018, 11:43:34 AM »
I only have room to park 2 cars, so no, we aren't going to have a spare car for 2 drivers.

If a car breaks down, we can carpool, take the bus (have never done that), or ride our bicycles.

Edit: I only have one bicycle, but luckily for me my 12 yo son is almost my height now.  In a pinch, I can ride his bike.

AlexMar

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2018, 12:27:27 PM »
It's not the cost of the car, it's the insurance.  At least around here, even with just us on the policy, we get dinged pretty good for each of our 4 cars.  I've tried a different insurance companies, and nothing helps.  Having a car isn't the problem, it's paying the insurance piper for the privilege.

Liability only with multi-car discounts when you don't put that many miles on can be had fairly cheap if you shop around.



Not where I live!

big_slacker

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2018, 12:46:43 PM »
Stash to buy parts with?  No, that comes out of monthly cashflow... and/or from the junkyard.  A used alternator of "Eh, it probably works..." condition from a wrecked car is quite cheap, and as long as the alternator isn't busted up, it's likely to be fine.  Get body parts from cars with major mechanical issues, and mechanical parts from cars that are clearly there because they're wrecked.

A good tool kit for working on a car isn't expensive.  Not like I was using SnapOn or anything.

The problem is that a $2k-$3k car isn't going to be much more reliable than a $500 beater, at least in my experience with vehicles in that price range.  They're nicer - but not more reliable.  Most of the dirt cheap cars have the redeeming quality of very, very few things to go wrong.  The Daihatsu I owned for a while had manual windows that didn't quite work right, but you could keep them up.  It didn't have power steering.  It was, quite literally, the minimum number of things to have a car that "ran and drove," and things like the alternator were mostly optional - I ran it for months with a bad alternator, just charging the battery at home every now and then.

A $500 car and enough cashflow for parts, if you can do the work yourself, is going to be less stressful than a $3k car you're pushing the bounds to afford, that still requires parts.

Disagree completely on the $500 car just as reliable as a $2-$3k car. I spent my teens-30 driving and working on low cost cars. You can get some high mile but reliable cars in that range. (old civics, accords, corollas, non-riced integras, etc.) $500 it's always gonna have issues. Being ok with running with a bad alternator and charging the battery at home as SOP says something about your level of comfort with shit being broke, haha! I do appreciate that, but the vast majority of people don't want to live with that stress. By my way of thinking I'd rather bike/bus and work some side hustle to save $$ for a better ride than stress over a $500 car with tools in the trunk ready for a side of the road repair job.

Tools don't have to be $$ but those and repair costs do add up over time. At least with the tools though you build up to a decent selection after a few year and have to borrow less specialty ones.

Cadman

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2018, 12:51:14 PM »
+1 big_slacker

And to clarify my position, there are A LOT of reliable sub-$2k cars out there if one knows what they're doing. Not so sure about the $500 bargains.

I trust the majority of my fleet to take me coast to coast without issue. No check engine lights allowed. If it's not a dependable car when I buy it, it surely will be after a weekend of going over it with a fine tooth comb. As much as I like wrenching on cars, I don't want to be doing it every weekend. A little preventative maintenance up front, and you have reliable daily transportation.   
« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 12:52:52 PM by Cadman »

Syonyk

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2018, 12:57:57 PM »
$500 it's always gonna have issues.

I never said it wasn't going to have issue, but so will a $2000 car.  A $500 car, some mechanical skills, and $1500 in parts will, IME, always turn out better than a $2000 car.  And it won't need $1500 in parts either.

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Being ok with running with a bad alternator and charging the battery at home as SOP says something about your level of comfort with shit being broke, haha!

It wasn't a long term thing, but it worked until I could find an alternator that wasn't going to break the (rather small) bank.  I was also known to swap batteries around vehicles - they all "ran," but the apartment rules never said that they all had to run simultaneously! ;)

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I do appreciate that, but the vast majority of people don't want to live with that stress.

That's fine.  If they want to pay more than they can afford for a car that's "reliable," more power to them.  I wasn't going to go into debt over a car at the time, and I wasn't too inclined to run up my credit card balance for stuff I could live without.  If you're driving around town and you have a battery charger and extension cord, an alternator is optional until you can go find something compatible at the junkyard.

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By my way of thinking I'd rather bike/bus and work some side hustle to save $$ for a better ride than stress over a $500 car with tools in the trunk ready for a side of the road repair job.

If you can do that, fine.  For some of that time period, I was working for a company that had me going around town to client sites, hauling computers, so bus/bike wasn't an option (I had a cheap motorcycle I rode when I could, because it was cheaper to run than the cars).  I did what I could on the side, but as I was perfectly OK with cheap cars and working on them myself, spending that money on a nicer car didn't really seem like a good use of money.  Eventually I bought something nicer, and it's not a problem now, but I saved a ton of money for about a decade of my life doing my own work - and given that I literally couldn't afford a nicer car, I don't think I'd have done anything different.

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Tools don't have to be $$ but those and repair costs do add up over time. At least with the tools though you build up to a decent selection after a few year and have to borrow less specialty ones.

Repair costs are quite cheap when you're doing the work yourself, and you can build up tools over time.  I've never complained about having to buy a tool for a job, though I mostly borrow the stuff from parts stores if I can (fan clutch tools, tie rid equipment, etc).

Again, what I found, through rather extensive experience, was that with a new cheap car, the first 6 months were fixing things that were either broken or failed quickly (I swear, some of those cars held together just long enough to find me, and then said, "Great, he'll fix this, I can let this fail, that fail, the other thing fail..."), and I budgeted about $500 in parts for that stuff.  However, the value of the car was more or less tracking the repairs, and I was able to sell most of those for the cost of purchase + the cost of parts.  $100 car, $300 in parts, drive it for a year, sell it for $400... not going to complain.

If that's not your style, fine, spend money on a fancy car.  I certainly own nicer stuff now.  But I can also afford it now, and still don't drive anywhere near what I could actually afford, if I wanted.

Smevans

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2018, 01:11:17 PM »
I would be retired right now if I invested all the money I spent on cars in the market. Don't even want to think about the money I put into the Evo let alone the dozens of other cars I have had.

Anyways, happy to only have 1 car meow. A Fiesta ST. Snow tires on it right now and have had zero issues driving in the frozen north (live in Wisconsin).

Lastly, shout out to Frederick. Miss me some Bushwaller's.

bacchi

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2018, 01:11:37 PM »
I have 7 POS beater cars. One for each day of the week. By alternating them, they get low miles and will last forever.

If the first one breaks, I use the 2nd one on 2 days.
If the second then breaks, I use the 3rd one for 3 days.
If the third one breaks, I use the 4th one for 4 days.
If the fourth one breaks, I use the 5th one for 5 days.
If the fifth one breaks, I use the 6th one for 6 days.
If the sixth one breaks, I use the 7th one every day of the week.
If the seventh one breaks....oh, shit. Should I get an 8th car in case the first 7 break and I'm waiting for parts on all of them?


I'm a red panda

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2018, 01:13:02 PM »
Misleading subject line. I thought you were going to tell us about your 120 cars.

Boofinator

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2018, 01:25:55 PM »
All garaged, no storage fees.

I understand your point, but how much extra did you have to pay to own a garage that stores the whole fleet versus a smaller garage?

Two of my hobbies are architecture and construction, so every few years I design and build a new structure. I'm in it for time and materials, but the buildings offer more than just garage space. Whereas some people get a mortgage on a house, I did the same but with land. Then DW and I built the house ourselves years ago, buying the materials as we went.

Truly Mustachian. I concede your garage space as essentially cost-free.

robartsd

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2018, 02:11:38 PM »
I'd get way more mileage out of a spare bike than a spare car. My bike is a mid 90's hardtail mountain bike outfitted with 1.5" hybrid tires and a cargo rack. It is my primary commute vehicle. I do all my own bike maintenance. My best work space for my bike is in the driveway on a nice day mounted to the carrier rack strapped to the car - this makes working on the bike a little difficult to schedule this time of year. DW's bike is too short to use as a spare for commuting.

Our car is a 2012 Corolla with manual transmission that we bought on loan at Carmax (pre-MMM, probably face punch worthy). One prior owner used it for less than a year/13,000 miles. It has provided us with reliable transportation around town and several road trips over the years we have owned it. Our annual spend on ground transportation (we've only traveled by plane twice in 13 years) is close to $7000 including car payments ($3100 - ends next September), auto insurance ($1600), gas ($1300), auto shop maintenance ($500), registration ($200), bike parts, bus fare, and parking & tolls (rare - parking at work would add $110/mo).

Truly Mustachian. I concede your garage space as essentially cost-free.
Or at least fully subsidized by another hobby. There is an opportunity costs to the materials for the structures and the land the structures occupy. Alternatively the opportunity costs is the value that could be derived from alternative use of the structures.

Frequently people get away with a project car in the driveway, but legally where I live, non-operative cars are supposed to be in fully enclosed buildings or behind solid 6ft high wall or fence completely screening them from any street view.

Cadman

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2018, 04:30:56 PM »

Our car is a 2012 Corolla with manual transmission that we bought on loan at Carmax (pre-MMM, probably face punch worthy). One prior owner used it for less than a year/13,000 miles. It has provided us with reliable transportation around town and several road trips over the years we have owned it. Our annual spend on ground transportation (we've only traveled by plane twice in 13 years) is close to $7000 including car payments ($3100 - ends next September), auto insurance ($1600), gas ($1300), auto shop maintenance ($500), registration ($200), bike parts, bus fare, and parking & tolls (rare - parking at work would add $110/mo).

Truly Mustachian. I concede your garage space as essentially cost-free.
Or at least fully subsidized by another hobby. There is an opportunity costs to the materials for the structures and the land the structures occupy. Alternatively the opportunity costs is the value that could be derived from alternative use of the structures.

Frequently people get away with a project car in the driveway, but legally where I live, non-operative cars are supposed to be in fully enclosed buildings or behind solid 6ft high wall or fence completely screening them from any street view.

Yes, absolutely. Time and money aren't free. Careful selection of materials helps cut down on maintenance, and of course I operate other (money making) hobbies out of that space. But the cars are also a hobby, and if I can drive a car for a few years and turn a profit, or at least get back what I have in it, then keeping it out of the elements has value, especially when a non-runner comes along that's too good to pass up, especially in the pre-FIRE accumulation phase.

The bigger issue is dealing with strangers who see cars and buildings and assume you're loaded. It doesn't compute for some people that the price tag on their brodozer was larger than a heated 4-stall shop.

Brother Esau

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2018, 05:47:53 PM »
I have 7 POS beater cars. One for each day of the week. By alternating them, they get low miles and will last forever.

If the first one breaks, I use the 2nd one on 2 days.
If the second then breaks, I use the 3rd one for 3 days.
If the third one breaks, I use the 4th one for 4 days.
If the fourth one breaks, I use the 5th one for 5 days.
If the fifth one breaks, I use the 6th one for 6 days.
If the sixth one breaks, I use the 7th one every day of the week.
If the seventh one breaks....oh, shit. Should I get an 8th car in case the first 7 break and I'm waiting for parts on all of them?

seriously?

markbike528CBX

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2018, 02:24:43 AM »
Author Topic: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....

5 factorial (5!)= 120 cars.  Definitely facepunch worthy.

Jay Leno only has 169 cars.

brokescientist

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2018, 06:42:58 AM »
I see some re-occurring thoughts.


3 of my cars are currently insured as the other 2 are slowly getting road worthy.   Usually, I would have one car waiting in the wings getting some things repaired like power steering racks or CV joints, or whatever.  But the del sol kind of just fell into my lap for free.

I see people saying the spent 17k on a car in a year.   That's crazy.   That's why I do my own work to the automobiles.  For 17,000 dollars on the del sol I would be able to literally replace every part including the engine and transmission multiple times.   

Why buy a nicer more luxurious reliable car and just have one?  Because I work on my own cars.  IT kind of my own point here.   If one goes down I don't want to get stressed out and focus all my time and energy to get it back on the road ASAP because I am missing work or have places I need to get to.   By having a car in the wings and another car ready to go I can take my time and do my own repairs on my own non-stressed schedule.   Plus the more luxurious the car, in my experience, the more things go wrong with them.    My hyundai doesn't even have power windows or power locks....   

Also, to the point above, knock on wood... because I am a "mechanic" I can identify problems before they become a MAJOR issue.   IE if I see coolant leaking, the car sits on the side until I have time to replace a coolant hose or the radiator,  and I hop in the subaru for  bit.

A $500 dollar car can be made into a reliable vehicle you just need to KNOW how to work on cars and identify issues.   Some people will just get rid of their car because they make funny noises.  If you are educated in mechanics and teach yourself these life skills you can quickly identify whats wrong with the car.  You will always have to put money into a $500 dollar car.  There will be something wrong with it,  its up to you to use your mechanic skills to be able to identify the problems and decide whether or not its worth dealing with.

Insurance.   Insurance costs in my state are probably about average.  Another reason not to buy a luxurious new car.   Youre going to spend way more on insurance and be forced into getting more expensive plans.  A 1993 civic with basic insurance should not be very expensive and you can qualify for historic tags if you wish or have access.  Not sure about you Canadian folks.

At the end of the day.   If you are driving a car every single day of your life to get to work, and have no other options for transport,  you should know how it operates and how it works.   You will end up saving yourself thousands of dollars.



TheBrokeScientist




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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2018, 06:46:14 AM »
Author Topic: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....

5 factorial (5!)= 120 cars.  Definitely facepunch worthy.

Jay Leno only has 169 cars.

haha!

PoutineLover

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2018, 07:09:51 AM »
I can't see the point of having that many cars, seems like a waste of space and effort. If one is broken, having a backup is useful, but surely it can be fixed before the backup breaks. So if n is the number of people who commute,  n+1 is all you need. Why not fix up the extra cars and sell them if you enjoy that type of work? I just have a bike, and my feet or the bus are my back ups if something goes wrong.

Giro

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2018, 07:35:44 AM »
We don't like working on cars or building storage buildings, but if that's your thing, go for it.  But, that time has an opportunity cost. 
It doesn't mean others are wrong for choosing to sell their time doing something else and buying better cars with the money they earn.


Boofinator

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2018, 07:41:58 AM »
We don't like working on cars or building storage buildings, but if that's your thing, go for it.  But, that time has an opportunity cost. 
It doesn't mean others are wrong for choosing to sell their time doing something else and buying better cars with the money they earn.

One person's work is another person's joy. Take MMM: he calls his construction work a hobby, and presumably he'd do it even if he wasn't paid. Therefore, no opportunity cost. Same thing with his blogging. Opportunity cost of time spent doing something only applies if you'd rather be doing something else.

brokescientist

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2018, 07:43:35 AM »
I can't see the point of having that many cars, seems like a waste of space and effort. If one is broken, having a backup is useful, but surely it can be fixed before the backup breaks. So if n is the number of people who commute,  n+1 is all you need. Why not fix up the extra cars and sell them if you enjoy that type of work? I just have a bike, and my feet or the bus are my back ups if something goes wrong.

Not everyone has easy access to public transit and unfortunately I and many others are in professions that require commuting.   Usually, I have N+2.  2 are running and insured,  1 is getting ready to be reliable cheap workhorse and uninsured.   

Effort-  its a lot easier having more cars than less in terms of schedules and ease of effort.  It gives you the ability to do work at your own pace, stress free.

Enjoyment-  its more of a Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance type deal.    I see it as a necessary evil, that if done at your leisurely pace can be semi-enjoyable, and rewarding.   If your driving a car everyday you should know how to work on it.  Otherwise,  you should have lots of money in order to pay unbelievably high mechanic bills.   And yes,  a totally side advantage to this is,  I can usually sell my used vehicles for more than I bought them for.  Albeit, still generally at a small loss from maintenance and $0 depreciation.

Some people sound like they think I am working on these cars constantly and they are breaking down all the time.   I probably spend a few hours a month on a car and I am barely ever stranded.  If you keep up with your maintenance I am convinced any modern car that is worth driving should last at least 200,000 miles. If you are squeaking out of your front driver side wheel-well jack it up, drive another car for the time being, and replace your ball joint for 25 bucks or go to the stearlership/mechanic and spend $600. Last time I was stranded,  I locked my keys in my car.  The time before that... well I don't know? Probably stupidly left my lights on. Why?  because I am on top of it, taught myself mechanics,  have multiple cars at my disposal, and am very forgetful ;). 


Point is, if you have to drive.  Learn to work on your car and you can save yourself a lot of money.   Not just a couple hundred dollars..   over years you will save thousands.   

Most of these cars would end up in the j-yard.  It's best to keep them on the road for as long as possible.


Thanks for the discussion.

TheBrokeScientist


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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2018, 08:32:36 AM »
I can't see the point of having that many cars, seems like a waste of space and effort. If one is broken, having a backup is useful, but surely it can be fixed before the backup breaks. So if n is the number of people who commute,  n+1 is all you need. Why not fix up the extra cars and sell them if you enjoy that type of work? I just have a bike, and my feet or the bus are my back ups if something goes wrong.

We have managed well with n, where n = 2. We do not have access to public transportation, nor could I bike or walk to work; but in the rare case one of the cars is broken, we just rearrange the schedule so the 2nd person drives the first to work. Sometimes this means quite a long day, as you have to get dropped off early and picked up late.  But certainly the inconvenience is better than owning and paying for an extra car.

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2018, 08:41:54 AM »


My cheap fleet included multiple "saved from the junkyard" or "intercepted on the way to the junkyard" vehicles.  The $150 Daihatsu Charade was probably the most fun - 1L of 3 cylinder fury, but sub-2000 lbs, an honest 45mpg if you hypermiled a bit, and a royal pain to find parts for because it wasn't in any computers.



We drove a Daihatsu Bego in Costa Rica. I fell in love. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate one in the US for cheap.

Syonyk

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2018, 08:48:03 AM »
To the best of my knowledge, the only Daihatsu sold in the US was the Charade (it was pretending to be a real car!), for a few years in the 90s.

It was a royal pain in the rear to find parts for, because it wasn't in any parts databases for anything beyond major parts.  Finding rear brake springs involved going to the shop filled with the old, cranky guys at the parts counter, handing them the old springs, telling them that I needed something along these lines, it won't be in their computer, but check the smaller Toyota parts, and then waiting around while they went and compared stuff.  I think I ended up buying two different sets to get what I needed.

rothwem

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2018, 09:11:37 AM »
I'm envious of the people that take this approach to vehicle ownership.  I have a tough time fixing things "just enough".  If there's dash lights on, or something is leaking, or something isn't quite right, I'm going to spend an endless amount of time and money in the form of parts to get the thing working 100% again.  I currently have a small weep in the oil pan gasket (not even noticeable on the dipstick) and I think its going to give me an aneurysm, but its a pretty complex repair and I don't have time to deal with it right now.  I've thought about picking up another car to take the time pressure off to fix issues, but I know I would "need" to have two perfectly functioning vehicles and I'd spend a fucking fortune keeping them that way. 

I drive a BMW btw, and I've actually owned three other BMWs in the past.  They're not terrible to work on once you're used to them, and there's a lot of resources on the internet to fix them.  Yes, there's a lot of places where bolts are blocked by other components or you have to use an external torx socket, but for the most part, the bolts are high quality so they rarely break or strip, and I've never had a BMW oem part that was defective from the factory causing a job to be repeated.  BMW's also just drive so much better than other cars I've driven.  Well, at least the old ones, the new ones are a bit blah. 

robartsd

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2018, 10:00:00 AM »
Last time I was stranded,  I locked my keys in my car.
I did this several times within a few months. I learned that while I was in the car, the keys needed to be in my hand, in my pocket, or in the ignition. If I took the keys out of the ignition and set them while waiting in the car I would invariably forget to pick them up if I got out of the car.

Syonyk

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2018, 10:10:36 AM »
I'm envious of the people that take this approach to vehicle ownership.  I have a tough time fixing things "just enough".  If there's dash lights on, or something is leaking, or something isn't quite right, I'm going to spend an endless amount of time and money in the form of parts to get the thing working 100% again.

Hah, you'd hate my weekly driver, then.  It's a Russian motorcycle (a Ural).  It's never 100%, even fresh from the factory.  You just learn to deal with it.  I recently fixed a loose chassis ground that would, every few weeks, throw a nice shower of sparks during starting.  Stuff like that...

rothwem

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #41 on: December 20, 2018, 11:14:48 AM »
I'm envious of the people that take this approach to vehicle ownership.  I have a tough time fixing things "just enough".  If there's dash lights on, or something is leaking, or something isn't quite right, I'm going to spend an endless amount of time and money in the form of parts to get the thing working 100% again.

Hah, you'd hate my weekly driver, then.  It's a Russian motorcycle (a Ural).  It's never 100%, even fresh from the factory.  You just learn to deal with it.  I recently fixed a loose chassis ground that would, every few weeks, throw a nice shower of sparks during starting.  Stuff like that...

Yeah that would drive me bananas. 

big_slacker

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #42 on: December 20, 2018, 11:23:36 AM »
I'm envious of the people that take this approach to vehicle ownership.  I have a tough time fixing things "just enough".  If there's dash lights on, or something is leaking, or something isn't quite right, I'm going to spend an endless amount of time and money in the form of parts to get the thing working 100% again.  I currently have a small weep in the oil pan gasket (not even noticeable on the dipstick) and I think its going to give me an aneurysm, but its a pretty complex repair and I don't have time to deal with it right now.  I've thought about picking up another car to take the time pressure off to fix issues, but I know I would "need" to have two perfectly functioning vehicles and I'd spend a fucking fortune keeping them that way. 

I drive a BMW btw, and I've actually owned three other BMWs in the past.  They're not terrible to work on once you're used to them, and there's a lot of resources on the internet to fix them.  Yes, there's a lot of places where bolts are blocked by other components or you have to use an external torx socket, but for the most part, the bolts are high quality so they rarely break or strip, and I've never had a BMW oem part that was defective from the factory causing a job to be repeated.  BMW's also just drive so much better than other cars I've driven.  Well, at least the old ones, the new ones are a bit blah.

Speaking of $500 cars, I had an '87 325 for a while. I actually loved the way it drove but it had a fast idle issue that turned out to be an ECU. No junkyards with one, and a new one was roughly what the car was worth. I didn't mind working on it TBH, it was easier than the eclipse I had for years where EVERYTHING was super tight and a PITA to get at.

The new ones are fun when you tune them and run in sport mode. The new 335 can hit nearly 500HP with bolt ons. I won't mod my wife's because she'll wreck it 100% guaranteed. :D  They're also cheaper than you'd expect since BMW offers favorable lease rates. Just buy an off lease one and enjoy a nearly new car for nearly half what it sold for new.

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #43 on: December 20, 2018, 11:26:55 AM »
I can't see the point of having that many cars, seems like a waste of space and effort. If one is broken, having a backup is useful, but surely it can be fixed before the backup breaks. So if n is the number of people who commute,  n+1 is all you need. Why not fix up the extra cars and sell them if you enjoy that type of work? I just have a bike, and my feet or the bus are my back ups if something goes wrong.

We have managed well with n, where n = 2. We do not have access to public transportation, nor could I bike or walk to work; but in the rare case one of the cars is broken, we just rearrange the schedule so the 2nd person drives the first to work. Sometimes this means quite a long day, as you have to get dropped off early and picked up late.  But certainly the inconvenience is better than owning and paying for an extra car.
I guess I should have said max n+1, because I dont think an extra car is that necessary for most people, and where I live a car isn't even necessary at all, though it would be convenient once in a while. If I ever get a car I'll learn to do basic maintenance myself, but the extra cost and effort of having storage, tools and time to do all maintenance and repairs is not worth it. I bet there's a bit of a rural/urban divide in car ownership mentalities, in most dense cities you would never have space to store 5 vehicles and you'd have plenty of alternative transportation options.

Syonyk

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2018, 11:37:17 AM »
Also, in most cities, there's nowhere to work on cars.  So nobody knows how to work on them, and considers paying a shop $1000 to do much of anything perfectly normal.

I did not fit in Seattle well, from that perspective, because I work on my own stuff, and will stubbornly work on my own stuff, in front of the place I'm renting, to save $500 for a Saturday's work.

Turns out, helping the HOA secretary haul a bunch of stuff and forgetting to ask for diesel reimbursement is one of the better investments I made.  Nobody bothered me after that.

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2018, 11:39:51 AM »
Knowing how to do at least the basics is good. More is great. I do a fair amount of my own work, though I can go years without having to do more than basics. And I'm in no position to hypocritically facepunch you over a vehicle, since I have way more car than I need for the maybe couple thousand miles I put on it per year.

However, there's still an opportunity cost. Factor in insurance. Factor in all the maintenance, including duplication (quintuplication?) of the basic stuff like oil that you're likely doing twice a year on each. Factor in your time, especially if you could be getting paid for that time. Factor in the space, especially if you could be getting paid to say, store vehicles for others over winter in that space. Figure out your cost per mile driven with all those factors.

My gut feeling guess, having kept a couple beaters running in my day, is you're about on par with a reasonably old but rock solid vehicle if you're factoring in time but not space. So it's pick your poison. If you like working on vehicles, keep that fleet. If not, a $5000 vehicle you can run for years and then sell for $3500 before it ever has a problem is a better option.

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2018, 11:49:21 AM »
I kind of disagree with the amount of money people spend on their commuting cars.   I think they spend too much!  The key to spending less is having more and being educated and smart.

I currently own 5 cars.... they don't cost me much cash.  Besides the project car which will eventually come into the rolling door of commuters and I don't plan on spending more than 3000 dollars on that particular car over the course of say 2 years. 

If you have a commute especially if its longer than 15 miles, I highly urge everyone to learn mechanics.   Not just changing your oil.  Learn how to change a whole entire suspension.  Learn how to take out an engine.   Learn how to change gaskets, sensors, waterpumps ect.

It's funny.  I bought a stupid non-mustachian car in highschool.  A 1991 toyota MR2 turbo.   That car ended up SAVING me thousands of dollars because I learned how to work on it.


I think commuters should have at least 2 cars.  1 reliable old car that just chills or is used in snow/when your main commuter breaks down/needs repair.   1 Reliable car that gets great MPG and is no thrills basic to get to work and back, with no fancy features that will inevitably break.   And call me crazy but I think there should be a 3rd!!! car in the wings getting ready to take over for the next commuting vehicle. 

This method gives you the flexibility and time to always have a working car on the cheap.  If one breaks down you have another waiting in the wings, allowing you precious, STRESS FREE, no rush, time to get your car fixed and back on the road. 

Mechanics are modern day scam artists.   I hear some ridiculous stories from people.   In fact I am writing this today because I just heard one of my coworkers exclaim that his mechanic charged him 270 dollars to replace an oxygen sensor on his honda accord.    A job that should take about 20 minutes and the parts probably costs around 15 bucks.


Current Stable:

1993 Del Sol Si - On Jackstands almost ready to take on commuting duties
2008 Hyundai Accent - Main Commuter
2001 BMW 325iT -  Wont be buying another BMW unless its an e30.  They are a bare to work on.
1986 Toyota MR2 - Project Future Commuter
2004 Subaru Outback - Snow (i have to commute in all weather conditions due to job) and my pickuptruck (I own rentals/myhouse)

PS www.rockauto.com

junk yard is your friend


2004 outback-  I have replaced all the suspension on the outback.   I got it for 300 dollars.   It runs freaking excellent and has 225,000 miles on it.  I put 30,000 miles on it so far.   Cheap insurance.  I put around 1500 dollars into the suspension.  1800 dollar car.   


2008 Accent super reliable 36MPG my workhorse commuter.   I bought it with 50,000 miles on it for 3200 dollars.  I haven't done much work to it besides replacing the coilpacks, tires, a few sensors, filters and oil.  It now has 120,000 miles on it.

2001 BMW - Don't buy a BMW.  I finally got this running without a check engine light.  Drives excellent.  PITD to work on.  All rubber goes bad at or about 100k resulting in .  Bought it for  $2800 and put about $1000 into it.   My wife's car.  I thought I would build her something nice.

1993 Del Sol Si- currently replacing all suspension/streering components on this.   I got it for free by trading some vehicles around.  Non-running jeep v8 (gift from MIL) traded for a CRV which I traded for this del sol.   Car has 136,000 miles on it.  Gets 35MPG and will be the next commuter.   Just in my driveway on jackstands, runs great.  Getting ready to by the next workhorse.    I will sell the Hyundai for the same amount of money I bought it for when this gets on the road.  If I sell the Hyundai I guess you can say I made money on this?

1986 MR2- bought with a blown up engine that leaks oil like crazy.   Planning on putting in a new engine and replacing all suspension parts while I am driving the Del Sol Si.   When I am done with this car I will simply switch and sell the Del Sol.

+1 that mechanics are crooks.  I just fixed the AC in my car.  Quoted price by mechanic $700.  Price for me $60 for parts, $30 for a tool I needed and about 2 hours of my time.

We used to have 3 cars for 2 drivers with one of the cars being an old beater that I have repaired to working condition on many occasions.  Finally I got rid of it after the power steering went and I donated the remains of the car.  I just did not want to spend another afternoon fixing it yet again.

Eventually we will likely get another beater as having a back up car has proven very helpful and has saved us time and money.  For those who don't know, if the car is rarely used you can stop insurance on it and restart it whenever you want.  All it takes is a phone call.  The cost is actually registration and inspection every year. 

@brokescientist, have you considered getting a classic?  Your clearly handy, and a classic may actually increase in value over the years of ownership.  I guess the MR2 and del sol are classics.  Are they in nice shape or do they look like beaters?

Rural

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2018, 02:07:25 PM »
Right now we are down to n+1 running, and we are both much more comfortable with n+2. So we're looking. We do go higher than $500 cars since his commute is long distance once a week. But we have had the cascade effect where we both needed a backup more than once, so backup vehicles are the plan. We do have one we should get running to have that last-ditch desperation vehicle, but I'm not sure it would make the trip to his grad school city (1981 Toyota Tercel).




Cadman

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2018, 03:53:14 PM »
Knowing how to do at least the basics is good. More is great. I do a fair amount of my own work, though I can go years without having to do more than basics. And I'm in no position to hypocritically facepunch you over a vehicle, since I have way more car than I need for the maybe couple thousand miles I put on it per year.

However, there's still an opportunity cost. Factor in insurance. Factor in all the maintenance, including duplication (quintuplication?) of the basic stuff like oil that you're likely doing twice a year on each. Factor in your time, especially if you could be getting paid for that time. Factor in the space, especially if you could be getting paid to say, store vehicles for others over winter in that space. Figure out your cost per mile driven with all those factors.

My gut feeling guess, having kept a couple beaters running in my day, is you're about on par with a reasonably old but rock solid vehicle if you're factoring in time but not space. So it's pick your poison. If you like working on vehicles, keep that fleet. If not, a $5000 vehicle you can run for years and then sell for $3500 before it ever has a problem is a better option.

Yeah, but if you're a mustachian car-guy, then you buy your oil when it's free after rebate, pick up your filters on sale for $1.99 and use the tools you've had for 20 years. Something we use to do when I was in highschool was have an oil change party. Half the work is dragging out the jack and stands, so everyone would bring their car over and you'd knock them all out serially. Getting rid of oil can be a pain (auto stores take it for free, but an oily 5 gal bucket is no fun) so I picked up a nice used steel barrel off CL and could probably sell the waste oil when it's full (will let you know in 10 years). Of course, the same miles spread over multiple vehicles mean fewer oil changes.

You might be on to something with the insurance. I recently compared notes with a sibling and was shocked that their 2-vehicle, family-of-4 household in Michigan was paying more than I was for half a dozen vehicles, and we both have the same insurance co. Deductibles and coverage were similar. So when some folks mention insurance cost on multiple vehicles, I can appreciate where they're coming from.

PS. I wouldn't even consider lost opportunity cost on renting out vehicle storage. Not worth the liability.



scottish

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Re: Go ahead - Try and FacePunch Me I Have 5! cars....
« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2018, 07:01:59 PM »
I still remember trying to loosen the bolts on the water pump on my 79 chevrolet back in 1991.   I think that was the last non-electrical repair I did myself...

Do you guys doing your own repairs have an air wrench?   If not, what, may I ask, is your secret?