Author Topic: Is this time to get a new (used) car or should I keep this car a bit longer?  (Read 615 times)

backandforth

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Hi fellow mustachians, I am considering buying a 2nd hand car... can't quite decide, but you may be able to talk me out of or into it.

So here is the situation. I have a 14 year old Hyunai Santa Fe. It has been a very reliable car till the last few years. It seems everything start to break down slowly, I have averaged 1-1.5K in repair each year the last 2 years, with a highly reputable, lower cost local shop. Recently with the constant noise growing louder I was told I will need a new wheel bearing soon. That plus a leak, and something else earlier this year will put this year's repair over 1K again. The car has 100K miles on it.

Never a car person so doing repair on my own is out of question. I drive my 2 very young kids around in this car so safety is paramount. I drive 5K-10K miles a year, but can't really just a get a bike and strap both kids on it.

KBB says this car would sell for 3K to a private party. I am wondering is this the point when I should start looking slowly and carefully for another car? I am thinking a used Outback or Forester, maybe 3 year old, for below 20K, which seems to be reasonable after a short scan on the Internet.

Going to the car repair shop often is not a huge hassle but it is still a hassle, but I am afraid as it gets older it may one day break down on the highway with kids in, or get us into some kind of accident if I am not diligent in keeping up with the check ups. I know that well maintained cars can drive much longer than this, but I am kind of clueless about cars and no time/and honestly no intention to learn about it right now.

What would you do in my situation? Keep this one and just keep up with the repair and maintenance, or go get a Subaru? If you suggest the latter, is there any must have/REALLY nice to have features I should look for?

Thanks!

moof

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If the car is costing you ~$100 a month on average for repairs to keep it going, it will be hard to beat this.  If you wait until something major goes (engine, transmission, or similar) you'll likely be ahead.  Start setting aside money in an easy to access account so that you can immediately buy your next used car when this one finally throws in the towel.

Reynolds531

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I would keep the Santa fe!

If you want to see what a real repair bill looks like get a quote  for a head gasket replacement on a subaru.

Always buy lifetime warranty parts whenever possible.  Your suv is good to 200 if cared for.

soccerluvof4

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If the place you go to is reputable ask them to go through the entire car and do diagnostics on it and check everything out so you can make a more intelligent decision. While 100k miles on a car is not much you might have a dog or it just wasn't taken care of properly. As mentioned 100 a month for repairs is pretty cheap but my concern is yours with having something dependable with the kids.
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

ketchup

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If the place you go to is reputable ask them to go through the entire car and do diagnostics on it and check everything out so you can make a more intelligent decision. While 100k miles on a car is not much you might have a dog or it just wasn't taken care of properly. As mentioned 100 a month for repairs is pretty cheap but my concern is yours with having something dependable with the kids.
This is a good idea.  A full inspection by your trusted mechanic probably won't cost more than $100 and could buy you some piece of mind.  Additionally, if your main concern is breaking down with your kids, you should (at least once in a while, maybe once a month) check your oil, coolant, and tire pressure.  Those are three "stupid things" that could leave you stranded if a leak developed unnoticed, but are easy to catch ahead of time if you're on top of it.  I usually check all three each time I gas up.  I drive a 2001 car with 155k miles on it.  Unless your car has some major issue, it'll almost certainly get to 200k without something major happening (engine, transmission, etc.).  I had a Hyundai as my last car and it gave out at 262k miles.

accolay

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I'd also vote to keep the car after having everything checked, and ask about future maintenance costs as well i.e. timing belt/water pump. In the meantime, also vote to save cash for new used vehicle in the future.

SC93

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Just 100,000? I guess maybe the problem is Hyundai...?? I've bought Dodge mini vans since 1995 for work and they ALWAYS have over 200,000 on them before they bite the dust. Some could have gone 300,000+ but I just wanted another van. I paid $1300 for my current work van 2 years ago and now it has 180,000 miles. It still purrs like a kitten because I don't drive it hard and it should last another 100,000. I don't know if I will keep it that long but I bet the van will last that long or longer. I have the choice in 10 days to take the old work van to Florida to drop off my grandson for Christmas break or take another vehicle.... I'm taking the van without hesitation. I will break down within the next 30 days and put 4 new tires on it. All I've ever done is change the oil and put 2 new tires on the front. I just can't decide to get every bit of the wear out of the tires and wait until I get back from Florida or play it safe and get them before... knowing me I will prolly wait :)

MustachianAccountant

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I am thinking a used Outback or Forester, maybe 3 year old, for below 20K, which seems to be reasonable after a short scan on the Internet.

Why Subaru? Sales pitch on their safety? There are plenty of safe cars out there, and Subarus are TERRIBLE on gas mileage due to their always-on all wheel drive.
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
"As soon as you believe that something cannot be done, you will find that, sure enough, you cannot do it." -Me, to my children, all the time

Monkey Uncle

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As long as the body and frame are in good shape, it will almost always be more economical to repair an old car than replace it.  Ignore the fact that the repair might cost as much or more than the book value of the car - that is a meaningless comparison.  If you have to replace both the engine and transmission, it might cost you 5 or 6 grand, but then the car would be good for another 100 - 200k miles (assuming high quality replacement parts).  If you pay 20 grand for a three year old Subaru with 35 - 50k miles on it, you'll probably get about the same out of it before it needs major repair work.  You'll have more repair and maintenance costs along the way with the rebuilt old car, but probably not 14 grand worth.

The main drawback to fixing up an old car is the hassle factor associated with more frequent repairs.  You could be without your car for a while if you have to get the engine replaced or the transmission rebuilt.
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

Loren Ver

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Thank you for this thread. 

As a driver of old cars that need more frequent repairs, but that works in an environment were buying a another vehicle means it must be at least a Honda (now or no more than 2 years old), I really appreciate the sanity check.   

LV

backandforth

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Thank you all for the reply. I just send my good old car in for repair, and have asked the guy there to give a thorough check on it. They did it last time too because they know it is what I drive my kids in. Will keep the car and take care of it for as long as it's reasonable.

Now come to think about it. It could have been me who "broke" the wheel bearing. At the end of a long and particular sleeping depriving day, when picking up a late dinner on a not well lit street, I drove on the curb dividing the restaurants and sidewalk (without my kids in it of course), and the undercarriage landed hard on the front, where now the wheel bearing needs replacement. I need to call the mechanic to make sure they check frame to see if other damage is done with this.

To be fair, the Santa fe has been a remarkably reliable car with awesome warranty. It got one issue within the warranty (some software issue with alarm and car won't start) but I didn't need to pay for it. and for the first 6-8 years, except for regular maintenance and a set of new tires, I don't think we spend any money on it... I was probably too spoiled by that and now the parts getting old we do need to adjust our mindset and take better care of ot.

DumpTruck

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I am thinking a used Outback or Forester, maybe 3 year old, for below 20K, which seems to be reasonable after a short scan on the Internet.

Why Subaru? Sales pitch on their safety? There are plenty of safe cars out there, and Subarus are TERRIBLE on gas mileage due to their always-on all wheel drive.

Well that's just not true. There are plenty of 2WD Subaru's and they get decent gas mileage like any other econobox. The modern ones get 30 mpg (2WD). And 2WD and snow tires is all you need.


As to OP - absolutely you should keep driving the Santa Fe. A wheel bearing is a totally normal part to be replaced. Tackle your preventative maintenance items and you'll never break down. Around 100k, there may be some parts that need to be replaced but once those are done, you'll easily go another 100k. Cars don't "bite the dust". Ever. Parts fail and need to be replaced.

If the vehicle uses a timing belt, have it replaced per the specifications (usually every 100k). At that time you'll want to get a new water pump, and replace any cam/crank seals that are accessible at that time.

New coolant and radiator hoses at that time as well. Have them change the transmission fluid. Flush the brake lines and check the brake calipers for smooth operation and pads have plenty of life.

Pull the interior out and take the carpet to the pressure washer and reinstall it to give your vehicle that brand new feeling again and drive it for another 10 years.

Then do all that over again. There is no reason your vehicle won't last 500k unless the body rusts and fails.

You'll want to budget for new shocks and suspension bushings at 200k. Although on Toyota's, I've found that the shocks and bushings are still good at that mileage. (except on my GFs Prius - she let her friend borrow her car, and her friend smacked a curb with the front right wheel and that bearing failed early at 150k. It wasn't that hard to replace. I pulled the wheel off and removed the hub, and then with a huge sledge hammer whacked the old bearing out of the knuckle, and then put a new bearing and hub in. It was $42 in parts and 2 hours of my time. For that side. I also did the driver side at the same time because I like to replace those in pairs. Actually it's because I misdiagnosed which side was making the noise)

The trick is to get ahead of the parts and do preventative maintenance. Cars are really simple.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 08:51:38 AM by DumpTruck »