Author Topic: When do you call it quits on a car?  (Read 3470 times)

Mr. Green

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When do you call it quits on a car?
« on: April 16, 2019, 04:20:21 PM »
We're currently touring the country in a 2002 Ford Focus station wagon. It's an east coast vehicle so it has a decent amount of rust in places. It was owned first by my grandfather, then my sister, both of whom never drove much. We bought it from her last November with only 75,000 miles on it. We've put 10,000 miles on it since then. It's been maintained very well, though there are a couple big ticket items coming up that I'm unsure if it's worth doing. The original timing belt is showing wear and probably needs replacing. Fortunately, the engine is not an interference engine so if it breaks it doesn't bend all the valves. There's still the inconvenience of the tow and immediate repair if that would happen, which looks like $750 based on a quote from our local mechanic. The cooling system steel hoses are also rusting and need replacing. I'm sure that will be expensive as well, since they'll have to evacuate the system to do the repair.

Other than those two items the car is solid unless something else comes up. We have all the service records so we know what has been replaced and when. I know older, high mileage cars can be a crapshoot so I'm not sure if spending another $1,500 on this car is wise or not. The engine burns almost no oil, and nothing is malfunctioning currently.

Thoughts? This is our first experience with a car of this age.

Tuskalusa

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2019, 04:34:08 PM »
Looks like $1,500 buys you a couple years. The age of the car works in your favor for fees and insurance. I’d probably do the maintenance if you think you could drive it for another 1-2 years.

I’m in a similar situation. My car is about 11 years old. Stupid things go wrong with it, and I just fix them as I go. My deal-breaker would be a repair >$5k.  Once we get over that number, we’d be well on our way to another “new to us” car that’s about 5 years old.

RWD

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 04:50:57 PM »
Those sound like normal maintenance for an old car. Pretty reasonable stuff. If you like the car you should keep it maintained and keep driving it until something more catastrophic needs attention.

six-car-habit

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2019, 06:23:49 PM »
 You have a car that has only 75,000 miles on it with good service records and useability right away . If you added $1500 dollars to the price you paid , and then went looking for another rig to buy, what do you expect to find  - that is better than a car with 75K with a new cooling system and timing belt......
  Not much.  I imagine you did not pay corner car lot retail value on the car since it came thru relatives.
  Putting $1500 dollars into a future vehicle fixes+ needs seems more of a gamble than investing the money into a rig you are currently trusting to take you cross country...

Not Sure

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 06:35:01 PM »
Ha ha.  I seem to be the wrong person to ask.  My 19-year old Accord has 325k miles and is getting a timing belt this weekend.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 08:01:18 PM »
Ha ha.  I seem to be the wrong person to ask.  My 19-year old Accord has 325k miles and is getting a timing belt this weekend.

Do you live in a place that has snow and salts roads in the winter? If so, I think that's even more impressive and I'd love to get your insight on what I should be doing to maintain the frames of my vehicles.

If I were the OP, I think my answer would depend on the condition of the frame. A car that's seen ~ 17 salty winters isn't necessarily one that you want to be in if you have an accident.

If the car was from CA, I'd be all for keeping it. But, I grew up in Ontario and moved to Upstate NY. I personally start to worry about rust on the frame after ~ 12-15 years.

Kem

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 08:24:31 PM »
My 02 accord has lived in Salt all its years.   Had to replace the rubber suspension points last year.  Underbody was coated with a high fill chasis saver paint every 50k.   I fill the seams with fluid film each spring (as did the prior owner).  Also take it through car wash with underbody blast every 2 weeks during worst of winter. Only ongoing rust issue is rear wheel well lips.... These neesmd to be sanded down to clean metal and treated with Eastwood each spring due to water retaining sealent used by honda in 6th gen.  Zero underbody rust and looks close to new (outside of parking lot rash of careless folks).
.
Rebuilt manual transmission at 195K.   Shock/struts at 210k.  Timing belt every 75K.  Full fluid change on fixed intervals.   Cost of ownership is almost nothing. 
.
Edit:  my $1,500 2002 220K accord has been far more reliable in 3 years of use than my $35,000 2012 1K VW was in the same period.   Plus, the Honda has no car payments, is cheap to maintain, and insurance is almost free
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 08:37:41 PM by Chris.Kem »

OtherJen

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 09:18:20 PM »
Ha ha.  I seem to be the wrong person to ask.  My 19-year old Accord has 325k miles and is getting a timing belt this weekend.

Do you live in a place that has snow and salts roads in the winter? If so, I think that's even more impressive and I'd love to get your insight on what I should be doing to maintain the frames of my vehicles.

If I were the OP, I think my answer would depend on the condition of the frame. A car that's seen ~ 17 salty winters isn't necessarily one that you want to be in if you have an accident.

If the car was from CA, I'd be all for keeping it. But, I grew up in Ontario and moved to Upstate NY. I personally start to worry about rust on the frame after ~ 12-15 years.

Yes. I got rid of my 2002 Ford Focus 3-door hatchback after 13 years and 160K miles. The necessary power train work was more expensive than the value of the car, and the body was starting to rust thanks to several snowy, salty winters.

AlotToLearn

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 12:45:05 AM »
Invest the 1500 in it and drive it till the wheels literally fall off.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 04:49:05 AM »
Those sound like normal maintenance for an old car. Pretty reasonable stuff. If you like the car you should keep it maintained and keep driving it until something more catastrophic needs attention.

This. A timing belt is routine maintenance, and I doubt the cooling hoses would be all that expensive.

The issue of course with a car like that would be how much rust is there, and whether it's serious.

I've got a car of the same age, and my rule of thumb is that if any maintenance/repair items come up that are under $1000, I'll get them done. Between $1000-2000, I'll assess things and decide whether it's worthwhile or not (how much longer the car would last after getting it done, etc), and over $2000 (probably less) I'd look to replace the car. At that point it's not much more to buy something else a number of years newer and nicer.

In your case, get quotes on the lot, but I'd probably go ahead if everything else is running well and reliable (and the rust isn't a big problem).

Dicey

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 05:09:48 AM »
Another way to look at this question is to figure out what tax, license, and registration would cost on a replacement vehicle. If that doesn't convince me, and it usually does, a quick call to my insurance broker does the trick.

Recently, my 94 year old friend was rear ended. The insurance company wanted to total her 20 year old, sub-100k, Acura. She took what they would give her and is paying a small additional amount out of pocket to have the car repaired. She could literally buy anything she wants, which is the result of a lifetime of making frugal choices, but it's worth it to her to keep her familiar vehicle. No one here will be surprised to learn she bought it used, either.

chasesfish

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2019, 05:34:13 AM »
My answer to the original question is it depends on two things:

1) The estimated useful life left on the vehicle
2) The estimated cost of a similar replacement vehicle.

There are two things that wear on a car, age and use.  Your car has a high age and minimal use.  I'd be replacing all the hoses, belts, and spark plugs/wires and then enjoy.  Another person commented on road salt which will accelerate the aging.

Unless you need a new engine/transmission, I'd keep driving the car.  The engine/transmission probably become more expensive than what you can scrap the car for and get a similar replacement.


Kem

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2019, 05:59:26 AM »
Well, my manual transmission/clutch sysytem was recently rebuilt   I've looked into a replacement engine... And my local father/son bay will drop in a 50K engine with all new seals and a year warranty for under $1,500.   I cannot buy a replacement for that good of a deal.     Maintenance doesn't need to be expensive.... But many shops make it so.

dignam

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2019, 06:45:00 AM »
I have a 15 year old beater.  Bullet proof engine, transmission and transfer case.  It's spent most of its time in Michigan and Wisconsin so it's got some rust in places though, some of which I have repaired.  If a repair approaches the price of a replacement (or any driveline repair), I would get rid of it.  Otherwise I'm driving it until it falls apart.

Brother Esau

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2019, 07:02:50 AM »
Seems wise to invest in that car and keep it going for awhile. I once had a Ford Explorer last for 225,000 miles until the transmission died. Donated the car the next day and bought another one.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2019, 12:56:39 PM »
My 02 accord has lived in Salt all its years.   Had to replace the rubber suspension points last year.  Underbody was coated with a high fill chasis saver paint every 50k.   I fill the seams with fluid film each spring (as did the prior owner).  Also take it through car wash with underbody blast every 2 weeks during worst of winter. Only ongoing rust issue is rear wheel well lips.... These neesmd to be sanded down to clean metal and treated with Eastwood each spring due to water retaining sealent used by honda in 6th gen.  Zero underbody rust and looks close to new (outside of parking lot rash of careless folks).
.
Rebuilt manual transmission at 195K.   Shock/struts at 210k.  Timing belt every 75K.  Full fluid change on fixed intervals.   Cost of ownership is almost nothing. 
.
Edit:  my $1,500 2002 220K accord has been far more reliable in 3 years of use than my $35,000 2012 1K VW was in the same period.   Plus, the Honda has no car payments, is cheap to maintain, and insurance is almost free

Thanks for the tips.

I might try to adopt the paint. Is that something someone can do easily by themselves, or do you take it somewhere?


 I do take my vehicles through underspray washes in the winter, but not as frequently as 2 weeks.

Kem

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2019, 01:50:21 PM »
Originally owner paid a shop.  I believe they used POR 15 paint.  I put mine up on Jack stands and do it myself.  Use a garden sprayer to degrees the bottom and rinse then let fully dry.  I currently use Chassis Saver by Magnetic paints.  Mostly brush, though I do spray a couple of areas. 
1 evening and 1 long morning to complete.

RWD

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2019, 02:23:13 PM »
Just don't use rubberized undercoating:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXvl9nt57Kg

Kem

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2019, 02:55:18 PM »
Good warning!   

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2019, 04:49:45 PM »
Those sound like normal maintenance for an old car. Pretty reasonable stuff. If you like the car you should keep it maintained and keep driving it until something more catastrophic needs attention.

Agree.

Mr. Green

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2019, 05:17:40 PM »
The car definitely has it's fair share of rust on it. It spent 17 Winters in Maryland. For instance, the wheels hadn't been pulled in 3 years so I had an exceptionally difficult time getting them loose. Had to buy all new lug nuts and wire brush the posts. The engine air filter hadn't been changed in forever to I had to have a shop break those bolts loose so I could change it. Perhaps those are just outliers. Other major components like brakes, front struts, the blower motor, water pump, and serpentine belt have all been replaced over the years. We fixed the front brake linings and a burned out low speed radiator fan relay and wiring when we bought the car
I also replaced both of the rear window actuators, since they had froze up. We've only got $2,300 in the car currently. If I could find a mechanic I trust I'd ask for an honest assessment of the rust before sinking more money into it. The shop we just took it to for an oil change commented on the amount of rust in the engine bay, but they aren't used to that being in Arizona so I imagine any east coast car would look bad to them.

Kem

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2019, 06:26:29 PM »
Care to post some good pics of the bay and undercarriage!?

Not Sure

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2019, 09:29:30 PM »
My 02 accord has lived in Salt all its years.   Had to replace the rubber suspension points last year.  Underbody was coated with a high fill chasis saver paint every 50k.   I fill the seams with fluid film each spring (as did the prior owner).  Also take it through car wash with underbody blast every 2 weeks during worst of winter. Only ongoing rust issue is rear wheel well lips.... These neesmd to be sanded down to clean metal and treated with Eastwood each spring due to water retaining sealent used by honda in 6th gen.  Zero underbody rust and looks close to new (outside of parking lot rash of careless folks).
.
Rebuilt manual transmission at 195K.   Shock/struts at 210k.  Timing belt every 75K.  Full fluid change on fixed intervals.   Cost of ownership is almost nothing. 
.
Edit:  my $1,500 2002 220K accord has been far more reliable in 3 years of use than my $35,000 2012 1K VW was in the same period.   Plus, the Honda has no car payments, is cheap to maintain, and insurance is almost free

Northern AZ.  We get snow but rarely use salt.  We also drive long distances to get anywhere. ;-)

esmith2039

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2019, 11:59:45 AM »
We also have 02 Focus but it's a sedan. Based on our experience this would be my advice. If it's a SPI (it'll say on the valve cover) sell it while your ahead. And the reason I say this we'd be broke if I wasn't able to work on ours. I replaced the head on at 130k due to the valve seats dropping. Several other repairs over the years that required alot of head scratching. It's the DOHC you should be ok and most likely you won't see much issues. We got our Focus for free but put about $2500 in it over 8 years, that's just beyond the normal maintenance items. A Corolla or Civic from the same year will be a much better car over a longer period.

Mr. Green

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2019, 09:26:36 PM »
Ours is the DOHC Zetec engine. Sounds like we have the good one. I'll post some pics when we get some better service. We're in a campground outside of Sedona, AZ where there is no service. In town at the grocery store posting this.

soccerluvof4

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2019, 04:37:50 AM »
The car definitely has it's fair share of rust on it. It spent 17 Winters in Maryland. For instance, the wheels hadn't been pulled in 3 years so I had an exceptionally difficult time getting them loose. Had to buy all new lug nuts and wire brush the posts. The engine air filter hadn't been changed in forever to I had to have a shop break those bolts loose so I could change it. Perhaps those are just outliers. Other major components like brakes, front struts, the blower motor, water pump, and serpentine belt have all been replaced over the years. We fixed the front brake linings and a burned out low speed radiator fan relay and wiring when we bought the car
I also replaced both of the rear window actuators, since they had froze up. We've only got $2,300 in the car currently. If I could find a mechanic I trust I'd ask for an honest assessment of the rust before sinking more money into it. The shop we just took it to for an oil change commented on the amount of rust in the engine bay, but they aren't used to that being in Arizona so I imagine any east coast car would look bad to them.



You posted what I was thinking. I would get someone you can trust to go through the car and get a fair assessment and then look at it again. Based on your OP the inital answer is its a no brainer to keep it for me BUT I would spend a few extra bucks and have it gone through just like I would if i was going to buy an older used car from a private party.

SnipTheDog

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2019, 05:53:57 PM »
Evaluate what the car is worth.  If you're putting more than half the value into the car, it's better to put that money into something else.

CanuckExpat

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2019, 07:46:41 PM »
What could you sell the car for?
What would you replace the car with, and what would that cost you (don't forget taxes, registration, etc)?
Is it worth your time and effort?


A newer car would presumably be more fuel efficient, but it doesn't sound like you drive enough that would tip the scales much either way.
Rust would weight on me to sell, but I dislike rust, and performing maintenance. More personal preference.

ericrugiero

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2019, 08:23:59 AM »
Unless there is another larger issue with the car I would be inclined to fix it and keep driving that one.  $1500 for a car that is known to run well is a better than spending $2000-$3000 on a newer questionable car that may need something else.  It will take more than that to move to a more reliable car. 

One other thing that I would keep in mind.  For driving around town reliability isn't a huge issue.  A tow bill won't be that much and you have people around who can help you.  It's a much bigger issue to be stranded on the side of a road 2000 miles from home on a Saturday night when you don't know a mechanic in the area and nothing will be open till Monday morning.  For extended touring I personally would be doing preventative maintenance like replacing the timing belt and hoses now or I would look at a newer car.  Also, preventative maintenance is likely to be cheaper because there won't be a tow bill and you can schedule it at your leisure. 

mathlete

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2019, 09:32:04 AM »
I've struggled with this before as well and I don't really know. :(

In college, I put $1100 into a 15 year old car and it bought me another 6 months before experiencing mechanical problems again. So I just bought a new car and gave it to the kidney foundation or whatever. In hindsight, I should have just bought the new car six months earlier, but you never know.

It's probably worth thinking about how much of a "car person" you are, and now much time and effort you're willing to put into either becoming more of a car person, or shopping around for mechanics and getting multiple opinions and quotes on major problems with old cars.


RWD

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2019, 10:32:48 AM »
I've struggled with this before as well and I don't really know. :(

In college, I put $1100 into a 15 year old car and it bought me another 6 months before experiencing mechanical problems again. So I just bought a new car and gave it to the kidney foundation or whatever. In hindsight, I should have just bought the new car six months earlier, but you never know.

I bought a new car in 2013 and it cost an average of $305/month in depreciation for the first two years of ownership. $1,100 for six extra months of use is not terrible, all things considered.

Kem

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2019, 10:38:01 AM »
Agreed.  $1,100 for 6 months of use... WAY less than a new car payment, new car deprecation, or worst... New car deprecation weighted by the new car payment.

In my opinion, cars can last a LONG time and the cost of depreciation/repairs can be allocated/budget for.
if
1 - you have a known highly reliable long life car (look to consumer reports and phil edmonstons lemonaide list)
2 - you drive conservatively
3 - use top tier fuel
4 - prevent, remove & treat rust
5 - follow preventative, not reactive maintenance (self and excellent trusted mechanic)

Upcoming:
250K Timing Belt, Water Pump, Thermostat, Serpentine Belts, Full Fluid Drain & Fill (Cooling, Brake, Clutch, Power Steering, etc), 'Buy This Car Inspection'
225K Oil & Filter

Confirmed History via my in-car notepad (note that I removed most older oil change intervals):
*       221K 2019.04 3M paint stripper pad on rear wheel wells for rust bubble, treated with eastwood white encapselator, Fluid Film (4 cans) & Chassis Saver underbody
•   220K 2019.02 Oil Change.   
•   215K 2018.09 PGM-FI / Main Injection Relay
•   215K 2018.06 Oil Change.   SRS light code indicates that Drivers side seat belt buckle switch is faulty.
•   213K 2018.06 Front Left Wheel Bearing.  Both CV Axles.
•   210K 2018.03 FRONT Moog Stabilizer End Link, Moog Sway Bar Bushings, and KYB Shocks/Strut-Plus
•   210K 2018.03 Alignments, Oil Change, Oil pan Gasket
•   210K 2018.03 REAR Moog Stabilizer End Link, Moog Sway Bar Bushings, and KYB Shocks/Strut-Plus
•   207K 2017.09 HeadlightsDepot DS-HD412-B1WHA (H3 low beam, H1 high beam), Replace Amp
•   207K 2017.09 Oil & Filter
•   203K 2017.05 Spare Tire replacement (was no longer holding 60psi, never used)
•   202K 2017.04 Power Steering Flush, Oil & Filter
•   200K 2017.02 Front Brake Calipers, Pads (Akimbo Euro), Rotors (SP-Performance Diamond ZRC), Hoses (Russell), Fluid Film (4 cans)  & underbody
•   198K 2016.12 Transmission: Flywheel, Clutch Disk, Pressure Plate, Throw Out Bearing, Master & Slave Cylinders, Flush with Synthetic.  Front Lower Ball Joints.  Trouble shifting.  This is the only time I nearly needed a tow.
•   197K 2016.12 Front Wheel Bearings, Weld Catalytic Converter heat shield (nut cracked)
•   197K 2016.12 Rear Wheel Bearings, Brake Calipers, Pads (Akimbo Euro), Rotors (Hawk), Hoses (Russell)
•   197K 2016.11 Pirelli - Cinturato P7 A/S Plus 215/45R17 
•   195K 2016.08 Oil & Filter, Brake Flush
o   .....OEM Spark plug, wires, distributor cap, rotor, PCV valve.
o   .....Re-soldier battery wires, ground wire kit, Head-Unit replaced, Fluid Film (6 cans)  & underbody
o   .....Rear Left Wheel well rust removal (Eastwood paints), Leather Seat repair, Cabin Air Filter
•   194K 2016.08 'buying car inspection'
•   191K 2016.03 Oil & Filter 
•   191K 2016.03 Front Right Upper Control Arm & Front Right Upper Ball Joint
•   191K 2016.02 Honda Dealer Recall R54 (A/S Drivers Airbag Inflator)
•   191K 2016.01 Duralast Gold Battery
•   186K 2015.03 Rear Brakes OEM Rotors & Pads, Rear Left Caliper, Rear Left Bearing, Fluid Film (4 cans) & underbody
•   181K 2014.07 Timing Belt, Water Pump, Serpentine Belts, Cooling System Flush
•   180K 2014.05 Tires 215/45ZR-17 91W
•   178K 2014.03 Front Brake OEM Pads. 'buying car inspection', Fluid Film (4 cans) & underbody
•   135K 2010.02 Tires 215/45R-17XL 91H BSW & Wheels (17x7). 
•   105K 2007.07 Timing Belt, Water Pump, Serpentine Belts, Cooling System Flush.  'buying car inspection'
'

These are the big ticket items. 
I treat my wife's Mazda 3 the same and most of her peers comment on how new her car looks when they drive 10 year newer rusting SUVs. 

I budget $50/month into an Ally account and this MORE than covers all repairs on both vehicles.  Right now that account value is sitting at $2,355.72.   

This means, in cash, I can put in a 1 year warrantied 50,000 mile engine into either vehicle with cash left over - and would do so without hesitation should either engine go rather than buy a different car.  I KNOW my vehicles are VERY well maintained and the total cost of ownership is very low.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2019, 11:20:45 AM by Chris.Kem »

alsoknownasDean

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2019, 08:46:42 PM »
Recently I had a situation where the clutch went ($1500 to fix) on my car. I ended up fixing it.

If I had sold it as is I'd get maybe $500 for it, if it's in roadworthy condition it's probably able to get $1500-2000.

If I have no further issues for the next 6-12 months, the expenditure has been worthwhile. I'll probably replace the car in the next year anyway :)

PDXTabs

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2019, 08:55:21 PM »
I would pay to fix it in a heartbeat. It has low miles, you know the history, and it has been a good car to date.

If It makes you feel better I've put ~$4500 into a 2005 Subaru Impreza wagon in the last two years. That was four different jobs, but at this point it should run for another 3-5 years trouble free according to our mechanic. Also, that included head gaskets, clutch, timing belt, waterpump, plugs, wires, radiator, one wheel bearing, one head lamp assembly, and hoses. But still cheaper than a new car.

SwordGuy

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Re: When do you call it quits on a car?
« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2019, 11:21:20 PM »
Invest the 1500 in it and drive it till the wheels literally fall off.

That's what I do.   My car is 18 years old.  I bought it about 10 years ago.

It's up to about 120,000 miles.   

Several years ago I put ~$3000 into it for a bunch of things that were wearing out, in two ~$1500 repairs.  My wife couldn't believe I would put that much into a car that's worth maybe $200.  (It's a salvage title from serious hail damage, otherwise it's fine.)

I just sat down and did the math.  A new-to-me used car in the price range I buy them in in would run a bit more than $250 a month for 4 years. 
Those repairs cost about a year's worth of car payments for a newer car.  But it's bought me several years of no car payments which means it was definitely the right decision.


My rule of thumb is that if I get more than $500 for the courtesy tradein from the dealer, I didn't drive it long enough.  My record is $200.