Author Topic: "You can't afford a car."  (Read 10150 times)

Wennnz

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"You can't afford a car."
« on: March 23, 2015, 10:48:05 AM »
I feel like Mr. Money Mustache's blog and this forum has changed my life. A few months ago, I was saving almost nothing every month. Since the beginning of the year, I've been putting away 20-30% of my paychecks, I've eliminated all of my credit card debt, opened a retirement fund and investment account, and I've even offered to start helping my girlfriend pay off her student debt (I luckily have none). I started the year with a negative net worth, and now it's gone to almost $3,000, just in the past two or three months of saving and investing.

I thought my friends and my girlfriend had a good understanding of my tilt towards mustachianism, until yesterday evening when we were discussing cars over dinner. We're planning on moving to the West Coast in a year, and I'm definitely going to have to replace my 20-year old Ford Escort before we drive cross-country. I'm not confident it will survive the trip. It has almost 150,000 miles on it, and it's also a gas-guzzler, and not the most reliable to begin with (It is a Fix Or Repair Daily, after all). Selling the car and buying a more mustachian automobile will probably benefit us in the long run, move or not.

I mentioned the fact that I wanted a used Honda Fit, and everyone at the table thought I was crazy. They all told me I should lease a car (completely out of the question, especially since we will be driving it cross-country) or finance a new car, claiming that used cars are not reliable. I told them that besides the inevitable mortgage I will probably have to take out to own a home in the future, I never want to have to owe anyone money ever again, and they looked at me like I was crazy. My girlfriend said that while she's proud of me for feeling that way, it's not realistic.

Here's to being crazy!

Jack

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 11:37:53 AM »
We're planning on moving to the West Coast in a year, and I'm definitely going to have to replace my 20-year old Ford Escort before we drive cross-country. I'm not confident it will survive the trip. It has almost 150,000 miles on it, and it's also a gas-guzzler, and not the most reliable to begin with (It is a Fix Or Repair Daily, after all). Selling the car and buying a more mustachian automobile will probably benefit us in the long run, move or not.

Your Escort is not a gas guzzler, and 150K miles is not too much (it's 50K less than my 19-year-old Ranger, which ("despite" also being a Ford) is easily reliable enough to be a daily driver). If the Escort were starting to exhibit symptoms of an expensive failure then replacing it would be justified, but replacing it based merely on vague worry is not. For all you know, you could get lucky and end up like this guy.

If you're starting from scratch, buying a car on the far end of the bathtub curve isn't a great idea (unless you do your own repairs); hence the recommendation for a Fit (which would be at the beginning of the "constant failure rate" part of said curve). But you're not starting from scratch: you already own such a vehicle, so it's probably cheaper to keep it until it actually breaks.

I think you're just using the Fit as an excuse to spend money on something newer, which is in fact not mustachian at all.

Sibley

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 11:46:23 AM »
Going to agree that the mileage isn't bad - 30 city /38 hwy (per google) is pretty good. It's a shame that a 20 year old car is getting as good or better mileage than new cars though.

Why are you going to help repay your GF's loans? Her loans = her responsibility, up to and until you get married, then you share responsibility. Invest that money instead.

Good luck with the move!

Wennnz

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2015, 12:04:38 PM »
Thank you for the info!

The car definitely does not run perfectly, and I'm due for service soon. I know new brake rotors, pads, and tires will be in my future, and I'm hoping I can at least get the rotors and pads on without having to pay someone to put them on for me. I wasn't given the car in very great condition, and I will definitely weigh my options before I rush to get a new car. I'm not dead-set on getting a new car. I really don't even want one. However, if the repairs necessary to make it road-worthy for a 3,000+ mile trip are more expensive than the car is worth, a new car is definitely something I'll be thinking about.

The main point I was making is that everyone thinks a lease or a brand new car seemed to be the only option for all of my friends, which is actually what's crazy.

Also, my girlfriend and I are also planning on getting married before we move, and when we do, her student debt will be the only debt she/we will have at that point. Thankfully, she's pretty smart with her money (for the most part... She wants to finance the car too, oy).

MicroRN

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2015, 12:19:57 PM »
Ah yes, I have a co-worker who told me the other day "Why would you pay cash for something when you can make payments?"  Dead serious too.

Jack

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 12:23:40 PM »
The car definitely does not run perfectly, and I'm due for service soon. I know new brake rotors, pads, and tires will be in my future, and I'm hoping I can at least get the rotors and pads on without having to pay someone to put them on for me.

Brakes are easy. Just be careful with the rears, as the parking brake makes them slightly more complicated than the fronts. For example, I just did the rear brakes on my Miata, and it was important to use an allen wrench to retract the caliper -- naively pushing it back with a C-clamp would have broken it.

However, if the repairs necessary to make it road-worthy for a 3,000+ mile trip are more expensive than the car is worth, a new car is definitely something I'll be thinking about.

Are you planning on traveling light enough that you won't be renting a truck? If not, then using the truck to tow the Escort would be just as good as using it to tow a Fit.

The main point I was making is that everyone thinks a lease or a brand new car seemed to be the only option for all of my friends, which is actually what's crazy.

Yep, I get it. I just like taking every opportunity I can to push people towards being even more badass.

Wennnz

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2015, 12:33:53 PM »
Are you planning on traveling light enough that you won't be renting a truck?

Probably not, but we were planning on driving to move some of our more personal stuff, as well as turning it into a road vacation at the same time. In the coming months, we'll probably have our moving plans more set in stone.
 

scottish

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2015, 04:03:35 PM »
I take it you don't live in the rust belt?   Up here a 20 year old Ford would be leaving pieces along the road side.

hdatontodo

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2015, 04:29:35 PM »
If your current car isn't up to a 3,000 mile trip, then try plan b.

IMHO, Even paying $500 to ship your car and flying to the other coast would be better than spending $16K+

Sid Hoffman

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2015, 05:33:29 PM »
Going to agree that the mileage isn't bad - 30 city /38 hwy (per google) is pretty good.

Unfortunately that was under the old 1970's rating system.  If his is an automatic like mine and so many Escorts, it's possibly rated as low as 20/27mpg according to the EPA.  Mine gets around 20 to 25mpg and that's with using every fuel economy trick in the book.  I managed to get 43mpg out of my old Civic years ago using similar techniques, so I do know a thing or two about driving for fuel economy.  The Escort is just a POS car.

Mine is also nearly 150k miles and is falling apart in every way imaginable.  I was honestly stunned that I could buy a used car with everything working and have practically everything fail in 1 year and a mere 4000 miles.  That's with the car being garaged, babied, and spending $900 in repairs and it still has a ton of major components currently INOP because I'm sick and tired of spending money on it.

On the bright side, mine does still run and perform the minimum duties expected out of an automobile.  I'd like to milk another year out of mine if I can, but I can totally identify with the OP wanting to ditch his old Escort.

What would I do?  Nurse the old Escort all the way up until you move, then ditch it.  Maybe even just arrange to have it towed to a scrap yard once you've packed up the moving truck.  Drive cross country to the great West where life is awesome and buy a solid, reliable car when you get here that you can keep for many, many years, amortizing that cost down to a low level.

r3dt4rget

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2015, 05:47:49 PM »
Brakes and tires are required maintenance items on every vehicle, you don't escape that by getting a newer car. You may delay it, but spending thousands to delay repairs isn't the best solution. I know it sucks to spend money on an older car, especially if those costs are around what it's worth. But regular maintenance and a few repairs are always cheaper than buying a new car.

MrsPete

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2015, 06:24:08 PM »
I mentioned the fact that I wanted a used Honda Fit, and everyone at the table thought I was crazy. They all told me I should lease a car (completely out of the question, especially since we will be driving it cross-country) or finance a new car, claiming that used cars are not reliable. I told them that besides the inevitable mortgage I will probably have to take out to own a home in the future, I never want to have to owe anyone money ever again, and they looked at me like I was crazy. My girlfriend said that while she's proud of me for feeling that way, it's not realistic.
Several thoughts:

- Most people buy into the idea that "everyone borrows", so this isn't surprising.

- Has your 150K car actually given you trouble, or are you just nervous about it?  We've kept each of our cars until it genuinely wasn't any good any more, and each one has lasted about 2 years more than we'd expected. 

- When we were first married, my husband and I agreed that we didn't want to be in debt -- but we also knew that it wasn't something that could happen IMMEDIATELY.  We had a mortgage on our first house, but we've never carried one on this house.  We borrowed for our first three cars, but after that we were able to pay cash.  We probably could've paid cash for cars earlier, if we hadn't been maxing out our 401Ks and saving heavily -- but I think we went the right route.  Since those things, we haven't borrowed a penny, and we don't anticipate borrowing again ever.  So, yes, it's possible -- but maybe not for just-out-of-school people. 



Le Poisson

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2015, 06:33:28 PM »
Have you compared the used car markets between where you're leaving and where you're going? How can you know at this point just what the 'right' car for the life you're about to start is? I know the Ford is tired and old, but I would be tempted to make the trip in the POS and try to hold on to it for at least a year until you figure out your needs at the new address.

Once that is sorted out and you are comfortably settled in, you can get yourself that new car. But to buy a car for 3,000 miles of driving. Well, to me thats kindof backwards - barring of course that teh car is already exhibiting all teh characteristics of a wornout, dangerous, unpredictable machine. Or that the used car market where you are leaving is more friendly than where you are headed.

Jack

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2015, 06:52:58 PM »
A couple have folks have brought up a good point that I, being from the South, hadn't even considered: buying a new-to-you California car after you move would be a hell of a lot better than buying a car from somewhere with winters and then driving it to California.

In addition to the fact that the California car would tend to be less rusty, you might even have trouble getting an imported car registered because California has stricter emissions standards.

gimp

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2015, 07:12:08 PM »
Good points. If you buy a car now and bring it to CA, you'll need to pay tax on the purchase. (I think you pay the difference between what you already paid and CA tax). Also, you'll have to have it pass emissions - much easier to buy a car in CA that already has passed emissions if you're considering a car where it might be an issue. (Not an issue that much.) But the rust is killer, really. The parts cost is the same, but labor cost will often be double due to rust - an hour job turns into two hours, half the time spent breaking the fucking seized bolts or whatever.

Cwadda

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2015, 07:22:13 PM »
Are you going to be renting a tow-it-yourself-trailer to bring your stuff out there? My sister did that when she moved out there and it wasn't too expensive. If that's the case, then maybe you'd be best looking for a bigger car such as a Honda CRV or Mazda CX5? It's kind of a weird situation though since it sounds like a sedan would fit your needs once you're out there. Maybe it's just better to look for a sedan/hatchback and then use other means to bring out your belongings.

Travis

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2015, 08:45:09 PM »
Good points. If you buy a car now and bring it to CA, you'll need to pay tax on the purchase. (I think you pay the difference between what you already paid and CA tax). Also, you'll have to have it pass emissions - much easier to buy a car in CA that already has passed emissions if you're considering a car where it might be an issue. (Not an issue that much.) But the rust is killer, really. The parts cost is the same, but labor cost will often be double due to rust - an hour job turns into two hours, half the time spent breaking the fucking seized bolts or whatever.

And have to register upon purchase and possibly after the move depending on your state's laws.

zephyr911

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2015, 07:52:53 AM »
Ah yes, I have a co-worker who told me the other day "Why would you pay cash for something when you can make payments?"  Dead serious too.
I hope you posted that in Overheard At Work.
It's one thing to finance shit because you don't have cash for it... this takes the stupidity to another level.

Wennnz

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2015, 09:34:26 AM »
Thank you everyone for all of the tips. I never thought that it might be more convenient to buy in California if I really have to.

I am feeling a little bit inspired to make this Escort a little more roadworthy. It's not falling apart (i'm not in the Rust Belt, scottishstash. I'm in New York, which isn't great either). If I worked on it with my dad, I'd be confident with the basic maintenance stuff like the brake pads and rotors.

However, the big $ repairs I was quoted on were new tires (I wouldn't want to be the one putting the tires on my wheels) and tie rods. I don't really feel confident repairing anything involved with the steering myself.

I'm hoping if I do wind up driving the car cross country, we can junk it when we get to our destination, if it's on its last legs. I know we can probably skip the drive, but a cross-country road trip is a bucket list item for me and my girlfriend. This seems like the most convenient time to do that.

Le Poisson

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2015, 10:02:20 AM »
I love the way you think. If I could muster the funds and justify the experience, I would love to head across the ocean and do this road trip: http://www.theadventurists.com/mongol-rally/

Your repairs (Tires and tie rod ends) can be done for far less than $1000 - at least here in Canuckistan they could.

Check out youtube videos for how to do the tie rod ends, and you can DIY them in about 2 hours assuming you've never done this before. You won't get the alignment right, but don't worry about it.

Buy your tires online and have them shipped to your local indie garage.

Now drive your almost aligned car to the garage to get the tires put on and an alignment/inspection. Done!

Forcus

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2015, 10:03:39 AM »
However, the big $ repairs I was quoted on were new tires (I wouldn't want to be the one putting the tires on my wheels) and tie rods. I don't really feel confident repairing anything involved with the steering myself.

Get good used tires. Generally start at $20 each and go up from there. Plus tires should be cheap for an older car like an Escort. Like $50 / ea. cheap plus mount and  balance.

Tie rod ends are a pretty easy fix too. That's at most a 2 hour job and I'd expect the parts to be under $100, probably under $50.

Frugalite

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2015, 10:05:33 AM »
Just want to say congrats for all the positive changes you have made! Whatever you decide to so with your vehicle, you have made a mental shift toward frugality. Keep up the badass!

Wennnz

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2015, 10:14:06 AM »
This is all great to hear!

I automatically assumed tie rods would be a tough install. I also assumed that due to the fact that I was quoted so much for repairs.

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2015, 10:16:04 AM »
Thank you for the info!

The car definitely does not run perfectly, and I'm due for service soon. I know new brake rotors, pads, and tires will be in my future, and I'm hoping I can at least get the rotors and pads on without having to pay someone to put them on for me. I wasn't given the car in very great condition, and I will definitely weigh my options before I rush to get a new car. I'm not dead-set on getting a new car. I really don't even want one. However, if the repairs necessary to make it road-worthy for a 3,000+ mile trip are more expensive than the car is worth, a new car is definitely something I'll be thinking about.

The main point I was making is that everyone thinks a lease or a brand new car seemed to be the only option for all of my friends, which is actually what's crazy.

Also, my girlfriend and I are also planning on getting married before we move, and when we do, her student debt will be the only debt she/we will have at that point. Thankfully, she's pretty smart with her money (for the most part... She wants to finance the car too, oy).

I think this phrase has been repeated so many times everyday that the people saying it don't know what it really means. The relationship of spending more on a car than it's worth is what an insurance company's mentality is because they don't want to spend more than the value of the car. It has nothing to do with how good the car will run once it's repaired. Sooner or later you'll need to make the same repairs on a newer car. So why spend the money on a newer car? I have 2 cars over 150,000 miles and they run like champs because they are regularly maintained.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2015, 10:45:15 AM »
This is all great to hear!

I automatically assumed tie rods would be a tough install. I also assumed that due to the fact that I was quoted so much for repairs.

Yeah get a quote from an alternate shop.  Tie rod ends are very simple parts that are easy to get to.  You could even see if a local tire shop does them.  Then it's possible you could get the new tires, tie rod ends, and alignment all done at the same time.  As others pointed out, the old Escorts used 13 and 14 inch tires, which are dirt cheap.  I'd expect $300 installed even for brand new ones.  I'd certainly hope for tires, mount & balance, tie rod ends, and alignment all for $500 from a shop that does honest work, with an outside estimate around $650-700.  Any more than that and I'd call around to other shops instead.

That said, how much stuff are you moving?  Are you getting a moving truck, or was the intention to just pack clothes and your laptop and drive to California?  I still like my original idea of getting rid of the Escort, driving cross-country in the moving van, then buying a new car locally once you reach your destination.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 10:46:47 AM by Sid Hoffman »

Wennnz

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2015, 11:26:53 AM »
We'd probably be moving our entire 1-bedroom apartment's worth of stuff out there. We could probably get rid of most of our things, but we love our couch, which is huge, and would probably need a van or a truck just for that.

I like your idea, which is also a possibility!

Travis

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2015, 03:52:42 PM »
Thank you for the info!

The car definitely does not run perfectly, and I'm due for service soon. I know new brake rotors, pads, and tires will be in my future, and I'm hoping I can at least get the rotors and pads on without having to pay someone to put them on for me. I wasn't given the car in very great condition, and I will definitely weigh my options before I rush to get a new car. I'm not dead-set on getting a new car. I really don't even want one. However, if the repairs necessary to make it road-worthy for a 3,000+ mile trip are more expensive than the car is worth, a new car is definitely something I'll be thinking about.

The main point I was making is that everyone thinks a lease or a brand new car seemed to be the only option for all of my friends, which is actually what's crazy.

Also, my girlfriend and I are also planning on getting married before we move, and when we do, her student debt will be the only debt she/we will have at that point. Thankfully, she's pretty smart with her money (for the most part... She wants to finance the car too, oy).

I think this phrase has been repeated so many times everyday that the people saying it don't know what it really means. The relationship of spending more on a car than it's worth is what an insurance company's mentality is because they don't want to spend more than the value of the car. It has nothing to do with how good the car will run once it's repaired. Sooner or later you'll need to make the same repairs on a newer car. So why spend the money on a newer car? I have 2 cars over 150,000 miles and they run like champs because they are regularly maintained.

Cost of repairs should be measured against cost of replacement, not insurance or resale value. 

Sunnymo

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2015, 03:57:08 PM »

I think this phrase has been repeated so many times everyday that the people saying it don't know what it really means. The relationship of spending more on a car than it's worth is what an insurance company's mentality is because they don't want to spend more than the value of the car. It has nothing to do with how good the car will run once it's repaired. Sooner or later you'll need to make the same repairs on a newer car. So why spend the money on a newer car? I have 2 cars over 150,000 miles and they run like champs because they are regularly maintained.

This!

There is also another way to think about the value of the car. The most common one is the insurance value or resale value of the car and this is the one that most people consider when they look at repair cost vs value of the car. My husband has a beater that is very infrequently used, I swear the value changes with how much is in the gas tank. If we tried to sell it we would probably get a couple of hundred dollars but to replace it with something comparable would run about $3k. So, the value to others $300, the value to us $3,000 and this is the one we keep front of mind.

Jack

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2015, 05:39:39 PM »
I automatically assumed tie rods would be a tough install. I also assumed that due to the fact that I was quoted so much for repairs.

The only thing that could come close to being "hard" about tie rods is getting the old ones off if they're rusted. If you decide to replace the whole thing instead of just the ends, you'll need to borrow a special tool from the auto parts store.

Syonyk

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2015, 08:11:23 PM »
The car definitely does not run perfectly, and I'm due for service soon. I know new brake rotors, pads, and tires will be in my future, and I'm hoping I can at least get the rotors and pads on without having to pay someone to put them on for me. I wasn't given the car in very great condition, and I will definitely weigh my options before I rush to get a new car. I'm not dead-set on getting a new car. I really don't even want one. However, if the repairs necessary to make it road-worthy for a 3,000+ mile trip are more expensive than the car is worth, a new car is definitely something I'll be thinking about.

Tips on an old, cheap vehicle you intend to take inappropriate distances. Do all of the following if you haven't done them (and if you don't know when they've last been done, they're probably factory at 150k miles):
- Spark plugs
- Spark plug wires
- Distributor cap & rotor
- Oxygen sensor
- Check the transmission fluid.  If it's an automatic, and the fluid is a reddish-pink, check the level and call it good.  Ensure it's topped off.

You mention brakes.
- Front brake pads, and rotors if they're worn (if they're in good condition and within wear limits, just keep them).
- Rear brake shoes (they're probably drum brakes at that age).
- Bleed the brakes.  Do a full flush.

If you know you have tie rod end issues, go ahead & swap those, or have a shop do it.

Beyond that, if it hasn't quit on you yet, it's probably fine for a 3k mile drive.  All of the above is about a good day's work for a car guy.  If you know a car guy who likes you, that's about a 6 pack of decent beer and a dinner's worth of work if you pay for parts.  Or about $1000 in labor at a shop.

Le Poisson

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2015, 08:28:49 PM »
synonk - you don't include the timing belt in your list - you think its worth adding?

Syonyk

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2015, 08:44:30 PM »
synonk - you don't include the timing belt in your list - you think its worth adding?

Not really.  It depends on the engine and when they're known to throw timing belts.  If they have a timing chain, it's not an issue.  If they're not known to toss timing belts and frag the engine, it's also not a high priority issue.

The above list of things is a day's work.  A timing belt frequently adds another day and is often a royal PITA (on a transverse I4).  And, if it's got that many miles on it and hasn't had the timing belt fail, it's probably fine for another few thousand.  No more likely to fail than any other catastrophic failure.  In my somewhat biased experience (which involves a lot of vehicles with no timing belts, and a lot of vehicles with non-interference engiens).  I've only had one timing belt fail on me, ever.  Though, to be fair, that was a non-interference engine that I knew was non-interference, and it had been sitting a LONG time before I got it.

Rosewhipped

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2015, 09:25:28 PM »
People are strange about financing things.  I just bought a used car with cash and family and friends all told me to finance it.  They also thought buying a 2009 car was way too old and 48,000 miles was a lot to have on it.  No one could offer any really good reasons for the financing.  I definitely could have gone older with more miles for less money, but this was my first car purchase and I was wary of that.  Maybe next time after I've had this one as long as it will last me.

This decision worked for me.  I think it'd be a lot crazier to do what the others were suggesting which ran the gamut from buying new to leasing or financing.  I definitely make no where near enough money to justify that.  Even the amount I spent was a lot more than I originally intended.  I was sort of disappointed about that, but overall I am content with my decision. 


Jack

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2015, 07:30:11 AM »
synonk - you don't include the timing belt in your list - you think its worth adding?

If your car has what's known as an "interference engine," then you should always change the timing belt -- and everything that touches it, such as the tensioner, pulleys, and water pump -- on schedule. On interference engines, the spaces occupied by the pistons and valves overlap, and the timing belt is the only thing keeping them from attempting to occupy the same space at the same time. Fixing such a collision generally requires rebuilding at least the head of the engine, if not the entire thing (i.e., expen$sive!).

If your car has a non-interference engine, and the timing belt is substantially overdue, worn-looking, or the pulleys or tensioner are show signs of failure, then it's prudent to go ahead and replace it before attempting a long trip. It's not that big a deal if it fails -- the car will just quit working and the belt will have to be replaced before you can use it again, but there won't be any actual damage -- but that might be inconvenient if you're a long way from home.

The timing belt on my truck failed a couple of months ago. Luckily, it was only 1/2 mile from my house and I wasn't going anywhere particularly important at the time. Also, it was my own fault because, since I knew the truck had a non-interference engine, I was procrastinating about it. It wasn't a big deal, except I had to waste my time waiting for a tow and had to borrow one of my parents' cars for a day or so until it was fixed. If I had been a long way from home at the time, it would have been much more inconvenient.

Le Poisson

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2015, 08:03:22 AM »
synonk - you don't include the timing belt in your list - you think its worth adding?

If your car has what's known as an "interference engine," then you should always change the timing belt -- and everything that touches it, such as the tensioner, pulleys, and water pump -- on schedule. On interference engines, the spaces occupied by the pistons and valves overlap, and the timing belt is the only thing keeping them from attempting to occupy the same space at the same time. Fixing such a collision generally requires rebuilding at least the head of the engine, if not the entire thing (i.e., expen$sive!).



I agree with this. I'm not familiar with ford products, and I don't know what year OP's car is. Some quick research suggests that if both the 1.9 and 1.8 l engines used in the Escorts are non-interference and he will be fine. A list can be found here: http://www.agcoauto.com/content/List_Of_Interference_Engines

I do know many Fords at that time were built/designed/shared by Mazda, and many Asian cars from that time have interference engines, hence my concern. Looks like he's good to go!

bzzzt

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2015, 04:46:58 PM »
Timing belt on a '94 SOHC was a snap. I did it in my wife's college apartment parking lot in a light rain in 4 hours. While you're in there, replace the timing tensioner/pulley. I didn't at the time and had to do it 6 months later when the bearings in the pulley went out and snapped the belt again.

socaso

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2015, 01:06:43 PM »
Good points. If you buy a car now and bring it to CA, you'll need to pay tax on the purchase. (I think you pay the difference between what you already paid and CA tax). Also, you'll have to have it pass emissions - much easier to buy a car in CA that already has passed emissions if you're considering a car where it might be an issue. (Not an issue that much.) But the rust is killer, really. The parts cost is the same, but labor cost will often be double due to rust - an hour job turns into two hours, half the time spent breaking the fucking seized bolts or whatever.

And have to register upon purchase and possibly after the move depending on your state's laws.
I was going to mention these. I believe the rule on the taxes is that if you bought the car less than 6 months before you move you owe the CA tax. A friend got hit with a bill for over $1000. You might want to investigate that.

Travis

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2015, 02:22:34 PM »
Good points. If you buy a car now and bring it to CA, you'll need to pay tax on the purchase. (I think you pay the difference between what you already paid and CA tax). Also, you'll have to have it pass emissions - much easier to buy a car in CA that already has passed emissions if you're considering a car where it might be an issue. (Not an issue that much.) But the rust is killer, really. The parts cost is the same, but labor cost will often be double due to rust - an hour job turns into two hours, half the time spent breaking the fucking seized bolts or whatever.

And have to register upon purchase and possibly after the move depending on your state's laws.
I was going to mention these. I believe the rule on the taxes is that if you bought the car less than 6 months before you move you owe the CA tax. A friend got hit with a bill for over $1000. You might want to investigate that.

I bought a vehicle in Kansas a couple years ago and because I put the whole thing on my credit card the dealership didn't charge me sales tax.  When I went to register it in WA they noticed on the bill of sale there was no sales tax so they charged me the WA rate.

I also bought a vehicle in Colorado and registered it there (lived there a couple years), but as soon as I moved they made me register it in WA because I wasn't a CO resident.

Sibley

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Re: "You can't afford a car."
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2015, 09:30:39 AM »
Good points. If you buy a car now and bring it to CA, you'll need to pay tax on the purchase. (I think you pay the difference between what you already paid and CA tax). Also, you'll have to have it pass emissions - much easier to buy a car in CA that already has passed emissions if you're considering a car where it might be an issue. (Not an issue that much.) But the rust is killer, really. The parts cost is the same, but labor cost will often be double due to rust - an hour job turns into two hours, half the time spent breaking the fucking seized bolts or whatever.

And have to register upon purchase and possibly after the move depending on your state's laws.
I was going to mention these. I believe the rule on the taxes is that if you bought the car less than 6 months before you move you owe the CA tax. A friend got hit with a bill for over $1000. You might want to investigate that.

That's what happened to me in 2007. Unpleasant to discover!