Author Topic: another "sell my car to buy another old car" thread...  (Read 1937 times)

nereo

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another "sell my car to buy another old car" thread...
« on: July 10, 2014, 03:29:35 PM »
Hey there

A few weeks ago I put out my case study but had not one single response :-O  Maybe I'm not very liked around here...
So I'm boiling this down to a single question about how to optimise my life.  And yes, it's another question about my car.

My most face-punch worthy item is my compact pickup.  As partial defense, I bought the truck (used) when I worked in aquaculture, and it was actually used as a work truck, pulling boats out of the water and hauling dead things around 100-150 days out of the year. It runs well but has a problem when its cold that would need to be fixed before i could really sell it (engine light is on). I've had three mechanics try to chase it down and we've done the obvious stuff in the diagnostic tree - now there's a few things it could be but each would cost $600-1,000 to fix, and I wouldn't know if the problem is solved until after we did it. $600 could fix the problem, or it could take three attempts and ~$3000 to finally fix it. If I keep the car I'm content to just let it go - all 3 mechanics say its safe.
We've recently replaced almost everything that you normally replace, so we don't anticipate any more repairs.

We're also low-mileage drivers, about 4,000-5,000mi/year.  Almost all of that is used to visit family members in rural areas, otherwise we wouldn't have a car at all. As such, we could drive this truck easily for another 4 years.

Here's how it breaks down:
Current truck
2005 with 170,000mi.  Very good condition *except* the problem with the engine
value (as is) maybe $3,000. Value if engine problem fixed: $4,000
Cost to fix: $600 to >$2,000.
MPG: a pathetic 22mpg

Ideally I'd like a smaller car with >35mpg that is easier to park in the city, where I live now.  Problem is,  I can't seem to find many cars out there for under $4k that don't have insanely high milage, and the more money I bring to the table the less economical this deal seems to be.  Currently we buy between 180 and 200 gallons of fuel per year.  If we found something that got 35-40mpg we could cut that down to about 100 gallons/year.  That's an annual savings of only $300-400, giving me a long ROI if I spend another $1k-$2k.  But I also hate feeling like a clown-car owner driving my pickup to grandma's house 100 miles away.  I also don't really understand how much it will depreciate in another 3 years and another 15k miles.  Will it be worth anything in 2017 with 185k on the odometer?

What would you recommend in this situation?  Cough up $1-2k, sell the truck and realize it might take 3-4 years to get a ROI?  Find a car that's wicked cheap but perhaps not very reliable?  Or just keep the truck and say "not driving is the best savings one can possible make"?

biffwhipster

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Re: another "sell my car to buy another old car" thread...
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 05:48:35 PM »
I'll take a stab at this. Being a 2005 with 170K and only being worth $4k in good working order, I'm guessing it is an American made.... but I could be wrong. Anyways, I say you sell it as is for $3k, and get yourself an older Honda Civic. It may take effort, but you can find late 90s models for about $3-4k. They will probably have high mileage (150K+), but with Hondas that is really just the beginning. With basic maintenance Hondas will last 400k+.

nereo

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Re: another "sell my car to buy another old car" thread...
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 06:28:50 PM »
I'll take a stab at this. Being a 2005 with 170K and only being worth $4k in good working order, I'm guessing it is an American made.... but I could be wrong. Anyways, I say you sell it as is for $3k, and get yourself an older Honda Civic. It may take effort, but you can find late 90s models for about $3-4k. They will probably have high mileage (150K+), but with Hondas that is really just the beginning. With basic maintenance Hondas will last 400k+.
It's actually a mazda for whatever that's worth.  I'll keep looking around for some late 90s high mileage civics then.  Do you think i'll be able to sell a truck that has its 'check engine' light on?  Thanks for your input.

biffwhipster

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Re: another "sell my car to buy another old car" thread...
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 08:58:50 PM »
Sorry about the American-made comment - I'm a Toyota and Honda guy. You will definitely be able to sell it, but maybe not for your asking price. But from what you said about your mechanics reassuring you that it's safe - you may get your asking price. I would let your mechanics know that you are interested in selling it AS IS. They may mention it to someone and also reassure them that the engine light is no big deal. You never know.