Author Topic: Another Car Question Thread  (Read 7259 times)

HairyUpperLip

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Another Car Question Thread
« on: June 08, 2014, 05:46:46 PM »
Facts -
Currently own a 2007 Lexus RX350 outright. Car has 116k miles and is in need of new tires, alignment, brakes, new CD player (oem stopped working), and that's all I can think of.

the transmission has been starting to occasionally slip and with a new baby it's making me paranoid.

We have been debating selling the car to Carmax and getting a 2011+ Prius. I think we can end up with a loan amount of $13,000 or less. With a 2% interest loan from the credit union this should create fairly low payments with the down payment of the RX.

We currently maintain about a 60% savings rate and I could shuffle things around in the budget to afford the vehicle and maintain the savings rate.

We don't drive everyday. I want better fuel economy and something better for the environment.

Personally, I'd like an older (88-95 Civic) but my wife wants
something new.

No other current debts. Savings rate stays in place.

Are we stupid for even considering this move?

we would expect to keep the Prius for 10+ years.

Anyways - just thought id collect some third party thoughts.

let me know if you need more facts to make an opinion, thanks!

luigi49

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2014, 06:02:02 PM »
It is a good move because the car is inexpensive.  You start to to worry if you go north of 25k. 

darkspork

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2014, 06:09:45 PM »
I'd be hesitant to buy anything I need to finance.

CarDude

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2014, 06:14:27 PM »
No way Jose! I never recommend taking on a car payment if you don't have to, and you definitely don't have to. If you're dead set on getting rid of the RX 350 (a very safe vehicle, by the way) for a high mpg vehicle, I'd get an '07 Prius, which you can get for around 8k from a range of dealers.

However, to be honest, I'd personally just fix up the Lexus. They're fancy Toyotas, and you should be able to drive that SUV to 300k if you take care of the transmission. And everything you listed that's wrong with it would still be much cheaper than buying a used Prius.

annod

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2014, 06:25:57 PM »
A prius (even the original style, not the Prius V) will be much more versatile in terms of cargo space than a Civic. Esp. because you can fold down flat the backseat and also the fold forward the front passenger seat almost all the way flat. We have a Gen 2 prius, and we have hauled 8 foot ladders, tatami mat, medium sized assembled desk, a large gas grill etc.

As your baby grows up, Prius will still be large enough to go on a camping trip...

My DH has a lexus. I think long term, even though the Lexus is reliable, any equivalent maintenance/ repair will cost more than a Prius.  Plus, you need to use premium gasoline.

I got my 2006 Prius with 65,000 miles on it last year for about 10K. put another 1K into maintenance/repair so far (new tires, broken rear light) These cars should last till at least 250K.

If you get a 2007 or older Prius, you should be able to sell your Lexus and use the fund to buy a Prius without a loan, right?

Travis

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2014, 02:48:49 AM »
Throwing in my $.02 I would recommend against a new vehicle especially if you're thinking about financing.  I'm curious how you want very old, but are considering practically new at the same time.  If you want a mid-90s and your wife wants new, see if you can compromise and get something in the early to mid-2000s.  I don't know how much RX350 tires run, but the repairs you're listing (short of a transmission repair) aren't expensive.  It certainly won't cost more than a new vehicle and not even a used vehicle in the price range you're looking at.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2014, 09:17:16 AM »
If the trans is slipping, you know it's going to go.  If you do not want to end up rebuilding it, you had better make a move soon.

At a 60% (of what we do not know...) savings rate, why would you finance a car?  Finance it internally by using your savings.

You say you do not drive everyday.  Depending on how little you drive, the hybrid might not be worth it. 

Greg

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2014, 01:59:23 PM »
A slipping auto tranny is sometimes a sign of low fluid.  Have you checked the fluid level?  Is it even possible on your car?

Jack

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2014, 02:14:33 PM »
If the trans is slipping, you know it's going to go.  If you do not want to end up rebuilding it, you had better make a move soon.

This. And replace it with the 88-95 Civic, ideally either a CRX HF or a '92-'95 Civic VX Hatch. The CRX would get MPG comparable to a Prius but be a heck of a lot cheaper. Just make sure to get a manual transmission and look long and hard to find one that hasn't been screwed up by a ricer yet.

shotgunwilly

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2014, 02:28:30 PM »
I'd get the new car. A loan with interest rate lower than inflation is fine IMO.

Threshkin

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2014, 03:08:25 PM »
Get the tricked out Escalade.  You know you want it!

Glenstache

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2014, 04:13:10 PM »
Calculate your 5 year cost per mile for each of your options. Include all costs such as gas, insurance, registration, bumper stickers, and anticipated maintenance. This is a pretty easy spreadsheet to set up so you can compare side by side.  Take the lowest number. If they are basically the same, take the on that will make you happy. The transaction costs of buying/selling may wipe out the "savings" of better gas mileage, even if not as emotionally satisfying.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2014, 03:28:11 AM »
Tyres, alignment, brakes are all normal maintenance items.

The car's not exactly old either. I'd look at how much it would cost to fix the thing before making the fix or replace decision.

I mean, I can kind of see why one would want to finance if the interest rate of the loan is lower than the opportunity cost of the forgone savings, but do you really want to get stuck on the car payment treadmill again? :)

If you're set on replacing it, how about a 2007 era Corolla et al?

frugal_engineer

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2014, 05:09:20 AM »
Calculate your 5 year cost per mile for each of your options. Include all costs such as gas, insurance, registration, bumper stickers, and anticipated maintenance. This is a pretty easy spreadsheet to set up so you can compare side by side.  Take the lowest number. If they are basically the same, take the on that will make you happy. The transaction costs of buying/selling may wipe out the "savings" of better gas mileage, even if not as emotionally satisfying.

Make sure you include a column for enjoy-ability.  If you're the type of person who wants to check out on the road and drive an appliance, get the prius or civic.  If you hope to have any shred of driving enjoyment, factor that into your calculus and determine how much you'll pay for it.  How much is fun / comfort / [insert non MPG car attribute here] / etc worth to you per mile.

chasesfish

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2014, 05:18:17 AM »
I'm struggling with the math - you listed normal maintenance item plus a decently costly repair.  Why does that justify spending 11k to get a new car?  a 2007 with 116k miles is starting to be broken in.  You can drive that car for 250,000.

If you want a new car, that's a lifestyle choice.  There's nothing beneficial financially to getting rid of this 2007.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2014, 07:45:04 AM »
It is a good move because the car is inexpensive.  You start to to worry if you go north of 25k.

Thanks man. I was kind of thinking the same.

I'd be hesitant to buy anything I need to finance.

I normally hate debt, but after looking into REI I've started to understand the value of leverage itself.

No way Jose! I never recommend taking on a car payment if you don't have to, and you definitely don't have to. If you're dead set on getting rid of the RX 350 (a very safe vehicle, by the way) for a high mpg vehicle, I'd get an '07 Prius, which you can get for around 8k from a range of dealers.

However, to be honest, I'd personally just fix up the Lexus. They're fancy Toyotas, and you should be able to drive that SUV to 300k if you take care of the transmission. And everything you listed that's wrong with it would still be much cheaper than buying a used Prius.

No desire for an equivalent model year Prius. I did try to talk the wife into a Honda Insight because we could come out of pocket for very little and no loan, but I think she really wants some certain features - leather and such. She's stuck on these things for some reason.

I got my 2006 Prius with 65,000 miles on it last year for about 10K. put another 1K into maintenance/repair so far (new tires, broken rear light) These cars should last till at least 250K.

If you get a 2007 or older Prius, you should be able to sell your Lexus and use the fund to buy a Prius without a loan, right?


If I could find something with mileage like yours I would be interested, but really we are hoping to find something newer for the ease of it being lower mileage and hopefully stick around longer with us.

But correct, I could sell the RX and get an older one without a loan. I could also achieve the same result with a newer Honda Insight.

Throwing in my $.02 I would recommend against a new vehicle especially if you're thinking about financing.  I'm curious how you want very old, but are considering practically new at the same time.  If you want a mid-90s and your wife wants new, see if you can compromise and get something in the early to mid-2000s.  I don't know how much RX350 tires run, but the repairs you're listing (short of a transmission repair) aren't expensive.  It certainly won't cost more than a new vehicle and not even a used vehicle in the price range you're looking at.

Fair comment on the curiosity... I just have an unexplained love for old Honda's. People want to win the lottery and buy luxury cars, not me... I want to win and buy tons of old Honda's (and other makes).


If the trans is slipping, you know it's going to go.  If you do not want to end up rebuilding it, you had better make a move soon.

At a 60% (of what we do not know...) savings rate, why would you finance a car?  Finance it internally by using your savings.

You say you do not drive everyday.  Depending on how little you drive, the hybrid might not be worth it. 

This is my biggest fear, honestly --- the transmission. The cd player doesn't scare me. I can replace that in a couple hours. I've already pulled it out and put it back during troubleshooting. The transmission --- I'm capable and have the tools to do a tranny replacement, but the cost of a Lexus transmission scares me. Also, the fact that my wife carts around our baby has me thinking differently than no kids me.

I drive once a week to work - 40 miles round trip in stop and go inner road traffic. Ideal for a hybrid, right? Other than that most of our driving is very local or 20 miles+. We also end up on a 1,000+ mile road trip once or twice a year it seems like... so something with better gas mileage is very appealing to me.


A slipping auto tranny is sometimes a sign of low fluid.  Have you checked the fluid level?  Is it even possible on your car?

Quick internet research tells me that the Lexus uses a "lifetime" fluid and never needs to be replaced. Lexus recommends against doing a tranny flush. Still doing a little more homework on this, but I'm sure it can still be changed. It's just fluid...

If the trans is slipping, you know it's going to go.  If you do not want to end up rebuilding it, you had better make a move soon.

This. And replace it with the 88-95 Civic, ideally either a CRX HF or a '92-'95 Civic VX Hatch. The CRX would get MPG comparable to a Prius but be a heck of a lot cheaper. Just make sure to get a manual transmission and look long and hard to find one that hasn't been screwed up by a ricer yet.

I would give my left nut for a clean CRX HF or Civic VX. But I don't think my wife would be able to get the baby into a CRX. ;)


I'd get the new car. A loan with interest rate lower than inflation is fine IMO.

Thanks for the input. I'm still so unsure honestly. I was really hoping for a clear face punch or direction. I keep going back and forth with myself! haha

Get the tricked out Escalade.  You know you want it!

Only if it's sitting on 28's.


Calculate your 5 year cost per mile for each of your options. Include all costs such as gas, insurance, registration, bumper stickers, and anticipated maintenance. This is a pretty easy spreadsheet to set up so you can compare side by side.  Take the lowest number. If they are basically the same, take the on that will make you happy. The transaction costs of buying/selling may wipe out the "savings" of better gas mileage, even if not as emotionally satisfying.

lol @ bumper stickers.

Good idea on comparing the costs.

Tyres, alignment, brakes are all normal maintenance items.

The car's not exactly old either. I'd look at how much it would cost to fix the thing before making the fix or replace decision.

I mean, I can kind of see why one would want to finance if the interest rate of the loan is lower than the opportunity cost of the forgone savings, but do you really want to get stuck on the car payment treadmill again? :)

If you're set on replacing it, how about a 2007 era Corolla et al?

The wife wants some luxury, honestly. I feel like a properly loaded Prius is a good price point, good fuel economy, and she can have her leather seats.

Calculate your 5 year cost per mile for each of your options. Include all costs such as gas, insurance, registration, bumper stickers, and anticipated maintenance. This is a pretty easy spreadsheet to set up so you can compare side by side.  Take the lowest number. If they are basically the same, take the on that will make you happy. The transaction costs of buying/selling may wipe out the "savings" of better gas mileage, even if not as emotionally satisfying.

Make sure you include a column for enjoy-ability.  If you're the type of person who wants to check out on the road and drive an appliance, get the prius or civic.  If you hope to have any shred of driving enjoyment, factor that into your calculus and determine how much you'll pay for it.  How much is fun / comfort / [insert non MPG car attribute here] / etc worth to you per mile.


I enjoy driving. Does the Prius suck to drive? Haven't driven one yet. We were going to try and test drive some this weekend to see if we even really like them or not.

I'm struggling with the math - you listed normal maintenance item plus a decently costly repair.  Why does that justify spending 11k to get a new car?  a 2007 with 116k miles is starting to be broken in.  You can drive that car for 250,000.

If you want a new car, that's a lifestyle choice.  There's nothing beneficial financially to getting rid of this 2007.

I never made any claims that I would save money by doing this. I'm just debating the looming expenses. And yes, it's a lifestyle choice.





update, I guess? - We still haven't made a real choice. Every night we change our minds. We are just torn about what we really want, but we are leaning harder towards keeping the Lexus. My strongest desire to get rid of it is that it will only be worth less and less going forward. Her strongest desire to get rid of it is just to have something "newer" for the baby. I think we will most likely end up keeping it just because it is the better move financially.

Thanks for the input. I'll let you guys know what we end up deciding.

CarDude

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2014, 08:26:02 AM »
I never made any claims that I would save money by doing this. I'm just debating the looming expenses. And yes, it's a lifestyle choice.

If it's a lifestyle choice, you're going to end up doing whatever you feel like anyway... :^)

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2014, 08:50:05 AM »
I never made any claims that I would save money by doing this. I'm just debating the looming expenses. And yes, it's a lifestyle choice.

If it's a lifestyle choice, you're going to end up doing whatever you feel like anyway... :^)

For sure, but like I stated I can easily make my payments something in $150-200 range. So it really wouldn't break the wallet and I could easily free up this money from other areas in my life. So it would not even touch the savings.

That's kind of what I was really turning to this forum for...

Not Finance vs Buy Out Right...

What I was really trying to get opinions on is do people think it's a better idea to sell the Lexus for $10k while it's worth $10k and use that towards a $18-20k car.

I know the mustachian argument will always be buy a cheap old car in cash, which I'm totally okay with myself, but I'm not going to win that argument against 2 sets of grandparents that are both concerned about their only grandchild. So family obligations are at play here as well.

I'm obviously very indecisive about the matter. I like having zero debt, but I'm afraid of losing all the value on the Lexus and then being stuck with a worthless car....  AAHHHHHHHHHHH WTH. lol

Winston

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2014, 08:56:35 AM »
Quick internet research tells me that the Lexus uses a "lifetime" fluid and never needs to be replaced. Lexus recommends against doing a tranny flush. Still doing a little more homework on this, but I'm sure it can still be changed. It's just fluid...

Yeah, "lifetime" fluids are one of the biggest crimes against automotive consumers that the car industry has perpetrated in the last 10-15 years (excluding actual crimes like the GM ignition switch issue).  Manufacturers figured out that as long as the transmission (in this case) lasts the duration of the powertrain warranty (usually set at 60k or sometimes 100k miles, depending on manufacturer), they could fill it with "lifetime" fluid and sell the car with "all maintenance included." Their loyal (most profitable) customers will already have purchased another car by the time the transmission goes bad in their old one due to lack of maintenance.

Planned obsolescence/breakage. Just one more tool that the auto industry juggernaut uses to keep people under their thumb.

I know the mustachian argument will always be buy a cheap old car in cash, which I'm totally okay with myself, but I'm not going to win that argument against 2 sets of grandparents that are both concerned about their only grandchild. So family obligations are at play here as well.
Then they can pony up the cash to cover the difference. Offer that, see what they say :)

Personally, I have bailed on a car at the first sign of transmission slippage (Volvo V70). It's not a terrible move, even if you get a $18k car (owing $8k for something nearly new). BUT the best, easiest, most mustachian thing would be to fix the Lexus because then nobody can say boo.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 09:04:29 AM by Winston »

Jack

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2014, 01:57:25 PM »
I would give my left nut for a clean CRX HF or Civic VX. But I don't think my wife would be able to get the baby into a CRX. ;)

...

The wife wants some luxury, honestly. I feel like a properly loaded Prius is a good price point, good fuel economy, and she can have her leather seats.

...

I enjoy driving. Does the Prius suck to drive? Haven't driven one yet. We were going to try and test drive some this weekend to see if we even really like them or not.


I know the mustachian argument will always be buy a cheap old car in cash, which I'm totally okay with myself, but I'm not going to win that argument against 2 sets of grandparents that are both concerned about their only grandchild. So family obligations are at play here as well.

Hmm... You're a car guy who doesn't mind driving something older (and perhaps with more maintenance), your wife wants luxury and space for a baby, and you both want good MPG/low operating costs? And you want relatively safe, too?

In that case, the Prius fails on "fun to drive," the Honda CRX/Civic hatch fails on "safe" and "can carry the baby" (as would the first-gen Insight), and keeping the Lexus fails on "fun to drive" and "good MPG/low operating costs."

Therefore, you sound like a good candidate for a VW MK4 (Golf or Jetta) TDI (1999.5-2006). It's fun to drive (with lots of torque), as efficient as a Prius, is available with luxury features like leather seats, and has enough space and good enough safety for the baby. It requires more maintenance, but as Mr. "I'm capable of replacing a transmission" you have the right attitude for that. Just get one with a manual transmission (or a 2004+ with Tiptronic if you want an automatic) so that you don't have to actually live up to your name. ; )

Otherwise, you could buy yourself a CRX and some $5K-$10K four-door-appliance-on-wheels (with leather seats) for your wife.

CarDude

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2014, 02:22:27 PM »
^ I don't think the OP is capable of replacing a transmission, or he'd be keeping the Lexus. :D

Jack

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2014, 02:36:09 PM »
^ I don't think the OP is capable of replacing a transmission, or he'd be keeping the Lexus. :D

This is my biggest fear, honestly --- the transmission. The cd player doesn't scare me. I can replace that in a couple hours. I've already pulled it out and put it back during troubleshooting. The transmission --- I'm capable and have the tools to do a tranny replacement, but the cost of a Lexus transmission scares me.

I don't blame him: I would be willing to replace the transmission in an interesting car (like my TDI), but not an appliance like a Lexus. Labors of love require labor and love.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 02:37:58 PM by Jack »

CarDude

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2014, 02:37:35 PM »
^ I don't think the OP is capable of replacing a transmission, or he'd be keeping the Lexus. :D

This is my biggest fear, honestly --- the transmission. The cd player doesn't scare me. I can replace that in a couple hours. I've already pulled it out and put it back during troubleshooting. The transmission --- I'm capable and have the tools to do a tranny replacement, but the cost of a Lexus transmission scares me.

Ooh, I completely missed that. In that case, it just doubles my opinion that he should keep the Lexus.

Greg

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2014, 02:42:47 PM »
A slipping auto tranny is sometimes a sign of low fluid.  Have you checked the fluid level?  Is it even possible on your car?

Quick internet research tells me that the Lexus uses a "lifetime" fluid and never needs to be replaced. Lexus recommends against doing a tranny flush. Still doing a little more homework on this, but I'm sure it can still be changed. It's just fluid...

Yes, but the fluid could be leaking out from a gakset, seal, pan damage etc.  Low fluid will often cause slipping.  First thing to do is check the fluid level (if possible).

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Another Car Question Thread
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2014, 07:44:43 AM »
I would give my left nut for a clean CRX HF or Civic VX. But I don't think my wife would be able to get the baby into a CRX. ;)

...

The wife wants some luxury, honestly. I feel like a properly loaded Prius is a good price point, good fuel economy, and she can have her leather seats.

...

I enjoy driving. Does the Prius suck to drive? Haven't driven one yet. We were going to try and test drive some this weekend to see if we even really like them or not.


I know the mustachian argument will always be buy a cheap old car in cash, which I'm totally okay with myself, but I'm not going to win that argument against 2 sets of grandparents that are both concerned about their only grandchild. So family obligations are at play here as well.

Hmm... You're a car guy who doesn't mind driving something older (and perhaps with more maintenance), your wife wants luxury and space for a baby, and you both want good MPG/low operating costs? And you want relatively safe, too?

In that case, the Prius fails on "fun to drive," the Honda CRX/Civic hatch fails on "safe" and "can carry the baby" (as would the first-gen Insight), and keeping the Lexus fails on "fun to drive" and "good MPG/low operating costs."

Therefore, you sound like a good candidate for a VW MK4 (Golf or Jetta) TDI (1999.5-2006). It's fun to drive (with lots of torque), as efficient as a Prius, is available with luxury features like leather seats, and has enough space and good enough safety for the baby. It requires more maintenance, but as Mr. "I'm capable of replacing a transmission" you have the right attitude for that. Just get one with a manual transmission (or a 2004+ with Tiptronic if you want an automatic) so that you don't have to actually live up to your name. ; )

Otherwise, you could buy yourself a CRX and some $5K-$10K four-door-appliance-on-wheels (with leather seats) for your wife.

haha, thanks. I can and have changed motors and transmissions before so I'm already living up the title. :) But that being said, just not a fan of German cars though the TDI's do appeal to me more than most of the other VW's.

^ I don't think the OP is capable of replacing a transmission, or he'd be keeping the Lexus. :D

This is my biggest fear, honestly --- the transmission. The cd player doesn't scare me. I can replace that in a couple hours. I've already pulled it out and put it back during troubleshooting. The transmission --- I'm capable and have the tools to do a tranny replacement, but the cost of a Lexus transmission scares me.

I don't blame him: I would be willing to replace the transmission in an interesting car (like my TDI), but not an appliance like a Lexus. Labors of love require labor and love.


Yes sir, there is a huge difference between doing it for fun and doing it out of spite. I don't wrench on friend's cars, not even for cash - just not worth the headache to me. I did it a few times when I was a kid because the loot was worth it, but even then I retired from it quickly.

A slipping auto tranny is sometimes a sign of low fluid.  Have you checked the fluid level?  Is it even possible on your car?

Quick internet research tells me that the Lexus uses a "lifetime" fluid and never needs to be replaced. Lexus recommends against doing a tranny flush. Still doing a little more homework on this, but I'm sure it can still be changed. It's just fluid...

Yes, but the fluid could be leaking out from a gakset, seal, pan damage etc.  Low fluid will often cause slipping.  First thing to do is check the fluid level (if possible).

I just checked the fluid levels and they are fine. Also, there is no leaks.

I honestly may be over reacting to the transmission. I've always had manual transmission vehicles myself. We've been married about 3 years and she's had the car for about 6 years or so? Either way, this is the longest one on one time I've spent with an automatic. I know they occasionally slip trying to find the right gear under load, but the RX just does it occasionally. Not daily or every drive, so maybe I'm just over thinking it? Not even really sure but I just don't trust any shops enough to take it in. :-/