Author Topic: My Fleet of Jalopies  (Read 2313 times)

kristinsix

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My Fleet of Jalopies
« on: April 09, 2018, 02:59:23 PM »
I need some advice on which car you would expect to be the most reliable (with minimal costly repairs) over the next few years.

We currently own:

-2005 Scion xA at 105,000 miles. It needs a new air compressor (the A/C I can live without, but the defroster is really necessary, as I've had to pull over a few times to wipe the windows with paper towels. I'm not willing to do this anymore now that we have a baby.) This repair was quoted to me at $1000. The car also has moisture issues and is wet inside whenever it rains--I'm still trying to figure out where this is coming from. The car had a completely new exhaust system a couple years back, so that should be good for some time.

-2005 Mini Cooper at 90,000 miles. Definitely our most fun car, but also the least practical. Needs an oil leak fixed and has a transmission issue, repair was quoted at $2500. Also needs a new muffler.

-2009 Nissan Versa at 94,000 miles. My awesome little brother went car-free and gave us this car to use as our family vehicle when my husband and I had our baby. The only bummer is the gas mileage isn't great, compared to the Scion and the Mini.

I'd finally emerged from the fog of new parenthood and had just gotten back to my plan to sell one of the cars...

BUT...

My in-laws just offered us their 2004 Honda Accord with 130,000 miles. It is in good condition, despite being the oldest and having the most mileage of the four vehicles.

None of these cars is exactly what we're looking for, so I would like some advice.

How long (time and/or mileage) would you expect each car to last? Which two should we keep? Or should we trade them all in for something new(er) that is more fitting of our needs? Ideally I would prefer more cargo space than the Scion or the Mini has, but better gas mileage than the Nissan or the Honda.

Thanks for any advice you can give me! :)

SunnyDays

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 10:12:59 PM »
If you have to choose among the current ones you listed, I would keep the Nissan and the Honda, assuming the bodies are in decent condition.  Higher mileage isn't necessarily a deal breaker if they have received regular maintenance.  Older cars also mean paying less for insurance, which can offset lower gas mileage.  Why not try this combination for a while until one or both clearly need replacing, then look for something that works best for you at that time?

shelbyautumn

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 11:09:37 PM »
If you have to choose among the current ones you listed, I would keep the Nissan and the Honda, assuming the bodies are in decent condition.  Higher mileage isn't necessarily a deal breaker if they have received regular maintenance.  Older cars also mean paying less for insurance, which can offset lower gas mileage.  Why not try this combination for a while until one or both clearly need replacing, then look for something that works best for you at that time?

+1

Snowman99

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 01:53:42 AM »
My AC went out on our 2007 Civic with 168k miles. Similar repair bill. To fix the fog, I got some defogger from Rainex that did the trick. They also say putting a sock with Kitty litter helps, but I hate the smell of kitty litter.

KBecks

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 06:03:02 AM »
Yes, sell the Scion and Mini,  keep the Nissan and Honda. 

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 10:00:00 AM »
I'd light the mini on fire in the driveway just for the satisfaction of watching it burn and removing that neat-looking collection of mechanical problems from the planet.

With the other 3, any one of them could run for another 100k miles if you maintain them.  I wouldn't hesitate to drop a grand or so in repairs to any one of them, but it sounds like the Scion may be more trouble to you than it's worth mentally to deal with.

You're in a great automotive place. 

BussoV6

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 10:19:18 AM »
My AC went out on our 2007 Civic with 168k miles. Similar repair bill. To fix the fog, I got some defogger from Rainex that did the trick. They also say putting a sock with Kitty litter helps, but I hate the smell of kitty litter.

Make sure it's clean and fresh kitty litter, not used....

ketchup

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 10:29:55 AM »
I'd light the mini on fire in the driveway just for the satisfaction of watching it burn and removing that neat-looking collection of mechanical problems from the planet.

With the other 3, any one of them could run for another 100k miles if you maintain them.  I wouldn't hesitate to drop a grand or so in repairs to any one of them, but it sounds like the Scion may be more trouble to you than it's worth mentally to deal with.

You're in a great automotive place.
I'd agree with basically all of this.

Our (one-car-couple) 2001 car is older than any of your "Jalopies" and it has 163,xxx on the clock and running well.  I'm expecting 200k, hoping for 250k, and praying to the deity of your choice for 300k.  This can generally apply to any decent modern (~2000+) car if it's properly maintained.

LifeHappens

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 10:33:17 AM »
Definitely get rid of the Mini. It's fun, cute and the repair bills will eat you out of house and home. Babies are cheaper than fun to drive foreign cars.

Just Joe

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 12:37:34 PM »
Fog: Are you driving around with the HVAC in recirculation mode? That'll do it. Make sure it is in "fresh air" mode. You might also need to run the fan on low to keep the air changing over inside the car. Adjust the temp to your liking - its the air turn over that is important. If you don't like the draft (breeze) then tell the system to put the air on the windshield and the floor.

You have to figure out if the moisture in the car is your breath (stagnant air) or something is wet and staying wet. Got a sunroof? Make sure the drain hoses are clean. You've got a/c so make sure the condensate drain is draining. You're a/c can be off (out of commission) but some rain water may still drip through the HVAC housing and drain out the condensate drain. Are all the door seals in good condition? Have either of the door panels ever been disassembled? If so are you certain that the vapor barrier plastic was reinstalled behind the door panel?

I'd make sure to sell whichever car has the worst rust or body damage.

Honestly 100K to 150K miles isn't that big a deal. I run cars to north of 300K miles - even little four cylinder cars.

The a/c problem: buy your own parts and just find someone to install them. The last a/c compressor I purchased was about $250. The dryer was another $25 or so. If you replace the compressor, you need to replace the dryer for warranty reasons. I'd replace any belts that were removed to accomplish this task.

ChpBstrd

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2018, 09:53:52 AM »
Keepers in order of expected longevity:

1) Nissan Versa
2) Scion Xa
3) Mini cooper

The '04 Accord is the oldest, most worn, and is not even yours so it probably doesn't even make the list. You have enough 10-15 y/o cars without adding a fourth option that will also cost the most to operate.

I'm surprised the Nissan is giving you such disappointing mpg. but when you get up to 30mpg the benefits of one more mpg get more and more financially negligible. To see this effect, convert mpg into gallons to travel 100 miles. The difference between 12 amd 13mpg is huge, but the difference between 29 and 30 is minor.

Anyway, with a new kid you should keep the most reliable of your fleet, and that's the one with the lowest mileage and age. The reason is that you lack the time to do even minor repairs and maintenance on your own and will end up paying out the nose for such services. The Scion's AC is an example of such a project. Also, I recommend selling the Scion over the Nissan because Versas depreciate a lot more than Scions, so your best value is to drive the Versa into the ground and sell the car that is overpriced in the used market.

kristinsix

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Re: My Fleet of Jalopies
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2018, 09:40:25 AM »
Thanks for the advice, everyone!

I think I (or really, our mechanic) convinced my husband to sell the Mini. We're sure going to miss it though (stupid irrational, emotional human brains!).

Still debating between the Nissan and the Accord. We both have a preference for smaller cars, and the Nissan is 5 years and 35k miles newer, but then again, the Accord has always been parked in a garage and was most certainly treated more gently by my in-laws.

I suppose either one will last a few years, at which point the baby (and potential second baby) will be old enough for bike seats. Then we could be a one-car family!

P.S. I use the term "jalopy" as a term of endearment. These cars are well-loved :)