Author Topic: Buy a 2012 with almost same # of miles as my 2002? 180k (11/28/15: New scenario)  (Read 3294 times)

YoungConsultant

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Although I'm not looking to buy a new car right now...I sometimes browse craigslist both out of boredom as well as knowing that this car I drive now won't last forever and I'll need to be aware of local prices when that day comes. I've read other used car threads but I'm curious for some hypothetical input on the following scenario:

Current car is a 2002 Ford Focus with 183,700 miles, purchased 120k miles ago in 2008 for $5,500. It runs fine, I do a lot of highway miles for reimbursement from my job, but its noisy as hell and started rusting last fall. I just saw this car on craigslist:

http://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/ctd/4962619050.html
2012 Ford Focus SE
177,500 miles
$5,500
Clean Title
and this note: "P.S. transmission has a small delay which is an electric issue."

Of course, if I was shopping I would uneasy if they didn't have all 3 years of maintenance records. That transmission thing is an issue. But, with only 3 years there is hardly any age related wear and tear, just mechanical/mile based. The miles are likely highway, which makes the wear per mile way lower than a city car. Assuming that electrical thing they mentioned is minor, is that still too many miles? That's what I'm unsure about. It's been a while since I've been this tempted to replace my car, especially with something so new for so cheap. What do you guys think? Good idea or facepunch-worthy? I was going to try to drive my current one until 250k...unless the rampant rust that's been growing on my rocker panels for the last 6-8 months starts to spread further :(

The other interesting idea has been lower mileage newer cars with rebuilt titles after minor accidents... :D I'm probably crazy lol
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 06:18:55 PM by YoungConsultant »

RWD

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Re: Buy a 2012 with almost same # of miles as my 2002? 180k
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 10:33:17 AM »
The price seems reasonable according to the Kelley Blue Book. There are more reliable 2012 vehicles you could purchase, but the Focus isn't terrible either. Just make sure you take it to a shop for an independent inspection before buying. I wouldn't be particularly worried about the mileage.

I would not recommend buying a vehicle with a rebuilt title.

johnmyster

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Re: Buy a 2012 with almost same # of miles as my 2002? 180k
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2015, 10:46:04 AM »
Those cars have dual clutch autos.  I've rented a few and they drive strangely if you're not used to them.  It may be just fine but feel weird to the dealer.  That said, the jury is still out on how well they age (wet clutch packs, etc.) especially if they haven't had regular fluid changes.

Good news is it has a timing chain...

In my state, rust through the floorboards means you don't pass an inspection.  Are you anywhere near that point?  If you just noticed it last year, it would seem to have some time left.

I shopped for a new car last fall.  Once I realized my car had been taken good care of (by me) and was almost done depreciating, I stopped shopping and left the stash in the bank where it belongs.  At that point I replaced the seat foam and a deteriorated fabric panel in the driver's seat for about $150.  Feels like a "new" car.  I imagine you are in the same boat wrt depreciation.  If you and your mechanic think your car has got it in her to make it to 250k then keep it clean, wash it regularly, take pride in it and smile. 

My father actually rebuilds "totaled" low mileage cars as a hobby.  It takes an inspection by the state inspectors to move the title from salvage to rebuilt status.  Done right by someone who cares, they can be exceptional deals on exceptional vehicles for a high mileage driver.  You get nearly-new mechanics with some carefully reworked cosmetics.


YoungConsultant

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Re: Buy a 2012 with almost same # of miles as my 2002? 180k
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2015, 11:13:04 AM »
Nope, definitely no where near rusted-out floorboard status as far as I can tell, thankfully :) Michigan is one of those states that has no safety or emissions inspection requirements at all.

If I'm lucky, none of this will really be a huge issue for a few more years. It was just very tempting to see that newer car for such a low price. I wouldn't want to spend more than $6k on a car if mine was totaled tomorrow. Not until I'm closer to FIRE.

It is pretty much done deprecating, which makes my business trips by car highly profitable. Would washing it very often in the winter be sufficient to keep the rusting process slowed down? It's all because the salt we use for the ice. I admit I didn't wash it as much as I should have last year.

YoungConsultant

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Re: Buy a 2012 with almost same # of miles as my 2002? 180k
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2015, 05:56:06 PM »
Almost made a new topic, but figured I might as well revive this one.

While I managed to keep this 2002 for another 7 months, I think it's about time I actually replace it.  Last weekend the bad weather made me lose confidence in my safety in my current car, because I lost control twice it the same day. Now don't get me wrong, it was on my agenda to get some fresh tires anyway (which kind of makes it my fault) but in any case the sudden snow storm last weekend snuck up on me. First time I lost control I was slowed down enough that I only hit the barrier at low speed and merely knocked my grill loose, scraped my bumper, and slightly bent the hood. As I continued slowly to my destination, I then slid into the ditch and waited for a tow truck for an hour who took me to a hotel room for the night and I replaced my tires in the morning.

The fact is my car has no ABS, no traction control, no ESC, and since I don't want to spend money on cosmetic repair I'm instead willing to spend for my safety.

The dilemma I need help with from my fellow mustachians is how much I should spend on my next used car. Like any good mustachian, I want to make sure I buy a car I would be happy with for at least a decade. The problem is, this 24.7 year old IT consultant isn't so sure he wants to spend the next 10 years without fancypants features like a touchscreen, bluetooth, heated seats, etc. :)

I was actually on track to invest 82% of my $89,200 take home pay that I'm going to make this year. (My bonus is paid next month and it's already determined) Here are the 3 scenarios I can choose from, based on the amount of money I already had put aside for a car plus minor tweaks to my budget:

If I maintain an 80% investment rate, I could spend up to $5k on a 2009-12 car with minimal, if any, bells and whistles (I would have to go aftermarket to add high tech features)
If I maintain a 75% investment rate, I could probably spend $9k give or take, enabling a purchase such as a rebuilt '13 Focus Titanium, '13 Kia Optima EX (loaded), '13 Dodge Dart Limited, Chevy Cruze, etc, that I saw listed on craigslist
Last, I could cease any additional investments, which based on my Nov and Dec income would let me spend $15k cash on a super nice used car and my investment rate would be 68% (ouch) But hey, that could buy me a nice Volt or Fusion or some other gorgeous car.

I'm mainly debating between the first two options, I can't bring myself to spend $15k on a car. I could be willing to accept a 75% 2015 investment rate assuming that my maintenance costs would be low for some time, which lets me make up for it by investing 85-87% in 2016.  But still, the hardcore investor in me says that if I buy the $5k car, I'll be able to break even more quickly as I drive it for mileage reimbursement for my job. Not to mention the capital gains on my savings.

What do you guys all think? On one hand, I'm leaning closer to spending $9k...but still, I've made it for the last 7 years in a basic car, maybe I could do it again. Should I treat myself since I've done so well? I mean, my net worth is $200k already. When I'm 30 I'll probably look back at this post and laugh.

oneday

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Re: Buy a 2012 with almost same # of miles as my 2002? 180k
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2015, 02:10:48 AM »
Almost made a new topic, but figured I might as well revive this one.

The problem is, this 24.7 year old IT consultant isn't so sure he wants to spend the next 10 years without fancypants features like a touchscreen, bluetooth, heated seats, etc. :)

These things sound more like they add distractions than value.  Maybe not the heated seats. <scold voice> You shouldn't be on the phone while driving </scold voice>

Just a perspective from someone "older".

Captain and Mrs Slow

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I was in the same situation last year when we were looking at our car. What I did was lay out all the criteria my head wanted easy on gas, cheap to run repair insure etc and everything my heart wanted, power, prestige (I live in Germany and Germans love thier high end  cars) SUV power new all the creature comforts and then looked for a car that meet everything. I was a bit limited that it needed to be an automatic (knee problems) and then I looked for one that meet all of that.

in the end we found a full loaded Low mileage C-Max that had just come off rental, we got it at an almost 40% discount to a comparable vehicle

If you're maintaining a decent savings rate, and it doesn't impact your goals too much I'd go for a better car. Of course the key here is finding the right car at a decent discount

ps I love the seat heaters.

YoungConsultant

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The other consideration of course is that while I could buy older and cheaper (with more miles) I drive many miles for work. It's not like I ever drive customers around, just that I'm allowed to drive within an 8 hour radius of the office if it's cheaper than flying and renting a car. I've collected $9k worth of reimbursement my old car this year alone, $7k last year. I classify it as part of my take home pay with a percent removed for maintenance.

I figure by spending more on something better, I'll be able to go longer without having to deal with the car buying process again. I really like how with rebuilt cars they've already depreciated pretty heavily while being perfectly drive-able (in theory). I definitely won't buy one without seeing the before pictures.

Since one of the cars I looked at was a newer Focus, I picked one out as my rental at Minneapolis airport this morning for a 5-day trial run. So far, I'm not noticing any big difference (or problems) with how the DCT feels vs a traditional automatic trans. I suppose I could even live with just the basic Sync without MyFordTouch but there's plenty of other nice things about the Titanium trim.

I guess I've pretty much decided on the middle ground. If i can still invest 75% of my take home pay and get something nice, not too old, and fairly low miles for a good price, then I should have no regrets.

re: bluetooth, I'm not in the habit of making calls while driving. At the same time, I'd rather at least have 2 hands on the wheel and eyes on road if I answer one. I know I shouldn't, but I currently grab my phone off the mount and hold it up to my head when I get a call. Baby steps? :)

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Yeah that was the approach I took, weighing what mattered to me and what I was willing to fogo. For us it was an automatic and SUV style (wanted to sit higher) was willing to forgo thwt new car feeling and keeping up with the jones. Funny thing is had several friends buy similar cars and they all paid way more than I did. One guy put it. If I'm going to have a car payment than I want a nice car, duh no wonder his wife needs to work.

YoungConsultant

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Well, I bought the car! a gorgeous 2013 Focus Titanium for $10,596 out the door, 33k miles.

Just completed a business trip this week, 1640 miles reimbursed, meaning $943 coming my way tax free! My friend is buying the old car for $1000.

Calculated MPG was 37 mpg compared to a typical 31 mpg in the old car
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 08:17:44 PM by YoungConsultant »

alsoknownasDean

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Well, I bought the car! a gorgeous 2013 Focus Titanium for $10,596 out the door, 33k miles.

Just completed a business trip this week, 1640 miles reimbursed, meaning $943 coming my way tax free! My friend is buying the old car for $1000.

Calculated MPG was 37 mpg compared to a typical 31 mpg in the old car

Nice stuff. Hopefully you get a lot of life from it. Think that just two years ago someone would have paid nearly double that for it :)

RWD

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Well, I bought the car! a gorgeous 2013 Focus Titanium for $10,596 out the door, 33k miles.

Just completed a business trip this week, 1640 miles reimbursed, meaning $943 coming my way tax free! My friend is buying the old car for $1000.

Calculated MPG was 37 mpg compared to a typical 31 mpg in the old car

Nice stuff. Hopefully you get a lot of life from it. Think that just two years ago someone would have paid nearly double that for it :)

Yeah, that's some crazy depreciation. The MSRP when new was at least $23.2k before options, fees, and taxes!

Though to be fair, that's a steal of a deal. Looking at Autotrader the average listed price for a 2013 Focus Titanium is $15.1k and the lowest price is $10k.