Author Topic: Buy another car or repair old one?  (Read 7030 times)

Mom of Boys

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Buy another car or repair old one?
« on: February 02, 2015, 09:59:32 AM »
Hi, I'm new here. :)

I'm having a dilemma in regards to my vehicle. I drive an '06 Explorer with 110,000 miles on it but I've only had it about 2.5 years. I still have about $6,000 left on the loan and last year spent $3,000 on repairs to it. Those repairs we couldn't really afford so we had to put it on our credit card (shame on us, I know). We're still trying to pay that off. Once again, I've had to take my SUV to the shop for repairs because it is leaking oil and smoking under the hood. The cost of repairs will be $400 and if we pay that, we'll have barely any money left (after our other bills) until next payday in two weeks. I feel like my car is a money pit and frankly I'm tired of getting it repaired. It's only worth about $4000 (if that) and so now I'm trying to decide if we should forget the repairs and just trade it in as is and get another vehicle. I know it's just going to keep eating up money in repairs because it's an old vehicle but the thought of getting a different vehicle with a higher monthly payment scares me too. Advice?

FastStache

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2015, 10:10:55 AM »
An 06 with 110K miles on it is not all that old. Do you have a trustworthy mechanic you are taking it too?

The big question is, you say you living paycheck to paycheck, then you should get rid of the car.

Ask yourself this...
1. Can you go without car and use public transportation, rides from others, walk to places, etc.?
2. If you need a car can you drive less?
3. If you do need a car, can you get a smaller one?
4. If you do need a large car, can you shop around for repairs? or trade it in for a similar aged car?

A car is very expensive to own.
1. Insurance
2. Gas
3. Registration
4. Repairs
5. Depreciation
6. Finance Fees

If you add all this up it's a huge chunk of money monthly.

It sounds like a lot more needs to be addressed than just the car issue here. If you are living paycheck to paycheck some drastic measures will need to be taken, so really think about some of these questions. Don't be too hasty to think you absolutely need a car.

Mom of Boys

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2015, 10:40:01 AM »
First off, yes we absolutely need a car. We live quite far from everything and I have two small children I need to take places. My husband used to bike to work but found it too dangerous with the traffic and no sidewalks (narrow two lane road with people driving 60+ mph). We don't have any family or friends here to help us out either. We normally don't live paycheck to paycheck but we haven't managed our money well lately (which is why I'm here ha!). My husband makes six figures so clearly we need financial advice. We have cut back like getting rid of cable and budgeting better with groceries. We almost never go out to eat or do any activities that cost money. It's mostly medical bills that have done us in because our insurance doesn't cover much.

I drive as little as I can mainly because my youngest hates being in the car. However, my oldest goes to preschool twice a week and then we have things like appointments, grocery shopping, etc. We stay home when we can.

I have considered a smaller car and while I do like the room an SUV has, I don't absolutely *need* it. Gas is expensive here so a smaller vehicle would obviously save us money there. As long as I can fit my kids and the stroller in it, I'm good. If we did get another vehicle around the same age as my current one, I'm worried about the cost of and amount of repairs. Maybe my car is just a lemon and that's why it's needed so much work done.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 10:48:13 AM »
You have two kids, you could use a Honda Fit or similar small car (plenty of room for a stroller).

-Is preschool a have-to-have? Why? How much does it cost?
-Assuming you could get rid of the car, would grocery delivery work? I have seen other people on this forum talk about how the fee for that is far less expensive than owning a car.
-Can you drive your husband to work on days when the little ones have appointments?

Finally, it sounds like you're incurring substantial expense to live far out; can you move closer to your husband's job?

Mom of Boys

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2015, 12:41:28 PM »
I've always secretly loved Honda Fits! haha I actually went without a car for years but the circumstances were different then. My husband lived within walking distance of work, I took online classes, we had no kids, and we had friends and family nearby to help out.

As for preschool, it's $320 per month and it will be free next year when our son turns four. He goes twice a week because we felt he needed the social interaction. Of course we socialize with him but there are no kids his age where we live and we thought it would be good for him to interact with other toddlers. Admittedly, we also wanted him to go because I was feeling overwhelmed with adjusting to life with a baby and a difficult toddler (he has behavioral issues) while my husband worked 70-80 hours a week. When he was at work, I had no one to help me or talk to so having him at preschool helped my stress levels.

I haven't looked into grocery delivery. I'd have to see how much the cost would be and compare.

Depending on my husband's schedule, I could drive him to work on days I need the car. In the past, he's gotten a co-worker to drive him.

We actually live really close to his job...about 10 minutes away. It's just we live out in the middle of nowhere and most everything is in the city. 

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 02:42:45 PM »
At only $400, I'd get it repaired. A 2006 isn't that old and should still have another 100,000 miles left in it. Maybe just not drive it much until pay day.

When you're in a better financial situation, get rid of it and get something more sensible. :)

Trading it in right now as is is a surefire way to guarantee you get SFA for it.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 02:44:57 PM by alsoknownasDean »

neo von retorch

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 03:42:12 PM »
On ConsumerReports.org, the 2006 Ford Explorer has black marks (the lowest rating) for Engine Cooling, Transmission Major, Transmission Minor, Drive System and Overall Used Car Prediction. In other words, yes it's not the best choice for reliability. In comparison, the 2007 Honda Fit has Red Rings (the highest rating) for the Engine, Engine Cooling, Transmission Minor, Drive System and Overall Used Car Prediction. Transmission Major is a Red Circle (second highest rating.) The Explorer of that year/mileage might sell for $7-10k depending on trim, condition and geography. You may be able to find a Honda Fit with 80-110k for under $7k. Pocket the difference. Enjoy the greatly reduced gas costs. Check with your insurance agent for the difference in premiums. And enjoy much, much greater reliability!

RapmasterD

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2015, 03:48:33 PM »
Get it repaired. And then dump it. I also looked up your model and year on Consumer Reports. It gets the worst possible rating for reliability.

Retired To Win

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2015, 03:53:38 PM »
... I'm trying to decide if we should forget the repairs and just trade it in as is and get another vehicle. I know it's just going to keep eating up money in repairs because it's an old vehicle but the thought of getting a different vehicle with a higher monthly payment scares me too. Advice?


The high incidence of repairs on your vehicle is not a result of it being an "old" vehicle.  A 2006 model is not an old vehicle.  I'm driving a 1996 Dodge Dakota and my wife is driving a 1998 Subaru Forester.  Neither has ever had the history of required repairs that your Ford Explorer has had.  IMHO, you're experiencing a case of ending up with a poorly built car, or a poorly maintained one, or both.

All that being said, how much better off will you be with another vehicle if it comes with the same problems?  Before you buy, get it thoroughly checked out by a good mechanic you can trust.

Good luck!

RWD

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2015, 10:26:45 AM »
On Explorers:
http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/goodbye-old-friend-at-241-000-miles-1675567344

I'd personally replace it with a similar year or older small car.

greaper007

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2015, 10:31:07 AM »
Can you or your husband learn how to fix it?    I had a VW when I didn't have any money, couldn't afford to take it to the shop, and I needed a car.    I started watching youtube videos and hanging out on VW forums.    I went from barely being able to change the oil, to changing out a timing belt.   

It's not that hard if you're willing to put in some time, and you'll save thousands of dollars.

Goldielocks

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2015, 10:36:27 AM »
Get it repaired. And then dump it. I also looked up your model and year on Consumer Reports. It gets the worst possible rating for reliability.

+1

I don't like that the repair is an oil leak. Regular maintenance items cost a lot too but are ok. Get a reliable small replacement for no loan is your best chance. Imo. I own two 06 cars too and would not sell but reg maintenance only.

ketchup

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2015, 10:41:11 AM »
Get it repaired. And then dump it. I also looked up your model and year on Consumer Reports. It gets the worst possible rating for reliability.
Yep.  Have never heard a good thing about Explorers.  I don't remember the year of the car (pretty sure it was older than '06), but my roommate a few years back had his Explorer catch on fire while driving and simultaneously 100% lose the ability to brake.  He drove off the road and in circles in a field until it stopped, then bailed.  He loves telling the story, but I'm sure he wouldn't recommend an Explorer to anyone.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 10:56:32 AM by ketchup »

FIreDrill

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2015, 10:43:34 AM »
Get it repaired. And then dump it. I also looked up your model and year on Consumer Reports. It gets the worst possible rating for reliability.

+1

I don't like that the repair is an oil leak. Regular maintenance items cost a lot too but are ok. Get a reliable small replacement for no loan is your best chance. Imo. I own two 06 cars too and would not sell but reg maintenance only.

+2

I vote for fixing and replacing as well.... There is a reason they got the nick name Ford Exploders.  I've seen several in this year range and mile range with major engine/transmission issues.  Fix it.. Sell it... Buy a used Fit or something similar.

Stash Engineer

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2015, 11:38:33 AM »
Get it repaired. And then dump it. I also looked up your model and year on Consumer Reports. It gets the worst possible rating for reliability.

+1

I don't like that the repair is an oil leak. Regular maintenance items cost a lot too but are ok. Get a reliable small replacement for no loan is your best chance. Imo. I own two 06 cars too and would not sell but reg maintenance only.

+2

I vote for fixing and replacing as well.... There is a reason they got the nick name Ford Exploders.  I've seen several in this year range and mile range with major engine/transmission issues.  Fix it.. Sell it... Buy a used Fit or something similar.

+3  We call them Ford Exploders around here too!  Fix and sell asap!  You may be able to fix it yourself.  If it is just an oil leak, try to determine the source of the leak and replace whatever seal/o-ring/gasket it is.  You may be able to find a factory service manual online that will show you how to remove things from the engine bay if necessary. 

Mom of Boys

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2015, 12:52:46 PM »
Thank you everyone!

I ended up getting it fixed but the plan is to save up so we can get something else. I'm tired of basically throwing money away. I know technically it's not old being an '06 but it might as well be with all the problems it has. I should have known better than to buy a Ford. I'm looking to get a Honda once we save some money. I had a Civic for years (bought used) and in those 7 years I had it, I NEVER had any problems with it. My BIL repairs Hondas for a living so if I do need repairs done, bonus there.

FastStache

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2015, 01:16:55 PM »
Thank you everyone!

I ended up getting it fixed but the plan is to save up so we can get something else. I'm tired of basically throwing money away. I know technically it's not old being an '06 but it might as well be with all the problems it has. I should have known better than to buy a Ford. I'm looking to get a Honda once we save some money. I had a Civic for years (bought used) and in those 7 years I had it, I NEVER had any problems with it. My BIL repairs Hondas for a living so if I do need repairs done, bonus there.

I'm guessing here but it sounds like you are trying to get something newer. I would advise against it since money is tight.

greaper007

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2015, 01:29:48 PM »
Looks like you could sell it for between $5 and $8k depending on options and equipment.    Why not do that and swap it for something more reliable.    You could probably buy a civic of the same vintage and have money left over.

Mom of Boys

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2015, 10:04:33 PM »
I took it to Carmax a few months back just out of curiosity and they said they would give me $4k for it. I don't know what other dealers would give me for it though. I bought it for $8k two years back so I feel like if I get $4-5k for it, I'll be lucky. I'm still so pissed at myself for buying this Ford POS.

I know I don't want to buy a car that's much more than the amount we owe on the Explorer ($6k). I definitely don't want our monthly payments to shoot up.

greaper007

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2015, 06:26:31 AM »
I took it to Carmax a few months back just out of curiosity and they said they would give me $4k for it. I don't know what other dealers would give me for it though. I bought it for $8k two years back so I feel like if I get $4-5k for it, I'll be lucky. I'm still so pissed at myself for buying this Ford POS.

I know I don't want to buy a car that's much more than the amount we owe on the Explorer ($6k). I definitely don't want our monthly payments to shoot up.

Don't sell it at Carmax, you'll get way more if you sell it yourself on Craigslist.     I'd do that and exchange it for a similarly priced Honda or toyota.

marketnonsenses

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2015, 10:22:48 AM »
Ford sure is getting a lot of heat in this tread. Every manufacture has one or two bad model years. In the used market they cost less and people sell them. Buying a Toyota or Honda wont magically fix anything. There are plenty of trash used Toyota and Honda. My family works for Ford and all drive them. They all drive used high mile cars and dont have many problems. Some Ford cars are junk, some where not taken care of well, and some are fantastic. Crown Vics will last indefinitely.

greaper007

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2015, 11:29:12 AM »
Ford sure is getting a lot of heat in this tread. Every manufacture has one or two bad model years. In the used market they cost less and people sell them. Buying a Toyota or Honda wont magically fix anything. There are plenty of trash used Toyota and Honda. My family works for Ford and all drive them. They all drive used high mile cars and dont have many problems. Some Ford cars are junk, some where not taken care of well, and some are fantastic. Crown Vics will last indefinitely.

My family had a 94 Explorer and that was a great car.   The 2006 isn't though.    I have an 07 Civic hybrid (you could sell the explorer, buy this car and have money leftover).    It's been fantastic, I haven't fixed a single thing in 100,000 miles.    With the exception of the hybrid battery, but that's more a function of new technology than poor manufacturing.     It was also under warranty.

So between an 06 Explorer and an 06 Civic I would pick the Civic every time.    American cars are getting better, but the fit and finish along with reliability just isn't where Japanese cars are.    I'd say the same thing about German cars (I had one VW, never ever again).

Mom of Boys

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Re: Buy another car or repair old one?
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2015, 08:48:53 AM »
I've known people who have had good experiences with Ford and I'm sure not all of them are crap, but my own personal experience has put a bad taste in my mouth. My BIL (who's an auto mechanic) warned me they don't call them "Exploders" for nothing. My husband and I have both had good experiences with Honda so that's where I'm looking to buy. There's no guarantee it will be a good car but I feel Honda's reputation and good marks over the years will give me a much better chance at getting a quality vehicle.
I tried fitting our double stroller into the trunk of a Civic the other day and only half of it fit! haha Of course, it will be much cheaper to get a smaller stroller vs. a larger vehicle so I've been browsing for a smaller double stroller.