Author Topic: Car Buying - Sanity Check  (Read 3104 times)

Yeomans

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Car Buying - Sanity Check
« on: June 12, 2013, 07:15:24 AM »
I currently have a 2004 Honda Civic with 138k miles. It's on the MMM Top 10 cars for smart people list, but I must have a lemon.  Let me back up. I replaced the timing belt at 110k at a local shop as preventative maintenance.  One month after the warranty expired the timing belt tensioner broke and required a $2000 head rebuild from the dealer.

Two months after that warranty expired the tensioner broke again.  This time I took it to an independent shop and it cost $1400 for the head rebuild.  Everybody says this should never happen, but it's the second time on this car.

I've been looking for a white hatchback with a manual transmission and no timing belt off and on for the last year.  Since the Civic was in the shop 3 weeks ago I've renewed my interest.  I like the Fit, but the resale value on them is so high.  My second choice is the Matrix/Vibe. I found a 2009 Vibe with 39k miles and one owner for $12k.  It has every option I'd get if I were to buy a new car.

I was offered $3k for the Civic trade in. I think I can easily sell it private party for $4k.

I don't really NEED a new car. I'm trying to increase my baddassity and phase out car use as much as practical.  Could lightning strike the Civic a third time?  Is the Vibe likely to lower my travel expenses for the next 10 years, or is it nothing but a shiny new toy that I want?

A little about me. I don't currently have a wife or kids to haul around, but would like to someday.  I payed cash for the Civic and would pay cash for any replacement.  All of my past cars I've bought in the $3k to $7k range and would sell them after a few years for within $1k of what I bought them.  I don't currently have the space to work on my own car, so that isn't as good of an option now.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 07:24:37 AM by Yeomans »

newideas2013

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Re: Car Buying - Sanity Check
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 07:21:43 AM »
Personally I don't take my cars to dealers anymore, they charge insane amounts. I'd keep driving the Civic for a while assuming all's fine now.

madmax

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Re: Car Buying - Sanity Check
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 08:25:32 AM »
I currently have a 2004 Honda Civic with 138k miles. It's on the MMM Top 10 cars for smart people list, but I must have a lemon.  Let me back up. I replaced the timing belt at 110k at a local shop as preventative maintenance.  One month after the warranty expired the timing belt tensioner broke and required a $2000 head rebuild from the dealer.

Two months after that warranty expired the tensioner broke again.  This time I took it to an independent shop and it cost $1400 for the head rebuild.  Everybody says this should never happen, but it's the second time on this car.

I've been looking for a white hatchback with a manual transmission and no timing belt off and on for the last year.  Since the Civic was in the shop 3 weeks ago I've renewed my interest.  I like the Fit, but the resale value on them is so high.  My second choice is the Matrix/Vibe. I found a 2009 Vibe with 39k miles and one owner for $12k.  It has every option I'd get if I were to buy a new car.

I was offered $3k for the Civic trade in. I think I can easily sell it private party for $4k.

I don't really NEED a new car. I'm trying to increase my baddassity and phase out car use as much as practical.  Could lightning strike the Civic a third time?  Is the Vibe likely to lower my travel expenses for the next 10 years, or is it nothing but a shiny new toy that I want?

A little about me. I don't currently have a wife or kids to haul around, but would like to someday.  I payed cash for the Civic and would pay cash for any replacement.  All of my past cars I've bought in the $3k to $7k range and would sell them after a few years for within $1k of what I bought them.  I don't currently have the space to work on my own car, so that isn't as good of an option now.

The same part failing both times points to shoddy workmanship at the dealer rather than a lemon. You've spent the money on getting it fixed I would keep the Civic. If it fails again, then probably part it out on Craigslist or sell it to Carmax - both without getting it fixed and get the new car.

Yeomans

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Re: Car Buying - Sanity Check
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013, 08:41:25 AM »
Let me clarify. This is not just 1 shops shoddy workmanship.  I agree that dealers overcharge for work that is no better than a good independent shop.

First the timing belt / tensioner was replaced by an independent shop for normal preventative maintenance.  The tensioner failed and destroyed the top half of the engine 13 months later.

Then the timing belt / tensioner was replaced as part of the engine rebuild by the dealer.

The tensioner failed again destroying the top half of the engine a second time 14 months later.  The exact same $10 part failed both times and was installed by a different shop.

Now I've taken it to another independent shop to rebuild the top half of the engine for a second time and replaced the timing belt / tensioner for a 3rd time each at a different location.

I'm also planning to move soon, so the 12 month warranty will probably not help if it fails again.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 09:03:09 AM by Yeomans »

Yeomans

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Re: Car Buying - Sanity Check
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 08:49:01 AM »
Good idea, madmax. I didn't think of selling the car to Carmax non-operational.  I doubt they would give me $2500 for it though when they only offered $3000 for it operational.  Would have been worth a asking for a quote.

Yeomans

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Re: Car Buying - Sanity Check
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2013, 12:57:43 PM »
I thought it over and the Vibe is an OK price, but not a great deal.  I'll pass on it.

Since I'm "moving to a better place" in a "human-friendly city" with decent public transit, I'll sell the Civic before the move and try living carless.  If I want a car later, I'll look for something in the $5-8k range.

Thanks for the responses.