Author Topic: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch  (Read 6020 times)

jonchappelle

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Indiana
Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« on: March 27, 2015, 04:49:07 PM »
I almost financed 27k yesterday for a new car.

I've been reading the forums for a while now, so I know I shouldn't do this. I've had an irrational desire to buy a new car since I started working. I believe I've done well by procrastinating this idea for 7 years now, hoping the desire would disappear, but it hasn't. This was my first time going to a dealer for a test drive, and new cars are really nice. It's amazing how quickly the price increases. Base model was 18k, add leather & cvt to 22k, get the hatchback for 25, add tax & title for 27... Finally, I told the dealer I wanted to sleep on it. Luckily, I'm an indecisive person...

How did I get here?

My car left me hanging this past weekend. It's a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am. The security system glitches out at times, locking me out of my own car for 15 minutes until it's reset. That's not what happened this time though. Following some online diagnostics, everything pointed to the starter failing. 160$ later, starter installed, and it still won't turn over. Something in the electrical system connecting the key to the starter is "loose". About an hour later, after devising a way to hot wire the starter directly, it randomly started working... it was sporadic for a day or two, but it seems to be back to normal (knock on wood). Add that to the fact that the car is pushing 150k miles, suspension is shot, bearings squeak, transmission struggles to shift at times, & oil definitely needs changed.

So what are my options?

  • Finance the 27k, which would require reducing auto investments by 500$/month for about 4 years. Consumer bliss & debt...
  • Buy a new used car in a few months. I'm cash flow restricted this year due investing anything outside basic budget items. I call it the ITR fund, Invest The Rest.
  • Suck it up & do a little maintenance. DIY parking lot oil & transmission fluid change is probably a good start. I can most likely make it through the summer.
  • Any other ideas?

So why am I writing this?

There are many car posts, but it finally hit me this week. Every time there's an issue with my car, I have a lapse in judgement and irrational consumerist desires cloud my mind for a while. This time it was several days. I almost gave in, but writing this post helped to clear my thoughts.


Any suggestions & face punches are welcome.

caliq

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 675
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 04:52:42 PM »
It sounds like you committed to a plan for your excess money for this year

Can you make your current car last until Jan 1, 2016? 

You might tolerate it a lot more if you know there's an end-date in sight.  Plus you won't have to worry about the guilt of going back on the plan you made for yourself.  You're almost 1/4 of the way through 2015; soon it'll be 1/3, then 1/2, then 2/3...etc etc.  Then you'll have a new car :D  (Except I wouldn't buy an actual new car -- a 'new to you' car!)

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5557
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2015, 05:04:35 PM »
What car were you looking at? There may be a similar used model around that can save you a substantial amount of money and still give you the 'new-to-you' car feel.

jonchappelle

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 05:11:17 PM »
Sticking to a strict budget is a lot more difficult than I expected! I keep thinking, just one more year...

It should last until winter starts. Late December is when the temps first go sub zero. The transmission really didn't like this past winter. If I can solve the shifting issues this summer, w/o spending too much, it may be fine. Except for the rare occasion when the ignition system decides to take a break for the day... I just don't want to throw 2000$ worth of repairs into this car, and it still glitches out randomly.

I started looking for an impreza, but got talked into the crosstrek. I've wanted a Subaru for a while now, probably because I wish I lived in the mountains again.

madamwitty

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 280
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SoCal
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2015, 05:22:09 PM »
Proud of you for resisting the urge. Stay strong!

fartface

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 402
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Wisconsin
    • money apple
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2015, 06:53:04 PM »
I will not tell you what to do; however, I will share an anecdote with you.

In 2007 we got the "new car" bug. Test drove a few. Found a realllll nice vehicle @ $30,000. 0% financing for five years! Only $500/month!

Like you, we decided to "sleep on it". Never did return to the car lot. Instead we started investing $500/month.

$500/month for six years while we drove our old P.O.S. Repairing, maintaining, and commuting short distances to work.

After six years of faithfully investing that car payment each month, the account had a $50,000 balance.

We're still driving our (slightly) rusty, high mileage car, but I got new tires and brakes, and she rides smooooth as the day we bought 'er.

Now, I got plenty of money to buy me a new $30K car IN CASH. Funny thing is, I don't even want one.

However, Ole Rusty will eventually be replaced (I'm hoping to ride her into 2019). At that time, I'll be looking for something used around 10 - 15K.



ltt

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 740
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2015, 07:24:26 PM »
If you really need a good car, look at used Toyotas.  We found a Corolla for our children that was a 2010, with under 30k miles that was reasonably priced--around $13k.  Yes, you are spending money for a vehicle, but you are spending a lot less.

caliq

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 675
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2015, 07:38:09 PM »
Buying a Subaru because you want to live in the mountains does not make any sense.  Serious facepunches.

As a non-Subaru driving resident of an area where LOTS of people drive Subarus, I honestly can't understand the appeal and cult-like following.  Plus people that drive them tend to drive waaaay slower than the average driver and annoy the crap out of me...

There's way better options than a Subaru, starting with the one you already own.  I drove a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix until last August, and the only reason I got an upgrade is because DH's doctors told him he can no longer drive.  So I got his "fancy new car" (2010).

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2015, 08:00:58 PM »
Your Invest the Rest plan is completely blown if you spend $27,000 on a new car.  Completely blown.  Down $27,000, in fact.  Do you want to take a $27,000 loss because you insist on being sweet-talked by a smooth salesman on commission?

I imagine you can nurse your current car until the spring.  Do you live near a university?  A lot of foreign students graduate and return to their home countries in June.  A lot of them are wealthy because generally only wealthy kids can afford to come overseas for their education.  So they've bought cars.  All of a sudden, come June, they have to sell them quickly.  They're pretty new and pretty sleek.  And the owners are desperate because they're leaving the country soon.  They put up little notices on the university noticeboards.

My advice is to wait and snap up one of those cars, used, at a nice price.  Do some research ahead of time so you know what's a good model and a good deal.  I imagine you'll save at least half that $27,000, and you won't be facepunching yourself to the tune of thousands of dollars afterwards.

jonchappelle

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2015, 08:54:46 PM »
Thanks for the encouragement and facepunches! That irrational desire comes to the forefront whenever I have to deal with car problems. Gotta fight it back.

I've been reading up more on the ignition issue I've been seeing, and I should be able to swap the ignition lock for 160$ myself. I'll end up with a key to open the doors, and another to start the engine, but hey, it's cheap.

I started reading up on common transmission problems too, and in a lot of cases, they are just low on fluid. If that's all it is, then all this panic will be for nothing. I'll start with just adding a little, and see if there's any improvement.

If I can DIY all of this, Hopefully it will start running smoothly again and for much less than I originally expected.

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2008
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2015, 06:57:40 AM »
I've been reading up more on the ignition issue I've been seeing, and I should be able to swap the ignition lock for 160$ myself. I'll end up with a key to open the doors, and another to start the engine, but hey, it's cheap.

I'd suspect that's the issue too.  My Dad had a Grand Am that would randomly fail to start and would occasionally shut off while we were driving it (sometimes only partially, losing just gauges or sometimes running at partial power).  All solved with a new ignition lock/switch.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3998
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2015, 08:26:22 AM »
I agree to continue nursing your current car through the summer, but a new(er) car is probably reasonable too, at some point soon.

The question is what car and how new?

Figure that answer out now, when you aren't in a panic. Get it set in your mind so if your car dies you aren't making emotional decisions. And as I'm sure you know, that car is likely not a new Subaru!

mtnrider

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 314
  • Location: Frozen tundra in the Northeast
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2015, 09:43:23 AM »
Suggestion: take the car (mostly) out of the equation.  Move closer to work so you won't need the car every day.  Bike to work.  Both?

Subarus are well engineered, but not worth the new car cost.  Unless you're speeding around on unimproved roads, snow tires trump the all wheel drive.  And most of them are loud.  If you don't need the additional traction, there are nicer cars, with better gas mileage, that cost less.  Subarus are good at projecting the "outdoorsy" image, which might be worth something.  (Seriously, I had one for 1.5 decades.)


JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5557
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2015, 10:51:25 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement and facepunches! That irrational desire comes to the forefront whenever I have to deal with car problems. Gotta fight it back.

I've been reading up more on the ignition issue I've been seeing, and I should be able to swap the ignition lock for 160$ myself. I'll end up with a key to open the doors, and another to start the engine, but hey, it's cheap.

I started reading up on common transmission problems too, and in a lot of cases, they are just low on fluid. If that's all it is, then all this panic will be for nothing. I'll start with just adding a little, and see if there's any improvement.

If I can DIY all of this, Hopefully it will start running smoothly again and for much less than I originally expected.
You may be able to find a locksmith who can rekey your ignition to use the same key as your doors.

jonchappelle

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2015, 11:22:15 AM »
I've considered moving closer to work, but that would require switching counties. The next county over has a 1.5% income tax, which pays for most of the yearly fuel bill. Rent would most likely increase 100$ a month as well. I work in industrial manufacturing, so living close to work really isn't desirable. Right now my commute is 26 miles of highway, 25 minutes. If I moved 15 miles closer, I'd have 10 miles of crowded 35mph stop/go traffic, so it'd still take about 20 min.

I have actually biked to work for a summer, 3 days a week, but I burnt out physically. 52 mile round trip is quite a workout, and a 3.5 hour time sink. The ride is a little sketchy in some areas, and railroad crossings really suck for skinny tired bikes. I've wrecked twice, once on railroad crossing, the other while turning on an oily/slick road. I loved the first part of my bike commute, but the last 7 miles were terrible. The closer I get to work, the more hazardous it becomes. So even If I moved closer to work, I'd still have to bike the bad areas. It's still my backup plan if I ever can't start the car on a weekday.

I'm going to push this car as far as it can reasonably go, but the question of reasonable comes up at every problem and is the hardest part to determine. I will probably end up financing whatever I end up getting when it dies. I invest everything so that I can't spend it easily, but I could always cash out some. The frugal solution, right now, would probably be a nissan versa sedan, manual, unloaded, <12k. I've read some hypermiling reports got it up to 50 mpg...

mtnrider

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 314
  • Location: Frozen tundra in the Northeast
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2015, 07:41:48 PM »
Yowzers.  52 miles is very long for a bike ride to work.

I've considered moving closer to work, but that would require switching counties. The next county over has a 1.5% income tax, which pays for most of the yearly fuel bill. Rent would most likely increase 100$ a month as well. I work in industrial manufacturing, so living close to work really isn't desirable. Right now my commute is 26 miles of highway, 25 minutes. If I moved 15 miles closer, I'd have 10 miles of crowded 35mph stop/go traffic, so it'd still take about 20 min.

Catch 22, huh?  Tough one.  I don't suppose you could do something radical like move to a smaller place walking distance from work?

Maybe carpool?


thurston howell iv

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 415
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2015, 06:41:33 AM »
$27k on a new car?!?! Face Punch for you!

The Pontiac is fixable. Spend some time online and you'll find the same issues have already been addressed and repaired. Still WAY cheaper than a new car.

If you want a different car, I'd look at Honda, Toyota, yes-even Subaru (used ones are cheaper)--- You can buy an older wrx for $5k or so. Older Honda's and Toyota's even cheaper. My 97 Civic with 242k miles and a cost of $2300 got 43mpg last week- if you're concerned with mpg.

I understand about getting the "bug" once in a while... Every so often I think about a nice 7 Series or S-Class AMG... You can buy them used for significantly less than their base prices (luxury cars have terrible depreciation)... (But, I'd have to spend the money to buy, insure, register and pay the crap mpg as well)

Just "shop" and dream and keep your money in your pockets. The urge will pass.
Good Luck

Imustacheyouaquestion

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2015, 06:50:35 AM »
"oil definitely needs changed" is not a reason to buy a new car, it's a reason to do some basic maintenance on your car.

You already set rules for yourself for the year (ITR fund). I believe buying supplies/tools to do basic maintenance on your car would fit into your basic budget item rule, whereas financing a new car definitely does not!!

You already know it's irrational, which is why you're on this forum asking how to avoid making a giant purchase you don't need. Keep doing maintenance on your car. If and when it truly fails - something where the cost to repair exceeds the value of the car, aka it's totaled, then you can start shopping for used cars to replace it.

Mustachians should use cars to get around and perform important errands, not as fancy toys to enjoy driving around. The chance to keep fixing yours (piece by piece) is a classic example of flexing your mustachian muscles by learning how to do more things yourself.

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2008
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2015, 10:01:44 AM »
You may be able to find a locksmith who can rekey your ignition to use the same key as your doors.

...but we'll all facepunch you for wasting money if you do it.  :-)

RapmasterD

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
  • Location: SF Peninsula
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2015, 06:21:35 PM »
Buying a Subaru because you want to live in the mountains does not make any sense.  Serious facepunches.

As a non-Subaru driving resident of an area where LOTS of people drive Subarus, I honestly can't understand the appeal and cult-like following.  Plus people that drive them tend to drive waaaay slower than the average driver and annoy the crap out of me...

There's way better options than a Subaru, starting with the one you already own.  I drove a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix until last August, and the only reason I got an upgrade is because DH's doctors told him he can no longer drive.  So I got his "fancy new car" (2010).

+1

I don't get it. And I drive a 14.5 year old Subaru. Expensive to maintain.

Forcus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 714
  • Location: Central Illinois
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2015, 11:49:38 AM »
I am not a fan of that era Pontiac and related (Chevy Cavalier) models. It sounds like this particular issue might be an ignition switch. If the rest of the car was in reasonably reliable shape I'd hold off.

If you want to get rid of there are other options. Have seen Yaris' for 6-8k, etc. They are kind of basic cars and a little bit of an s-box BUT the simplicity means no weird shit to go wrong.

But it sounds like in your situation you just need to fix it / get it fixed.

eil

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 246
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2015, 03:07:26 PM »
Keep in mind that not all cars are made equally. Lets just say that Pontiacs are not exactly top of the list in terms of reliability and longevity. In fact they're pretty much near the bottom. There are other brands of cars where 150k is considered finally broken in. Mainly Honda and Toyota, but other manufacturers (even domestic) have models that age particularly well.

I don't blame you for wanting to ditch the Pontiac. In fact, you should do it sooner rather than later before the the transmission finally pukes out all together. As soon as the buyer has to tow it out of your driveway, you're basically only going to get scrap value out of it.

The most mustachian action going forward is to sell the Pontiac for whatever you can get out of it and pony up that plus a few extra thousand to get a good reliable commuter that is more than five years old, has a little over 100k miles, and costs around $5000-6000. Do your own research of course, but that is about the sweet spot in terms of the most bang for clown car buck.

FrugalKube

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 143
  • Location: Pacific NW
    • The Gamer's Lounge
Re: Car Dilemma - I need a facepunch
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2015, 09:08:59 PM »
I remember when I got my first real job out of school and I bought a $15k new car. Im still driving it and I want to upgrade but its paid off.

When the time comes I've set aside money in car fund that will keep the price under $10k. A decent reliable car with over 100k miles, Id say a Toyota, Honda, maybe a newer Ford.