Author Topic: Car Situation Analysis  (Read 3647 times)

Kendrick

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Car Situation Analysis
« on: September 13, 2012, 06:55:14 PM »
Alright, the latest MMM EV post inspired me to submit our family's car situation to the Mustachian community and see what people think we should do, in the mustachian fashion.  I'm a big fan of EVs, and love the Tesla S.

We currently own an all paid for 2002 Nissan Altima.  It's now oldish, having 10 years, and 150 000 km on the odometer.  Until last year, it hadn't cost us a penny in repairs, but we are now on our second year of 2000$ repairs, and lining up for a possible third year of such.  Nothing with the drive train though, it's all direction, brakes, some undercarriage bodywork, suspension, and trinkets.  We don't put a lot of mileage on it, since I bike everywhere and my wife takes the bus to work.  Even started using the baby's bike trailer for groceries.   

Nonetheless, these repairs prompted us to start looking for a possible replacement (we had started looking before shelling out for the repairs, but ended up deciding it would cost us less to repair the car than to get a new one).  Being all eco conscious, we were only looking at hybrids and even EVs.  We were looking at new vehicles for low financing, since we don't have the cash for a used vehicle.  Now since reading the MMM, I'm realizing it's not the way to go.  Nonetheless, the only way we could replace the car right now would be through financing, or getting a used one on springy debt. 

Now here's where it gets interesting.  I would've been ok with a Leaf, or even a Prius.  But the wife hates them.  She has a blockage on the car looks, and she has this bug that many people have where they feel 'safer' in bigger cars.  She also has a fairly big fear of driving, motivating the interest in bigger cars.  (She even found the Lexus CT200h too small).  And at the same time, she has this thing where she doesn't want to buy used, or feels like she has to 'upgrade' from the level of car we have right now.  (I'm perfectly fine with used cars, and small cars, with roof cargo like Yule).

So with all these constaints, the one car we both rather liked a lot, that fit all that, is the Tesla Model S.  But the price tag is so anti-mustachian it's not funny, and it would definitely be a financing thing.  In any case, it's not available yet, nothing was really fitting what she wanted, so we decided to get the car fixed and keep it for at least a few more years. 

The one car format works well for our family, we don't need two (though I miss my motorcycle).  It's me, the wife and a 1 year old baby.  Our driving is pretty limited, though we do a Ottawa-Montreal drive once a month to visit family, so that's a 250-300 km range trip.  (The Leaf was iffy for this, until the quickcharge stations get up midway).  Electricity is pretty cheap here, being all hydro-electric.

So there's the dilemma.  First of all, is a 10 year old car like this worth keeping longer?  Is a 2002 Altima TOO much of a car to have to be mustachian, even (MPG and all)?  Yearly repair costs are still cheaper than financing a new one.

If it's to be replaced now, or in a few years, should we go the used route and work on convincing my wife that the Prius isn't all that ugly and get a plugin conversion?  Should we bite it and encourage the technology and get the Tesla S?  WWMMMD? (What Would MMM Do)

James

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Re: Car Situation Analysis
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 07:44:59 PM »
If you don't have enough savings to purchase then you need to stick with what you have.    If you don't have a sizable stash and finances all in order, then you almost certainly shouldn't be thinking about cars costing over $5-10k.


Yes, a 10 year old vehicle is just fine.  A 2002 Altima is more mustachian (for you in my opinion) than any of the other vehicles you mentioned.  You could do better with mpg, etc, but I wouldn't suggest sinking more money into your transportation, if you change I would try to make it financially neutral.

jawisco

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Re: Car Situation Analysis
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 07:58:25 PM »
Keep the Altima, especially with you wife's feelings about what to purchase next.  It is the mustachian choice - and I would try to keep it as long as possible...

follicular

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Re: Car Situation Analysis
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 08:51:17 PM »
Keep the Altima, especially with you wife's feelings about what to purchase next.  It is the mustachian choice - and I would try to keep it as long as possible...
My feelings exactly... I have a 2001 nissan altima, love all 155000 miles of it and am willing to do the needed repairs to keep it going til it totals or I total. Since it's long since paid off and I don't do more than about 100 mile of weekly driving I believe it can last another 4-5 years during which time I will have paid off my overly pricey but really eco-friendly 2012 prius. BTW I first leased the prius and bought it off lease after only 5 months. There are some downsides to this approach but the upside is that I am getting 50+mpg and I know gas prices will be going up by hook or crook in the near future.

Kendrick

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Re: Car Situation Analysis
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 07:59:45 AM »
Indeed.  It's pretty obvious in retrospective. 

I blame MMM and that EV post for the temptation!

alandjackson

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Re: Car Situation Analysis
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 12:56:10 PM »
If you feel like the Altima is becoming unreliable, you could always try to talk your wife into a lateral move.  Maybe similar year or slightly newer Camry/Accord.  I'd have to check the reliability reports, but you might be able to go to a similar priced/aged car that is much more cost effective in terms of repair costs.

Then you can sell it as a "we'll get something different later, but for now lets just get something similar but more reliable (and maybe better mpg)".

electricdisco

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Re: Car Situation Analysis
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2012, 12:14:13 PM »
I would get the Tesla S. Pretty sure that car is going to have extremely good resale value. Forever.

You get rebates from the states also for driving an electric car I think... it's about $7,500?




James

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Re: Car Situation Analysis
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 07:43:56 PM »
I would get the Tesla S. Pretty sure that car is going to have extremely good resale value. Forever.

You get rebates from the states also for driving an electric car I think... it's about $7,500?

$50,000 - $7,500 = $42,500

At whatever percent interest since cash isn't an option.

I really hope you are saying "I would get the Tesla S." as in "I would get the Tesla S. if I was FI and had the cash to spare."  Otherwise I'm really curious how good resale value, if we take that as fact, outweighs all the other issues involved.