The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Giro on January 22, 2015, 07:09:57 AM

Title: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: Giro on January 22, 2015, 07:09:57 AM
I've tried to stay all mustachian with this damn Accord but I've had it.  The mechanic keeps telling me how great these cars are and this car will run forever....well yea, after you replace every part under the hood. 

I just spent $450 getting the idle control valve and gaskets replaced as well as the front upper control arm replaced.  It was running great and sounded so much better without the front end squeak every time you hit a bump and 2 days later...check engine light BACK ON. 

I bought the car 3 years ago.  I paid $5k to get it up and running. Every year since then I've spent over $1K in maintenance.  it's a 2000 Accord, 160k miles V6.  Should I sell and buy something else or should I stay the course?  I can get a good manual transmission, 4 cylinder for about $8k with low miles. 




Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: jms493 on January 22, 2015, 07:19:15 AM
$1000 a year for a Honda Accord????  I personally would not keep it.

I have a 2001 Jeep Cherokee...I do oil changes myself for the last 3 years...thats it.
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: Skipper on January 22, 2015, 07:37:58 AM
Those years of Accords have transmission problems - have you run into that yet? My '03 Accord was very good to me until it suddenly needed $3000 worth of tranny rebuild (at 130k miles). My friend's slightly older Accord did the same thing. You can Google "Honda Accord transmission problems" for tons of evidence, or start with this article:

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/honda-transmission-problems-seem-to-persist

I'm not a car expert so I can't tell you anything about the other problems.
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: Giro on January 22, 2015, 07:46:11 AM
I replaced the transmission when I got the car.  I bought the car for $2k and put $3k into the transmission.  I was fine with that as I thought $5k for 120k miles was not too bad at all.  And I couldn't find any other major issues.  But, thing is, they aren't major issues but piles and piles of issues it seems like.

Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: Bob W on January 22, 2015, 08:25:53 AM
Get ya a 2001 Toyota camry for like 4-5K with 180K.

Ours is right at 390K now and we abuse the shit out of it.  Didn't even change the timing belt until it blew at 350K.    Changed alternator at 360K.   

That year of camry is unbelievable!   And it still gets around 30 mpg.   Accords, yeah, not so much. 
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: Giro on January 22, 2015, 08:44:12 AM
And a coworker just told me to stay away from Camrys.  She has a 2002 with 125k miles and she said she put $6k in maintenance over the past 3 years because people keep telling her how good that car is.

I think it's all individual.  Sometimes you get a good one and sometimes you don't.

Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: Louisville on January 22, 2015, 08:53:53 AM
Personal anecdotes aside, at what point do car repairs become good money after bad? Never? Is it always cheaper-to-keep 'er?  Anyone have a rule of thumb? (which takes us right back into personal anecdotes...)
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: jms493 on January 22, 2015, 09:05:35 AM
Personal anecdotes aside, at what point do car repairs become good money after bad? Never? Is it always cheaper-to-keep 'er?  Anyone have a rule of thumb? (which takes us right back into personal anecdotes...)

I would say when you are putting in more money than it is worth.  If the car is worth 2K and you have put another 2K into it and it is still worth 2K...then no.  For 2K you can get a car that works.

I mean if you are going to drive beaters your whole life then make sure you have a car maintenance fund.  Personally I would buy something a little bit more expensive and not have to deal with the headaches (regardless of the money).  Who likes dealing with bringing your car to the shop 3-4 times a year for repairs?
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: craigerv on January 22, 2015, 09:13:04 AM
I agree, if you're going to drive 10+ y/o cars all your life, you need to be prepared to repair most of them.  Sometimes you get a great car with no issues but many times you don't.  If you buy old, you should learn some basic maintenance to bring some of the costs down.  I like to buy cars a year or so before the warranty expires to take care of any major issues right away, then drive the sucker for a decade. 
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: cjottawa on January 22, 2015, 09:20:50 AM
I had a 1992 Toyota Tercel years ago (bought it c.2001) that I actually had the engine rebuilt on. (to the tune of about $1,500)

Why? Because I couldn't buy another car for $1,500 that was that good. My mechanic pointed out everything else was perfect on it - transmission, air-conditioning, frame etc. Not a spot of rust. He even said he'd buy it from me if I decided not to fix it.

Thing lasted something like 200,000km on that rebuild and was still going strong when I sold it.

My deciding factor is how long it'll last after the work and what it would cost me to buy another car to replace it.
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: HairyUpperLip on January 22, 2015, 09:29:02 AM
I've tried to stay all mustachian with this damn Accord but I've had it.  The mechanic keeps telling me how great these cars are and this car will run forever....well yea, after you replace every part under the hood. 

I just spent $450 getting the idle control valve and gaskets replaced as well as the front upper control arm replaced.  It was running great and sounded so much better without the front end squeak every time you hit a bump and 2 days later...check engine light BACK ON. 

I bought the car 3 years ago.  I paid $5k to get it up and running. Every year since then I've spent over $1K in maintenance.  it's a 2000 Accord, 160k miles V6.  Should I sell and buy something else or should I stay the course?  I can get a good manual transmission, 4 cylinder for about $8k with low miles.

Why did you need to replace the idle air control valve? Because you had an idle issue or your mechanic just recommended it?

What does the Check engine light keep coming on for?

Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: Timmmy on January 22, 2015, 09:34:34 AM
I agree, if you're going to drive 10+ y/o cars all your life, you need to be prepared to repair most of them.  Sometimes you get a great car with no issues but many times you don't.  If you buy old, you should learn some basic maintenance to bring some of the costs down.  I like to buy cars a year or so before the warranty expires to take care of any major issues right away, then drive the sucker for a decade.

I think you hit the nail on the head.  Old cars require regular maintenance and small repairs.  If you can do the most basic of mechanical repairs you will come way out ahead by keeping almost any car going. 

I think the tipping point for keeping vs tossing is when you can buy a better car for the cost of repairs.  That number depends heavily on how much you are willing to do as far as DIY goes.  DIY repairs on old cars are soooooo cheap though.
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: surfhb on January 22, 2015, 09:43:06 AM
Yes.    That's about a $60 part and can be installed with very ( I mean VERY) little effort..... In other words....he ripped you off.   

You can definitely save lots if you take a basic mechanics class at a local school and DIY
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: GetItRight on January 22, 2015, 09:44:26 AM
I just spent $450 getting the idle control valve and gaskets replaced as well as the front upper control arm replaced.

IAC - $65
Control Arm w/ ball joint - front upper - $42
or Bushings + ball joint - $27
Alignment - $60

So your $450 repair could have cost either $152 or for the luxury of a quick easy bolt in swap (entire control arm assembly) $167. IAC is a 5-10 min job, control arm assembly under an hour.

I bought the car for $2k and put $3k into the transmission.

Rebuilt transmission - $2256
or Rebuild kit + torque converter - $247

So again an easy $744 savings for a day of work or if you have an above average collection of tools and mechanical skill then $2753 savings for a two day job.

If you pay someone else to do every minor thing on an older car it becomes very expensive to pay that labor tax, and of course you get lower quality work, cut corners, potentially lower quality parts, and are inconvenienced being without your vehicle.

Personal anecdotes aside, at what point do car repairs become good money after bad? Never? Is it always cheaper-to-keep 'er?  Anyone have a rule of thumb? (which takes us right back into personal anecdotes...)

Repairs are rarely throwing good money after bad. Step 1 before repairing a car is to buy one. Buy a car you would be happy with for the rest of your life, and preferably one that has depreciated about as much as it ever will and is in good overall condition so if you maintain it the value will hold in case life changes and you decide to sell it. Beyond that just do whatever it needs, and do as much of it as you can yourself. Occasionally some things requiring prohibitively expensive tools will need to be outsourced or you may find yourself in a time pinch when it needs something.

When buying a 10 or 20+ year old car you're going to have a year or two of catching up on all those years of neglect, after you've done all the proactive maintenance and repairs and fixed anything that has broken you'll have a very reliable car. Most vehicles are neglected and abused, people tend to not care to learn at least how to know different sounds/feels/etc. that are signs you need to check on something.
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: DeltaBond on January 22, 2015, 10:06:59 AM
When the repairs cost more than buying another car, I'd buy another car... I don't bother with "what the car is worth" mindset.
Title: Re: Car - When is enough enough?
Post by: Giro on January 22, 2015, 10:55:46 AM
I can do a few minor repairs myself but really not too much.  My husband doesn't like the hassle so it's easier.  And our mechanic is amazingly honest and trustworthy.  But, I just found him so I guess now repairs should be a little better.

I'll see what's up this round and make a decision. 

I hate dealing with busted up cars.