Author Topic: fancy car durability  (Read 7348 times)

slugsworth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 274
fancy car durability
« on: October 03, 2012, 06:19:51 PM »
I had a friend growing up whose family always bought 'premium' cars with high mileage cheaply and ran them into the ground. I remember a Volvo station wagon that they got an extra ~100k out of, an old BMW that lasted for ever, and others.

Anyway, I've been bike commuting for the last few years but decided that I want to buy a car in order to get to the mountains and so forth. I'm looking at hatchbacks and wagons. I've been looking at the 2005-ish ford focus station wagon and hatchback per the MMM article (I like the Matrix/Vibe but can't find them in the price range), but I keep seeing these SAAB 9-5 stationwagons. . . usually with 85 - 120k in mileage and they seem to have depreciated a lot. . . it is pretty tempting to buy the way fancier car for around the same price and the same mileage.

So, help talk me out of the fancy car.  My goal, a car that can move stuff, get as good of gas mileage as possible, be reliable and be $4-6k.

Thoughts?

herisff

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 111
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 07:31:40 PM »
I think you should look at repair & maintenance costs for any vehicle(s) that ends up in the running. I've been told that Volvos cost more to maintain than Hondas, for example (at least, my sister always said so). For older cars, it's going to be the maintenance issues that will get you. Also ask your insurer how much it would cost to insure the vehicle(s) that you like - if one is too high, don't get that one (as long as all other factors are the same).

kkbmustang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 07:38:47 PM »
Based on our own personal experience, we would not recommend a Volvo or BMW from a maintenance perspective. We have been driving pre-owned Lexus' since 2003 and have found them to have very low maintenance expenses (knock on wood). We've driven a 2002 RX300 since 2003 (purchased pre-owned with 4400 miles on it). The most expensive repair was a one-time $2,000 repair. Every other year outside of warranty has been less than $400. It currently has almost 130,000 miles. We just bought another Lexus, this one a 2007 ES350 with about 50,000 miles on it. I expect to be driving it for forever.  We have had such great experiences with Lexus vehicles, I don't imagine we will buy any other kind of car. Not a mustachian choice of car, but incredibly reliable, long lasting and not outrageous to maintain. It is not uncommon for these cars to last beyond 200,000 miles.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
  • Location: NZ
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 02:53:16 AM »
If you do buy a luxury car make sure it's in very fucking good condition.

My 5 serries BMW was a money pit, both on fuel economy, and repair costs. One of the best things I ever did was sell it.

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2229
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 04:52:35 AM »
Nothing personal, but it would be tough to buy a bigger POS that the Saabs you are looking at. Obviously Saab WAS a  small manufacturer, catering to a very limited audience, who were very loyal to their slightly odd and durable products.  At some point they were purchased by GM. From that point on, they went from quirky, to garbage, in short order. Saab went out of business earlier this year. As an "Orphan" brand, no longer in production, depreciation accelerates, and parts availability becomes an issue. They are available as cheap used cars for a reason. You can anticipate the probability of extremely expensive repairs, poor reliability, and continuing steep depreciation. In particular, the later models are plagued by really bad motors, that often need replacement at the mileage range you are shopping in. 
As for the reliability of the high end German brands.........it's just a memory. Mercedes and BMW build complex vehicles that are well below the reliability of their Asian competitors, and really age rather poorly. BTW, I'm talking real world reliability, not the horseshit data about how wonderful these products are in "initial quality surveys" or how great they are when then they are still covered under warranty, and the owner is getting treated like royalty by the dealer. Real world reliability info. by my measurement, starts at what kind of product is it when it's 5-7 years old, and 60-80K on the odometer. We have reached a point where any manufacturer can build a car that doesn't suck while you are still paying off that 60 month loan.  By the time a mid level Beemer or Mercedes reaches your price point, it can be a real ticking time bomb. It may run the next 50,000 miles with nothing but oil changes and tires, or the repairs may quickly exceed the purchase price. BTW, this also applies to lesser priced German brands. I am dumping a 2003 Passat shortly. The car is a pleasure to drive, and a nightmare to own. It was $6K with 90K miles on it, when I bought it 2-1/2 years ago. It has been extrodinarily unreliable, suffering from all the usual problems these cars are infamous for, and has needed roughly $4K in repairs during the time I have owned it.
As a 'stachian, I can't see another Eurotrash car ever darkening my driveway, ever! They are, almost without exception, one of the poorest transportation choices you can make.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 04:55:18 AM by paddedhat »

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2229
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 05:23:51 AM »
. We have been driving pre-owned Lexus' since 2003 and have found them to have very low maintenance expenses . Not a mustachian choice of car, but incredibly reliable, long lasting and not outrageous to maintain. It is not uncommon for these cars to last beyond 200,000 miles.
 

 I use rockauto.com for some of my repair parts. In their recent newsletter they had a short story of a guy who owns a top of the line Lexus Coupe, that he bought new in 1993. The car has never had a major repair, just regular maintenance. The engine has never been "opened up", as in it has never needed internal repairs. It is still used as a daily driver, and looks great. It has 538,000 miles on it.

 A well maintained Toyota (Lexus) or Honda (Acura) product WILL give 300K miles of reliable service. 99% of the time, here in the northeast, these cars are killed by rust, or neglect, before they actually wear out. 

kkbmustang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 07:22:24 AM »
@Paddedhat - We plan on driving our car until it dies. (We're seriously considering going down to one car when we move to a more walkable part of town.) We'll keep the 2007 ES350 and, if all goes according to plan, not buy another car again. If we can get 538,000 miles out of it, we won't need to.

Forcus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 714
  • Location: Central Illinois
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 09:16:16 AM »
Run far away from the Saabs*. I have been tempted a few times but the hassle factor is not worth it, especially because they have known issues with the primary electronics (those you NEED to go to work - ignition, alarm system (disable), etc.). *There are a couple exceptions. The Saab 9-2X is essentially a fancy Subaru Impreza / WRX (in turbo and non-turbo versions). I would not hesitate to pick one up at the right price as there is very little that is Saab-specific. The differences are all improvements in styling, comfort, etc.

I have a 2005 Volvo S40 T5 with 170k miles. It has been very reliable BUT.. when it has needed something, it has been somewhat expensive (Not Audi/BMW/MB expensive). The hard parts are basically Ford so they are reliable. But ALL of the secondary electronics (power windows, radio, HVAC) have their own computers and software and it is ALL expensive. We have experienced a few quirks in the secondary electronics but nothing crazy. If you are looking for an alternative to common vehicles I would recommend an S40 T5 or a V50 T5 (which is a wagon version of the S40). You can also get them in AWD and I've seen them around $10-15k with under 100k miles.

BTW the Focus wagon is a good choice if you don't mind the bland look. If you look hard enough you can get them with a stick.

madage

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 405
  • Location: TX
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 03:27:02 PM »
Can't say much about Saab, never owned one. We did have a 2005 Volvo V5 2.4 (non-turbo). We liked the vehicle a lot until it met an unfortunate end. Parts are definitely expensive. The vehicle ended up being totaled rather than have the transmission replaced after it had a mishap with a concrete median. Just the part cost for a rebuilt transmission was almost $5,000. Thinking back, it did have the smoothest transmission by far of any vehicle I've owned...

Kriegsspiel

  • Guest
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 04:11:29 PM »
If you do buy a luxury car make sure it's in very fucking good condition.

My 5 serries BMW was a money pit, both on fuel economy, and repair costs. One of the best things I ever did was sell it.

A bit off topic... gooki, how did you sell yours?  Did you sell it to a private buyer, or to a dealership? 

slugsworth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 274
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2012, 07:01:58 PM »
Quote
it would be tough to buy a bigger POS that the Saabs you are looking at
wow. . .well I guess the VW experience was not a fun one. I understand that it is an abandoned brand, which is one of the reasons I was thinking it might offer a good value. I don't think there is any possibility that I would buy another luxury type car. . .

the Focus wagon is a good choice if you don't mind the bland look. If you look hard enough you can get them with a stick.
I want the car for purely utilitarian purrposes, and the syle feature is something that I'm not interested in. . the ford would be fine.  I was just thinking that a sunroof would be nice and every saab has one and I doubt there is a ford wagon with one!

CB

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 112
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 07:56:39 PM »
I want the car for purely utilitarian purrposes ...a sunroof would be nice

Utilitarian?  Are you planning to use the sunroof to carry long pieces of lumber? Watch out for low overpasses!  To me, utilitarian and sunroof do not go together. 

Actually, sunroofs remind me of my beloved 1983 2-door Volvo 240 Turbo Intercooler, whose sunroof provided unwelcome showers whenever you had the audacity to drive it in the rain.   To make matters worse, I could never benefit from the situation because I consistently failed to keep a bottle of shampoo in the car.

A sunroof is just one more pricey thing that will break, particularly on a Saab.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
  • Location: NZ
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 07:58:29 PM »
If you do buy a luxury car make sure it's in very fucking good condition.

My 5 serries BMW was a money pit, both on fuel economy, and repair costs. One of the best things I ever did was sell it.

A bit off topic... gooki, how did you sell yours?  Did you sell it to a private buyer, or to a dealership?

Private buyer, NZ equivalent of Craigslist, with lots of good photos, cleaned inside and out, and an honest description.

I factored in people would try and talk me down so I increased the asking price by 25%, and ended up getting the minimum I wanted. Sold to the second person who came around to view it.

Forcus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 714
  • Location: Central Illinois
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 10:58:31 AM »
I was just thinking that a sunroof would be nice and every saab has one and I doubt there is a ford wagon with one!

Oh I bet you can find a Focus wagon with options. An alternative too is the ZX5. It doesn't have quite the carrying capacity of the wagon (the wagon is more squared off and I think a bit longer) but a ZX5 is more likely to be found loaded with a sunroof.

FYI 2000-2004 were the original style. There were 3 engines available. AVOID the 2.0 liter 8 valve, Split Port (SPI) 4 cylinder at ALL costs. It is found in the lower trim cars. The second engine, which is very good, is the 2.0 liter 16 valve Zetec. The third engine, found in some PZEV (partial zero emissions vehicles) is the 2.3 liter 16 valve Duratec. This is a very good engine originating from Mazda. It has a bit more power and runs a bit smoother than the Zetec, while getting slightly better mileage.

2005-2007 cars are the "refreshed" style. Updated dash, front, and rear end but suspension, sheetmetal, interior were essentially the same. ALL except the ST trim (sedan only) had the 2.0 liter 16 valve Duratec.

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2229
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 04:47:04 PM »
I just bought my daughter a 2007 focus five door hatch, SE model, sunroof, nice wheels, auto. 65K miles, private sale, exceptional condition, craigslist find. $6500. A few weeks earlier I found a 2007 three door for my son. That one had 85K and was a one owner in very good condition, paid $5300, another craigslist score. Good cars are out there for reasonable amounts. The cars are pretty much limited to the MMM cars for smart people list, and a few others. They are found with private buyers, not dealers and certainly not used car lots. I wasted a whole day at probably 8-10 used car lots in a large metro area near me. total waste of time. They buy absolute trash from auctions, don't want to negotiate on price, no warranty, want your trade for well below auction pricing, and want thousands more than I paid for my two focus's.  Good luck on your search, and no eurotrash :)

slugsworth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 274
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2012, 09:04:30 PM »
Forcus, thank you very much that is exactly the type of advice I was looking for. . . I found a 2005 ZX3 that I'm going to have my mechanic take a look at. It is a little smaller than I was hoping, but it looks like a solid car from a private seller.

Forcus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 714
  • Location: Central Illinois
Re: fancy car durability
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2012, 10:51:11 AM »
Forcus, thank you very much that is exactly the type of advice I was looking for. . . I found a 2005 ZX3 that I'm going to have my mechanic take a look at. It is a little smaller than I was hoping, but it looks like a solid car from a private seller.

No problem! I just have a thing for Focuses (Foci?). My wife hates it. And it makes me terminally uncool. But oh well. As far as size, I don't know if you are talking about people or hauling capability. The 3 doors are a little tough for people to get in and out of the back (but once they are back there, they are comfortable). The big plus is the flat load area. The seat bottoms in back tilt forward and the seat backs fold down. The load area is about 3 ft x 4 ft. I bought a lawnboy on CL the other day and it fit with space to spare.

Oh yeah, and they make trailer hitches for them and can haul about 1000-1500 lbs without an issue (as long as you keep the tongue weight low). I am getting rid of my truck and that is my plan.