Author Topic: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?  (Read 5740 times)

GoPackGo

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Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« on: March 27, 2014, 02:43:00 PM »
Hopefully I can set up the situation as best as possible. I have recently been paying down student loans at a rapid pace since last year. However, I have a beater ( 200,000) driven it since high school ( I am in my mid 20s now) with no air. I have a summer internship (paid) and after the internship in all likely hood will commute to a grad program. The air needs to be fixed without a question (live in the south call me a complainypants if you'd like; prefer not to be the sweaty intern) However I have had air pumped into it before lasted me a couple of months or should I use some savings for a 7500 used car? Then I would go back to killing the student loans and we (wife and I) should have it paid off by end of the year even with the car purchase. I also can get about 1200 for the beater.

Also, what cars would yall recommend? I have read MMM recommendations but would like to hear the forums reccs. The Toyota Prius has caught my eye but they are hard to find with a clean title in the 7500 dollar price range. 

warfreak2

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 02:47:04 PM »
Welcome to the forum. Here, the first thing we're (I'm) going to ask is, what do you need a car for?

GoPackGo

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 03:24:38 PM »
I will need to it drive to the internship this summer and possibly commute to grad school if my wife does not find a job nearby the school. I would love to bike but I would like to make an impression at my internship and biking in 100 degree weather and showing up after that could be a deal breaker. I will be dealing with clients is the issue. But I will remain open minded....

Frankies Girl

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 03:34:15 PM »
I live in SE Texas, where the heat and humidity are horrific and I don't use my AC on the drive to work. I leave when it's still pretty early in the morning and rolling the windows down tends to provide enough air circulation to prevent me from arriving at the office all sweaty. If you're going to meet clients after, I could kind of understand the wanting AC, but the ride in shouldn't be as bad.

That being said, how much and what interest rate are your loans? If the rate is low (under 4-5%) it might be a good idea to start saving for if/when the current vehicles craps out on you, and saving to build up an emergency fund if you don't already have one.

You could probably find a Scion Xa in the 2004-05 range that would be around $5,000 and they are great vehicles (we have a 2004 that has over 100K and still drives like new).

GoPackGo

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 03:42:56 PM »
Thanks for the replies. Nice to know of other people without air. As far as saving situation goes we have 1000 in the bank for emergencies and have saved up around 6 for the car or if we decide to use that for the loans we will. For sure anything saved over 7000 will start going right back to loans. The rate is 6.5% pretty steep.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 05:20:16 PM »
A charge gun with gauge and a couple cans of R-134a will be $50 or less. That's a LOT cheaper than a new car.

Save an e-fund by all means, but if the AC is the only problem, I'd keep it running for now.

CarDude

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 05:30:41 PM »
You likely have a leak or need a new compressor if you need to recharge it every couple of months. That can be fixed for much less than $7500. However, if you want a new car, I'd recommend an '05 or later Accord. You can find them for around 6k and unlike most of the vehicles you're likely to be recommended, it'll come with side head and torso airbags, which I think are worth paying extra for.

GoPackGo

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 06:04:29 PM »
Awesome thanks for all the responses. I think I've been convinced to keep it for now. However what should I do with the savings we have right now? Should all go to the student loans or keep some if the beater craps out?

I'll add the Accord to the list. We've haven't looked that much because we have an 08 Accord and might forget which one is which :)

phred

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 06:41:31 PM »
Can you get to the internship early and then change shirts?

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 07:01:15 PM »
In the past month, I have bought a 97 Honda Accord for 3100 and a Mazda B3000 pickup for 2950.  Both of them have less than 100k miles.  (kids cars)

One from Craigslist, one from ebay.  You can get decent cars all day long for 4k in most areas of the country.

CarDude

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 07:25:23 PM »
Awesome thanks for all the responses. I think I've been convinced to keep it for now. However what should I do with the savings we have right now? Should all go to the student loans or keep some if the beater craps out?

I'll add the Accord to the list. We've haven't looked that much because we have an 08 Accord and might forget which one is which :)

Keep that Accord; it's one of the safest cars you can buy at any price! And regarding the loans, I'd throw the savings at it once you've got an e-fund. The e-fund should be enough to cover any repair the beater might need short of a new engine, and that'll buy you time to make a purchase that isn't rushed.

prodarwin

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2014, 07:13:04 AM »
A charge gun with gauge and a couple cans of R-134a will be $50 or less. That's a LOT cheaper than a new car.

Please don't do this.  This is not how A/C problems are fixed.  There is a lot more to it than this, although it can still be done yourself relatively easily.

warbirds

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2014, 09:17:56 AM »
My  '99 Acura with 215,000 miles on it has no A/C. I live in Dallas. Not long ago nobody had A/C anywhere so it is nearly commical when people think of it as a necessity. I have taken customers at very high levels out to lunch and dinner in my car- even had a one star general ride in it last fall.

Its old, I smoke cigars in it, but keep it clean, and I will litterally drive it until the wheels actually fall off.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 09:20:11 AM by warbirds »

GoPackGo

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 09:56:54 AM »
Thanks for the replies. Keeping the car. Took the craiglist down. Will use some of the current funds for the student loans and keep the rest as a back up for car right now. And now it will be easier in the coming months to make bigger payments on loans that we will stop saving for a 7500 dollar car. Thanks for the induction to the forum.

Also, the Honda we have will be driven into the grave for sure. And the car is owned by us.

GalTexas

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 10:12:20 AM »
I can't imagine not having a/c in central Texas.  Yes getting to work is ok, but how in the world do you suffer through a car ride home after it's been baking in 100+ heat all day? 

Forcus

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2014, 10:26:24 AM »
I don't know if I read in to it wrong or not, but is your beater the '08 Accord? If so, to have the A/C go out on a car that is relatively young means a couple things:

(1) If the coolant is low / leaking, there is a massive leak. Not necessarily a high dollar fix, could simply be a hose that rubbed against something, replace the hose,  have the system evacuated and charged (correctly), might be a couple hundred bucks.

(2) A mechanical / electrical component has gone out. If it's a compressor or a part within the flow of coolant, it can be expensive - it usually means replacing the compressor and disassembling the works, blowing it out, and replacing the filter, etc. Can be over $1k depending on what it is. BUT it can also be much easier. I had an '05 Volvo where after 20 minutes the A/C would go out. After determining there was no leak, I did some reading and found out the electromagnetic clutch on the compressor has shims that allow you to adjust it. I was able to adjust it in about 20 minutes for free.

Bottom line, before giving up hope, might try forums for your make / model car and see if there is an easy fix without throwing in the towel.

Spudd

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2014, 10:35:54 AM »
I'd also add, what about taking the bus? Nobody suggested this. Is public transit so awful in the US that nobody thinks of it as an option?

Forcus

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2014, 11:25:56 AM »
I'd also add, what about taking the bus? Nobody suggested this. Is public transit so awful in the US that nobody thinks of it as an option?

I don't think people are saying don't take public transit. I don't mention it usually because if someone is on MMM they have probably already read the "pyramid" of transport. Walk / run /  bike is first level, public transit second level, zipcar / rent / carpool third level, low cost beater next level, etc.

I just assume they've already thought of it first...

phred

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2014, 12:12:24 PM »
I'd also add, what about taking the bus? Nobody suggested this. Is public transit so awful in the US that nobody thinks of it as an option?
in most places - basically yes (if it even exists)

prodarwin

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2014, 12:47:48 PM »
I'd also add, what about taking the bus? Nobody suggested this. Is public transit so awful in the US that nobody thinks of it as an option?
in most places - basically yes (if it even exists)

Agreed.  It's pretty worthless everywhere but major metro areas.  Google won't even give me public transit options in this area.

I know in the DC metro area, once you are out of metro range, the bus isn't a viable option during non-commuting hours or for reverse commuting.  I tried to take the bus one day from Fairfax to Western Loudoun and the expected trip was 3+ hours - 10mph average.  Even within FFX, the schedules were pretty poor, and we're talking about a county of >1 million people.

greaper007

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2014, 01:26:25 PM »
I've never tried to deal with a bad compressor, I just roll the windows down.   But...isn't there a product that plugs up leaks in the same way one of those "Miracle Head Gasket, tranny slip, oil leak..." products do?    If it gets you through the summer for less than a hundred bucks it might be worth it.    Then you can drive your car till it dies or just put a couple hundred bucks a month into a car fund for next summer, when you hopefully have a better job.

skunkfunk

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2014, 01:44:49 PM »
Might be a sensor or something. Try unplugging your battery for a minute to reset the computer.

My car for the last ten years has no AC (Oklahoma.) No radio, either. Actually, it's pretty much an engine on wheels.

But then, I'm the guy who was out playing tennis in our record high of 115F summer before last.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 01:46:30 PM by skunkfunk »

GoPackGo

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2014, 08:30:14 AM »
The beater car is a 92 mazda. The newer Honda is definitely the bentley. Public transport? Haha. Not where I live. But we have a little fund for a car waiting and we will see how long this car lasts. Thanks for the help. Made the decision easier.

Forcus

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2014, 09:48:07 AM »
I've never tried to deal with a bad compressor, I just roll the windows down.   But...isn't there a product that plugs up leaks in the same way one of those "Miracle Head Gasket, tranny slip, oil leak..." products do?    If it gets you through the summer for less than a hundred bucks it might be worth it.    Then you can drive your car till it dies or just put a couple hundred bucks a month into a car fund for next summer, when you hopefully have a better job.

There is, and it usually works (assuming the problem is leak-down). If you are using it on a car that has one foot in the grave it can work. Otherwise if you go to fix it down the road, it is your worst nightmare. It can create a black sludge that requires cleaning and sometimes replacing every component of the system.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Get rid of beater or pay more on student loans?
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2014, 10:05:58 AM »
OP: If you can read and follow simple instructions you can fix your own a/c!!!  Probably will not cost much at all. Heck, even the "special tools" are available for free rental from local auto parts stores. Fix your a/c and save your cash. Just my .02.