Author Topic: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?  (Read 1849 times)

Linea_Norway

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How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« on: February 24, 2017, 12:27:38 AM »
Hello,

Our main car, a Subaru Outback, has now driven approx 120.000 km (= 74,500 miles) and it has claimed a couple of repairs the previous year. Now the motor is making a strange sound and that might be the gearbox that needs replacement. Or something completely different.

When our previous car was in a similar condition, we thought is was a good moment to replace it by a new car. But now we have turned into Mustachians, so we need to look at possibilities of more repairs instead of replacing it. The alternative would be to buy a secondhand car in a better condition.

Do you think it is profitable to continue investing in repairs in our current car? There is a risk that it is a Monday morning model, looking at the amount of repairs so long. My husband has done a few car repairs himself, but has no other experience with car repairs. He needs to learn all from YouTube. For most repairs we need to pay a garage to repair it.

Other information: in Norway car repairs are very expensive because of high hourly rates.

What is your advice?

dragoncar

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 12:31:27 AM »
You have to make a guess at your annual repair costs and factor in the inconvenience (like having to rent a car while yours is in the shop).  Unfortunately, we can't really do that for you.  But typically, a few moderate repairs a year will be far cheaper than the depreciation on a new car.  If you are considering replacing with a newer, but still used car, the math might work out better.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 12:46:27 AM »
What year is it?

At 120,000km, I'd lean towards getting it fixed. A car should be good for a minimum of 250,000-300,000km :)

Don't some Subarus have transmission issues?

Linea_Norway

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 02:07:08 AM »
What year is it?

At 120,000km, I'd lean towards getting it fixed. A car should be good for a minimum of 250,000-300,000km :)

Don't some Subarus have transmission issues?

It is a 2010 model, diesel. I haven't heard of transmission issues. I thought that was Volkswagen and Audi.

We plan to buy a petrol hybrid in some years, when this car really needs replacement. But the ones that I would like to buy cost too much. So we need to wait a few years anyway.

Linea_Norway

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 02:10:14 AM »
You have to make a guess at your annual repair costs and factor in the inconvenience (like having to rent a car while yours is in the shop).  Unfortunately, we can't really do that for you.  But typically, a few moderate repairs a year will be far cheaper than the depreciation on a new car.  If you are considering replacing with a newer, but still used car, the math might work out better.

About the inconvenience: it did once stop while we were a long way from home. Very inconvenient. But this particular problem is solved.
Renting a car during repairs is something we never do.

My colleague has a car that has run 300.000 kms. That is fantastic for a car. But it has stopped 4 times while the family was on holiday with a full car. His wife doesn't want to use that car during the holiday anymore.

I guess we have to use YouTube more to learn how to repair a car ourselves. That is still the cheapest option.

dragoncar

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 02:13:24 AM »
We've got a Forester with similar age/miles.  Haven't had any major repairs yet, but I'm planning to try the timing belt soon after I FIRE.  Suburu is generally very reliable, so I'd stick with handling it myself.  Right now I enjoy it though, do you guys enjoy the youtube/DIY car repair experience at all?  If not, and you make enough money hourly, you could try to find a cheaper mechanic.

What year is it?


Linea_Norway

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2017, 02:30:27 AM »
My husband has experienced that DIY car repairs are very time consuming, which is problematic when you work full time. And sometimes it is just too risky of doing wrong, like changing spark plugs.
We always compare prices with different garages. And I don't care whether they look like the guy in the picture, if they just do the job.
Once we went to Sweden to pick up a painted spare part, which cost 50% less. That was a trip combined with picking up a new second hand car near the border.

ejackson11

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 06:47:19 AM »
I read a study a while back that compared the cost of continuing to repair an old car vs the cost of a new car and the old car ALWAYS won regarding cost savings even when you got to the point of replacing engines or transmissions.   Yes it can be a pain and yes you will have less confidence in long trips, but if it comes down to just money- keep the old car.   I have taken this advice over the past decade and have well over 300k Kms on the family vehicle.   I find that I do preventive maintenance now and don't just wait for things to break. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 06:50:20 AM »
I read a study a while back that compared the cost of continuing to repair an old car vs the cost of a new car and the old car ALWAYS won regarding cost savings even when you got to the point of replacing engines or transmissions.   Yes it can be a pain and yes you will have less confidence in long trips, but if it comes down to just money- keep the old car.   I have taken this advice over the past decade and have well over 300k Kms on the family vehicle.   I find that I do preventive maintenance now and don't just wait for things to break.

Thanks, this is a very useful reply. Then the only reason to replace it after some years is the transit to a plug-in hybrid to drive cleaner on short stretches. But this can wait for a while.

lthenderson

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2017, 07:50:24 AM »
Every used car I've bought has had more miles on the odometer than yours does now and I generally don't think about replacing them until they are well over 200,000 miles. Generally, rust has always been the eventual death of my vehicles. Until then, I repair them as needed and try to do as much of that myself.

HipGnosis

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2017, 01:12:47 PM »
My husband has experienced that DIY car repairs are very time consuming, which is problematic when you work full time. And sometimes it is just too risky of doing wrong, like changing spark plugs.
We always compare prices with different garages. And I don't care whether they look like the guy in the picture, if they just do the job.
DIY car maintenance (like changing spark plugs) and repairs do take time. but like most things, you get better and faster the more you do it.  The cost savings of most if it is substantial.
I recommend you stop using only price to choose service.  Often you do get (just) what you pay for.  A trustworthy mechanic can be priceless, which means a very high value.

dragoncar

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2017, 01:57:23 PM »
My husband has experienced that DIY car repairs are very time consuming, which is problematic when you work full time. And sometimes it is just too risky of doing wrong, like changing spark plugs.
We always compare prices with different garages. And I don't care whether they look like the guy in the picture, if they just do the job.
DIY car maintenance (like changing spark plugs) and repairs do take time. but like most things, you get better and faster the more you do it.  The cost savings of most if it is substantial.
I recommend you stop using only price to choose service.  Often you do get (just) what you pay for.  A trustworthy mechanic can be priceless, which means a very high value.

Or better yet make friends with someone who does enjoy working on cars and find a mutually beneficial arrangement.  No VAT.

Kapiira

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2017, 02:03:04 PM »
I don't know if you're looking at replacing it with a used Subaru, but I found that finding a used Subaru that is a good value is very difficult.

Slow&Steady

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2017, 02:17:52 PM »
We have a generally rule that a used car should be replaced when the cost to buy the exact same make/model/year is cheaper than the repair that is needed. 

For example, if repairing the car would cost $3000, but buying the exact same car would only cost $2500.  However, we also consider if we think the car will run another 2-5 years after the repair or will it need another (maybe different) repair in the following years.  So if it is a one-time cost of $3000 and we are confident that we will get several more years before another major repair will be needed, we would repair it.  But if it is NOT a one-time cost and after this repair we anticipate something else major needing work in the near future, we would not fix the car.

Linea_Norway

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2017, 09:10:23 AM »
We have a generally rule that a used car should be replaced when the cost to buy the exact same make/model/year is cheaper than the repair that is needed. 

But will you then ever get some money back for it when selling it? I suppose no one wants to buy a car that needs a repair bigger than another similar working car.

Just Joe

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Re: How long should we keep a car that is not working great?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2017, 09:45:37 AM »
I think I would get the car to someone that knows Subarus. Even if you had to pay them something to identify engine or transmission problems - at least you'd have a better idea about whether this car will need expensive repairs or not. Otherwise you might just be guessing.

We have driven various cars past 300K miles. I have not heard of many cars needing need engines or transmissions that early in their lifecycle.