Author Topic: How much would you pay for a car you're not going to drive much?  (Read 677 times)

RusticBohemian

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My 1998 Honda Civic just died and the repair cost isn't worth it. I only drive a few times a week plus the occasional road trip, as I mostly walk and ride my bike.

I intend to replace the Civic because I do need it several times a week, but I'm conflicted about how much money I should commit to infrequently-used transport that will just depreciate and have repair bills in the future. It seems like paying more will get me a lower-mileage car that's newer, and will theoretically have a lower risk of needing future repairs, but it seems a waste when I don't use it that much.

On the other hand, the cars I'd consider at less than 4k have mileage in the 130-180k range, which seems high, and some have been in accidents. 

Before I decided it was too far gone to save, I had put about a 1.5k into my Honda civic over the course of 3 years. It kept it going, but in retrospect I should have just bought a new used car back then.

Anyway, how much money should I put into this? I'm by no means wealthy and have plenty of savings goals and responsibilities to deal with, so it's not an idle question.


What would you consider a good investment in my situation from this search of my area's car inventory?: https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?sourceContext=carGurusHomePageBody&newSearchFromOverviewPage=true&inventorySearchWidgetType=BODYSTYLE&bodyTypeGroup=bg3&zip=78704&distance=25&startYear=&endYear=&minPrice=0&maxPrice=8000&maxMileage=130000&transmission=A&searchChanged=true&modelChanged=undefined&filtersModified=true



« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 06:20:07 PM by RusticBohemian »

shinn497

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Re: How much would you pay for a car you're not going to drive much?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2018, 06:01:41 PM »
As someone without a license, driving a few times a week is a ton!

I'd pay a solid 5 - 8k for a japanese car with < 50k miles . Get it inspected by a mechanic. Buy private, negotiate. And drive till it dies.

Cars are in no ways investments. So if you buy one the goal is to minimize cost as much as possible but also not get stranged.

Here you go man.

Systems101

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Re: How much would you pay for a car you're not going to drive much?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2018, 06:04:16 PM »
It seems like paying more will get me a lower-mileage car that's newer, and will theoretically have a lower risk of needing future repairs, but it seems a waste when I don't use it that much.

Like anything, this is a risk tradeoff.  I would add one more item to your calculation: The newer vehicle will (probably) also have a MUCH higher accident survival rate.  As a small demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xidhx_f-ouU

So while I agree with shinn497 that the vehicle isn't an investment, I also don't view this as a goal of minimizing cost (although that probably borders on blasphemy around here).  I view buying a vehicle as a form of an insurance policy for driving (but I'm a system thinker, hence the username).  Too small, and in an accident anything large will kill you.  Too large and it's a gas guzzler and will bankrupt you.  So just like insurance, you have to decide what coverage to buy... The problem is that these are apples-to-oranges trade-offs (death vs delayed retirement) and most people stink at doing those forms of assessments. 

p.s. Many people I know also compare crash ratings without understanding that they are rated relative to a vehicle of the same size... so 5* != 5* unless they are in the same class... and mixed class crashes fare poorly for the smaller vehicle.

Beardog

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Re: How much would you pay for a car you're not going to drive much?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2018, 06:19:59 PM »
Like you, I don't drive much.  A few months ago when it seemed like the clutch on my 1996 Toyota Corolla was going to need to be replaced soon and the overall condition of the car made me reluctant to make that investment, I purchased a 2007 Toyota Matrix thru Craigs List with 140,000 miles for $3,500.  The Matrix has standard transmission with manual windows and doors.  I prefer manual windows because of the expense of replacing window lift motors.  I live in Central Mass.

While I was looking for my "new" car, I discovered that I could access Consumer Reports online from my local library.  Since I am not a 'car person', I relied heavily on looking up car prices thru this venue while I was looking at cars online.

I'm very pleased with my "new" car.  Good luck with your decision making.