Author Topic: Is this a Mustachian Decision?  (Read 4711 times)

cbr shadow

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Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« on: October 11, 2012, 01:25:31 PM »
I started changing my life to be more mustachian recently and am LOVING it so far.  I have no kids and a modest house, no car payments, no more school loans for my wife or I, and good paying jobs $150k/yr before deductions.  Even so, we were spending so much that we only put away about $500/month before I found this website.  Now I bring a very inexpensive (but still good!) lunch to work, cut my commute in half (now 9 miles each way), no more dumb shopping, go out to eat 1x/week instead of 3-4 (and better choices when we go out), cut cable, etc.

My car, although paid off, is pretty bad.  It's a 2006 Scion XB but had been in a bad accident before I bought it (dont trust Toyota 40-point inspections!) and has a few minor issues.  Also has body damage from a hit & run.  I get approximately 30mpg on avg with it.  It currently has 116k miles.  I estimate in its current condition I can get ~$2500 for it, or fix it up a bit and get $3000 or so.  Besides all of the above, it runs fine and is dependable.

I happened on a deal for a 2001 Honda Insight with 77,000 miles and in perfect condition for $5000.  I test drove it yesterday and it ran great.  The owner says he gets 65mpg on the hwy (also that's the EPA rating, so I believe him).  I've heard of hypermilers getting over 75mpg on these! WOW!  Anyways, it's manual and has new tires, new front brakes, and low miles.  No lights on in the car.  The guy is moving after this weekend so needs to sell it before Monday which I feel like gives me negotiating power.  Kelly Blue Book said expect to pay $7600 for this car, and a dealer in my area has one for $7800 with 150,000 miles on it.

So I'd buy this car for say $4800, then sell mine for $2500-$3000. 

Thoughts?

Note: My wife's car is a Kia Sorento (not mustachian) but she's not ready to give it up just yet.. we have 2 Rottweilers (also not mustachian) so it is nice to have the extra room if we're taking them somewhere.  Her car is paid off and her commute is 3.5 miles each way, so that's not too bad.  Ideally we'd sell her car, buy the Insight, then invest the extra $12,000 but she's not there yet.





Jamesqf

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 01:46:24 PM »
Should be able to get well over 65 mpg highway (at 65 mph or less), if it's the manual transmission.  I've averaged 71 mpg with mine (over 8 years/110K miles) doing a lot of mountain driving.

Couple of things to check.  One is battery status: accelerate a lot, or go up a hill so the assist comes on.  If the battery is weak, the gauge will drop part way then go quickly to zero.  This isn't a deal-killer, just an annoyance.  If you're fairly mechanical, it can be dealt with by "rebalancing" the battery pack.

Another thing is to drive at about 45-50 mph on level ground, and see if the engine runs smoothly, or bucks a bit.  The bucking is called the "herky-jerkies" in Insight circles, and can be fixed by cleaning or replacing the EGR valve.  (Insight Central and Ecomodder.com are good sites for Insight info.)  A do-it-yourself replacement is pretty easy, and a new valve's only about $130.

Other than that, the only problem I've had in my 8 years of ownership was a bad oxygen sensor, again a fairly simple DIY replacement job.

cbr shadow

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 01:50:55 PM »
Thanks very much for the information - I'll check on both of those things tonight.  It is the manual transmission.
Is this an outstanding deal, or am I just being biased?  From what I've seen for this mileage it's a great deal for $5000.

Also, is this a mustachian/Smart buy?

AJ

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 02:23:13 PM »
Also, is this a mustachian/Smart buy?

My back-of-the-napkin has your break-even point at about 36k miles (if gas is $4).

The only concern I would have is the age of the battery. I know zip about Insights, but I know 1st gen prius batteries last about 10 years. If the same is true for the older Insights, you'd be coming up on time to replace it, so factor that cost in. It could still be worth it, depending on how long you plan to keep the car and how many miles you put on it. At what mileage will you replace this vehicle? And how many miles do you drive in a year?

cbr shadow

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 02:37:57 PM »
I've been driving about 15k miles/yr , but I plan on cutting that down dramatically.  As far as when i'll have this car until, it depends on how long it lasts.  I normally keep my cars until they have so many problems that it's not worth keeping anymore.  It's a Honda so I figure 200k miles is not unreasonable.  I doubt the battery will last that long though.  Also it sounds like from what I read on the forums (and above) the batteries get weak and can be rebalanced. I'd give that a shot.  If you buy a new battery + install from the dealer it's $3500.  People mention on the forums that you can pay $1000 for someone to "rebuild" the battery though.


Flynlow

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2012, 04:27:04 PM »
Just out of personal curiousity, I noticed your username references two very sucessful Honda motorcycle lines....are you a rider?  Do you own either a CBR or a Shadow? :)

On the Insight, they are great cars.  If the motorsports bug ever hits you, there are write ups to swap the 2.0L/6 speed from a Civic Si into one, which nets a huge boost in performance and STILL nets 50+mpg in most cases.  But if you do decide to stick with the stock powertrain, and you decide to have the battery pack rebuilt, my only recommendation is to check the quality of the cells utilized in the rebuild.  Many of the cheap Chinese battery packs have a very limited life compared to OEM or a higher quality aftermarket cell.  So do your research! 

Best of luck in your decision.

Jack

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2012, 11:40:47 PM »
No, don't buy the Insight... instead, give me the seller's phone number, please!

Seriously, buy the Insight, keep the xB, sell the Sorento. The xB is plenty is plenty big enough for the dogs.

cbr shadow

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 08:11:17 AM »
Thanks everyone for the information.  I bought it last night!  Ended up paying $4700 for it!  It drives great and the battery seems to work the way it's supposed to. 78,100 miles on the odometer.  Air conditioning is an OPTION on this car, but luckily it came with it.  I dont use AC much, but some days it's nice to have.  I drove it to work today and got 51mpg on the 9 mile trip with stop/go lights and 40mph speeds.  I can't wait to get used to it and get that number way up. 
I agree with the idea of selling the wife's Sorento, but she's really attached to it so that's going to take time.  I'm going to drive the Insight around for a few weeks to make sure I like it, then sell the Scion.

As for my name on here, I did own some CBR motorcycles and had a Honda Shadow a long time ago.  The CBR Shadow name was something I made up on a motorcycle forum a while ago because I had an all black CBR1000RR. That was before I realized it was an expense I didn't really need.  I'll probably get one again in the future at some point, but for now I want to invest all of my extra money.

gdborton

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 11:18:54 AM »
Where do you find deals like this?  I've got a filter setup on CL, am watching yahoo autos, auto trader, and auto & rv in a 200 mile radius (insight/prius)... anything with those miles is priced at about 9k.  Anything in that price range has an extra 120k miles or so.

Jamesqf

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 11:36:36 AM »
Congrats on the purchase.  On the mpg, you can reset the car's "lifetime" mpg counter to start keeping track of your mpg, not yours plus last owner's.  Just to show that the way you drive can make a difference, I bought mine with about 50K miles on it, and a lifetime mpg around 50.  Reset the counter a week or so after I bought it; it now has about 160K and 71.4 average mpg.

focusaurus

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 03:21:50 PM »
I agree with gdborton that you found a sweet deal! I've been watching CL and insights command high resale prices and they are not many of them. I'm test driving a 2007 Honda Fit manual tonight!

Jack

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2012, 08:37:37 AM »
I agree with the idea of selling the wife's Sorento, but she's really attached to it so that's going to take time.  I'm going to drive the Insight around for a few weeks to make sure I like it, then sell the Scion.

What is your wife's problem with the xB? Is it that she thinks it's too small, or just that it's not in good enough condition? If the latter, then sell the xB and the Sorento, then buy a better [1st-generation] xB (because it pretty much can't be beat for the combination of size and fuel economy, as far as I know).

cbr shadow

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Re: Is this a Mustachian Decision?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2012, 02:20:24 PM »
For those who asked where I found it, I check craigslist a few times every day for whatever items I'm looking for.  I really did just get lucky with this one.  I grabbed cash and met the guy on his way home from work (he was driving the car) and test drove it and looked it over.  He ended up taking $4700 for it which was great.  I was suspicious because of the way he was acting and some of the things he was saying (I checked the title to see that the VIN on the title matched what was on the car and he said "What you think it's stolen?!") but I guess he was just a bit weird.  Anyways, I'm really happy with the deal I got. 
After only having the car for 4 days now I'm already getting used to how everything works and how to maximize mileage with the "lean burn" feature.  I took a 60 mile trip to Chicago this past weekend and got 74mpg average on that trip.  That number could be a bit higher if I would have slowed down a bit, but we were in a bit of a hurry.

The wife wouldn't want to drive the Scion XB.  She loves her Kia and isn't open to selling it yet.  I'm working on plenty of other changes we can make though.  Plus I don't see it as a huge expense for us.  She gets high 20's MPG in it (28 last I checked) but it's paid off and not driven a whole ton.  She needs soemthing more professional than an XB for her job.  What's funny is that I'm the one who picked the Kia 2 years ago when we bought it and was very proud of myself for being so frugal!  Now I realize that a $22,000 SUV that gets high 26-30mpg isn't exactly ideal.