Author Topic: New or Used - Cars on the Eastern Seaboard  (Read 3096 times)

Edge of Reason

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New or Used - Cars on the Eastern Seaboard
« on: September 18, 2016, 07:34:53 PM »
Our much loved 11 year old Corolla passed inspection for another year but we were told it will need about $1500 of work to keep it safely on the road (brakes, rear shocks, and body work - Rocker Panels and a grapefruit sized hole rear passenger floor).   We bought this car new in 2006 and put 175 000 miles on it to date (this includes an annual 700 mile vacation each summer).

We've come to the conclusion that this is just a bit too much to spend on our only car.  We rely on it daily (yes...Car clowns but we commute together 8 miles in the morning and one spouse takes the bus to its last stop 4 miles of home).  We live in a small community outside of the hustle and bustle of town but close enough to bike to work if needed. 

I've been researching a lot of options and many sites...including this one...say to buy an older car with low mileage.  I'm wondering if this is really valuable advice for us over on the Eastern Seaboard.  We spent some time out West once and I noticed A LOT of older model cars on the road...rust free.  Where I live (about an hour from the East coast) they seem to have a love affair with salt on the roads in the winter.  Almost 1/2 of my 11 year old car's repair estimate is to fix rust issues.  If we buy another older used car with low mileage I'm worried that we'll be facing rust repairs sooner rather than later.

So, do you think that the advice of buying used (low mileage older car) is predominantly for areas that don't deal with high summer humidity and winter/salted roads?  Let me know what you think....'cause right now I'm thinking new might be a better deal.   

« Last Edit: September 18, 2016, 08:31:42 PM by Edge of Reason »


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Re: New or Used - Cars on the Eastern Seaboard
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2016, 07:57:53 PM »
Definitely not.  Used wins hands down - just don't go too *old* in the used (and/or stare at the undercarriage and see -- you can clearly see the rust in many cases).

Consider a corolla:
2016 Corolla L-Manual, new, $17,300.
Let's say it lasts 11 years, like your current one.  That's 17,300 / 11 ~= $1572/year.

I just found a 2014, used, 40981 miles, for $11,398 (and that's from a dealer)

If you believe that rust, and not mileage, is going to be the most likely thing that kills this car, then the used one should last 9 years.  That's 11,398 / 9 = $1266 / year in amortized capital costs.  (If it's mileage, it's still only a half a year off -- your 175k in 11 years is 15.9k per year, or about 32k in those first two years, so this car has only 9k more than you would have put on it.)

In general, a car loses a decent chunk of value in its first month and first year, and then things are pretty linear thereafter.  Don't be the person who pays for that "drive it off the lot" depreciation.  Let someone else do it for you.

(see, e.g., the graph in  )
« Last Edit: September 18, 2016, 08:00:57 PM by csprof »


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Re: New or Used - Cars on the Eastern Seaboard
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2016, 11:09:10 PM »
For $1500, how much will you extend the life of the car?


  • Bristles
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Re: New or Used - Cars on the Eastern Seaboard
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2016, 05:54:34 PM »
Make sure you oil spray the next one. Every other year 125 bucks is a great investment


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Re: New or Used - Cars on the Eastern Seaboard
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 10:22:40 AM »
First of all, yes ditch the current car. Rust costs only get higher exponentially. Lost my last 2 cars to rust. At some point it will fail safety inspection. (which can be a good thing - so glad I listened to my gut and turned around and drove to the repair shop. turned out squishy brakes was my break lines rusting through!)

A good idea is to buy a used car somewhere further south. (or west) Do you have family anywhere that gets less salt? I live in NOrthern New England and a dealer around here said even just going as far south as New York or New Jersey gets you a car in considerably better shape.


  • Bristles
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Re: New or Used - Cars on the Eastern Seaboard
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2016, 10:33:12 AM »
Another vote for ditch the car & find another used one.  Treat with Fluid film or the oil undercoat as suggested.

I live in Northern Vermont, good luck with your search.  You will find one!


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Re: New or Used - Cars on the Eastern Seaboard
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2016, 05:06:36 AM »
Agree with the others, in that you should sell your car right now instead of fixing it's issues and look into getting something similar, with fewer rust issues. It will take time and probably be a little frustrating finding one for the right price, without the rust. You will find one.

Another alternative, and I tend to recommend this over oiling the undercoat, is to go to a "u-wash" car wash every week while salt is used, or after a major snowstorm, and spray the entire car (focusing especially on the underside) with the high pressure rinse setting. No soap, wax, or brush needed. RuSt becomes a huge problem when salty water is left to dry over a long period of time. Even parking it in a dry garage will precent premature rust over leaving it outside in the elements.