Author Topic: Opinons on best time to own a car  (Read 2423 times)

Mntnbkr83

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Opinons on best time to own a car
« on: August 22, 2016, 05:38:10 PM »
So I am at a dilemma as to whether I should keep my 13 year old car (fully paid for), and just continue to pay for maintenance bills as they arise, or to sell it and buy a newer used car in cash.  I will not buy a new car, or finance anything.  I am wondering if anyone has any opinions as to when the best time to own a car in both year/mileage for reliability and value.

I am wondering if anyone thinks there might be a "sweet" spot between 7-11 years/100k- 150k.  Does the increased maintenance costs of an older car ever exceed the depreciation of a newer car?  And if so, where do those lines cross?

Opinions?

Spork

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2016, 05:47:39 PM »
Well, there's more to it than age.  How is it running?  If you take it on a long trip, are you worried you might not get home?  Does it look like a rusty hunk of junk?  Is it type of car you'd be buying for a replacement?  (I.e., do you need more room for hauling stuff or less room and higher MPG?)

If it looks okay, drives okay, seems reasonably reliable and still serves your purpose well... I'd just keep driving it. 

If it's a lemon that is wearing out and in the shop once a month... I'd probably replace it.

For reference, the last car we sold was 19 years old when we sold it.  I know the guy that bought it and he's still driving it happily 3 years later.


ChairmanKaga

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2016, 07:34:49 AM »
Don't get a new car until the cost, both in terms of $$$ and lost productivity, makes the decision to replace it obvious. You'll know when it's time.

And don't be too hasty with the "no brand new cars decision." Two reasons:
CPO and newer used cars are selling at all-time high prices right now, and it's POSSIBLE to get a brand new cars with incentives for less than a used one. True story.
If you're the kind of person who ends up driving the same car for 12 years or more, then having a brand new car with a warranty for the first 6-10 years, and also the inherent reliability in a brand new car that you maintain and treat like the second largest purchase you'll probably make in your adult life, is maybe worth the extra dollars. Just don't go nuts with gadgets and technology that'll be totally outdated and generally useless within 5 years. Stuff electronics and voice activated features can add thousands in package costs. Look at the price differential between the 2017 Honda Civic LX - $18,640 MSRP - and the Touring - $26,500. It's nuts. Although the Touring gets the more powerful, more economical turbo engine...

Mntnbkr83

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2016, 06:41:49 AM »
Well to be honest I really like it and it currently fits my needs very well.  If I did replace it, I would buy something very similar.

I have been in the $500 dollar junker club for a few cars and I recognize the value in only parts, however, I also did not appreciate reliability.  This car I bought at 9 years and 110K.  It had lost most of its depreciation, but was in nice condition.  And I have baby'd it for the most part.  I get compliments still at 13 years/175K.  Well its value is definitely no more than $3k.  My issue is that I have put $6k in parts/labor in the past 13 months.  That's not acceptable in my opinion.  But each little item seemed better than buying a newer car at the time.

Thoughts?  I am hoping for a little bit more data though.  Average maintenance costs associated with age/mileage vs. depreciation costs?

GhostSaver

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2016, 06:53:45 AM »
For most cars, there are major maintenance issues that come up every 100k or so. I'm thinking of clutch, timing belt, etc. While these repairs can be somewhat expensive, they should be thought of as wear items.

I consider a new to me car if I think the engine or trans is approaching the end of it's service life. I'd also consider running away from a car if it's consuming expensive proprietary electronics at a high rate. But that's why I don't drive a vw/Audi!

mskyle

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2016, 07:14:05 AM »
Well to be honest I really like it and it currently fits my needs very well.  If I did replace it, I would buy something very similar.

I have been in the $500 dollar junker club for a few cars and I recognize the value in only parts, however, I also did not appreciate reliability.  This car I bought at 9 years and 110K.  It had lost most of its depreciation, but was in nice condition.  And I have baby'd it for the most part.  I get compliments still at 13 years/175K.  Well its value is definitely no more than $3k.  My issue is that I have put $6k in parts/labor in the past 13 months.  That's not acceptable in my opinion.  But each little item seemed better than buying a newer car at the time.

Thoughts?  I am hoping for a little bit more data though.  Average maintenance costs associated with age/mileage vs. depreciation costs?

I agree with GhostSaver that it kind of depends on what kind of work you have been putting into it. All cars need some maintenance; if you put 15,000 miles a year on a car it's going to need stuff like brakes, tires, etc., whether it's brand new or has 100K miles on it. If you've replaced the clutch and the timing belt and gotten the brakes fixed, those shouldn't need repairs again for a while.

My car is currently 9 years old with 110K miles, and it needs new tires and probably new shocks, and according to KBB it's worth $3600. So if anything else comes up I could easily end up putting more money into it than it is "worth" over the next couple of years. But some of that I would have to do on any car. I would much rather have this particular (so far very reliable!) car than $3600.

teamzissou00

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2016, 07:43:38 AM »
All good advice.  I think what the OP was asking is if they could optimize car ownership by only owning in a clear window of mileage.  Let's say they only bought Subaru Foresters that were 7-9 years old with 100-110 k miles on them and drove them to 160k and sold, repeat.

That you buy hoping to maximize overall value and reliability and incur minimal major repair cost. 

I've thought a lot about this as well.

ketchup

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2016, 09:22:31 AM »
I think that as long as the car is running fine and has no serious engine/transmission issues, hold onto it.

I'd personally only dump a car when it fits one of these:

1. Unsafe to drive (really bad rust to the point of compromised structure, severe unfixable/crazy-expensive brake problems, etc.)
2. Obvious engine or transmission problems to the point of imminent catastrophic failure.  Or engine/transmission catastrophic failure just happened.
3. I realize that it's a stupid car that doesn't properly fit my needs and a different one makes way more sense (if it only would make a little more sense it's probably not worth the switch).

Reason number two just claimed my car.  Engine gave out on the highway (200,775 miles).  Cost me a rental car to get home, and $100 for the nearby shop to declare it dead.

Reason number two claimed our other car in May.  Almost the exact same scenario (182,xxx miles), except I got a Uhaul truck and towed it home myself to declare it dead.

Reason number three was why I dumped my perfectly-fine Volvo wagon in 2014.  It was nice, reliable, and had no problems.  But it was expensive to maintain due to Swedish parts, and it didn't quite fit our use case (needed a bigger car for certain things, and a smaller car for others).

Mntnbkr83

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2016, 09:56:27 AM »
All good advice.  I think what the OP was asking is if they could optimize car ownership by only owning in a clear window of mileage.  Let's say they only bought Subaru Foresters that were 7-9 years old with 100-110 k miles on them and drove them to 160k and sold, repeat.

That you buy hoping to maximize overall value and reliability and incur minimal major repair cost. 

I've thought a lot about this as well.


Yes, this was my most pressing question.  I think it deserves some consideration among the Mustache/life hack community.

But, just getting some opinions from others, I am feeling like I should keep my car.


For most cars, there are major maintenance issues that come up every 100k or so. I'm thinking of clutch, timing belt, etc. While these repairs can be somewhat expensive, they should be thought of as wear items.

I consider a new to me car if I think the engine or trans is approaching the end of it's service life. I'd also consider running away from a car if it's consuming expensive proprietary electronics at a high rate. But that's why I don't drive a vw/Audi!

Haha, my power windows are a pain in my Audi, however nothing electronic has caused me any serious issues so far :)

ketchup

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2016, 10:18:15 AM »
All good advice.  I think what the OP was asking is if they could optimize car ownership by only owning in a clear window of mileage.  Let's say they only bought Subaru Foresters that were 7-9 years old with 100-110 k miles on them and drove them to 160k and sold, repeat.

That you buy hoping to maximize overall value and reliability and incur minimal major repair cost. 

I've thought a lot about this as well.


Yes, this was my most pressing question.  I think it deserves some consideration among the Mustache/life hack community.
In this vein, the best thing to do would be to find an undervalued low-maintenance car, drive it for a year, and then flip it at cost or at a profit.  Rinse and repeat.

Mntnbkr83

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Re: Opinons on best time to own a car
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2016, 01:55:23 PM »
Yeah, kinda like that guy that was featured on the blog not too long ago.  That does not fit into my plan for how I want to spend my time.  Thanks though!