Author Topic: Quantifying car expenses?  (Read 5200 times)

appledumplins

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Quantifying car expenses?
« on: July 23, 2013, 08:47:47 AM »
My wife and I own a 2010 Volkswagen Routan minivan with 38,000 miles that we purchased in our pre-mustachian life. Blue book on the van is about $16,000. It is under warranty for 4 more years or some number of miles we won't get to. We owe just under $11,000 on it.

My wife is pretty certain that we NEED a car that seats 7, so I was looking up Honda Odyssey's and Toyota Sienna's on Craigslist. I was thinking of something like a 2003 Honda Odyssey with 90K-120K miles on it for around $9,000. I hear lots of opinion on the internet i.e. this car will last forever, that one is horrible, the other is "like so totally reliable", etc, etc. But I don't find all that particularly helpful. Is there a way to find quantify the repair and maintenance costs of vehicles....maybe somewhere that lists the mean and standard deviation of maintenance and repair costs?

Eric

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 01:50:50 PM »
Congrats!  When is your 5th child due? 

appledumplins

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 02:40:24 PM »
Eric,

I happily accept the face punch and am trying to talk my wife out of NEEDING a specific vehicle because it is sometimes convenient (we have three kids). However, buried beneath my exposed foolishness is a pretty darn good question:

How do I compare the cost of ownership of two older cars? For newer ones they have those cost of ownership calculators, but I have not seen one that covers cars more than 5 years old. Even for the newer ones, these calculators are not that great (the crazy high gas and insurance estimates aside). Showing only the mean maintenance and repair costs is not really enough. What is the distribution of these costs? i.e. Do they follow a near uniform distribution where I am just as likely to get repair bills in the 99% percentile as I am to get repair bills in the 50%? Or is it more of a bell shaped curve?

Also, I know that previous owners maintenance will have an impact on the life and cost to maintain the vehicle--will this cause a 20% difference in cost of ownership (meticulous vs. degenerate maintenance) Can a mechanic look at a particular car and give a reasonable estimate of its life expectancy?

prodarwin

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 02:55:01 PM »
There is no single source for that data unfortunately.

Best thing to do is:

A) visit a forum for enthusiasts of said vehicles (yes, they exist, even for minivans).  See what problems they have, how they can be mitigated, how much they cost to fix, how often they occur
B) visit a forum for enthusiasts of vehicles in general and ask for an honest comparison between the two.  Within 3 posts they will present one or more other options you may not have considered.
C)  talk to a mechanic(s) who has dealt with them.  Even dealer mechanics are good for info, if a bit one sided.  If they aren't trying to sell you a car, they'll say "Yeah, we get xxxxx in all the time to get transmissions replaced, and its a $3500 job"

m8547

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 06:16:46 PM »
I asked the same thing a while back, but I don't think the data we are looking for really exists.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/car-cost-comparison/

Someone needs to start a site like Fuelly but for car repairs. The hard part would be getting enough people to use it to make it useful.

Tony_SS

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 01:25:23 PM »
I paid for $5700 for our 02 Ody... be careful, the transmissions are a known issue on any Ody up til 2008. A rebuilt trans will set you back $2-3k.

Ours we've had great luck with, it has 130k miles. They are good vans IF you keep up with maintaining them. The VW routan WILL drop in value like a rock. You have the warranty going for you, but still. I would keep your eyes open for a Sienna.

But do you drive alot for vacations? It all is based on your needs and its all a gamble. This is ONE area where debt can be ok. Use the banks money at 1.9% and get a good Sienna with a warranty if you have a family and need it to haul items go on vacations etc.

appledumplins

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 08:07:23 PM »
I read about the transmission problems with the 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey. I did not know that they extended to 2008. Because of this, I was hoping that they made a manual transmission mode. I am assuming that clutch repair/replacement is much, much less expensive than an automatic transmission repair.

I did look at the Sienna's, which are nice, but they are more expensive (before accounting for unknown repair costs).

I am now considering a Mazda5. They only seat 6, but I was given a special dispensation from my wife to allow this. They come in a manual and getter better gas mileage (about 25mpg average vs 20mpg average for most mini-vans).

Recon

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 10:33:02 PM »
Have any of you seen truedelta.com?  It doesn't track costs per se, but it's an excellent indicator of reliability by model.  The guy who runs it has done a good job of promoting it and getting more and more data points into the mix.  Also, +1 for the manual Mazda5.  Anybody considering a minivan should have that on his/her short list.

Tony_SS

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2013, 09:19:21 AM »
I read about the transmission problems with the 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey. I did not know that they extended to 2008. Because of this, I was hoping that they made a manual transmission mode. I am assuming that clutch repair/replacement is much, much less expensive than an automatic transmission repair.

I did look at the Sienna's, which are nice, but they are more expensive (before accounting for unknown repair costs).

I am now considering a Mazda5. They only seat 6, but I was given a special dispensation from my wife to allow this. They come in a manual and getter better gas mileage (about 25mpg average vs 20mpg average for most mini-vans).

Yes the Ody's used the same trans up until mid 07. Finally in 08 they used the trans out of the Ridgeline.

Sienna's are certainly worth it. One major thing I consider is where the dealer is if buying a newer car with an existing warranty. If you get an older one, make sure you have a trusted mechanic that can do jobs like replace a trans, motor mounts so you dont have to get raped by a dealer on it.

The Mazda5's look nicer... a bit dorkier, and smaller on the inside. I looked on them too before deciding on the 02 Ody that I own. I know MMM owns a 2000? Ody, but I would make sure to get a 02-04, more powerful engine, better trans, mileage is just as good.

appledumplins

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2013, 11:10:14 AM »
"The Mazda5's look nicer... a bit dorkier"

Well from the perspective of a computer programmer and (aspiring) mustachian: (dorkier && efficient && inexpensive && reliable) == awesome;

@cpp515: I had not seen http://truedelta.com before. It is very cool! Has much of what I was looking for.

Tony_SS

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Re: Quantifying car expenses?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2013, 11:27:53 AM »
"The Mazda5's look nicer... a bit dorkier"

Well from the perspective of a computer programmer and (aspiring) mustachian: (dorkier && efficient && inexpensive && reliable) == awesome;

@cpp515: I had not seen http://truedelta.com before. It is very cool! Has much of what I was looking for.

Ah, I meant are *nice. I just don't like the look. Looks don't matter... if you find a deal, nab it! Always go by KBB, not NADA and make sure to buy below KBB value. Good luck!