Poll

It's time for...

A new car
11 (40.7%)
To pay for some repairs
16 (59.3%)

Total Members Voted: 27

Author Topic: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?  (Read 3319 times)

ReadySetMillionaire

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Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« on: June 20, 2017, 12:43:31 PM »
I own a paid off 2008 Ford Focus.  I've driven it for 11 years now, it has about 110,000 miles, it's worth about $2,500, and it runs pretty well (or so I thought).

I took it into the dealership (who I trust a lot...family relationship with owner who is also actually a client of mine) because the A/C was busted and I was hoping for a cheap fix. Turns out that there are a ton of problems with my car (even though I've followed the service schedule). In summary:

-Fixing the A/C would cost $2,400. There are substantial leaks and it pretty much needs an entirely new system. This system requires an update to the computer system. I would think this was ridiculous if I didn't take it to my friend from high school first who told me it was f***ed and that pretty much everything that could go wrong with it simultaneously went wrong.

-New brakes and pads (within a year or so they said): $500

-Spark plugs, filters, miscellaneous: $600

-New tires probably by the end of the year: $700

Fixing the A/C is discretionary, but I feel like my car is at that point where it's going over a hill of costly repairs. In addition to the above, I've read a lot the last few days about Ford Focuses and apparently the serious engine and transmission issues are related to time rather than mileage. Car repair message board posters seem to be in agreement that the transmission starts to go in year twelve or so. My Focus has actually started to rev pretty hard while in idle; I'm not sure I know what that means, and I'm not sure I want to find out.

Anyway, I'm currently in year 11, meaning that if I did all the maintenance to keep my car running well for now ($1,500), I'd be looking at even more expensive repairs within the next year or so.

In terms of a new car, I have enough set aside for my trade-in plus cash to total $10k. I'm looking to buy something in the $15k-20k range (used CR-V or something similar).

If you've read this and thought I'm an idiot for wanting a new car, that I'm over-rationalizing this, and that I should suck it up and do the repairs, then don't hold your breath. But if you think, "Ya, go for it," that's fine too. I think you can tell which way I'm leaning but I wanted to be confident with my decision.

Thanks.

lizzzi

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 12:53:32 PM »
It's going to depend on what you're using it for. If you just use it for around town--maybe back and forth to work and then shopping, errands, etc. on evening and weekends, I would fix it--but do not fix the A/C--and just keep driving it into the ground. But if you need your car for long out-of-state highway trips, or if you have to drive someone around who must have A/C (elderly relative, maybe a person with allergies/asthma, etc)...then I think you should look at getting another car.

researcher1

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 01:04:35 PM »
Given the way you wrote/worded this post, it is obvious that you WANT a new car, and are coming up with any excuse you can to justify such purchase...

- Half of the stuff you listed (brakes and tires) are NORMAL WEAR ITEMS that need to be replaced on any vehicle after xx miles.  Are you going to get a new car every time you need new tires or brakes?
- Other stuff you listed (spark plugs, filters, misc) are NORMAL MAINTENANCE ITEMS that need to be replaced on any vehicle at specified service intervals.  Are you going to get a new car every time you need an air filter?
- The prices you quoted are from a dealership, which is a complete RIPOFF.  It doesn't matter if there is a "family relationship with the owner."  Come back here after getting an estimate from 3 independent shops.  I guarantee they are much lower.
- Can't you replace things like spark plugs and filters yourself, saving hundreds of dollars off what the stealership quoted you?

If you want a new car, then go buy a new car, but don't come up with half-baked excuses.

ketchup

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2017, 01:34:53 PM »
Everything except the A/C is routine.

I'll echo what previous posters said.  Those prices all seem pretty nutty.  Regardless though, the A/C should be the only thing that makes you hesitate.  Get estimates from local independent shops.  I was shocked at how cheaply the previous owner of my Volvo (a stereotypically expensive-to-maintain car) was able to get a not-new-but-working AC compressor ($200 installed, I have the receipt).

You don't need to even consider the idea a new car, unless you legitimately *need* A/C for whatever reason (there are legitimate reasons), *AND* your A/C system is for some reason some outrageous monster that really does cost that much to repeal and replace.

HipGnosis

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2017, 01:42:08 PM »
I own a paid off 2008 Ford Focus.  I've driven it for 11 years now, it has about 110,000 miles, it's worth about $2,500, and it runs pretty well (or so I thought).

-snip-
if I did all the maintenance to keep my car running well for now ($1,500), I'd be looking at even more expensive repairs within the next year or so.

First, you've got a problem you don't seem to be aware of.  Your math is off.  Or your typing.  '08 (model year) cars came out at the end of '07.  Even if you bought it the day they became available, that's less than 10 yrs ago.

You don't say where you are, hard to tell if you 'need' to repair the A/C.  What are the summer temps there? What is your tolerance?

As has been said; the rest of the 'repairs' are maintenance - and I'd need to know the engine and what maintenance has been done on the car to know if they're really needed again.

'Brakes w/in a year' can be said of any car.  And you don't drive all that much.  And the dealer is the last place I'd go for brakes.

Ditto for tires.

The car has been reliable for you for years.  Why do you assume it will need more(?) repairs anytime soon?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 01:44:04 PM by HipGnosis »

marielle

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2017, 01:43:59 PM »
These prices are insane. The AC repair is fairly expensive, but not $2400 expensive! I also replaced 4 rotors and 4 pads for under $250 including tools and even paid extra for high performance parts! Labor shouldn't be more than $200 or so if you're doing all four wheels at a shop. Spark plugs and filters are less than $50-75 for parts total and the labor is again very little. Tires would be about $700, yes.

You should never replace a car for normal wear and preventative maintenance if there are no other problems. That is something that people who buy a new car every two years do, which is crazy.

WildJager

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2017, 01:46:14 PM »
All of the maintenance items can be done yourself, if you feel so inclined.  The parts wouldn't be very expensive. 

The A/C is obviously a more challenging project that may be outside the realm of an owner, but a service shop that's not a dealer would have much more reasonable labor prices.

I'd say keep it.  At the very least, you can start developing car maintenance skills that will pay dividends down the road if you attempt fixing some of these problems yourself.

Rosy

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2017, 01:48:45 PM »
I do agree about the distinction made by researcher1 between repairs and maintenance. This is mostly routine maintenance.
... besides spark plugs and filters etc are something that you could do yourself.
... and yes, dealership prices are higher in general, but you already know that:).

It is clear you are leaning toward a new car, but I see no reason for a new car here. Except, the dealbreaker for me would be AC since I live in Florida. However, there is no way I'd take the dealerships repair/replace assessment on that.
I took my lil ole red Ford Escort, 1998 to the local Ice Cold Air place and they managed to keep it running, told me something broke that is common with old Fords.

They are trying to make a case for a new car for you. That's mainstream, not MMM values and remember they are a dealership.
If you really want a new car and can afford it easily enough - then go for it, but no, you do not need a new car.


 

Vindicated

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2017, 02:09:30 PM »
The dealership is totally trying to push you into buying a new car.  Take it to other places for second/third opinions.

Think about it this way.

Option #1 - You could replace it, lose $7500 cash & gain $7500 debt (Loan), for a net loss of $15k!  Over 5 years (as you pay off the loan), you lose out on ~$5k in estimated investment growth on that money.  So, the net loss is actually $20k!

Option #2 - You could keep the 08 maintained and run it for another 5 years (with or without A/C), THEN buy a $10k Honda with 100k miles that'll last you another 10 years.

Using the Pretirement App, I put in the one time $15k purchase to see how much it would extend my retirement.  It shows that I would retire 1 year and 10 months later.  YMMV.  Do you want to work an extra year + just to have a newer car?  If so, go for it.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2017, 02:09:43 PM »
Everybody advocating for "repair it" seems to be overlooking this:

In addition to the above, I've read a lot the last few days about Ford Focuses and apparently the serious engine and transmission issues are related to time rather than mileage. Car repair message board posters seem to be in agreement that the transmission starts to go in year twelve or so. My Focus has actually started to rev pretty hard while in idle; I'm not sure I know what that means, and I'm not sure I want to find out.

RSM estimates that the car as is, today, is worth $2500.  It needs:
- a complete A/C system replacement (let's say you luck out and get this done for $800, all in -- and this is not a DIY project)
- misc maintenance + repair items: brakes, tires, tune up stuff (let's also say this is doable for $800, all in)
- questionable engine/ transmission behavior (cost?)

So, $1600 of repair/maintenance + possible major part failure(s), on a $2500 car.  IMHO it's time to say goodbye.  I vote for ditch the car while it runs, put the $2500 from it towards something else where everything works. 

405programmer

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2017, 03:00:17 PM »
How important is AC to you?

I would say replace the brakes yourself for 100-200 in parts and about 4 hours of your time and find a good deal on tires. In general for commonly made sedans you shouldn't have to spend more than $100 a tire installed. There are just so many of those tires out there that the economies of scale make them dirt cheap.

Then, drive it this summer and suffer being a little sweaty but keep your eye out for a good deal on a used Toyota Prius / other good value car. End of summer sell your Focus when the lack of air conditioning won't bother most people. I bet you could get over 3000 depending on area and interior condition.

You want your car to be safe thus the brakes and tires but this is a chance for you to take your time and get a new to you car that will carry you in comfort without destroying your wallet. Buy a car from a position of strength and you'll always get a better deal.

Actually the more I think about it the more I'm leaning toward selling the car as-is. You need to decide if you are willing to provide what is essentially "end of life care" for this focus. If you are comfortable doing basic car repair and don't need this car for cross country trips, end of life care on a car can actually be pretty cheap. Also if you mean your car idles up and down while you are stopped and not moving, that sounds more like an intake / sensor problem. If the idle gets really high as you start to drive and then the transmission shifts roughly into gear that's a warning that something is wrong with the transmission.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 03:09:21 PM by 405programmer »

privatevoid

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2017, 03:10:13 PM »
Quote
Everything except the A/C is routine.

This. Cars require routine maintenance. Replacing the A/C (the "entire system?") at 111,000 miles? Not routine maintenance. FYI, I did a quick search for you and the 2008 Focus scores a 2 / 5 for A/C reliability on Consumer Reports. Which tells me that this is not a fluke, but something that often happens to this model, probably a design problem.

Definitely get another estimate on those repairs, and sleep on whether you could live with the A/C problem happening again at 220,000? If you decide it's not for you, I'd think you could use the money you get from it to offset the cost of buying a decent used car under $10k, cash (probably not a CR-V? unless you REALLY need it for something?) with working A/C that could last you another 5-10 years while you build up your 'stache. Alternatively, a lot of folks here (myself included) find financing a smart car purchase and aggressively paying it down to work well over 5-10 years.

But, also, people survive without A/C, and everything else sounds about right for that age. If you put the mechanically necessary money into it, it'll keep plugging along.

Edit 2:

Quote
Spark plugs, filters, miscellaneous: $600

???? Plugs are like, $5 each for nice ones? Filters are $10/15? What the heck in 'miscellaneous' is costing $565?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 03:26:55 PM by privatevoid »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2017, 03:44:44 PM »
To be clear on a few things:

1. I'm totally fine with routine maintenance. I've always done it and I've always budgeted for it.

2. My concern in doing routine maintenance to the tune of $1,000+, plus this A/C issue, is the reliability reports that have me concerned about the next year or two. Someone else noted the Consumer Reports: I've read those as well and, giving that my car is reving hard in idle, I think something is amiss.

3. Given #2, I'm concerned to spend all this money if I'm going to have to spend even more money next year. I'd rather put this repair money towards a down payment.

4. Most importantly, I came here knowing that I was leaning towards a new car, but that I could use an alternative viewpoint.

FYI, I live in Ohio. I don't really need the A/C, but it's certainly uncomfortable for about 4-5 months of the year.

I guess my point in making this post was that we all have to get a new car some time. I thought, given the above, that time might be now. But the opposing viewpoints here are why I posted.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2017, 03:56:17 PM »
Someone else already quoted this, but I just want to emphasize that the below is by far my biggest concern.  I don't want to spend $1,000 on routine maintenance with this potential trouble impending.

Fixing the A/C is discretionary, but I feel like my car is at that point where it's going over a hill of costly repairs. In addition to the above, I've read a lot the last few days about Ford Focuses and apparently the serious engine and transmission issues are related to time rather than mileage. Car repair message board posters seem to be in agreement that the transmission starts to go in year twelve or so. My Focus has actually started to rev pretty hard while in idle; I'm not sure I know what that means, and I'm not sure I want to find out.

Anyway, I'm currently in year 11, meaning that if I did all the maintenance to keep my car running well for now ($1,500), I'd be looking at even more expensive repairs within the next year or so.

So, given this, am I still over-rationalizing wanting a new car? Appreciate the honest feedback so far.

researcher1

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2017, 04:55:12 PM »
Someone else already quoted this, but I just want to emphasize that the below is by far my biggest concern.  I don't want to spend $1,000 on routine maintenance with this potential trouble impending.

Fixing the A/C is discretionary, but I feel like my car is at that point where it's going over a hill of costly repairs. In addition to the above, I've read a lot the last few days about Ford Focuses and apparently the serious engine and transmission issues are related to time rather than mileage. Car repair message board posters seem to be in agreement that the transmission starts to go in year twelve or so. My Focus has actually started to rev pretty hard while in idle; I'm not sure I know what that means, and I'm not sure I want to find out.

Anyway, I'm currently in year 11, meaning that if I did all the maintenance to keep my car running well for now ($1,500), I'd be looking at even more expensive repairs within the next year or so.

So, given this, am I still over-rationalizing wanting a new car? Appreciate the honest feedback so far.

Please post links (you should have more than one reliable source) that explains the "transmission starts to go in year twelve or so."
I can find random anonymous internet posts that state ANY PART, on ANY VEHICLE, will fail after 12 years.

I assume you had the stealership look at this, while they were hitting you up on all of the other repair/maintenance items? 
What did they say?

I hate to break it to you, but revving at idle is NOT a symptom of a failing transmission.  In fact, a surging or high revving "while in idle" has absolutely nothing to do with the transmission. 

Again, this is just another straw you are grasping at to justify a new car purchase.

privatevoid

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2017, 05:18:09 PM »
Quote
So, given this, am I still over-rationalizing wanting a new car? Appreciate the honest feedback so far.

I don't think so. I think you want a new car and you're weighing your options. Do it intelligently.

If it were me, I'd put the bare minimum into the Focus at an independent shop (plugs, brakes, MAYBE tires) - these are the things you don't mess around with (for safety)

and leave the A/C as is for a week while you think it over. How long can you drive it like this? Long enough to wait for a great / frugal opportunity to get a new one?

Quote
My concern in doing routine maintenance to the tune of $1,000+

That's my concern too. Are you sure you need to spend $1000+ on new brakes, filters, spark plugs?

Quote
I'd rather put this repair money towards a down payment.

I'm new at this, but I'd think the most Mustachian thing to do here is to not go into car debt if you can avoid it.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 07:06:20 PM by privatevoid »

FIREby35

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2017, 08:01:29 PM »
RSM - Having read your other posts about your job situation and your uncertainty about it, please don't add debt. Seriously, it's like anti-mmm. If you want to have options to pursue new jobs, new clients, building your own practice or freedom in general, a good place to start is having some FU money around rather than debt for a new car.

If you do get a new car, do it smart. Again you are anti-mmm right now. You don't trade in your car. You get it polished up, put it on Craigslist and wait patiently for someone else to pay more than KBB value. Then you do the opposite and buy a used car on Craigslist from someone who is cash strapped or "over" their car (like you) for less than its real value because they aren't thinking rationally and you can get a deal. That's the way you get a new car - when you need one.

Facepunch.



ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2017, 10:23:35 AM »
Buying a CR-V seems wasteful -what need do you have for an SUV?

marielle

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2017, 10:33:04 AM »
I agree with the above. Buying another car isn't the worst possible thing you can do in this situation, BUT only as long as you aren't getting a loan on it. You should never take a loan on a car (unless you have the cash but want to invest it instead), and definitely not when you may have future career uncertainty.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2017, 09:18:55 AM »
Took my car to two additional repair shops, including one "off the broken path." Both quoted $2k plus to fix the AC, and both noted other problems coming here soon.

Based on my spreadsheet, I have been putting $1,150 per year in maintenance/repairs in my car for the past three years.  I would have well exceeded that this year (even without fixing AC), and my car was depreciating at about $800 per year.

Based on all that, I went and got a used 2014 CR-V this weekend. Specs are as follows:

$16,375 purchase price (KBB's estimate for "fair market price" was $18,700; also new 2017 CRV-EX retails for $27,000)
$1,750 trade-in allowance (which I thought was amazing)
36,000 miles
EX trim package (better speakers, better wheels)
Front wheel drive (didn't want/need to pay for AWD)
One previous owner who lived in AZ and had a three year lease (no Ohio winters)
Previous owner put on 90,000 mile tires just 2,000 miles ago
Previous owner followed service schedule
This was the last year before all the electronic bells and whistles came into the CRV

Total walking out the door was $16,100. I could have paid in cash but I paid $5,000 down on my AmEx and will weigh my options at the end of the year.

Hoping to get 250-300,000 miles out of this car. Thanks all for the opinions.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 09:38:08 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

researcher1

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2017, 09:42:41 AM »
Based on all that, I went and got a used 2014 CR-V this weekend. Specs are as follows:
$16,375 purchase price (2017 CRV-EX retails for $27,000)
$1,750 trade-in allowance (which I thought was amazing)
36,000 miles
Total walking out the door was $16,100. I could have paid in cash but I paid $5,000 down on my AmEx and will weigh my options at the end of the year.
Hoping to get 250-300,000 miles out of this car. Thanks all for the opinions.

What makes you think you'll put 300K miles on this CR-V, if you were only willing to put 100K miles on your old car?

You listed 4 upcoming expenses (Tires, Spark Plugs/Filters, Brakes, A/C repair) for your old car. 
The only actual repair was the $2K A/C, with everything else being normal, routine maintenance items.

What are you going to do in 70K miles when the CR-V needs these same items serviced?

charis

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2017, 09:42:58 AM »
It sounds like you just wanted to be done with your old car.  That's not a terrible thing to be, but you should recognize it for what it is.   I recently paid for a rebuilt transmission on a 09 corolla.  I drive it 1.5 miles to and from work and other short distances around town, and maybe some weekend trips 2-3 times/year.  That's why we have an emergency fund.  My husband commutes in a rusty 07 VW, and we are basically waiting for it to fall apart. 

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2017, 10:05:21 AM »
Based on all that, I went and got a used 2014 CR-V this weekend. Specs are as follows:
$16,375 purchase price (2017 CRV-EX retails for $27,000)
$1,750 trade-in allowance (which I thought was amazing)
36,000 miles
Total walking out the door was $16,100. I could have paid in cash but I paid $5,000 down on my AmEx and will weigh my options at the end of the year.
Hoping to get 250-300,000 miles out of this car. Thanks all for the opinions.
What makes you think you'll put 300K miles on this CR-V, if you were only willing to put 100K miles on your old car?

You listed 4 upcoming expenses (Tires, Spark Plugs/Filters, Brakes, A/C repair) for your old car. 
The only actual repair was the $2K A/C, with everything else being normal, routine maintenance items.

What are you going to do in 70K miles when the CR-V needs these same items serviced?

Jezebel is right. I hated my old car. I ended up with it from a backdoor deal between my brother and dad (but still had to pay for most of it). I loathed spending money on a car I didn't originally want that was constantly having problems every six months. I nevertheless still drove it and maintained for eleven years (2007-2017) and up to 101k miles. This whole thing with the A/C breaking and needing a bunch of other simultaneous maintenance were the straws that broke the camel's back.

Conversely, my experience with the CR-V should be different. I've wanted to buy a Honda since I was 16. I have researched and researched and researched and have known for quite some time that I wanted a Civic or CR-V for a long time. I will maintain it as long as humanly possible.

Lastly, this was not a mustachian/spreadsheet decision. I'm not looking forward to adding a column on my monthly budget spreadsheet for my car payment. But I hated my previous car; I researched my options and considered our household budget, income, and long term goals; and I bought a used 2014 model Honda that I plan to maintain for as long as I can. It should last a long time considering I drive about 8,000 miles per year. Might be considered "clown car" on MMM, but I'm in line with the Millionaires Next Door. That's fine with me.

Vindicated

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2017, 10:21:53 AM »
I think you made a reasonable decision, and put a lot of thought into it.  There is nothing wrong with that!  Could you have been more efficient somehow?  Sure.  But that's not what always priority #1.  Enjoy the CRV!

shawndoggy

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2017, 11:15:50 AM »

What makes you think you'll put 300K miles on this CR-V, if you were only willing to put 100K miles on your old car?

You listed 4 upcoming expenses (Tires, Spark Plugs/Filters, Brakes, A/C repair) for your old car. 
The only actual repair was the $2K A/C, with everything else being normal, routine maintenance items.

What are you going to do in 70K miles when the CR-V needs these same items serviced?

Haha so true!  Having an older car is frequently an exercise in self discipline.  The ol' POS keeps on breaking and you keep on fixing to keep it on the road... secure in the knowledge that it's cheaper to fix than buy a new one, but also frequently wondering what that annual fixit budget could buy when applied to a new car.

I'm just stuck in this cycle of "well, I've gotta fix it to be able to sell it," and then once it's fixed "well, I oughta get my money's worth on the repair" so I keep driving till it breaks again and then think "well, I've gotta fix it to be able to sell it," and then once it's fixed "well, I oughta get my money's worth on the repair"... and so on...

Clean Shaven

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Re: Do I Need a New Car or Should I Pay for the Repairs?
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2017, 11:18:15 AM »
I think you made a reasonable decision, and put a lot of thought into it.  There is nothing wrong with that!  Could you have been more efficient somehow?  Sure.  But that's not what always priority #1.  Enjoy the CRV!

Agreed completely.  Perfectly fine choice, should last a good long while.

Unlike many of the responses above, I wouldn't put up with a non-A/C car in the midwest summer.