Author Topic: Should I buy a new car?  (Read 990 times)

ratdaydays

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Should I buy a new car?
« on: June 16, 2020, 08:54:10 AM »
I have a 2005 Toyota Corolla with about 180k miles. Last year I had to replace the brakes (it was leaking fluid and then the brake parts were all rusted so everything had to be replaced) and that was about $2k. Now I have a check engine light which is likely to be the catalytic converter. I don't know if I should get it fixed or if I should just get a new car. I'm worried that if I fix it and then more stuff just keeps breaking. I can afford a new car, and I if I got a new car I would probably drive it until it dies.
 A lot of websites say it's not worth fixing. I wanted to get the opinions of fellow mustachians.

seemsright

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 09:30:13 AM »
Toyota and only at 180k miles...fix it.

Brakes are maintenance. And I will argue that a catalytic converter is just the muffler system and that too is just maintenance.

These things would not even be on my radar to alarm me on buying a new car.

researcher1

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 09:30:39 AM »
I have a 2005 Toyota Corolla with about 180k miles. Last year I had to replace the brakes (it was leaking fluid and then the brake parts were all rusted so everything had to be replaced) and that was about $2k. Now I have a check engine light which is likely to be the catalytic converter. I don't know if I should get it fixed or if I should just get a new car. I'm worried that if I fix it and then more stuff just keeps breaking. I can afford a new car, and I if I got a new car I would probably drive it until it dies.
 A lot of websites say it's not worth fixing. I wanted to get the opinions of fellow mustachians.
You've got your money's worth out of this car.  You can afford a new car.
This is a no-brainer...Buy another new Corolla and drive it for another 15 years.

My only suggestion is to dump the used car a bit earlier than you did, before you start sinking thousands into keeping it on the road.  It will minimize your repair expenses and maximize your resale price (hard to get top dollar with a CEL on).

I buy my vehicles new and sell them at 150K-180K miles. 
I do my own maintenance, but dump the vehicles before more expensive repairs start to emerge.
For most regular consumers, this is the best combination of efficient and economical car ownership.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 09:32:23 AM by researcher1 »

ratdaydays

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2020, 10:03:03 AM »
Thanks for the replies. I think I am leaning towards getting a new car because of the peace of mind.

researcher1

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2020, 11:18:18 AM »
Thanks for the replies. I think I am leaning towards getting a new car because of the peace of mind.
You're making the right decision.

Yes, you can keep this 15 year old car on the road for several more years, but it's just not worth it.
You have to factor in the time, hassle, and costs of keeping it...
- Many thousands of dollars in repairs for a vehicle worth very little
- Hassle of finding quality mechanics, getting estimates, going to various repair shops, ect.
- Inconvenience of being without your vehicle while it is being repaired.
- The lost time from dealing with everything noted above.

I've not spent more than a handful of hours over the last 15 years dealing with non-routine car repairs. 
Because I buy new and get rid of them before these things happen. (11-14 years, 150K-180K miles)

DHMO

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2020, 01:18:07 PM »
I consider brakes, suspension, exhaust, etc to be wear-and-tear items. They're long-wearing, and I'm not surprised that some of them are due at this age/mileage.
I don't think a catalytic converter replacement means your car is "dead". If you're not keeping this one until it dies, are you sure you would keep the next one until it dies?

researcher1

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2020, 01:42:56 PM »
I consider brakes, suspension, exhaust, etc to be wear-and-tear items. They're long-wearing, and I'm not surprised that some of them are due at this age/mileage.
I don't think a catalytic converter replacement means your car is "dead". If you're not keeping this one until it dies, are you sure you would keep the next one until it dies?
Keeping a car for 15 years is a perfectly reasonable time period, regardless of whether the car is completely dead or not.

By the time the OP fixes they latest issue, they will have dumped $4K into this nearly 2 decade old car.
That's about 25% of the purchase price of a brand new Corolla.
Time for a new car.

ketchup

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 02:37:27 PM »
Toyota and only at 180k miles...fix it.

Brakes are maintenance. And I will argue that a catalytic converter is just the muffler system and that too is just maintenance.

These things would not even be on my radar to alarm me on buying a new car.
I'd agree with this.  A 2005 Toyota with 180k has a very good shot of at least five years of life left in it.

acepedro45

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2020, 08:20:15 PM »
I also have a 2005 Toyota Corolla with almost 180k on the clock. I haven't had a thing go wrong with mine despite living in salty New England. In my mind, I'm hoping to keep it running another decade. I am a committed DIYer, though, so almost any maintenance task is reduced to the cost of parts since I enjoy puttering around.

Were I in your shoes and needing the services of a mechanic fix any issues, I'd probably be sitting on the fence regarding replacement/repair. If you haven't already, test your Check Engine Light for free at any auto-parts place and it will yield a code that can give you information on the likely culprit.

A unique quirk of this generation of Corollas is that the odometer stops counting at 299,999. It is a testament to their reliability that this is actually relevant for a substantial percentage of owners.

http://dashboard-light.com/vehicles/Toyota_Corolla.html

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2020, 02:36:29 AM »
Wait a minute, have you had the issue checked out? It might be a sensor or something simple.

With car stuff, I tend to go by the price to repair (especially for a lower value vehicle). If the work is under $1000, I'll go ahead and do it. If it's between $1000 and $1500ish (maybe $2000 tops), then it's a bit of a lineball decision, based upon the general condition or market value of the car, and above that, it's time to dump it.

I spent $1500 on a new clutch a bit over a year ago. In hindsight the money would have been better spent on another car, but I've got another year's motoring from it so I guess it's not too bad. My thinking at the time was that selling it with a busted clutch, I'd barely get scrap value, but as a going concern I'd at least get a bit of money if I decided to sell. Of course now the water pump is leaking and the suspension is worn, and I'm ready for another car, so this time it's getting replaced.

Would you consider DIY with parts from the junkyard?

After 15 years and 180,000 miles it's on borrowed time. If it's a cheap fix to keep it going, by all means do it, but if another $2K job is required on it, time to get rid of it.

Ultimately it depends on your own situation. If you're in a critical job, a long commute or have young kids the threshold for keep/replace might be lower than for someone who doesn't need the car as much.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 02:39:04 AM by alsoknownasDean »

K_in_the_kitchen

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2020, 05:48:31 PM »
I guess I would ask if this is the only vehicle for the household, and how many people share it.

We bought a brand new 2018 Mazda3 hatchback in 1/2019.  To get the deal we had to finance the car, and then we paid it off as soon as we had a statement.  I didn't realize how screaming good the deal was until I checked KBB the other day and found out the trade-in value is still more than we paid.  Private party is significantly higher.  Granted, the car is under 7K miles, but still.

We could have bought a used car, but we considered several things.  We are a family of 4 adults, 3 of whom drive (the other will get his license at some point -- it just hasn't been necessary yet).  At the time, we knew we'd be sharing the car, with our Sprinter van motorhome as a backup vehicle if we had schedule conflicts -- we sold the van and now only have the car.  With only one car, we wanted it to be reliable, and I personally really never want to be stranded on the side of the road.  I know it's still possible with a new car, but it's less likely.  None of us is handy with vehicles.  I also wanted newer safety features such as lane assist, radar cruise control, backup warnings, etc.

We made the decision to buy new knowing we'd take the biggest depreciation hit (first 5 years) and drive the most expensive miles.  But this little car got me back on the road a year and half after a parking lot accident that wasn't my fault (I wasn't even moving) gave me PTSD and severely limited my driving.

I have no idea if a Mazda will get 180K miles, and they way we drive, it could easily take 20 years to find out (I'm assuming we'll put more miles on it now that we don't have the van).  I suspect automotive technology will change significantly between now and then.

researcher1

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2020, 06:28:18 AM »
We made the decision to buy new knowing we'd take the biggest depreciation hit (first 5 years) and drive the most expensive miles.
This is a myth that get perpetuated on this site all the time.
When you buy a brand new car, you do NOT take big depreciation hits that people like to quote...

1) These depreciation values are calculated from MSRP, and no rational consumer buys a car for MSRP.
As a result, depreciation values are meaningless.  For example, if the depreciation rate is 18% in the first year, and you bought the car for 18% off MSRP, then you have experienced ZERO depreciation.
Look at the price of 1-3 year old used Toyota's and Honda's.  They are often more expensive than what you can buy a new one for.

2) The depreciation "hit" are only valid if you actually get rid of the car in the first 5 years.
So if you keep your car longer than that (which you should), this depreciation hit is not actually realized.
Get a good negotiated price on a new car and drive it for 12-15 years.  If you do this, those miles are actually the CHEAPEST, not the most expensive.  You start off with a car with 0 miles, everything is brand new with a full warranty, so you get 5 years worth of driving with nearly zero maintenance/repair costs.

RWD

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2020, 09:13:30 AM »
[...] the brake parts were all rusted [...]
Is anything else rusting? I'd be much more inclined to get rid of a car over frame rust than normal wear and tear replacements.

Now I have a check engine light which is likely to be the catalytic converter.
Why do you think this is the catalytic converter? There are a lot of possibilities, have you pulled the codes? Also, you can get direct fit aftermarket catalytic converters for that vehicle for $300-400, shouldn't be an automatic reason for replacing the whole car.

That said you'll be fine financially buying a new car and driving it for 15+ years too.

chemistk

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2020, 11:32:36 AM »
I'll second (third?) the notion that you really should look into repair vs. replace. Your car has a lot of life left in it assuming your Corolla meets the 'good' criteria on KBB, it's worth at least $3k private party - that's also assuming you have the lowest spec trim level. FWIW, my car (a 2012 Ford Focus) is worth $500 more than yours and has 50k fewer miles. There are a number of reasons for that, but that should tell you that even if YOU thought your car was risky to own, there are a lot of buyers out there who would think you're crazy for selling it.

Especially in the case of notoriously reliable cars, don't try to justify the purchase of a newer car simply because maintenance or fear of maintenance of an older car seems daunting. There are plenty of fair reasons to buy a new car and I'm not here to tell you that you can't or even shouldn't, but new cars can have just as many issues as older cars. Definitely don't just assume a new car is 'worry-free'.

If your catalytic converter is indeed bad, find out the replacement costs and carefully weigh the options. Even though you have the means, ask yourself whether the purchase of a new car is really going to be the best use of your resources. If your car is an appliance, that's reason enough to fix the issues (especially if the repairs are under $1k).

And definitely don't forget that the used car market exists and is a much more sensible option than buying something brand-spanking new. Please don't buy into the siren song of the pandemic and try to talk yourself into buying a new car right now because of the 'once in a lifetime' deals. 

K_in_the_kitchen

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2020, 01:43:30 PM »
We made the decision to buy new knowing we'd take the biggest depreciation hit (first 5 years) and drive the most expensive miles.
This is a myth that get perpetuated on this site all the time.
When you buy a brand new car, you do NOT take big depreciation hits that people like to quote...

1) These depreciation values are calculated from MSRP, and no rational consumer buys a car for MSRP.
As a result, depreciation values are meaningless.  For example, if the depreciation rate is 18% in the first year, and you bought the car for 18% off MSRP, then you have experienced ZERO depreciation.
Look at the price of 1-3 year old used Toyota's and Honda's.  They are often more expensive than what you can buy a new one for.

2) The depreciation "hit" are only valid if you actually get rid of the car in the first 5 years.
So if you keep your car longer than that (which you should), this depreciation hit is not actually realized.
Get a good negotiated price on a new car and drive it for 12-15 years.  If you do this, those miles are actually the CHEAPEST, not the most expensive.  You start off with a car with 0 miles, everything is brand new with a full warranty, so you get 5 years worth of driving with nearly zero maintenance/repair costs.

Thanks for explaining this -- it's definitely a myth I've seen here and other places my entire life.  I suppose in theoretical reality, we've had the car for 17 months, the KBB trade-in is higher than we paid , private party is higher yet again, and our first maintenance was free.  We've spent $825 in fuel for those 17 months (CA has high fuel taxes), or just under $50 per month.  Maintenance is due next month, just the oil change and basic inspections.  I suppose insurance has been the most expensive part of owning this car (young adult male driver), but insuring this car when it was brand new was less than insuring the 2011 Mercedes wagon it replaced.

Dee18

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2020, 02:52:54 PM »
I have a 15 year old Honda and happened to mention that to a friend who is a doctor. She urged me to get a new car saying the improved safety is key.

ketchup

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2020, 03:18:03 PM »
I have a 15 year old Honda and happened to mention that to a friend who is a doctor. She urged me to get a new car saying the improved safety is key.
This is definitely true but there are only certain "steps" that improve safety by a measurable amount compared to generic 2005 car.  ESC is a key one on newer cars.  Required as of 2012 model year, optional before that but common starting around 2008 (my 2010 does not have it).

K_in_the_kitchen

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2020, 06:24:12 PM »
I have a 15 year old Honda and happened to mention that to a friend who is a doctor. She urged me to get a new car saying the improved safety is key.

Safety features were a key item for us, but we live in the Los Angeles metro area and any time we are on freeways we are in a higher risk situation than someone who, for example, lives in a rural area and rarely encounters traffic.  ESC, airbags, etc., are great for everyone, but not everyone increases their safety by having lane change assist.

researcher1

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2020, 03:39:50 PM »
I call BS on the whole "safety features" reason for buying a car.

EVERY. TIME. I. DRIVE. people are out there tailgating and texting like maniacs in their shiny new cars!
Sorry, neither ECS nor ABS is gonna save you against these idiots who do not understand physics!!
This is a bizarre rant.

The idiot drivers you describe is an argument FOR having these safety features!
Both ESC and ABS are absolutely designed to save you in these situations!

If an inattentive driver cuts in front of you, sideswipes you, causes an accident in front of you...
You will be safer in a vehicle with ESC and ABS, as they allow you to more safely maintain control of your car.

These features have saved millions in crash damages, injuries and deaths...
https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/life-saving-benefits-of-esc-continue-to-accrue
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2009/08/government-study-confirms-abs-effectiveness-but-mysteries-linger/index.htm

Fru-Gal

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2020, 04:10:20 PM »
I don't have trouble with the drivers in front, it's the drivers behind me.

Fru-Gal

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Re: Should I buy a new car?
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2020, 04:12:42 PM »
Having said that, I don't argue that skid controls are valuable. Just that a lot of people are out there driving overweighted new vehicles whose safety features cannot overcome the physics of a very heavy object hurtling toward another at a distance that doesn't allow a reaction time.